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.

Maharashtra inks deal with Virgin Group for World’s First Hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune

The Virgin Group led by Richard Branson has signed an intent agreement with Maharashtra Government to build world’s first hyperloop transportation system between Mumbai and Pune.

The foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on first day of Magnetic Maharashtra investor summit held in Mumbai.

Key Facts

The proposed hyperlook transportation system will link central Pune with megapolis as well as Navi Mumbai international airport. It aims to reduce travel time between two mega cities to 20 minutes from three hours at present. Details of project cost and time-line are yet to be announced.

The proposed loop will be a fully electric system and will have the capability travel up to 1,000 km per hour. It will be able to ferry 150 million passengers every year. It will transform transportation system and make Maharashtra global pioneer in this space. The project will create thousands of jobs and has numerous socioeconomic benefits.

Hyperloop Technology

Hyperloop Technology is dubbed as fifth mode of transportation. It is system of magnetically levitating capsules (pods) that are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes. It envisages tube modular transport system that runs free of friction. It uses linear Induction motors in it to control speed of pods. It is still in trial stages in different countries and not been implemented for practical use anywhere in world yet.

Advantages

Hyperloop is two-to-three times faster than fastest high-speed rail and claimed to have speeds even greater than commercial air travel. It has smaller civil engineering footprint, with no direct emissions or noise compared to railways. Hyperloop system’s capital cost per mile is 60% that of high-speed rail, and is less expensive to operate. Furthermore, Hyperloop departures could happen with a low frequency of a pod every 20 seconds which is not possible in railways.

Challenges

It requires heavy investments and therefore effective public and private sector coordination is prerequisite for implementing it. It consumes high-power compared to railways. Technical challenges and accidents may hamper its progress.

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Scientists discover 100 new exoplanets using K2 mission data

Scientists have confirmed discovery of nearly 100 new exoplanets outside our solar system based on data from second mission of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope (K2 mission) released in 2014. With this total number of exoplanets found using NASA’s K2 mission has reached almost 300.

Key Facts

The discovery had started out by analysing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets. In turn, 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries. One of planets detected was orbiting a very bright star called HD 212657 with 10-day orbit period. HD 212657, is now the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions to host validated planet.

Significance

Exoplanets are very exciting field of space science. This discovery will help astronomers to develop much better picture of nature of exoplanets which in turn will allow us to place our own solar system into galactic context. Discovery of planets around bright stars will help astronomers to learn about them from ground-based observatories.

Kepler Mission

NASA had launched Kepler spacecraft in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in single patch of sky. The spacecraft had crippled the telescope in 2013 due to mechanical failure. However, by changing its field of view periodically, astronomers and engineers had then devised way to repurpose and save the space telescope which had paved way for K2 mission. The telescope hunts exoplanet transits by registering dips in light caused by shadow after it crosses in front of its host star.

Exoplanet

It is a planet that does not orbit Sun and instead orbits different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. It is also termed as extrasolar planet. The first such planet orbiting star similar to our own Sun was detected only in 1995. Today some 3,600 exoplanets have been found, ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter.

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