HCS Topic Wise Yearly Current Affairs 2020: Science & Technology
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HCS Topic Wise Yearly Current Affairs 2020: Science & Technology

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HCS Last One Year Topic Wise Current Affairs: Science and Technology

Haryana Civil Services Exam

CURRENT AFFAIRS YEARLY 2020

Last one-year Current Affairs For HCS Exam: Science and Technology

1. India's Department of Science and Technology will increase the participation of women in science by using a programme Athena SWAN

  • India’s  Department of Science and Technology (DST), will increase the participation of women in science by incorporating a system of grading institutes depending on the enrolment of women and the advancement of the careers of women faculty and scientists.
  • The concept borrows from a programme started by the UK in 2005 called the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network), which is now being adopted by many countries.
  • The Athena SWAN Charter is an evaluation and accreditation programme in the UK enhancing gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

2. The 8th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial meeting unanimously has adopted BRICS STI Declaration 2020.

  • The meeting was held through a virtual platform.
  • Science and Technology cooperation among the member countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was discussed in the meeting
  • During the meeting, Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan highlighted that the COVID 19 pandemic has been a test, demonstrating that multilateral cooperation is the key to overcoming such global challenges. 

3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Bhutan’s satellite next year.

  • The two sides signed a framework agreement for enhancing cooperation in the peaceful uses of space that will foster collaboration between several institutions of the two countries.
  • India will support Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s efforts to use advanced technology, including ICT and space technology.
  • In this regard, state-run BSNL is currently working on the third international Internet gateway for Bhutan.
  • A ground earth station in Bhutan for using India’s South Asia satellite was inaugurated during Modi’s visit to the country in August last year, and Thimphu is using the facility for broadcasting and disaster management.
  • Bhutan launched its first nano-satellite Bhutan-1, which was built with Japan’s assistance, on a SpaceX rocket in June 2018.

4. The World Health Organization has announced that it will set up a Global Centre for traditional medicine in India. 

  • The announcement of establishing the centre was made during the inaugural ceremony of two future ready Ayurveda institutions. 
  • These institutions were inaugurated in Jamnagar and Jaipur. 
  • The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA), Jamnagar (Gujarat) and the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur (Rajasthan) are both premier institutions of Ayurveda in the country.

5. India has become the 4th nation in the world to have its independent Regional Navigation Satellite System.

  • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been recognised by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as a part of Worldwide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS)
  • 3 countries with IMO recognised navigation system: US, Russia and China
  • IRNSS: Designed to provide accurate position information services to assist in the navigation of ships in Indian Ocean waters.
  • The IMO is the United Nations’ specialised agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

6. Param Siddhi, the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer has achieved global ranking of 63 in TOP 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world.

  • It has been established under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) at C-DAC
  • This will accelerate R&D in  war against COVID-19 through faster simulations, medical imaging, genome sequencing and forecasting and is a boon for Indian masses and for start-Ups and MSMEs in particular.

7. Team Halo is an initiative undertaken by the United Nations (UN) in collaboration with The Vaccine Confidence Project at the University of London aims to tackle misinformation by sharing information on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines via social media.

  • ‘Halo’ refers to the ring of connected science that spans the globe.
  • A team of over 100 scientists are producing creative, social media-friendly videos on Covid-19 vaccine science, personal experiences and reactions to information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In India, over 22 scientists have joined Team Halo from renowned institutes
  • Team Halo India will also allow scientists to respond to questions from the public and directly counter vaccine misinformation and rumours spreading in parts of the internet.

8. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare has launched a Scheme titled “SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)”, designed exclusively for women scientists. 

  • The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has been contemplating to institute a scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research  in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories.
  • SERB – POWER Scheme will have two components namely (i) SERB-POWER Fellowship (ii) SERB- POWER Research Grants.

9. NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. 

  • This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.
  • SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. 
  • Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency is eager to learn all it can about the presence of water on the Moon in advance of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establishing a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade.
  • SOFIA’s results build on years of previous research examining the presence of water on the Moon

10. Tubarial salivary glands are a set of salivary glands deep in the upper part of the throat.

  • They were discovered recently by Scientists in the Netherlands.
  • The glands are about 1.5 inches (3.9 centimeters) in length on average and are located over a piece of cartilage called the torus tubarius.
  • The glands probably lubricate and moisten the upper throat behind the nose and mouth. 
  • The discovery may be important for cancer treatment.
  • Until now, there were three known large salivary glands in humans: one under the tongue, one under the jaw and one at the back of the jaw, behind the cheek.

11. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) will commission India's largest High Performance Computing and Artificial Intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer, ‘PARAM Siddhi – AI’.  

  • This would put India into top countries in the field of global AI supercomputing research and innovation.
  • The supercomputer will have 210 AI Petaflops
  • It will be based on the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD.
  • The computer will use NVIDIA Next Generation technology, C-DAC software stack and Cloud platform.
  • The super computer will develop an ecosystem for research and innovation in science and engineering.
  • It will also enhance the partnerships with the Academia, Start-ups,  Industry and MSMEs.

12. Origin Space, which is a private company, in Beijing, China is all ready to send out the world’s first asteroid mining robot into space in November 2020. 

  • The robot is named as ‘asteroid mining robot’ by the space start-up in China.
  •  A Chinese Long March series rocket will launch the asteroid mining robot into space. The mission will be a milestone for the space resources industry.
  • NEO-1  is a small, around 30 kilograms, satellite that intends to enter a 500-kilometer-altitude sun-synchronous orbit. 
  • It will be launched as a secondary payload by a Chinese Long March series rocket. This small spacecraft with limited propulsion may take a long time to reach the moon as compared to India's second lunar mission- Chandrayaan-2. It used a circuitous route to go from geosynchronous transfer orbit  to the lunar orbit.

13. An international team of astronomers has announced the finding of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus, triggering excitement about the possibility of the presence of life forms on that planet.

  • Apart from being produced in industrial processes, phosphine, a colourless, smelly gas, is known to be made only by some species of bacteria that survive in the absence of oxygen.
  • The presence of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus is something that was not expected and is “unexplained”. 
  • Any presence of phosphorus in that atmosphere was expected to be in oxidised forms.

14. World’s Largest Solar tree

  • The CSIR-CMERI operating under the Ministry of Science and Technology has developed the World’s  largest solar tree. 
  • CMERI-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute,Durgapur, West Bengal 
  • The tree has an annual capacity of generating 12,000 to 14,000 units of Clean and Green power.
  • The Solar Tree has been designed in such a way that maximum exposure of each Solar PhotoVoltaic Panel is achieved.
  •  There are a total of 35 Solar PV panels in each tree. Each panel has a capacity of 330 watt-power.
  • The cost of a solar tree is Rs 7.5 lakhs. 
  • The interested MSMEs can align with Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha (PM KUSUM) to develop renewable energy based grids.

15. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras Researchers have made ‘MOUSHIK,’ an indigenously-made Microprocessor, that can cater to the rapidly-growing IoT devices, an integral part of Smart Cities of a Digital India.

  • MOUSHIK is a processor cum ‘system on chip’ which has been conceptualized, designed and developed at the Pratap Subrahmanyam Centre for Digital Intelligence and Secure Hardware Architecture (PS-CDISHA) of the RISE Group, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras.
  • The Project is funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.

16. Northrop Grumman has named its next space station resupply ship ‘S.S. Kalpana Chawla’ after Dr Kalpana Chawla,

  • US global aerospace company; Northrop Grumman has named its next space station resupply ship ‘S.S. Kalpana Chawla’ after Dr. Kalpana Chawla, an astronaut of Indian descent.
  • Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-14 Cygnus spacecraft after former astronaut Kalpana Chawla.
  •  It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. 
  • Chawla was selected in honor of her prominent place in history as the first woman of Indian descent to go to space,” Northrop Grumman said in a statement.
  • The Cygnus spacecraft will deliver approximately 3,629 kg (8,000lb.) of cargo to the space station.
  •  It will be launched into orbit from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Wallops Island, Virginia on September 29.

17. Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the commercial launch of COVID-19 Test FELUDA.

  • FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay (FELUDA) has been developed by the Tata group and is powered by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB).
  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is a genome editing technology that is used to diagnose diseases.
  • Tata CRISPR test is the world’s first diagnostic test to use Cas9 protein for detecting the SARS CoV 2 virus. It uses indigenously developed CRISPR technology.

