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NASA tests ROSA on Space Station for First Time

NASA is testing the effectiveness of a flexible solar array, the Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA, on space station for the very first time. ROSA is expected to one day power satellites and spacecraft. NASA had earlier tested the ROSA technology in vacuum chambers on the Earth but this is the first time it is testing the technology in space.

Salient Facts

ROSA is an advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure. The ROSA is very much flexible so that it can be adapted to different sizes including very large arrays. ROSA is expected to provide power for a variety of future spacecraft and satellites. ROSA will be an asset for satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on the Earth.

The NASA engineers remotely attached the ROSA to the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2. ROSA will remain attached to the Canadarm2 over seven days to test its effectiveness. Scientists will test the effectiveness of ROSA  in the microgravity and extreme temperatures of space.

ROSA is smaller and lighter than the traditional panels and has a centre wing build of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity. The narrow arm extends on both the sides of the wing to provide support, called a high strain composite boom. These booms are like split tubes made of a stiff composite material. The technology of the booms will be a boon for communications and radar antennas and other instruments.

Significance

Unlike the traditional solar array panels, ROSA has the potential to make solar arrays more compact and weigh lighter. The traditional solar panels which are at present used to power satellites are very bulky with panels being folded using mechanical hinges. ROSA with significantly less mass and volume can offer substantial cost savings and increase the power for satellites. ROSA is 20% lighter and 4 times smaller in volume than the traditional panels.

In addition, ROSA technology can provide solar power to remote locations.

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June 21: International Yoga Day

June 21st is annually celebrated as International Yoga Day since the year 2015. This year, the 3rd International Day of Yoga is being observed. The purpose of the yoga day is to promote yoga and make it as a part of people’s daily routine.

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has inaugurated a mass yoga demonstration to commemorate the 3rd International Day of Yoga at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
According to UN, this year Yoga Day’s theme is “Yoga for Health“. The theme has been chosen to highlight the fact that yoga can contribute in a holistic way to achieving an equilibrium between mind and body.

To mark the celebrations, massive Yoga practice sessions and demonstrations were being held in several places across the country and the world. This year many organisations are organising events to create a Guinness World Record by forming longest human chains and other Yoga related activities. In total, around 5,000 events have been scheduled to take place in about 180 countries. Some of the countries in which yoga day are celebrated are China, UK, the US, Bangladesh, South Africa etc. Indian high commissions around the world have organised many mass yoga demonstrations at various parts of the world. To mark the occasion, the headquarters of the United Nations in New York has been lit up with images of yoga postures.

Background

The first International Yoga Day (IYD) was celebrated across the world on 21 June 2015.
The idea of celebrating the International Yoga Day was pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2014. In December 2014, UNGA had unanimously adopted an India-led resolution to observe 21st June as ‘International Day of Yoga’. This resolution was adopted under the agenda of ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy’. The date 21st June was selected because it represents one of the two solstices and is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere which has special significance in many parts of the world.

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China unveils World’s First Train that runs on Virtual Tracks

China has unveiled world’s first train that runs on a virtual track making use of sensor technology instead of metal rails.

Salient Highlights

The new trains are non-polluting as they are battery powered.

The train is capable of reaching a top speed of 70 kmph and can travel a distance of 25 km by just charging for 10 minutes.

The train which is only about 32 metres long can carry up to 307 passengers.

The new trains are fitted with sensors which are capable of detecting the dimensions of the road permitting it to follow the routes without the need for metal rails. So it can run without the presence of tracks. The new trains will make use of rubber wheels on a plastic core and can be automatically guided without rails. This new technology has been copyrighted by the Chinese rail corporation.

The train will be rolled out for public use in 2018. It will be launched in the Chinese city of Zhuzhou in a bid to help to deal with traffic in the area.

The new train is expected to have a lifespan of around 25 years.

The cost of the new train is only a fifth of the price of a traditional subway system.

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