Space Exploration Current Affairs - 2020

Cabinet approves India-Mongolia Agreement on exploration of outer space

On January 8, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi approved the agreement between India and Mongolia to explore outer space for civilian and peaceful purposes. The countries signed the agreement in September 2019.

Highlights

The agreement enables the countries to pursue research in planetary exploration, space system, application of space technology. The plan is to set a Joint Working Group by drawing members from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), DOS (Department of Space). Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA) of Mongolia. The finances for the project are to be approved in stage-by-stage basis.

India-Mongolia

India maintains close ties with Mongolia and is interested in developing trade with the country as it is rich in mineral deposits. During PM Modi’s visit to the country in 2015, which was the first ever Prime Ministerial visit to Mongolia in the Indian history, PM announced 1 billion USD grant to the country. Mongolia has abundant deposits of minerals namely coal, gold, copper, molybdenum, tin, fluorspar, tungsten and tin. The country also holds huge Uranium deposits.

Mongolia is one of the 29 resource rich developing countries in the world according to International Monetary Fund.

In 2018, India exported 51.6 million USD of goods to Mongolia and imported goods with 1 million USD. This is very little as compared to that of its neighbours China and Soviet Union.

TOI 270: NASA’s TESS discovers

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently discovered new dwarf star and planetary system named as TOI 270. It is located about 73 light years away from Earth, and in the constellation Pictor.

TOI 270 Planetary System

Its members include Dwarf star named TOI 270, which is 40 % smaller than the Sun in size and mass, and three exoplanets (planets outside solar system) that have been named TOI 270b, TOI 270c and TOI 270d.  These three planets orbit their star every 3.4 days, 5.7 days, and 11.4 days respectively.

TOI 270b is innermost planet and is expected to be a rocky world about 25% bigger than Earth. It is not habitable (or within Goldilocks Zone) since it is located too close to star — about 13 times closer than our Solar System’s Mercury is from Sun. On other hand, TOI 270c and TOI 270 d are Neptune-like planets because their compositions are dominated by gases rather than rock.