Science & Technology Current Affairs - 2019

Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019-2020 category comprises current affairs with all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2019-2020 for UPSC, States, Civil services, SSC and other competitive examinations of India and States.

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NASA renames Ultima Thule to ‘Arrokoth’

The US Space Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has recently renamed farthest cosmic body, earlier known as ‘Ultima Thule’ to ‘Arrokoth’ or Sky. NASA has renamed the distant space rock after it was criticized over the old name’s Nazi connections.

Key Highlights

The rock which was studied in the farthest flyby ever conducted by a spacecraft was previously named as Ultima Thule to mean something like “farthest place”, but immediately attracted controversy because the word ‘Thule’has been associated with Nazis in the past. Therefore, the object will now be known as Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning ‘Sky’.

The new name Arrokoth symbolizes ‘icy-object’ which was undisturbed since the solar system was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. The name also reflects the wondering about the stars and looking at the sky and was given because of its natural position.

The name was proposed by members of New Horizons team, who led the mission to study the object. They presented the new name to International Astronomical Union (IAU) and Minor Planet Center (MPC) which officially names and categorises Kuiper Belt objects.

Chandrayaan 3: India’s 2nd attempt to land on Moon by November 2020

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced their intention to send a second mission to soft-land on the Moon planned for November 2020 dubbed as Chandrayaan 3 mission. The Indian Space Agency’s first and recent attempt went awry on 7 September 2019 and resulted in a partial failure of Chandrayaan 2 mission after communication was lost with mission’s lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) which crash-landed on Moon while attempting a soft-landing.

However, the Chandrayaan 2 mission is still survived by the Orbiter which has captured highest resolution visuals ever taken of Moon by its High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) from an altitude of ~100 km.

About Chandrayaan 3 Mission

Chandrayaan 3 will not feature an orbiter of its own: For the new mission, engineers and scientists at Indian space agency will only design and build an entirely new lander and rover. Since Chandrayaan 2 mission already has a functional orbiter that is currently in orbit around Moon, Chandrayaan 3 will not feature an orbiter of its own. However, no final decision has been taken by ISRO on the number of payloads on the lander.

Additional ‘Detachable Module’: The lander and rover will be accompanied by an additional ‘detachable module’ that packs engine and fuel needed for journey and this module will tentatively be called ‘Propulsion Module’.

The Chandrayaan 3 mission will also feature fewer orbital manoeuvers than Chandrayaan 2, which had a total of 6 orbit raises around Earth and the Moon.