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GENERAL KNOWLEDGE -- SPORTS

ABBREVIATIONS
FAC: Fuel Adjustment Component.
GOC: Global Ocean Commission.
NOFHC: Non-Operative Financial Holding Company.
SARAL: Satellite with ARgos and ALtika.

AWARDS
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development , 2011
The award has been conferred to Ms Ela Bhatt, founder of Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), for her lifetime achievements in comprehensively empowering women in India and elsewhere through grassroots entrepreneurship. The Prize carries a citation and a cash award of Rs. 25 lakh.

Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize
The first 11 winners of the Prize and their fields of research are:
Cornelia I. Bargmann, genetics of neural circuits and behaviour;
David Botstein, linking disease in humans using changes in DNA;
Lewis C. Cantley, the discovery of proteins involved in cancer metabolism;
Hans Clevers, molecular signalling in stem cells and cancer;
Napoleone Ferrara, angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases;
Titia de Lange, how telomeres protect chromosomes and their role in genome instability in cancer;
Eric Lander, genetics in human disease and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome;
Charles L. Sawyers, cancer genes and targeted therapy;
Bert Vogelstein, cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes;
Robert Weinberg, characterization of human cancer genes;
Shinya Yamanaka, induced pluripotent stem cells.

All prize winners will be added to the selection committee for future Breakthrough Prizes. Going forward, there will be five winners each year. The Breakthrough Prize promises a transparent selection process. Anyone can nominate a candidate online for consideration and the $3 million prize.

A group of Bay Area tech and investment luminaries have announced the multimillion-dollar competition for researchers to develop cures for the world’s toughest diseases and solve the life sciences’ most complicated problems. At a gathering in San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat alongside Art Levinson, chairman of both Apple and Genentech, Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of genetic mapping start-up23andMe, and investment guru Yuri Milner to announce the new $3 million Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize and name the first 11 winners.

Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony

Pandit Ravi Shankar is the first recipient of the award, which has been given to him in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony and universal values.

The Tagore award has been established by government of India, celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore. It carries an amount of Rs. one crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque, as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, cast, creed or sex.

85th  Annual Academy Awards (Oscar Awards)

Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”.
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”.
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”.
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”.
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”.
Best Motion Picture: “Argo”.
Best Animated Short Film: Paperman.
Best Animated Feature Film: Brave.
Achievement in Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, “Life of Pi”.
Achievement in Visual Effects: “Life of Pi”.
Achievement in Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, “Anna Karenina”.
Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling: “Les Miserables”.
Best Live-Action Short Film: “Curfew”.
Best Documentary Short Subject: “Inocente”.
Best Documentary Feature: “Searching for a Sugar Man”.
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Amour” (Austria).
Achievement in Sound Mixing: “Les Miserables”.
Achievement in Sound Editing: “Skyfall” and “Zero Dark Thirty”
Achievement in Film Editing: "Argo".
Achievement in Production Direction: “Lincoln”.
Original Score: Mychael Danna, “Life of Pi”.
Original Song: “Skyfall”, Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth.
Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio , “Argo”.
Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”.

COMMISSION

Global Ocean Commission
Global Ocean commission (GOC) is a new initiative to restore health and productivity to the ocean.  It is an independent body of international leaders and aims to reverse degradation of the ocean and restoring it to full health and productivity.

The objective of GOC is to formulate politically and technically feasible short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to address four key issues facing the high seas: overfishing, large-scale loss of habitat and biodiversity, the lack of effective management and enforcement, deficiencies in high seas governance.

GOC work will examine key threats, challenges, and changes to the ocean in the 21st century, and identify priority issues. The Commission will begin by analysing threats to the global ocean, based on the latest and most rigorous evidence from science and economics. It will map out the implications of a business-as-usual approach. In this phase of its work, it will draw on the abundance of existing reports from world experts, but will also begin original research in partnership with other organisations.

It will also review the effectiveness of the existing legal framework for the high seas in meeting the unique challenges and threats of the 21st century and beyond.

GOC will engage with interested parties around the world, including groups of people with direct interests in ocean issues as well as the general public. It will also raise understanding among policymakers, economists and other groups, including the general public, of the implications should high seas issues not be reformed.

The recommendations of GOC, regarding cost-effective, pragmatic and politically feasible reforms of high seas governance, management and enforcement, will be based on the evidence and testimonies before it, and present a reasonable prospect of resolving gaps and weaknesses that have been identified.

