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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Fact Sheet: India to have its own Space Station

K. Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently announced that the country is planning to launch its own space station and modalities for it will be worked out after Gaganyaan Mission (India’s maiden manned mission to space).

Key Highlights

Mastering Technology: Although ISRO made announcement of space station recently but it has been quietly working on a key technology such as space docking & berthing technology for which it has also got Rs.10 crore sanctioned earlier. Once the agency will master this technology it will help join two separate free-flying space vehicles and also transfer materials and humans from one another that will enable this future space station and is also the key for a space station.

Extension: India’s space station project will be an extension of Gaganyaan Mission, which involves sending three Indian astronauts to space for 7 days in lower earth orbit (of 120-400 km). The government has already approved a cost of Rs.10,000 crore for Gaganyaan mission. Before the maiden flight with crew sometime in August 2022, there would be two unmanned (without crew) flights from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The detailed project report on setting up India’s space station will also be submitted to government after Gaganyaan.

No Collaboration: India will not be collaborating with any other country for its space station project. United States (US), Russia, China and a consortium of nations that own the International Space Station (ISS) are the only countries that have had space stations so far. After its successful launch India would become 4th country to launch a space station.

Features:

The proposed space station is anticipated to weigh about 20 tonnes, it would be placed in an orbit 400 km above earth and will serve as a facility where astronauts can stay for upto 15-20 days in space.

India is targeting 2030 as the date to launch country’s space station which will most likely be used to conduct microgravity experiments.

It is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by India.

What is a space station?

It is a spacecraft that designed to remain in space for an extended period of time and can be used for other spacecraft to dock as well as capable of supporting crew members, the most commonly known being the International Space Station (ISS).

International Space Station: It is a habitable artificial satellite in low earth orbit (LEO). It is the largest human-made body in LEO that completes multiple orbits around Earth every day thus can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998 and since then it has been inhabited continuously.

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Google Maps launches new public transport features in India

Google Maps has announced three India-first public transport navigation features with an aim to ease daily commute of users. Starting from 5 June 2019, Google Maps users will be able to see bus travel times from live traffic across ten Indian cities, get live train status for Indian Railways and even get mixed-mode commute suggestions which now combines auto-rickshaw and public transport.

About Three New Feature for Commuters

  1. Real-time bus travel information
  • This is first of its kind product feature, launched first in India. It will enable commuters to know how long bus trip will take from their starting location to destination, by factoring in live traffic conditions.
  • This feature is now live across ten cities in India including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Chennai, Mysore, Coimbatore, and Surat.
  • Indicators: The bus travel times from live traffic will show results in green (when running on time) or red (when delayed).
  1. Real-Time train information status for long-distance trains
  • With this India-specific feature Google Maps can now help users know real-time live running status of a train and check if it is delayed. This feature it will work only in case of a long distance train journey.
  • This feature was developed in partnership with ‘Where is my Train’ app that was acquired by the Google in 2018.
  1. Mixed-mode navigation Guidance with auto-rickshaw recommendation
  • This new feature will tell users if taking an auto-rickshaw is better or a different mode of transport such as metro, local train, or a bus when taking a journey.
  • It will indicate from/to which station or stop users should take an auto-rickshaw and their total journey time. It will also tell users what station/stop will be the most suitable for switching to other means of transport.
  • Users can also see rickshaw meter estimate and departure times for their transit connection.
  • Currently this feature will rolled out only in Delhi and Bangalore before being available to more cities later.

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