Science & Technology - 2017 MARCH

March 1

India test-fires indigenous supersonic interceptor missile.
India successfully conducted the test-fire of its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile, capable of destroying any incoming enemy ballistic missile at low altitude.
India successfully test-fired an indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile capable of destroying any incoming enemy missile at low altitude, a feat which reflects the country’s Ballistic Missile Defence prowess.
The Defence Ministry all the mission objectives were successfully met during the test-firing of the endo-atmospheric missile from Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
This is the second time that the missile has been test-fired in less than a month and is part of an effort to put in place a multi-layer missile defence system.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar congratulated DRDO on the successful launch.

March 2

Navy successfully test-fires anti-ship missile from Kalvari submarine.
The Navy successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile for the first time from an indigenously built Kalvari class submarine.
The Navy described the launch as a significant milestone in enhancing its "sub-surface" warfare prowess.
The weapon was fired from the submarine, the first of India's six Scorpene-class submarines which are being built under the Project 75, and it "successfully hit" a surface target during the trial in the Arabian Sea.
Besides Indian Navy is among a select few nations in the world to have anti-ship missile firing capability from submarines.

Classified US satellite launched from California.
A rocket carrying a classified US satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office has been launched from California.
The Atlas 5 rocket lifted off at and roared away into a clear sky over Vandenberg Air Force Base.
All systems were going well when the launch webcast concluded about five minutes into the flight, as is customary during such missions.
The satellite dubbed NROL-79 is described only as a national security payload for the NRO.
The once-secret office operates an array of intelligence-gathering satellites.
The launch was conducted by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and the Air Force's 30th Space Wing.

DRDO Hands Over its Developed Products to Indian Army.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) handed over three of its products for induction into the Indian Army in a formal function.
The products are namely
(i) Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), SWATHI.
(ii) NBC Recce vehicle.
(iii) NBC Drugs.
The Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar who presided the function handed over the products to the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on behalf of DRDO.
Addressing the function the Defence Minister congratulated DRDO for the series of recent trials including the interceptor missiles. He complimented DRDO scientists for handing over equipment to the Indian Army. Shri Parrikar DRDO, Defence Forces, PSU’s and Private Sector industry’s partnership can be a game changer in the near future.
The Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat after receiving the products complimented the DRDO for achieving another milestone in their continuing success.
Stories He was optimistic that at this speed, modernisation of Indian Army would move at a much faster pace.

March 3

President Pranab Mukherjee Confers Standard & Colours Award to 125 Helicopter Squadron and MIT.
The Hon’ble President of India and Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded the Prestigious President’s Standard and Colours to 125 Helicopter Squadron and Mechanical Training Institute (MTI) respectively, during a grand ceremonial parade held at Air Force Station Tambaram.
The Commanding Officer of 125 Helicopter Squadron Group Captain V.D. Badoni and Commanding Officer of MTI Group Captain A. Arunachaleswaran received the President's Standard and Colours respectively.
The ceremonial parade was commanded by Group Captain A Arunachaleswaran. The President also released First Day Covers of 125 Helicopter Squadron and Mechanical Training Institute at the function.
Fly past consisting of Mi-35 and Mi-17 Helicopters, Pilatus and Kiran trainer aircraft was synchronized with significant events of the parade. The grand ceremony concluded with a breathtaking air show demonstrated by Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), which won the admiration of one and all.

March 4

Iran tests sophisticated Russian-made air defense system.
Iran successfully test-fired a sophisticated Russian-made air defense system.
The test of the S-300 system came during a recent military exercise named Damvand, the name of Iran's highest mountain.
The test targeted various flying objects including missiles. With a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) the S-300 is capable of simultaneously tracking and striking multiple targets.
State TV aired footage of the missiles launching from the back of trucks. the test was carried out in Iran's central desert.
Russia delivered the S-300 system to Iran in 2016; nearly 10 years after the initial contract had been signed. Iran signed the $800 million contract to buy the S-300 missile system in 2007, but Russia suspended their delivery three years later because of strong objections from the United States and Israel.

Scientists Reverse Sickle Cell Disease for the First Time Using Gene Therapy.
A new gene therapy technique has been used to successfully reverse sickle cell disease for the first time.
While this is just one case study involving a single French teenager, the early signs are encouraging, and the therapy could eventually lead to an effective treatment for the millions of people with this crippling disease worldwide.
Sickle-cell disease occurs when one of the proteins making up a type of haemoglobin we use to carry oxygen through our body takes a slightly different form.
This small change is enough to make the red blood cells they occupy lose elasticity, deforming them into a curved 'sickle' shape and risking clumps of cells piling up as they struggle to slip through blood vessels.