DEFENCE
Rudra helicopters to be inducted soon
Paving the way for the Indian Army to get its first lot of armed helicopters, the indigenously produced armed helicopter Rudra has been accorded the initial operational clearance, marking an important milestone in military aviation history in the country.

The Rudra is based on the platform of the advanced light helicopter (ALH) that is already in service in India. It has been code named ALH Mark IV and is produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The helicopter derives its name from Rig vedic god for wind, storm and hunt.

This will be the first time that the armed forces will be equipped with armed helicopters capable of fighting in the higher reaches of the Himalayas along the borders with China and parts of Pakistan.

The induction of the Rudra will be an important milestone as the Indian inventory of armed helicopters, the Mi-35, currently has a flying ceiling of 10,000-12,000 feet. TheRudra, powered by a new Shakti engine that has been co-developed by French company Turbomeca, will fly up to an altitude of 20,000 feet. The Himalayas rise above this altitude along large parts of the India-China frontier.

The weapons on board the chopper will include a M6-21 20 mm gun and 70 mm rockets with a range of 8 km. The chopper will also carry anti-tank guided missiles and the air-to-air-missiles, the first lot has been imported but will be produced here latter.

Rudra is equipped with integrated sensors, weapons and electronic warfare suite using an upgraded version of the glass cockpit used in the Mk-III of the ALH. The Electronic Warfare (EW) suite consists of missile approach warning system, laser and radar warning systems and automated sensors covering all envisaged threats. It also has automatic dispensation of countermeasures like chaff and fare dispensing systems.

RESEARCH
New 17-million-digit monster is largest known prime
The largest known prime number has just shot up to 257,885,161 - 1, breaking a four-year dry spell in the search for new, ever-larger primes.

Curtis Cooper at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg made the find as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a distributed computing project designed to hunt for a particular kind of prime number first identified in the 17th century.

All prime numbers can only be divided by themselves and 1. The rare Mersenne primes all have the form 2p - 1, where p is itself a prime number.

The new prime, which has over 17 million digits, is only the 48th Mersenne prime ever found and the 14th discovered by GIMPS. The previous record holder, 243,112,609 - 1, which was also found by GIMPS in 2008, has just under 13 million digits. All of the top 10 largest known primes are Mersenne primes discovered by GIMPS. Until today, the most recent addition to the list was found in 2009, but it was smaller than the 2008 discovery.

SPACE RESEARCH
Curiosity Mars rovers takes first historic soil sample
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has finally drilled deep enough into a rock to acquire a powdered sample for analysis. The fine grey material from the 6cm-hole was sieved and inspected before being delivered to the robot’s onboard “Chemin” and “Sam” labs.

This was a historic first in planetary exploration—never before has the interior of a rock on another world been probed in such a way.

Drilling is absolutely central to the rover’s mission in Gale Crater, a deep bowl sited on Mars’ equator.

Curiosity
 is investigating whether past environments at this location could ever have supported life, and getting inside rocks to analyse their make-up will provide some of the most telling evidence.

Curiosity has already seen plenty of evidence for past running water in Gale Crater and the results from the drill-hole analysis are expected to reveal further information about that wet history.

Astronomers discover Moon-sized exo-planet called Kepler-37b
Scientists have discovered an odd little planet that has set a new record for the smallest alien world ever discovered. According to the scientists, the exo-planet is about the same size as the Earth’s moon. The planet has been dubbed Kepler-37b.

The scientists involved in the discovery say that this is the first exo-planet ever discovered that is smaller than Mercury. The planet makes an orbit of its parent star every 13 days and has an insanely high surface temperature of about 800°F. This planet was discovered along with two other larger planets orbiting the same parent star.

The parent star is about 215 light years from Earth, it and its planets were discovered using the Kepler space telescope. The two larger planets have been called Kepler-37c and Kepler-37d.

The scientists say that all three of the planets in orbit around the star are likely un-inhabitable, and are well inside the Earth-sun distance.

PSLV-C20 puts SARAL and six other satellites into orbit
On February 25, 2013, in a multiple launch mission, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) put India-French satellite SARAL and six others into their precise orbits after its successful launch from the Sriharikota spaceport. This was the 22nd consecutive successful PSLV mission by the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO).

