Spektr-RG: Telescope launched by Russia into space

Russia launched a Powerful X-ray space telescope called Spektr-RG from cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in a joint project with Germany. The launch of telescope was originally scheduled for 21 June 2019 but was postponed twice because of a battery problem.

About Spektr-RG

It is developed by Russia as a joint project with Germany.

Launch Vehicle: Proton-M rocket

It is launched to observe black holes, neutron stars and magnetic fields.

It is a space observatory that intends to replace Spektr-R, known as the Russian Hubble, which Roskosmos (Russian space agency) lost control of in January 2019. Spektr-R was launched in 2011 and now its successor Spektr-RG will take up its duties.

Current Scenario

Although since 2011, Russia has been only country capable sending teams to International Space Station (ISS) but in recent years Russia’s space programme that was a source of great pride to nation, has suffered a series of humiliating setbacks, although country remains committed to ambitious projects.

A series of recent setbacks along with corruption scandals within Roskosmos and competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX have threatened its monopoly.

The next launch to ISS by Russia is scheduled for July 20 and it will carry an Italian and US astronauts together with a Russian cosmonaut.

Month: Categories: Science & Technology


Extinct bird had an extra-long toe: Study

In 2014 fossil of Elektorornis chenguangi, a small bird which lived nearly 99 million years ago, with a weird elongated toe were discovered in amber tree resin in  Hukawng Valley of Myanmar.

The study was led by Lida Xing, a palaeontologist at China University of Geosciences who specialises in Cretaceous birds and was published in Current Biology.

Key Finding of Study

The bird was found partially buried in amber (fossilized tree resin) with its lower leg and foot remained undisturbed in hardened tree resin until amber miners eventually discovered fossil in Hukawng Valley in 2014.

Preserved toe of bird measures less than half an inch (O.5 inch) from knuckle to claw-tip, which makes it 41% longer than next longest digit on creature’s foot.

Its elongated toe structure has never been observed in other birds either living or even extinct.

Probable Reason: Elektorornis chenguangi may have used long, sensitive digit to probe cracks in trees for insects and grubs.

Month: Categories: Environment & Biodiversity