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Science & Technology - 3 - Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

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AB Aurigae b
Gaofen-3 03 satellite

  • It is launched by the China to a Sun-Synchronous Orbit on board a Long March-4C rocket.
  • It was developed and constructed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
  • With the Gaofen satellites, China developed its own high-resolution Earth-imaging satellite constellation.
  • This newly launched satellite will be networked with the already orbiting Gaofen-3 and Gaofen-3 02 satellites.
  • The satellite is equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Control Moment Gyros (CMGs), and a data transmission system.
  • The satellite will be able to monitor with an image resolution of one meter.

Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) Technology

  • The DRDO successfully conducted a flight trial of the SFDR booster.

About SFDR

  • It is jointly developed by India and Russia.
  • It is a missile propulsion system consisting of a thrust modulated ducted rocket with a low smoke nozzleless missile booster.
  • Thrust modulation in the system is achieved by using a hot gas flow controller.
  • SFDR-based propulsion enables the missile to intercept aerial threats at very long ranges at supersonic speeds.
  • This type of propulsion system significantly increases the range with a higher average speed.
  • Missiles using such a system are also capable of carrying large payloads due to the absence of oxidizer.
  • Unlike solid-propellant rocket, the Ramjet takes up oxygen from the atmosphere during flight.
    • At present lot of conventional missiles uses booster or sustainer configuration with solid or liquid propellants, which have limitations against manoeuvring target.
    • This is because terminal stage of conventional missiles cannot provide enough energy to maintain their speed in order to hit targets. SDFR technology removes this drawback by exceptionally enhancing endgame manoeuvrability of missile at terminal stage when its seeker is locked onto target.

Axiom Mission 1

  • Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) is the first all private astronaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission was organized by Houston company Axiom Space.
  • The company was founded in 2016 with the goal of creating the world's first commercial space station.
  • It represents the culmination of NASA's efforts to foster a commercial market in low-Earth orbit.
  • Also represent the beginning of a new era of space exploration that would enable more people to fly on more types of missions.Science & Technology - 3 - Notes | Study Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

Microbots Into The Bloodstream

  • The research aims at moving microbots into the bloodstream to deliver drugs.

About Microbots

  • These microbots are called micro-swimmers
  • These are made from the two-dimensional compound poly (heptazine imide) carbon nitride (aka PHI carbon nitride).
  • They range in size from 1-10 micrometre, and can propel themselves when activated by bright light.

How do they swim across the blood?

  • PHI carbon nitride microparticles are photocatalytic.
  • Like a solar cell, the incident light is converted into electrons and holes. These charges react in the surrounding liquid.
  • This reaction, combined with the particle's electric field, makes the microbots swim.

Significance

  • It may allow drugs to be delivered to targeted areas inside the human body.
  • It can also help introduce specific substances into lakes or oceans.
  • It can be deployed in endangered natural environments to recover specific animal species or destroy harmful organisms.

Param Porul Super Computer
Context:
PARAM PORUL, a state-of-the-art Supercomputer was inaugurated at NIT Tiruchirappalli recently.

  • It has been established under Phase 2 of the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

How many Super Computers have been installed in the country so far?
As per the ministry of science and technology’s annual year-end review: 

  • Under the National Super-Computer Mission (NSM), four new Supercomputers have been installed since July 2021 at IIT-Hyderabad, NABI- Mohali, CDAC-Bengaluru and IIT Kanpur. 

What is the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)?
It is being implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

  • Implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Focus of the mission

  • The Mission envisages empowering national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
  • These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network.
  • The Mission includes development of highly professional High Performance Computing (HPC) aware human resource for meeting challenges of development of these applications.

Achievements

  • The first supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (BHU).
  • Similar systems Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. They are equipped with applications from domains like Weather and Climate, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Bioinformatics, and Material science.

Insta Curious
India has developed an indigenous server (Rudra), which can meet the High-Performance Computing (HPC) requirements of all governments and PSUs.

  • This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC. 

First Indigenous mRNA Vaccine Technology
Why in News?
Council of Scientific & Industrial Research - Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) has announced the success of ‘proof of principle’ of the first indigenous Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology.

