Science & Technology - 2019 JANUARY

January 1

Clever Artificial Intelligence hides information to cheat later at task
A study by Stanford University and Google revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) tool CycleGAN was hiding information to cheat on another task it was assigned to do later.Information about a source image was hidden "into the images it generates in a nearly imperceptible, high-frequency signal".
CycleGAN, a neutral network that learns to transform images was working well till it was found that the agent didn’t really learn to make the map out of image but it learned to subtly encode the features from one into the noise patterns of the other.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft makes historic flyby of Ultima Thule
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has completed its epic flyby of the most distant object ever explored, the recently-unveiled fossil from the beginning of the solar system, Ultima Thule.
At 6.5 billion km (appr) from Earth, the encounter is the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System body. The cosmic rendezvous occurred so far from Earth that it took more than 6 hours for a signal from New Horizons to reach Earth.
Ultima is an object in the Kuiper belt which is a band of frozen material that orbits the Sun more than 2 billion km (1.25 billion miles) further out than the Neptune; and 1.5 billion km beyond even the dwarf planet Pluto, which New Horizons visited in 2015.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx breaks record for smallest space object ever orbited
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft broke a record after successfully entering into orbit around the asteroid Bennu - the smallest cosmic object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 110 million kilometers away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters. The manoeuvre placed the spacecraft into orbit around the asteroid Bennu.
The spacecraft will circle Bennu about 1.75 kilometres from its centre, closer than any other spacecraft has come to its celestial object of study.

January 2

Researchers developed Brain pacemaker to treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s
Researchers have developed a device, named WAND, short for ''wireless artifact-free neuromodulation device'', can deliver electrical stimulation if it detects something amiss in the brain’s electrical activity.
The device that works like a 'pacemaker for the brain' to monitor the brain’s electrical activity and potentially deliver fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
The device is both wireless and autonomous, meaning that once it learns to recognize the signs of tremor or seizure, it can adjust the stimulation parameters on its own to prevent the unwanted movements.

IIT Guwahati scientists develop a paper sensor that can detect freshness of milk
Scientists at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati have developed a simple paper kit that can test freshness of milk and tell how well it has been pasteurized.
The kit is sided with smart phone app to ensure that milk is consumed before it turns too sour.
The team has prepared a kit by attaching probe discs onto a 2 cm square transparent cellulose acetate film. The probe is then covered with another cellulose acetate film.
Colour reaction takes place when milk is injected through a tiny hole in the cover and a smart phone can be used to get the results. It takes just about 15 minutes to detect raw milk from pasteurized one.

ISRO launches Samwad with Students.
As part of the enhanced outreach programme of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a new platform named Samwad with Students (SwS) was launched in Bengaluru.
Through the initiative, ISRO aims to engage youngsters across the country to capture their scientific temperament. The new conversation mission will inspire students cutting across schools and colleges.
About ISRO:
Formed in 1969
Headquarter: Bangalore.
Founder: Vikram Sarabhai
Managed by theDepartment of Space (reports to the Prime Minister)
Chairman: A.S. Kiran Kumar

January 3

China successfully lands Chang'e-4 spacecraft on the far side of the Moon
China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) robotic probe, Chang’e 4 has become the first ever to land on face of the Moon not seen from the Earth.
Chang'e 4 will perform a variety of science work over the coming months, potentially helping scientists better understand the structure, formation and evolution of Earth's natural satellite.
The mission aims to take detailed measurements of the Moon’s terrain and mineral composition.
About CNSA:
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is the national space agency of China. It is responsible for the national space program [2] and for planning and development of space activities.

An ambitious web-based single-window system ‘Parivesh’ will be rolled-out at state levels by January 15, bringing an end to the clearance nightmare for entrepreneurs.
The automated system for submission, clearance and monitoring has already been implemented at the Central level, while various States starting from Gujarat will begin to implement the scheme by January 15.
Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August last year on World Biofuel Day.
'Parivesh' (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) is a single-window integrated environmental management system, developed under the 'Digital India' initiative.

January 4

India's Moon mission Chandrayaan - 2 gets delayed again
This is the third delay that the mission has seen since the project was announced - the first was in December 2016 and the second occurred in October 2018. The third was scheduled for January 3, 2019.
About Chandrayaan - 2:
It is a totally indigenous venture, comprises of an orbiter, a lander and a rover.
After a controlled descent, the lander would soft-land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a rover, according to Isro.
The six-wheeled rover will move around the landing site on the lunar surface in a semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.
The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
The 3,290 kg Chandrayaan-2will orbit the Moon and perform the objectives of remotely sensing it.
The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice, the space agency said.
Chandrayaan - 1 was India's first lunar probe. It was launched by the Isro in October 2008 and operated till August 2009.

January 5

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd’s (IOC)’s LNG import terminal in Ennore commenced.
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) commissioned its liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Ennore in Tamil Nadu.
This is the first LNG terminal that IOC has built on its own.
The facility was built at a cost of Rs 5,151 crore and will be commissioned after completion of dredging of the channel that will bring cryogenic ships carrying natural gas in its liquid form to the port.

Gigantic tricolours to adorn railway stations in Hyderabad.
The busy railway stations of the State such as Secunderabad, Kacheguda and Nampallywhich fall under A1 category stations will soon have a gigantic national flag fluttering on 100-feet-tall flag posts on the station premises.
About 75 railway stations in India, whose annual earnings exceed Rs. 50 crore, called A-1 category stations, have been asked to ensure that national flag flies atop their premises at a height of 100 feet.
Currently, the tallest tricolour flag post in the city is installed at Sanjeevaiah Park which is of 290 feet height.

January 7

Govt Allocates Rs. 10,900 crore For Development of 40 Satellite Launch Vehicles
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr. K. Sivan stated that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next 4 years.

China: Lunar rover named ‘Yutu-2’, lands on the far side of the moon
Lunar rover Yutu-2 or Jade Rabbit-2 of the Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon.
Lunar rover named ‘Yutu-2’, lands on the far side of the moon.
Images were sent back to the Earth via the relay satellite ‘Queqiao’.
In Chinese folklore, Yutu is the white pet rabbit of Chang’e, the moon goddess who lent her name to the Chinese lunar mission.
China’s lunar probe is a part of its ‘Made in China 2025’ project.
It follows a homegron Chinese Global Positioning System named BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.