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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 Serotonin may help treat Neurological decline

Researchers at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai found new function for stress buster Serotonin. The serotonin may help treat neurological diseases. The results of this study were published in journal named ‘Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences’ (PNAS).

About Serotonin

  • Its chemical name is 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). It is a monoamine neurotransmitter which means, it is a chemical that signals between neurons.
  • It is a chemical in brain that makes us calm therefore, an increase in 5-HT may enhance individuals capacity to respond to stress.
  • Functions: At level of an organism, serotonin is known to be helpful in coping with stress. But, underlying mechanism of its neuro-protective role was unknown.
  • Significance of recent discovery: It shows that serotonin is involved in generation of new mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell) in neurons, increased cellular respiration and fuel (ATP) in cell.
  • Applications: So far, Serotonin’s newly identified function was only studied in mice and rats. If found to be true in humans, it may have important medical implications like serotonin signalling could be used to prevent mitochondrial abnormalities and neuronal loss. At present, neuronal loss is a major cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Besides this, abnormal mitochondrial functions are known to cause or contribute to neuronal death.

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99942 Apophis Asteroid Expected to Fly Close to the Earth

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has predicted that asteroid 99942 Apophis will fly towards the Earth in ten years. There is no need to worry since the asteroid will be about 31,000km away from the surface of the Earth.

Since it is relatively rare for such a large object like 99942 Apophis to pass so close to Earth, it will offer scientists around the world a great opportunity to conduct a close-up study of the Apophis’ shape, composition and possibly even its interior.

NASA has stated that about 2 billion people should be able to see it pass by with their naked eyes as it flies above Earth from the east coast to the west coast of Australia, then across the Indian Ocean and the equator, before moving west above Africa and finally over the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists predict that Apophis still has a small chance of impacting Earth, less than 1 in 100,000 many decades from now.

99942 Apophis

Asteroid 99942 Apophis was discovered by US astronomers in 2004 and was named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction. It is a 370-meter diameter near-Earth asteroid.

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