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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Govt propose to set up new rocket launch pad near Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu

Union Government is planning to set up a new rocket launch pad near Kulasekarapattinam in Tamil Nadu. At present, the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) has two launch pads at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDCC) in Sriharikotta, Andhra Pradesh. The development comes on the backdrop of increasing launches from India, both for domestic as well as international customers.

Key Highlights

The new launch pad is intended to be used for future Indian rockets including- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk III, Avatar Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), Unified Modular Launch Vehicle (UMLV), Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), and even older ones like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). However, the government did not elaborated on Launchpad’s exact usage.

Rocket Launch from India

As per ISRO, its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has launched as many as 84 satellites from 1994 to 2015, PSLV, of which 51 were for international customers. In 2018, the ISRO launched 17 missions but now number of launches every year by space agency has increased over 30.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre (or SHAR spaceport) at Sriharikotta is responsible for integration of launchers. SDCC houses two operational launch pads from where all GSLV and PSLV flights take place. ISRO has launched most of its customer satellites with its PSLV.

Secretagogin: Protein that helps regulate blood sugar levels identified Indian scientists

Scientists at the Hyderabad based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have demonstrated the role of a protein Secretagogin (SCGN) in increasing insulin action in obesity-induced diabetes. Currently, the processes regulating insulin synthesis, secretion, signalling and maturation in diabetes were not completely understood by scientists. These findings were published in the latest issue of the journal iScience.

About Secretagogin

It is a protein that in humans is encoded by SCGN gene. The encoded protein is a secreted calcium-binding protein which is found in cytoplasm. The findings shows that SCGN would soon become a diagnostic marker, and one should check its potential in diabetes management.

Function: As per CCMB the findings have established SCGN as a functional insulin-binding protein with therapeutic potential against diabetes. They show that SCGN binds to insulin and protects it from various stresses, increases its stability as well as adds to its action.

Experiment: The scientists have also shown that injection of SCGN (found at lower levels in diabetic patients) in obese diabetic mice clears excess insulin from circulation and reduces fat mass. CCMB release also said that SCGN treated animals also had lower levels of harmful LDL-cholesterol and lower lipid accumulation in liver cells.

Significance: The findings are significant as various kinds of cellular stresses can result in loss of structure and function of insulin, ultimately leading to diabetes. Diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often linked with each other. SCGN is found in lower quantities in brains of Alzheimer’s patients.