US Current Affairs - 2020
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Describing space as the world’s newest war-fighting domain, US President Donald Trump officially launched US military ‘Space Force’ at an army base near Washington. Trump highlighted that the Space Force will help to deter aggression and control ultimate high ground.
What is Space Force?
It is United States’ first new military service in more than 70 years, since Air Force was spun off from US Army in 1947. While Space Force is not designed or intended to put combat troops in space, it will be the provider of forces and will build on work of US Space Command (SpaceCom). SpaceCom was created in August 2019 as the overseer of US military’s space operations.
Space Force would comprise around 16,000 Air Force and civilian personnel and will be funded by an initial US $40million for its first year. Instead of being its own military department, like US Navy, US Army and US Air Force, the Space Force will be administered by Secretary of Air Force.
What will the Space Force actually do?
It is not intended to put troops into orbit, but will protect US assets like hundreds of satellites used for communication and surveillance. This space mission comes as US military chiefs see China and Russia making advancements in military final frontier. The space mission is part of a broader vision of achieving American dominance in space as amid grave threats to US national security.
Tags: Donald Trump • Space Diplomacy • Space Force • SpaceCom • US
Scientists have discovered the remnants of world’s oldest fossil forest- an extensive network of trees around 386 million years old in a sandstone quarry in United States (US). According to the researchers from Binghamton University, and New York State Museum in U.S., the fossil forest in Cairo would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond. The finding were published in journal Current Biology.
About World’s oldest Fossil forest
The researchers team, mapped over 3,000 square metres of forest at abandoned quarry in the foothills of Catskill Mountains in Hudson Valley, New York. The forest is nearly 2 or 3 million years older than what was until now believed to be world’s oldest forest at Gilboa (or Gilboa Fossil Forest, also located in New York State). As per the researchers, the Cairo forest is older than the one at Gilboa because fossils were lower down in sequence of rocks that occur in the Catskill mountains.
The findings throw a new light on evolution of trees and transformative role they played in shaping the world we live in.
The forest is being assumed to have been looked like a fairly open forest with small to moderate sized coniferous-looking trees with individual and clumped tree-fern like plants of possibly smaller size growing between them.
The research shows that the forest was home to at least two types of trees:- (1) Cladoxylopsids, a primitive tree-fern-like plants, lacked flat green leaves, and grew in vast numbers at Gilboa; while (2) Archaeopteris, had a conifer-like woody trunk and frond-like branches which had green flattened leaves.
A single example of a third type of tree was also uncovered, which remained unidentified but could possibly have been a lycopod. All these trees reproduced using only spores rather than seeds.
Researchers also reported an extensive network of roots which was more than 11 metres in length in some places and belonged to Archaeopteris trees. It is these long-lived woody roots that transformed interactions of plants and soils and were pivotal to co-evolution of forests and atmosphere.
Tags: Cairo forest • Gilboa Fossil Forest • New York • sandstone quarry • US