March 5

Study Finds Earth's Mantle 60 degrees Hotter than Thought.
The findings by United States based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the Earth's mantle is about 60 degree Celsius hotter than as previously thought by the scientists.
The new study could change the thinking of the scientists regarding the issues in Earth science including how ocean basins form.
The result is significant as a hotter mantle would be more fluid and thus help to better explain the movement of rigid tectonic plates.
Since it is not possible to measure the mantles temperature directly, geologists have to estimate it through laboratory experiments that simulate the high pressures and temperatures inside the Earth.
The finding was published in the journal Science.

Iran's S-300 system becomes operational.
Iran’s advanced S-300 air defence system, delivered by Russia following a July 2015 nuclear deal after years of delay, is now operational.
Iran had been trying to acquire the system for years to ward off repeated threats by Israel to bomb its nuclear facilities, but Russia had held off delivery in line with UN sanctions imposed over the nuclear programme.
Air defence commander General Farzad Esmaili domestically manufactured air defence system dubbed Bavar 373 which was ''more advanced than the S-300'' would be tested very soon.
Iran’s activation of the defence system comes amid mounting tensions with the new U.S. administration led by Donald Trump, which imposed sanctions after Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile.

Scientists store movie and entire operating system on DNA.
At a time when humans are generating more data than hard drives, scientists have demonstrated that a computer operating system and a short movie could be stored on a DNA.
In a new study, published in journal Science, a pair of researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center (NYGC) showed that an algorithm designed for streaming video on a cellphone can unlock DNA's nearly full storage potential by squeezing more information into its four base nucleotides.
The researchers showed that their coding strategy packs 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA, which study co-author Yaniv Erlich believe was the highest-density data-storage device ever created.

Man makes smartwatch running on Windows 98.
Technology blogger '314Reactor' has created a smartwatch powered by Windows 98.

March 6

World's oldest fossils discovered in Quebec, Canada.
Scientists have discovered oldest fossils on Earth in rocks from Quebec, Canada.
Carbon dating techniques suggest that these rocks are at least 3.8 billion years old and might even be 4.3 billion years old.
The fossils are tiny and consist of tubes and filaments up to half a millimeter in length and around half the width of a human hair.
The fossils are thought to be the remains of bacteria that lived on iron and dwelt around hydrothermal vent systems.
They’re made of haematite, a type of iron oxide (known as rust). Some of the filaments are branched, some resemble loose coils and others appear to be joined to knobs of haematite.

March 7

CBSE's new mobile app will help students locate exam centers.
Students writing the Class 10 and 12 Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board examinations can now easily find their exam centres through a mobile app.
The app, 'Exam Locator', launched by the CBSE, helps students to quickly find the exam centre by feeding in the roll number.
Students can easily find the address, images and geo-location of the designated exam centre on the map and know how to reach it.
A student or a parent has to register through their mobile number to receive an OTP (one-time password) number. The OTP will help log into the centre locator app.
The student can access information by selecting the option X or XII and entering the roll number.
The student's information, address and photograph of the exam centre will be displayed on the screen for easy identification.

March 8

EU launched the fifth satellite of the Copernicus observation program.
European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched Sentinel-2B satellite, fifth of its Sentinel Earth observation satellites part of its multi-billion-euro Copernicus observation program.
The Copernicus earth observation program, created by the European Union, is served by a set of satellites. The program is aimed at improving the life of EU communities by providing near-real-time global environment data.
Copernicus is an earth observation program that will provide accurate, timely and easily accessible information about the earth and its climate.
The Copernicus program was earlier known by the name Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program, previously known as GMES.
It is a joint initiative of European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Sentinel-2B satellite is part of satellites system that monitors Earth. It will join its twin Sentinel-2A, which has been in orbit since 2015. The two satellites will orbit 786 km above Earth, on opposite sides of planet.

Environment Minister launches Web Portal for obtaining CRZ Clearances.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched a web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances.
The Portal is a web-based system for obtaining clearances required from the Ministry under the ''Coastal Regulation Zone'' (CRZ) by the Project proponents and launch of the portal as a good example of 'Ease of Doing Business'.
The system will enable the Project proponents and the concerned State/Union Territory bodies like the State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) and Municipal/ Town Planning agencies in tracking the status of their proposals.
The system is based on web architecture, similar to the existing systems in place for according environmental and forest clearances.
The Portal is a very user-friendly initiative, which enables submission of applications for CRZ clearance in a single-window interface and facilitates quick flow of information related to CRZ clearances.

