Current Affairs

Science & Technology Current Affairs – 2017

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan has launched a new web portal called ‘nakshe’ to celebrate Survey of India’s 250 Anniversary in New Delhi. The portal will offer Topographic maps for free download in a pdf format through ‘Aaadhar’ enabled user authentication process. The principal mapping agency of the country ‘The Survey of India’ is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year.

  Mongolia has launched its first satellite Mongol Sat-I part of its efforts to make use of new technology to diversify its resourcedependent economy. It is 1227 Megahertz satellite. The satellite was launched in partnership with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS). The Satellite helps with space research, map making and preparing for natural disaster.

 Indian Navy has successfully tested the land attack version of supersonic cruise missile ‘Brahmos’ from Indian Navy’s ship Teg on a target on land. BrahMos Missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia and its anti-ship variant has already been inducted into the Navy. A majority of the frontline ships of Indian Navy (the Kolkata, Ranvir and Teg classes of ships) are capable of firing this missile. Land Attack variant of BrahMos Missile provides Indian Naval Ships the capability to precisely neutralize selected targets deep inland, far away from coast, from standoff ranges at sea.

 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched a stadium-sized, heavy-lift Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) from Wanaka, a scenic spot on New Zealand’s South Island. The balloon will float for more than 100 days at 110000 feet across the globe in the Southern Hemisphere’s mid-latitude band. The Super Pressure Balloon will detect ultrahigh energy cosmic particles from beyond the galaxy as they penetrate the earth’s atmosphere.

  India successfully carried out a fresh user trial of 3,000 kilometer range Agni-III ballistic missile from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast. The test was aimed at re-establishing the operational effectiveness of the weapon system. The Agni-III, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tons. Agni-III ballistic missile is 17 meters tall with a two-metre diameter and weighs about 48 tons

  Agni-III is a rail mobile system capable missile and can be launched from anywhere giving the country intermediate range ballistic missile firepower and greatly extending its power projection in the region.

 The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) in Japan is getting ready to launch the Belle-II experiment, a massive collaboration of 700 scientists from across the globe. At Belle-II, highly intense electronpositron beams will be made to collide and a huge number of B-mesons (a boson containing the B, or beauty, quark) will be produced.

  Building a detector to observe the resultant decay products is a challenging task and that is one area where Indians have contributed significantly.

  According to NASA, Cassini’s first-ever dive through the narrow gap between the planet Saturn and its rings on April 26, 2017 was successful and the spacecraft is now in the process of beaming back science and engineering data collected during its passage.

  SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket on 30th March, 2017, a historic feat and the biggest leap yet in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights. This particular first stage landed on an ocean platform almost exactly a year ago after a space station launch for NASA.

Inventions/ Discoveries

 As per the latest study it was found that particles blasting out from the sun stripped away what was once a thick, Earth-like atmosphere on Mars, leaving behind a dry and cold world inhospitable to life.

 About 4 billion years ago when life was starting on Earth, Mars also had a dense atmosphere, which kept the planet warm and wet. The measurements show that Mars has lost 66 % of its argon since the planet formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

 Researchers from University of Texas have identified more than 100 genes that can help them understand correlations between these genes and human brain activity during memory processing.

  The findings will help researchers study the correlations between these genes and brain’s activity during memory processing.

  Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru have developed two new, potent molecules that can severely impact the survival of mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes TB. Unlike most antibiotics that target the bacterial metabolism by aiming at the cellular components, the novel molecules inhibit the stress response pathway of mycobacteria. The stress response pathway is crucial for bacteria to survive during hostile conditions such as lack of nutrients and the presence of antibiotics, to name a few. So any inhibition of this pathway will lead to its death.

  A so-called “Super-Earth” that could contain liquid water, a situation that would make it a very good candidate for harbouring life has been discovered by scientists in April, 2017. Super-Earth is a rocky, temperate planet orbiting a red dwarf star. The distant planet, dubbed ‘LHS 1140b’ is orbiting an M class red dwarf star a little smaller and dimmer than the Sun but the most common type of star in our galaxy.

  Scientists have developed the first global Internet Atlas, including a detailed map of the Internet’s physical structure in India, an advance that could help guard the infrastructure from terrorism or extreme weather events. The Internet Atlas has been developed by researchers from University of Wisconsin – Madison in the U.S. and their collaborators.

  Contrary to the general notion that pre-monsoon aerosol loading results in decrease in seasonal rainfall, a long-term (2002-2013) satellite observational study and modelbased analysis by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has found that higher aerosol loading results in delayed but more rainfall over Central and Northern India. Higher aerosol loading changes cloud properties in terms of size (both height and width) and microphysics, which results in more rainfall.


 The Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district of Odisha is a major mass nesting site for Olive ridley turtles in India. This year, over 3,85,000 mother turtles reached the coast to lay eggs. Each nest contains around 100 eggs. This means over three crore hatchlings are expected to come out of the nests. On an average, 80 hatchlings come out of each nest.

  In April, 2017 a Japanese whaling fleet while returning to port after an annual Antarctic hunt killed more than 300 of the mammals leading to global criticism.

 The All-India Synchronised Asian Elephant Population Estimation held from May 16 to 19, 2017, and will be conducted simultaneously in Karnataka and other southern States. The data will be used to arrive at a reliable estimate of the actual population range of the elephants in the wild.

  The protocols for population estimations have been designed and approved by the Project Elephant Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. It will also help assess the population structure that includes age and sex ratio based on direct sightings.

 The government has decided to geo-tag all assets like farm ponds, soil testing labs and seed godowns created under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) for their better utilisation. In this regard, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a wing of Indian Space Research Organisation, and RKVY division of the Agriculture Ministry.

In a research carried out by the University of Queensland, a tiny fanged called fish blennies causes morphine effect by injecting other fish with opioid peptides that act like heroin or morphine, inhibiting pain rather than causing it.

 The fish is found in the coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean and the findings bolster the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef and other fragile ecosystems.

Firms in news

 Apple Inc, the maker of the iPhone, announced the opening of its App Accelerator in Bengaluru. The accelerator would provide specialized support for developers making apps on its mobile operating system iOS, which is the foundation for its products like iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

 It would also provide tools and best practices to help them hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on iOS.

 MTN, a Malaysian company has agreed to help set up a technology park which will cover 250 acres and focus on new technologies in Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board and MIGHT (Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology) Technology Nurturing Sdn. Bhd (MTN) have signed a memorandum of understanding in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.

 Ola, cab aggregator has integrated with Unified Payment Interface (UPI) to simplify digital payment options for its customers.

This integration will allow Ola customers to use their unique UPI IDs to pay for all their rides on the Ola platform. While making payments for the Ola rides, a customer will now have an option called ‘Pay by UPI’ along with cash, debit/credit card and Ola Money wallet option.

Amazon India has launched an initiative a virtual training programme “Amazon Classroom” to help teach them the nuances of online selling. The program focuses on areas such as order processing, adding products and managing returns that are required to operate a successful online business.

 New sellers can now perform demos of their seller account dashboard through interactive courses at their own pace.

 Russian firm which is based in Moscow and also a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, ASE group of Companies handed over the operations of first unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). The warranty period and commercial operation of the power plant had started in December 2014.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is located in Tamil Nadu. Unit I and II of the power plant have a capacity of 1000 MW each while unit III and IV are under construction.

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