Science and Technology Current Affairs – 2018
Latest Science & Technology Current Affairs 2015-2016; current developments in Science and Technology 2015-2016 all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2015-2016.
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The researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have recreated space fuel by simulating interstellar conditions in the laboratory. It is a big breakthrough for India in the exploration of cleaner and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel.
The discovery has the potential to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into a next-generation energy source to curb greenhouse gases and global warming.
The research of the IIT-M in this regard has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Study of Space Fuels
The team from IIT-M was able to create methane-containing clathrate hydrates in ultra-high vacuum (1000 billion times below the atmospheric pressure) and at a temperature close to -263oC. i.e. the conditions at deep space.
This discovery of hydrates at extremely low pressures and ultra-cold temperatures is highly unexpected. The team predicts that molecules like methane and ammonia in space could exist in a completely different form than what is known to us.
Tackling Climate Change
Clathrate hydrates are crystalline solids containing gases like methane and carbon dioxide trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules. These hydrates, especially of methane, are considered to be the fuel of the future.
The researchers then repeated the experiments with carbon-di-oxide and similar hydrates were produced. This can be a breakthrough in dealing with global warming. Now carbon dioxide can be trapped from the atmosphere and carbon dioxide gas can be sequestered as solid hydrates under the sea bed.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of USA has discovered a new planet. It is the third new planet discovered by the NASA mission, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
HD 21749b- New Planet
The salient features of the newly discovered planet are:
- The new planet HD 21749b is outside our solar system and orbits a dwarf star 53 light years away.
- HD 21749b orbits a bright star in the constellation Reticulum.
- It has the longest orbital period of all the three discoveries made by TESS.
- HD 21749b orbits its star in a relatively leisurely 36 days.
- It is predicted that the surface of the new planet is likely around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which is relatively cool, given its proximity to its star, which is almost as bright as the sun.
Other planet discovered by TESS
The other two discoveries made by the TESS probe are Pi Mensae b and LHS 3844b. Pi Mensae b has an orbit of 6.3 days and LHS 3844b has an orbit of just 11 hours.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission of NASA is an explorer mission which is undertaking an all-sky survey to search for planets transiting nearby stars. The objective of the TESS mission is to discover planets smaller than Neptune that transit stars bright enough to enable follow-up spectroscopic observations that can provide planet masses and atmospheric compositions.