March 9

INS Tillanchang was commissioned by the Indian Navy.
The Vice Admiral Girish Luthra has commissioned INS Tillanchang to the Indian Navy at Karwar, Karnataka.
INS Tillanchang is a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC) and will add to the firepower of the Indian Navy.
INS Tillanchang is the third ship of four follow-on WJFAC built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Kolkata.
The first two ships of the class, IN ships Tarmugli and Tihayu were commissioned in 2016 and are based at Vishakapatnam.

IBM Researchers Creates World’s Smallest Magnet to Store Single Bit Data.
IBM researchers have created the world's smallest magnet using a single atom which can store one bit of data on it.
One data bit was written by passing an electrical current through a Holmium atom freezing its magnetic orientation up or down referring to states 1 or 0.
Current hard drives use about 1,00,000 atoms to store a single bit.
Headquarters: New York, United States
President: Ginni Rometty

March 10

Iran successfully Tests Ballistic Missile Hormuz-2.
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have successfully test-fired a domestically built Hormuz-2 ballistic missile.
A floating target was destroyed from a distance of 250 km, Russian news agency TASS cited Tasnim news agency.
The naval ballistic missile called Hormuz-2 has successfully destroyed a target that was 250 km away.
This missile is capable of engaging targets at a distance of up to 300 km.
ISRO's 'Lost' Chandrayaan-1 Found Orbiting Moon: NASA.
India's first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1 which was considered lost is still orbiting the moon.
The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is very small a cube about 1.5 metres on each side - about half the size of a smart car.
Although the interplanetary radar has been used to observe small asteroids several million miles from Earth.
Researchers were not certain that an object of this smaller size as far away as the Moon could be detected, even with the world’s most powerful radars.
4 synthetic yeast chromosomes created by Chinese scientists.
Chinese scientists have assembled four synthetic yeast chromosomes, making it the second country after the US capable of designing and building eukaryotic genomes.
Researchers from Tianjin University, Tsinghua University and BGI-Shenzhen construct the synthetic active chromosomes through exactly matching the synthetic genome with the designed sequence for the first time.
The US scientists already succeeded in implanting a synthetic genome in a prokaryotic bacterium, marking the first step in chemical synthesis of living organisms.

March 11

India successfully test fires supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.
India successfully conducted maiden test of extended-range supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from a defence base off Odisha coast.
The technology upgrade comes after India's full membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which removed caps on the strike range of BrahMos.
The range has been now enhanced from 290 km to 450 km.
The missile was fired from a mobile autonomous launcher (MAL) deployed in full configuration at Chandipur-based launching complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

Capital gets its third and largest waste-to-energy plant.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation launched India's largest municipal waste-to-power plant at Narela-Bawana in New Delhi.
The plant is expected to provide respite from overflowing landfill sites in Delhi as it will incinerate the waste to generate power. Delhi has four landfill sites, of which three - Bhalswa (North Delhi), Ghazipur (East Delhi) and Okhla (South Delhi) - are overflowing.
The project, built over 100 acres of land, has been developed on public private partnership model by Ramky Group, a Hyderabad-based waste management company, in collaboration with the North Corporation and It has been built at a cost of Rs. 650 crore.
The plant will use 2,000 metric tonnes of solid waste every day to generate 24 MW of energy.

NASA's Announces 'Europa Clipper' Mission to Explore Jupiter's Moon.
NASA to explore the habitability of Jupiter's icy moon Europa will be officially called Europa Clipper.
The mission is being planned for launch in the 2020s, arriving in the Jupiter system after a journey of several years.

Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because it holds a salty liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust. 
The aim of Europa Clipper is to determine if Europa is habitable, possessing all three of the ingredients necessary for life liquid water, chemical ingredients, and energy sources sufficient to enable biology.

March 13

Africa gets own domain name 32 yrs after world's 1st domain.
Africa has got its own domain name 'Africa' for the continent 32 years after the world's 1st domain name was registered.
The domain name 'Africa' will be used to reflect a company's interest in the whole of Africa.
According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates of internet penetration in the world with only around 22 per cent of people online compared to the global average of 44 per cent.
The African Union has vowed to increase broadband internet penetration by 10 percent by next year as part of its 'Agenda 2063' development proposal.

March 15

NASA tests life-detecting tools for Mars in the Atacama Desert.
NASA is testing whether its Mars 2020 rover can drill for samples and look for signs of life at the same time. A test rover was used in one of the driest places on Earth, Atacama Desert, and South America.
The desert has conditions similar to the red planet being exposed to UV radiation, having microbial life inside rocks and underground.