Current Affairs for Online Crash Course for SSC CGL Exam : Science & Technology
Current Affairs for Online Crash Course for SSC CGL (Tier -
:: Science & Technology ::
NASA’s ‘Europa Clipper’ set to launch in the 2020s
NASA’s ‘Europa Clipper’ set to launch in the 2020s will probe the
habitability of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.
When the mission was still in the conceptual phase, it was informally
called Europa Clipper, but NASA has now adopted that name as the formal
title for the mission.
The moniker harkens back to the clipper ships that sailed across the
oceans of Earth in the 19th century.
The mission plan includes 40 to 45 flybys, during which the spacecraft
would image the moon’s icy surface at high resolution and investigate its
composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.
Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because it holds a
salty liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust.
The ultimate aim of Europa Clipper is to determine if Europa is
habitable, possessing all three of the ingredients necessary for life:
liquid water, chemical ingredients, and energy sources sufficient to enable
Great Barrier Reef is experiencing second straight year of mass coral
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing an unprecedented second
straight year of mass coral bleaching, warning many species would struggle
to fully recover.
The 2,300-km reef suffered its most severe bleaching on record last year
due to warming sea temperatures during March and April.
Bleaching is once again occurring, the government’s Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority said after an aerial survey off Australia’s eastern
The agency said more bleaching was being observed in the central part of
the reef, which last year escaped widespread severe bleaching. The 2016
bleaching was more severe in the northern areas of the bio-diverse site.
The back-to-back occurrence of widespread bleaching also meant there was
insufficient time for corals to fully recover.
Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer
sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining
them of their colour.
Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able
to recolonise them.
The Barrier Reef — already under pressure from farming run-off,
development and the crown-of-thorns starfish — escaped with minor damage
after two other bleaching events in 1998 and 2002.
The reef scientists plan to conduct further surveys over the next few
weeks to determine the extent and severity of the bleaching.
Nearly two-thirds of shallow-water corals in a 700-km stretch of the
reef’s northern section were lost to last year’s bleaching event, scientists
Indian researcher has been able to increase wheat grain yield by 20%
Indian researcher has been able to increase wheat grain yield by 20% and
also improve the resilience of wheat to environmental stress such as
By using a precursor that enhances the amount of a key sugarsignalling
molecule (trehalose-6- phosphate (T6P)) produced in wheat plant, Dr. Ram
Sagar Misra, has been able to increase the amount of starch produced and the
The technique The T6P molecule stimulates starch synthesis, which in
turn, increases the yield. Since the pathway of T6P molecule is the same in
other plants, the yield can potentially be increased by using suitable
While genetic methods can increase the T6P level two-three fold, the
four precursor compounds were able to achieve 100-fold increase in the
sugar-signalling molecule level compared with plants that did not receive
In field trials using wheat, a tiny amount of precursor given to the
plant increased the yield significantly — the grains produced were bigger as
the amount of starch content in the grains increased by 13-20% compared to
controls that got only water.
To study the resilience of wheat to drought-like conditions when treated
with the precursor molecules, the researchers carried out two different
Resilence to drought In the first case, four-week-old wheat plants
already treated with the precursor molecules were not watered for nine days
to simulate a droughtlike condition.
More trials on a larger scale are needed to confirm the role of the
precursor molecules in increasing yield and withstanding drought-like