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September 2017 Science and Technology

  • Indigenously built anti-submarine warfare INS Kiltan commissioned into Indian NavyDefence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman commissioned an indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette INS Kiltan into the Indian Navy at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam on 16th October. 

    The Minister said, INS Kiltan strengthens India's defence system and will be a shining armour in 'Make in India' programme as it is totally built indigenously. 

    This is the third of the four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28. 

    INS Kiltan is the latest indigenous warship after Shivalik Class, Kolkata Class and sister ships INS Kamorta and INS Kadmatt to have joined the Indian Navy's arsenal. 

    It is India's first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fibre composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight and maintenance costs, the statement added. 
  • Mars has twisted magnetic ‘tail’: ScientistsNasa’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mars since 2014, has been gathering data that will allow scientists to understand changes in the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet. 

    It is known that Mars, billions of years ago, had atmosphere and water and could have supported life. 

    It is now barren and cold. 

    What Mars now has is a thin atmosphere - and even this is at risk, say scientists who have discovered that the planet has a twisted tail. 

    The process that created this tail could also allow some of Mars' already thin atmosphere to escape to space, researchers said on science news website Science Daily. 
  • World's largest combustion research centre inaugurated at IIT MadrasThe world's largest combustion research centre was inaugurated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Tamil Nadu on 12th October. A release by the IIT Madras said that the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD) was inaugurated by NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat in the presence of Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. 

    The establishment of the centre will give a major boost to the Indian scientific community and will provide an impetus to research in 'Alternative Energy and Environmental Protection' by focusing on effective utilisation of combustion as a means of thermo-chemical energy conversion. 
  • China develops laser gun for counter-terrorism operationsChina has developed a new laser gun capable of hitting the targets within 200 meters in one second for counter-terrorism operations. The gun contains a handset for aiming and a back pack containing the power supply with a remote control and laser emitter. 

    One of the engineers who developed the gun, makes no sound or light when fired. Yan said it is also easy to operate because it does not recoil, and inexpensive to maintain. 
  • Ninth planet of solar system does exist, believes NASAThe existence of a ninth planet has always been speculated till now but National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believes that it does exist. As per a NASA report, a ninth planet might be there on the outer edges of our solar system. 

    Experts suspect that the planet's presence has been tilting the entire solar system to one side and this gives them the clue that it does actually exist. 

    As per estimation, it is believed to be about 10 times bigger than the planet Earth and 20 times further from the sun than the eighth planet Neptune. 
  • Ninth planet of solar system does exist, believes NASAThe existence of a ninth planet has always been speculated till now but National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believes that it does exist. As per a NASA report, a ninth planet might be there on the outer edges of our solar system. 

    Experts suspect that the planet's presence has been tilting the entire solar system to one side and this gives them the clue that it does actually exist. 

    As per estimation, it is believed to be about 10 times bigger than the planet Earth and 20 times further from the sun than the eighth planet Neptune. 
  • Scientists design novel aluminium that floats on waterScientists have designed an ultra-light form of aluminium that floats on water, paving the way for novel uses of the material in future spacecraft and automobiles. In its conventional form, aluminium is denser than water. An aluminium spoon will a sink to the bottom if thrown in water. 

    Researchers from the Utah State University (USU) in the US restructured the common household metal at the molecular level using computational modelling to design an ultra-light crystalline form of aluminium that's lighter than water

    The team's calculations confirmed such a structure is a new, metastable, lightweight form of crystal aluminium. 

    The material has a density of only 0.61 gramme per cubic centimetre, in contrast to convention aluminium's density of 2.7 grammes per cubic centimetre. 

    Such a property opens a whole new realm of possible applications for the non-magnetic, corrosive-resistant, abundant, relatively inexpensive and easy-to-produce metal. 
  • University of Hyderabad develops transgenic rice varietyA new variety of the widely cultivated Sambha Mahsuri has been developed by a consortium of Indian, Canadian and Chinese scientists. 

    The ‘transgenic variety’, which has a gene from a weedy plant suitably manipulated, has demonstrated positive traits such as growing taller and bigger using water efficiently, says P B Kirti, one of the lead researchers from the University of Hyderabad (UoH). 

    The scientists used techniques of gene manipulation on the gene AtTOR (Target of Rapaycin), which has been taken from the weedy plant Arabidopsis thaliana , a common flowering plant, and injected it into the Sambha Mahsuri variety. The protein coded by this gene has the properties to give the transgenic variety the range of features described along with more efficient photosynthesis. 

    The water saved can be used to irrigate other crops. Further, the gene might show robust and external appearance in other crops, which can provide economic benefits to farmers. However, the results obtained are under experimental conditions at this stage. They need to be confirmed under normal field conditions of cultivation. 
  • China announced $80 Million funding plan for BRICSChina gave 500 million yuan ($76.4 million) for a BRICS economic and technology cooperation plan, and another $4 million for projects at the BRICS countries' New Development Bank stated Chinese President Xi Jinping. The announcement came amid questions over the relevance of BRICS and China's commitment to its New Development Bank (NDB) in light of the Belt and Road initiative and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. 
  • Anti Tank Guided Missile NAG successfully test fired twice to complete its development trialsIndia’s indigenously developed 3rd generation Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), Nag has been successfully flight tested twice by DRDO in Rajasthan on 8th September. 

    Defence Ministry in a release said, the ATGM Nag missile has successfully hit both the targets under different ranges and conditions with very high accuracy. 

    With these two successful trials, and the test conducted in June, the complete functionality of Nag ATGM along with launcher system NAMICA has been established and marked the successful completion of development trials of Nag Missile.
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