18. Russia’s sovereign wealth fund agreed to supply 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik-V to an Indian drug company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. 

  • The deal has been finalized after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) reached agreements with the Indian manufacturer to produce 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to India.
  • The RDIF will cooperate with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories on clinical trials and distribution of the Sputnik-V vaccine in India.
  • The sputnik-V vaccine was the first registered vaccine against COVID-19 in the world. 

19. A portal named ‘Science and Technology Yojana for AtmaNirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement ‘(SATYABHAMA)’ has been launched by the Union Ministry of Mines and Coal, Pralhad Joshi.

  • The portal has been designed and developed by emphasizing the need for promoting the role of digital technology in the mineral and mining sector of the country. 
  • The Mines Informatics Division of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) is the implementing agency of the portal.
  • SATYABHAMA is also being integrated with the NITI Aayog portal- NGO Darpan. 
  • The portal can be accessed at – research.mines.gov.in

20. The first-ever contract for a tourist walk in outer space has been signed by  the Russian space corporation Energia 

  • The venture is set for 2023.
  • The announcement came after RSC Energia has signed a deal with Space Adventures (a space tourism company in the United States). 
  • RSC Energia is a part of Roscosmos (Russia’s space agency).
  • As per the deal, two tourists will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in the year 2023 under the joint agreement of both companies.
  • From the end of RSC Energia, one of the two tourists will be able to do a spacewalk together with a cosmonaut from Roscosmos.

21. NASA has named its headquarters building at Washington D.C after its first African American Female Engineer Mary W.Jackson. 

  • The announcement was made by the Administrator of NASA. 
  • The story of success of Mary W.Jackson was shown in the 2016 biographical drama “Hidden Figures”
  • The street outside the headquarters of NASA at Washington D.C was renamed as Hidden Figures Way in 2019.
  • The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics recruited Mary W.Jackson in 1951. 
  • The Committee was replaced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958.
  • Mary W. Jackson started her professional career as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Centre of NASA. 
  • Later she was promoted to become the first African American female engineer at NASA.

22. Elon Musk-owned SpaceX became the first private company to send astronauts into space.

  • SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft docks with the International Space Station (ISS)
  • The company sent Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to space initiating a new business model for NASA.
  • The mission will end the reliance of NASA on Russian space rockets. 
  • NASA had plans to hand over the transport of crew to the space since 2000
  • SpaceX was the first private company in the world to return rockets back to the earth. Usually the rockets burn away after putting the satellites on their orbit or simply get thrown away to the space adding up space debris.
  • The Spacecraft that is transporting the Astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) is called Crew Dragon.

23. NASA has a new name for the rover it will be sending to the Red Planet this summer. From now on, it will be referred to as the Perseverance rover.

  • To date, the project has been known only by its code name - Mars 2020.
  • The name came out of a school competition that drew 28,000 entries.
  • The Perseverance rover will begin the process of trying to bring rocks back to Earth for study.
  • It will trundle through an equatorial crater, looking for the best samples it can cache for retrieval by a later mission.
  • Scientists think this will be the best approach to establishing whether or not life has ever existed on Mars.

24. NASA has renamed its next-generation space telescope- Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), after the space agency’s first chief astronomer Nancy Grace Roman.

  • Nancy Grace Roman is considered as the mother of the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched 30 years ago.
  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated that it was because of Nancy Grace Roman’s leadership and vision that NASA became a pioneer in astrophysics and launched Hubble, the world’s most powerful space telescopes.
  • Roman passed away in 2018, leaving a tremendous scientific legacy behind.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope is currently the world’s most powerful and productive space telescope. 

25. Indian Space Research Organization has partnered with the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka to carry out advanced joint research and development activities in the area of space technology applications. 

  • This partnership will see ISRO set-up a Regional Academic Centre for Space (RAC-S) at NITK Surathkal and the two agencies are set to sign a MoU in this regard on January 3.
  • The MoU will facilitate advanced research in areas of relevance to future technological and programmatic needs of Indian Space Programme. 
  • The centre will act as facilitator for promotion of space technology activities in the southern region comprising Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Lakshadweep.