The other satellites to go into orbit one after the other were SAPPHIRE, NEOSSAT, AAUSAT, BRITE, UniBRITE and STRand, all from abroad.

SARAL stands for Satellite for Argos-3 and Altika. While these two payloads are from French space agency CNES, a third payload, a solid state C-band transponder, is from the ISRO. All the three payloads were integrated into a satellite at the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore.

SARAL is a unique satellite that will cater to the research community and it has practical applications as well. It will help in oceanographic studies. It will study the ocean currents and sea surface heights. While ARGOS-2 will collect the data, the Altikameter will measure the height of the sea surface. ARGOS provides scientists with a tool to increase their understanding of environment and helps industry comply with environmental protection regulations.

SARAL will also help researchers to study the development of climate. It has practical applications in continental ice studies, coastal erosion, protection of biodiversity, study of marine animals’ migration and so on.

The 148-kg SAPPHIRE and the 82-kg NEOSSAT are both from Canada. SAPPHIRE will look at space debris and other satellites in orbit. NEOSSA —Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite—has a telescope for detecting and tracking asteroids, satellites and space debris. The 3-kg AAUSAT has been built by the students of Aalborg University, Denmark to receive automatic identification system signals from ships in the Arctic region.

STRaND-1, from the UK, is a unique yet simple contraption. It comprises a smart-phone loaded with specific apps, stuck to a 30 cm x 10 cm cubesat. The Google Nexus phone has four apps that were selected based on a Facebook contest. One of the apps, ‘Postcards from space’, will take pictures of the Earth based on unique public demands. Another app, ‘360’, will provide photos on a map showing where they were taken.

As the name suggests, ‘Scream in space’ app will allow a chosen few to test how they would sound in the space. Based on the creativity of the videos, those chosen will be able to speak via phone and their voice will be recorded through a microphone in orbit. The app, ‘iTesa’ will record the magnetic field of the phone in orbit. This will test the possibility of making calls from outer space in the future. The last app, ‘The STRaND Data’, will monitor the satellite telemetry of the smart-phone. The 3.5-kg STRaND satellite also has a 3D printed part—an apparent first in space.

UniBRITE and BRITE are the other satellites onboard. These microsatellites, weighing 14 kg each, will study the brightest stars by observing their temperature variations.

Strand-1—First “Phonesat” in space
India has become the world’s first country to launch a smartphone into space, loaded with a number of experimental “Apps”, some serious and some just for fun.

The British-built Strand-1 spacecraft, developed by scientists in Surrey, was sent into orbit from Sriharikota, using PSLV launcher, the spacecraft is an innovative 3U CubeSat, weighs 4.3 kg and is the worl’s first “phonesat” to go into orbit, as well as the first UK CubeSat to be launched.

Developed by a team from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), STRaND-1 is a training and demonstration mission, designed to test commercial off-the-shelf technologies in space.

During the first phase of the mission, STRaND-1 will be controlled by the satellite’s attitude control system and a new high-speed linux-based CubeSat computer.

During phase two the STRaND-1 team plans to switch many of the satellite’s in-orbit operations to the smartphone, a Google Nexus One which uses the Android operating system, thereby testing the capabilities of many standard smartphone components for a space environment.

MISCELLANEOUS
Param Yuva II—India’s fastest supercomputer
Precise weather forecasting, faster tapping of natural resources in the sea and designing of customised drugs for individuals will now be possible using Param Yuva II, India's fastest supercomputer.

Developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Param Yuva II was inaugurated on February 8, 2013.

The supercomputer has been upgraded to 524 teraflops, about 10 times faster than the present facility. With an investment of Rs 16 crore, it was developed in a record three months.

Param Yuva II will also give a boost to research in space and bioinformatics, among others. Developing research-based applications will take lesser time than before and complex problems will be solved in a simpler way. For instance, if it takes about 18 to 20 years to discover a new drug now—from designing to testing—Param Yuva II will help reduce this time to 15 years.

The supercomputer would also help in reducing the time-frame in weather predictions. If researchers currently collect satellite data to predict the conditions for a six-km region, the supercomputer could help cover a wider region, may be up to 10 km.

About 300 people from the C-DAC team were involved in the making of the supercomputer, which also promises to be energy efficient with 35% reduction in energy consumption as compared to the earlier facility.

