· Facebook and Google are planning to build new subsea cables from the US to Singapore and Indonesia. Facebook has partnered with leading regional and global partners to build two new subsea cables Echo and Bifrost that will provide vital new connections between the Asia-Pacific region and North America. While Google is only investing in Echo. These cables will increase overall transpacific capacity by 70 per cent.
· Online investment platform Paytm Money has set up a new R&D facility in Pune, Maharashtra, which will drive product innovation, especially in the area of equity, mutual funds, and digital gold. The company added that it plans to hire over 250 engineers and data scientists to build new wealth products and services.
· The Chinese government has launched a robot prototype named as ‘NEO-01’, in the Earth’s low orbit, on its Long March 6 rocket. The 30kg robot prototype has been developed by Shenzhen-based space mining start-up ‘Origin Space’.
· The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is set to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on World Earth Day (April 22). NASA is to launch the mission along with SpaceX. It is the second crewed operational flight of Crew Dragon Spacecraft.
· The United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has picked Elon Musk’s SpaceX for its Artemis programme, to develop the first commercial lander and take the next two US astronauts to the moon. The total value of this contract is $2.89 billion.
· NASA successfully flew its tiny helicopter Ingenuity on Mars, the first powered flight on another planet and a feat a top engineer called “our Wright brothers’ moment.” Data and images from the autonomous flight were transmitted 173 million miles (278 million kilometres) back to Earth where they were received by NASA’s array of ground antennas and processed more than three hours later.
· According to NASA a toaster-size experimental instrument aboard Perseverance called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. Mars’ atmosphere is 96 per cent carbon dioxide. MOXIE works by separating oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. MOXIE is expected to extract oxygen at least nine more times over the course of a Martian year (nearly two years on Earth).
· The Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched the world’s first Microsensor based Explosive Trace Detector (ETD) called “NanoSniffer”. The ETD has been developed by NanoSniff Technologies, an IIT Bombay incubated startup. It is being marketed by Vehant Technologies, a spin-off from a former IIT Delhi incubated startup Kritikal Solutions.
· A professor and a research associate at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, (IIT-K) have developed a novel touch-sensitive watch for the use of visually impaired people to sense time accurately. The watch was developed by prof Siddhartha Panda and Vishwaraj Srivastava of IIT Kanpur.
· The Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman virtually inaugurated the first 3D printed house in India at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M). The concept of this 3D printed house was conceived by former IIT-M alumni. The single-storey home has been built in just five days over an area of about 600 sq. ft using ‘Concrete 3D Printing” technology.