Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2019

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MoU: signed between IIT Guwahati and ISRO

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati has signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU with The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to set up an IITG-ISRO Space Technology Cell (STC)

About IITG-ISRO STC

  • About: The Space Technology Cell (STC) would be a first of its kind in the North-East region that would augment research and capacity building processes in field of space-technology.
  • Located: STC will be established at new academic complex and research and development building that was recently inaugurated by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi at IIT Guwahati campus.
  • Objective: Through STC IIT Guwahati aspire to partner with ISRO so as to perform cutting edge research that not only caters to socio-economic needs of Northeast but also contribute towards basic research activities of various ISRO projects across India.
  • Constitutes: faculty members from IITG, visiting scientists and experts from ISRO, technical staff and research students.

Significance:

  • STC is a major milestone for IITG as it gives opportunity to kick start collaborative research activities involving its faculty members and ISRO scientists for short term and long term solutions in areas of challenging space-research problems.
  • It would serve as a platform for involving and motivating undergraduate, post graduate (PG) students and research scholars and orienting them towards field of space-research activities.

Way Forward

  • The research and development activities always play an important role in shaping our nations progress mainly in realms of science and technology.
  • To lead mankind to the path of wellbeing, IIT fraternity must use its wisdom and expertise for extensive application of research and technology such as nanotechnology.
  • The realm of Nanotechnology is a domain of future that has opened vistas for newer medical avenues for welfare of mankind.
  • To achieve this distinctive profile IITs plays a crucial role and their brilliant students should take proactive role in dedicating themselves for great vision of transforming nation with help of Nanotechnology.
  • Role of IIT: IIT’s in India empowers students with quality technological knowledge, skill and ability and help them inculcate right attitude and holistic values. In addition to this the teaching methodology and imparting education, IITs should additionally highlight importance of entrepreneurship and must prepare students to use their creativity and freedom to set up business ventures and showcase ability to generate wealth and employment avenues.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft find evidence of water on asteroid Bennu

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has found water locked inside asteroid Bennu. Bennu is too small to have ever hosted liquid water, but this finding does indicate that liquid water was present at some time on Bennu’s parent body, a much larger asteroid.

Key Facts

Data obtained from spacecraft’s two spectrometers OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) and OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) has revealed presence ofhydroxyl molecules that contain oxygen and hydrogen atoms bonded together. These hydroxyl groups exist globally across asteroid in water-bearing clay minerals, indicating that at some point Bennu’s rocky material interacted with water.

OSIRIS-REx

It launched in September 2016 is NASA’s first asteroid sampling mission i.e. it will survey surface, collect sample and deliver it safely back to Earth. It had reached its destination Bennu asteroid in December 2018 after travelling through space for more than two years and travelling over two billion kilometres. Samples returned by the mission to Earth in 2023 will enable scientists to find new information about the history and evolution of our solar system.

Bennu

It is near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid about the size of a small mountain in the Apollo group. It was discovered in September 1999 by the LINEAR Project. It is one of oldest known asteroids which is considered as remnant from early in formation of solar system and orbits close to Earth’s path around Sun.. It is carbon-rich asteroid and believed to be the type of asteroids that may have chemical building blocks of life, along with lots of water. So, analysis of returned sample from it could help to reveal key insights about early solar system and the origin of life on Earth. It is potentially hazardous asteroid and there is very slight chance it could strike into Earth in the late 22nd century.

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