ABBREVIATIONS
FAC: Fuel Adjustment Component.
GOC: Global Ocean Commission.
NOFHC: Non-Operative Financial Holding Company.
SARAL: Satellite with ARgos and ALtika.

AWARDS
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development , 2011
The award has been conferred to Ms Ela Bhatt, founder of Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), for her lifetime achievements in comprehensively empowering women in India and elsewhere through grassroots entrepreneurship. The Prize carries a citation and a cash award of Rs. 25 lakh.

Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize
The first 11 winners of the Prize and their fields of research are:
Cornelia I. Bargmann, genetics of neural circuits and behaviour;
David Botstein, linking disease in humans using changes in DNA;
Lewis C. Cantley, the discovery of proteins involved in cancer metabolism;
Hans Clevers, molecular signalling in stem cells and cancer;
Napoleone Ferrara, angiogenesis that led to therapies for cancer and eye diseases;
Titia de Lange, how telomeres protect chromosomes and their role in genome instability in cancer;
Eric Lander, genetics in human disease and analysis of genetic, physical and sequence maps of the human genome;
Charles L. Sawyers, cancer genes and targeted therapy;
Bert Vogelstein, cancer genomics and tumor suppressor genes;
Robert Weinberg, characterization of human cancer genes;
Shinya Yamanaka, induced pluripotent stem cells.

All prize winners will be added to the selection committee for future Breakthrough Prizes. Going forward, there will be five winners each year. The Breakthrough Prize promises a transparent selection process. Anyone can nominate a candidate online for consideration and the $3 million prize.

A group of Bay Area tech and investment luminaries have announced the multimillion-dollar competition for researchers to develop cures for the world’s toughest diseases and solve the life sciences’ most complicated problems. At a gathering in San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat alongside Art Levinson, chairman of both Apple and Genentech, Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of genetic mapping start-up23andMe, and investment guru Yuri Milner to announce the new $3 million Life Sciences Breakthrough Prize and name the first 11 winners.

Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony

Pandit Ravi Shankar is the first recipient of the award, which has been given to him in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony and universal values.

The Tagore award has been established by government of India, celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore. It carries an amount of Rs. one crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque, as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, cast, creed or sex.

85th  Annual Academy Awards (Oscar Awards)

Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”.
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”.
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”.
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”.
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”.
Best Motion Picture: “Argo”.
Best Animated Short Film: Paperman.
Best Animated Feature Film: Brave.
Achievement in Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, “Life of Pi”.
Achievement in Visual Effects: “Life of Pi”.
Achievement in Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, “Anna Karenina”.
Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling: “Les Miserables”.
Best Live-Action Short Film: “Curfew”.
Best Documentary Short Subject: “Inocente”.
Best Documentary Feature: “Searching for a Sugar Man”.
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Amour” (Austria).
Achievement in Sound Mixing: “Les Miserables”.
Achievement in Sound Editing: “Skyfall” and “Zero Dark Thirty”
Achievement in Film Editing: "Argo".
Achievement in Production Direction: “Lincoln”.
Original Score: Mychael Danna, “Life of Pi”.
Original Song: “Skyfall”, Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth.
Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio , “Argo”.
Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”.

COMMISSION

Global Ocean Commission
Global Ocean commission (GOC) is a new initiative to restore health and productivity to the ocean.  It is an independent body of international leaders and aims to reverse degradation of the ocean and restoring it to full health and productivity.

The objective of GOC is to formulate politically and technically feasible short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to address four key issues facing the high seas: overfishing, large-scale loss of habitat and biodiversity, the lack of effective management and enforcement, deficiencies in high seas governance.

GOC work will examine key threats, challenges, and changes to the ocean in the 21st century, and identify priority issues. The Commission will begin by analysing threats to the global ocean, based on the latest and most rigorous evidence from science and economics. It will map out the implications of a business-as-usual approach. In this phase of its work, it will draw on the abundance of existing reports from world experts, but will also begin original research in partnership with other organisations.

It will also review the effectiveness of the existing legal framework for the high seas in meeting the unique challenges and threats of the 21st century and beyond.

GOC will engage with interested parties around the world, including groups of people with direct interests in ocean issues as well as the general public. It will also raise understanding among policymakers, economists and other groups, including the general public, of the implications should high seas issues not be reformed.

The recommendations of GOC, regarding cost-effective, pragmatic and politically feasible reforms of high seas governance, management and enforcement, will be based on the evidence and testimonies before it, and present a reasonable prospect of resolving gaps and weaknesses that have been identified.