  • This is different from the mRNA vaccine being developed by Gennova Bio based on self-replicating RNA.
  • According to the researcher, the technology is ready to be transferred to any interested company to take it to the next step of performing human trials and bringing the vaccine to market with regulatory Approval.

What is mRNA Vaccine Technology? 
About

  • mRNA vaccines use mRNA to teach our cells how to make a protein or a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
  • The researchers developed indigenous potential mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.
  • It is based on the Moderna model, but has been built with the information available in the open and indigenous technology and materials.

Efficacy

  • “Robust immune response” has been observed against the Covid-19 spike protein in mice upon administration of two doses of the mRNA.
  • The anti-spike antibodies generated were found to be more than 90% efficient in preventing the human ACE2 receptor binding to the coronavirus 
    • Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), known as ACEH (ACE homolog), is an integral membrane protein.
    • ACE-2 serves as the receptor for the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
    • It provides the entry point for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of human cells. 

Significance

  • The indigenous grown mRNA vaccine platform holds promise to deal with other infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis, Dengue fever, Malaria, Chickungunya, Rare Genetic diseases and others.
    • The vaccines can be used for covering a panCovid-19 vaccine with different variants. With that, vaccines can be developed for other Diseases

What are Different Types of vaccines?
Indigenously Developed Vaccines:

  • ZyCoV-D: Designed and developed by Zydus (a pharmaceutical company) with support from the DBT.
  • Covaxin: Developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR

Globally Developed Vaccines

  • Covishield: Name given to an Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate which is technically referred to as AZD1222 or ChAdOx 1 nCoV-19.
  • Sputnik V: The first vaccine to be officially registered and has been developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with Russia’s defence ministry.

How are mRNA Vaccines Different From Traditional Vaccines?

  • Vaccines work by training the body to recognise and respond to the proteins produced by disease-causing organisms, such as a virus or bacteria.
  • Traditional vaccines are made up of small or inactivated doses of the whole disease-causing organism, or the proteins that it produces, which are introduced into the body to provoke the immune system into mounting a response.
  • mRNA vaccines tricks the body into producing some of the viral proteins itself.
  • They work by using mRNA, or messenger RNA, which is the molecule that essentially puts DNA instructions into action. Inside a cell, mRNA is used as a template to build a protein.

What are the Advantages of Using mRNA Based Vaccines?

  • mRNA vaccines are considered safe as mRNA is noninfectious, non-integrating in nature, and degraded by standard cellular mechanisms.
  • They are highly efficacious because of their inherent capability of being translatable into the protein structure inside the cell cytoplasm.
  • Additionally, mRNA vaccines are fully synthetic and do not require a host for growth, e.g., eggs or bacteria. Therefore, they can be quickly manufactured inexpensively to ensure their “availability” and “accessibility” for mass vaccination on a sustainable basis.

W BOSON
Context:

  • Researchers have announced that they have made a precise measurement of the mass of the so-called W boson

What did the researchers find? Why is it significant?
They stated that the W boson is slightly heavier than that predicted by the so-called Standard Model of particle physics.

  • This result is highly significant because this implies the incompleteness of the standard model description.

What is the standard model description?
The Standard Model of Particle Physics is scientists’ current best theory to describe the most basic building blocks of the universe. It explains how particles called quarks (which make up protons and neutrons) and leptons (which include electrons) make up all known matter.

  • The Standard Model explains three of the four fundamental forces that govern the universe: electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force.

Why is the standard model believed to be incomplete?

  • It gives a unified picture of only three of the four fundamental forces of nature. It totally omits gravity.
  • The model does not include a description of dark matter particles. So far these have been detected only through their gravitational pull on surrounding matter.

What is W Boson?
Discovered in 1983, the W boson is a fundamental particle. Together with the Z boson, it is responsible for the weak force. The W boson, which is electrically charged, changes the very make-up of particles. It switches protons into neutrons, and vice versa, through the weak force, triggering nuclear fusion and letting stars burn. In contrast to the photon, which is massless, the W bosons are quite massive, so the weak force they mediate is very short ranged.

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