NASA Added Four more New Teams to Study the Components of the Solar System
- Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) is an Institute of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US.
- This institute forms a collaboration with different scientific research groups to study and enhance the knowledge of our solar system.
- Recently NASA added four new research teams to the existing nine teams in SSERVI.
- These teams will study about near-Earth asteroids, the moon, the Martian moons Deimos andPhobos, etc., in cooperation with other international partners.
- The first group,e., University of Colorado will study on cosmology, astrophysics, robotics, and heliophysicswhich helps in manned space exploration.
- The secondgroupwill handle a project “Toolbox for Research and Exploration,”to develop tools and methods for human exploration of celestial bodies.
- “The third group which is from Georgia Institute of Technology will study about how the radiation affects the man-madecomposite materials and real-time radiation detectors that can minimize astronauts’ exposure to radiation.
- The fourth group, ESPRESSO (Exploration Science Pathfinder Research for Enhancing Solar System Observations) will study the events that are hazardous for both robotic and human explorers in space which helps in predicting hazardous events or disasters in space.
Dead Zones of Oceans and Seas are Becoming Threat to Coral Reefs
- Dead zones are the low oxygen areas in oceans or seas.
- Coral reefs are fragile marine ecosystems and are very sensitive to pollution and climate change.
- Previously dead zones were not considered as killers of coral reefs ocean, or sea warming and acidification were considered are the major threats to coral reef existence.
- But now scientists recognized that dead zones are more localized and are more harmful to coral reefs
- The research found that the corals will die due to low oxygen levels and they have found evidence in the reefs of Bocas del Toro Province, Almirante Bay, which turned white and dead due to low oxygen levels.
- These dead corals and its associated organisms were covered with the bacterial mats which grow in low oxygen conditions
- Researchers observed that in deeper water all the corals died, but above certainline, the reefs seemed healthy.
- High oxygen levels will usually be present in shallow waters.
- So, scientists concluded that extremely low oxygen levels present in deeper waters is the reason for the corals and is a dead zone.
- These dead zones can be reduced by reducingagricultural runoff and sewage into seas or oceans.
New Technology to Help Farmers by Giving Weather Alerts
- IBM and The Weather Company developed Mesh Network Alerts technology.
- This technology is a mobile alerting platform that can deliver weather alerts without the internet.
- This technology is developed by IBM, and it provides maps, weather information, etc., through the weather channel app.
- This Mesh network technology is designed for low bandwidth areas, and it enables the people in low internet connectivity areas to exchange messages.
- Each smartphone in the mesh will act as a node and stores and transfers the data to the nearest smartphone without out the necessity of cellular network.
- During severe weather conditions,the cellular networks will be limited, so the data access will also be limited
- In view of this, the Mesh Network Alerts networking technology was designed to bypass the network
- So, through this technology even in severe weather conditions, weather alerts or notifications can be transferred without cellular network.
- This technology can also be used during natural disasters to help or alert people in the disaster zone.
- This technology is first of its kind in the world.
Telescope at TIFR’s Cosmic Ray Laboratory will be Upgraded
- The Gamma Ray Astronomy PeVEnergieS phase-3 (GRAPES-3) experiment is locatedin Ootacamund (Ooty) in Tamil Nadu.
- The telescope in this project detected the effect of a solar storm that was hit the Earth in June 2015.
- A decision was taken to upgrade this telescope which enhances its capacity and resolution.
- GRAPES-3 is the collaboration of the Indian Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Japanese Osaka City University, and Japanese Nagoya Women’s University.
- GRAPES-3 is designed mainly to study the cosmic rays by using a large area muon detector and an array of air shower detectors
- The main objectives of this project are finding the origin, acceleration, and propagation cosmic rays in the galaxy and beyond having energy >1014 Production and/or acceleration cosmic rays arehaving energy ~1020eV and studyingsun’s energy particles and their effects on the Earth. To study multi-TeV γ-rays from neutron stars and other astronomical others.
- It also aims to probe acceleration of cosmic rays having~100 MeV in atmospheric electric fields, ~10 GeV in the Solar System, ~1 PeV in our galaxy through muons, and ~100 EeV in our nearby universe by measuring diffusion of gamma ray flux.
- The observations beganin 2000 with 217 plastic scintillators and a muon detector of 560 m2
- These scintillators will detect charged particles produced by the interaction of high-energy cosmic rays with the atmosphere.
- The distance between sun and earth is at a distance of 150 million kilometers, and satellites will be placed at anL1 point which is at a distance of about 1.5 million kilometers.
- These satellites will orbit the Sun along with the Earth, and the charged particles from solar storms will first hit the satellites before making an impact on theearth.
- So these satellites will act as an early warning system as the stormwill take 20-40 minutes from the L1 pointto reach the Earth.
- GRAPES-3 is intended to study the propagation of storms from the L1 point to Earth.
- The upgrade of the telescope of GRAPES-3 will play an important role in getting accurate information regarding thepropagation of storms from the L-1 point to the earth.
- This upgradation of the detector will increase coverage of the sky and improvesits capacity to precisely determine the direction of the incident cosmic rays.
- This property of detecting theoriginal direction of detected particles is unique in the world among cosmic ray detectors.
- The upgradation will make it enable to measure the intensity of the particles.
Arsenic Contamination in Bengal Affected more than a Crore Population
A recent report stated that more than a crore arsenic-affected people are present in West Bengal making it the highest number in the country.
- According to the report Bengal topped the list Bihar second and Assam in the third spot with 1.04 crores, 16.88 lakhs, and 14.48 lakh affected people respectively.
- As per the report there are 1.48 crore arsenic-affected people in the country is about.
- Arsenic is a geogenic contaminant will be caused by natural geologic processes.
- Mainly Groundwater in Ganga River basin is contaminated by arsenic due to the sediments deposited in the late Quaternary or Holocene age by the rivers.
- According to WHO, Presence of arsenic levels more than 0.01 mg per litre is a serious threat to human health.
- However, in India, the permissible level is 0.05 mg five times more than the WHO recommended level.
- Recently, Indian government also changed the level to 0.01 mg.
Vodafone and Idea Merger
- The United Kingdom based Vodafone and Indian based Aditya Birla Group have announced merger on Monday. In which Vodafone will own 45.1% of the merged entity.
- Aditya Birla Group will have complete rights to appoint the chairman of the merged group. Kumaramangalam Birla will be the Chairman and merged entities will have equal stake.
- Vodafone will have sole right to appoint Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of company.
- For appointment of Chief Executive Officer(CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) approval of both the companies is required.
- The proposed merger will complete in 24 months.