DEFENCE
Rudra helicopters to be inducted soon
Paving the way for the Indian Army to get its first lot of armed helicopters, the indigenously produced armed helicopter Rudra has been accorded the initial operational clearance, marking an important milestone in military aviation history in the country.

The Rudra is based on the platform of the advanced light helicopter (ALH) that is already in service in India. It has been code named ALH Mark IV and is produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The helicopter derives its name from Rig vedic god for wind, storm and hunt.

This will be the first time that the armed forces will be equipped with armed helicopters capable of fighting in the higher reaches of the Himalayas along the borders with China and parts of Pakistan.

The induction of the Rudra will be an important milestone as the Indian inventory of armed helicopters, the Mi-35, currently has a flying ceiling of 10,000-12,000 feet. TheRudra, powered by a new Shakti engine that has been co-developed by French company Turbomeca, will fly up to an altitude of 20,000 feet. The Himalayas rise above this altitude along large parts of the India-China frontier.

The weapons on board the chopper will include a M6-21 20 mm gun and 70 mm rockets with a range of 8 km. The chopper will also carry anti-tank guided missiles and the air-to-air-missiles, the first lot has been imported but will be produced here latter.

Rudra is equipped with integrated sensors, weapons and electronic warfare suite using an upgraded version of the glass cockpit used in the Mk-III of the ALH. The Electronic Warfare (EW) suite consists of missile approach warning system, laser and radar warning systems and automated sensors covering all envisaged threats. It also has automatic dispensation of countermeasures like chaff and fare dispensing systems.

RESEARCH
New 17-million-digit monster is largest known prime
The largest known prime number has just shot up to 257,885,161 - 1, breaking a four-year dry spell in the search for new, ever-larger primes.

Curtis Cooper at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg made the find as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), a distributed computing project designed to hunt for a particular kind of prime number first identified in the 17th century.

All prime numbers can only be divided by themselves and 1. The rare Mersenne primes all have the form 2p - 1, where p is itself a prime number.

The new prime, which has over 17 million digits, is only the 48th Mersenne prime ever found and the 14th discovered by GIMPS. The previous record holder, 243,112,609 - 1, which was also found by GIMPS in 2008, has just under 13 million digits. All of the top 10 largest known primes are Mersenne primes discovered by GIMPS. Until today, the most recent addition to the list was found in 2009, but it was smaller than the 2008 discovery.

SPACE RESEARCH
Curiosity Mars rovers takes first historic soil sample
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has finally drilled deep enough into a rock to acquire a powdered sample for analysis. The fine grey material from the 6cm-hole was sieved and inspected before being delivered to the robot’s onboard “Chemin” and “Sam” labs.

This was a historic first in planetary exploration—never before has the interior of a rock on another world been probed in such a way.

Drilling is absolutely central to the rover’s mission in Gale Crater, a deep bowl sited on Mars’ equator.

Curiosity
 is investigating whether past environments at this location could ever have supported life, and getting inside rocks to analyse their make-up will provide some of the most telling evidence.

Curiosity has already seen plenty of evidence for past running water in Gale Crater and the results from the drill-hole analysis are expected to reveal further information about that wet history.

Astronomers discover Moon-sized exo-planet called Kepler-37b
Scientists have discovered an odd little planet that has set a new record for the smallest alien world ever discovered. According to the scientists, the exo-planet is about the same size as the Earth’s moon. The planet has been dubbed Kepler-37b.

The scientists involved in the discovery say that this is the first exo-planet ever discovered that is smaller than Mercury. The planet makes an orbit of its parent star every 13 days and has an insanely high surface temperature of about 800°F. This planet was discovered along with two other larger planets orbiting the same parent star.

The parent star is about 215 light years from Earth, it and its planets were discovered using the Kepler space telescope. The two larger planets have been called Kepler-37c and Kepler-37d.

The scientists say that all three of the planets in orbit around the star are likely un-inhabitable, and are well inside the Earth-sun distance.

PSLV-C20 puts SARAL and six other satellites into orbit
On February 25, 2013, in a multiple launch mission, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) put India-French satellite SARAL and six others into their precise orbits after its successful launch from the Sriharikota spaceport. This was the 22nd consecutive successful PSLV mission by the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO).

