Science and Technology
· The ISRO-NASA joint mission NISER (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite, aimed at making global measurement of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging, is proposed to be launched in early 2023. It is a dual-band (L-band and S-band) radar imaging mission with the capability of full polarimetric and interferometric modes of operation to observe minor changes in land, vegetation and cryosphere.
· European Space Agency (ESA) launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’, the world’s 1st commercial reprogrammable satellite into space aboard Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. It is a fully flexible software-defined satellite. The satellite has been developed under a European Space Agency partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat, Airbus & Surrey Satellite Technology.
· India will finally launch its most advanced geo-imaging satellite (GiSAT-1), which will allow better monitoring of the subcontinent, including its borders with Pakistan and China, by imaging the country 4-5 times a day. The satellite will be launched on August 12 from Sriharikota. Isro’s GSLV-F10 rocket will finally put the 2,268-kg Gisat-1, codenamed EOS-3, into the geo-orbit. This will be India’s first launch of a primary satellite this year.
· India will host the first Internet Governance Forum in the country, starting from October 20, this year. The theme of this year’s meeting is Inclusive Internet for Digital India. With this announcement, the Indian chapter of the United Nations-based forum namely the Internet Governance Forum has begun.
· South Africa grants a patent relating to a “food container based on fractal geometry” to an artificial intelligence (AI) system called DABUS. DABUS (which stands for “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience”) is an AI system created by Stephen Thaler, a pioneer in the field of AI and programming. The system simulates human brainstorming and creates new inventions.
· ISRO chief, Dr K Sivan has formally inaugurated the Health QUEST study (Health Quality Upgradation Enabled by Space Technology of ISRO) which will be undertaken by 20 private hospitals across India. The event was co-organised by the Association of Health Care Providers India (AHPI) and the Society for Emergency Medicine in India (SEMI).
· India’s Chandrayaan-2 moon mission may have made a hard landing on the lunar surface in 2019, but the orbiter accompanying it has been providing useful information to scientists back on Earth. A research paper revealed that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter confirmed the presence of water molecules (H2o) and hydroxyl (OH) on the surface of the moon. The findings were published in the journal Current Science.
· HCL Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of HCL Technologies has launched an online portal, ‘My e-Haat’, to empower artisans and strengthen the value chain of the handicraft sector in the country. The platform will enable artisans and primary producers to conduct their business, by listing and showcasing their products directly to customers, thereby minimising the informal intermediaries and the long supply chains. Currently, more than 30 partners from eight states with over 600 products are listed on the portal.
· Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has virtually inaugurated the Centre for Research and Innovation in Artificial Intelligence set up at the Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H). He also inaugurated the first Academic Building of the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgical Engineering, High-Performance Computing Centre and High-Resolution Electron Microscopy Facility.
· IIT Madras has developed India’s first indigenous motorized wheelchair vehicle named ‘NeoBolt’, which can be used not only on roads but even on uneven terrains. It has a maximum speed of 25 kmph. The researchers collaborated extensively with organisations and hospitals working for people with locomotor disabilities and built the products after factoring in their experiences and making constant design adjustments.
· The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) in collaboration with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have launched a unique national Hackathon named ‘MANTHAN 2021’. The basic objective of this hackathon is to identify innovative concepts and technology solutions for addressing the security challenges of the 21st century faced by the intelligence agencies of the country and empower these enforcement agencies.
· The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is working on developing an innovative digital model to address the problem of e-waste (electronic wastes). The digital platform, named as ‘e-Source,’ will act as an exchange platform, to serve as an online marketplace for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).