The other satellites to go into orbit one after the other were SAPPHIRE, NEOSSAT, AAUSAT, BRITE, UniBRITE and STRand, all from abroad.

SARAL stands for Satellite for Argos-3 and Altika. While these two payloads are from French space agency CNES, a third payload, a solid state C-band transponder, is from the ISRO. All the three payloads were integrated into a satellite at the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore.

SARAL is a unique satellite that will cater to the research community and it has practical applications as well. It will help in oceanographic studies. It will study the ocean currents and sea surface heights. While ARGOS-2 will collect the data, the Altikameter will measure the height of the sea surface. ARGOS provides scientists with a tool to increase their understanding of environment and helps industry comply with environmental protection regulations.

SARAL will also help researchers to study the development of climate. It has practical applications in continental ice studies, coastal erosion, protection of biodiversity, study of marine animals’ migration and so on.

The 148-kg SAPPHIRE and the 82-kg NEOSSAT are both from Canada. SAPPHIRE will look at space debris and other satellites in orbit. NEOSSA —Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite—has a telescope for detecting and tracking asteroids, satellites and space debris. The 3-kg AAUSAT has been built by the students of Aalborg University, Denmark to receive automatic identification system signals from ships in the Arctic region.

STRaND-1, from the UK, is a unique yet simple contraption. It comprises a smart-phone loaded with specific apps, stuck to a 30 cm x 10 cm cubesat. The Google Nexus phone has four apps that were selected based on a Facebook contest. One of the apps, ‘Postcards from space’, will take pictures of the Earth based on unique public demands. Another app, ‘360’, will provide photos on a map showing where they were taken.

As the name suggests, ‘Scream in space’ app will allow a chosen few to test how they would sound in the space. Based on the creativity of the videos, those chosen will be able to speak via phone and their voice will be recorded through a microphone in orbit. The app, ‘iTesa’ will record the magnetic field of the phone in orbit. This will test the possibility of making calls from outer space in the future. The last app, ‘The STRaND Data’, will monitor the satellite telemetry of the smart-phone. The 3.5-kg STRaND satellite also has a 3D printed part—an apparent first in space.

UniBRITE and BRITE are the other satellites onboard. These microsatellites, weighing 14 kg each, will study the brightest stars by observing their temperature variations.

Strand-1—First “Phonesat” in space
India has become the world’s first country to launch a smartphone into space, loaded with a number of experimental “Apps”, some serious and some just for fun.

The British-built Strand-1 spacecraft, developed by scientists in Surrey, was sent into orbit from Sriharikota, using PSLV launcher, the spacecraft is an innovative 3U CubeSat, weighs 4.3 kg and is the worl’s first “phonesat” to go into orbit, as well as the first UK CubeSat to be launched.

Developed by a team from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), STRaND-1 is a training and demonstration mission, designed to test commercial off-the-shelf technologies in space.

During the first phase of the mission, STRaND-1 will be controlled by the satellite’s attitude control system and a new high-speed linux-based CubeSat computer.

During phase two the STRaND-1 team plans to switch many of the satellite’s in-orbit operations to the smartphone, a Google Nexus One which uses the Android operating system, thereby testing the capabilities of many standard smartphone components for a space environment.

MISCELLANEOUS
Param Yuva II—India’s fastest supercomputer
Precise weather forecasting, faster tapping of natural resources in the sea and designing of customised drugs for individuals will now be possible using Param Yuva II, India's fastest supercomputer.

Developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Param Yuva II was inaugurated on February 8, 2013.

The supercomputer has been upgraded to 524 teraflops, about 10 times faster than the present facility. With an investment of Rs 16 crore, it was developed in a record three months.

Param Yuva II will also give a boost to research in space and bioinformatics, among others. Developing research-based applications will take lesser time than before and complex problems will be solved in a simpler way. For instance, if it takes about 18 to 20 years to discover a new drug now—from designing to testing—Param Yuva II will help reduce this time to 15 years.

The supercomputer would also help in reducing the time-frame in weather predictions. If researchers currently collect satellite data to predict the conditions for a six-km region, the supercomputer could help cover a wider region, may be up to 10 km.

About 300 people from the C-DAC team were involved in the making of the supercomputer, which also promises to be energy efficient with 35% reduction in energy consumption as compared to the earlier facility.
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE -- SPORTS Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 9:26:00 PM Rating: 5

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