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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY CURRENT AFFAIRS APRIL2013


    SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
    Cicada’s Insect Wing’s Kills Bacteria
    Human eye cells have been grown on cicadas’ wings after it was found that the wings’ surface kills bacteria and boosts cell growth.Dr Greg Watson, a researcher at James Cook University in Cairns, began looking more closely at cicadas after noticing, while out on a walk more than a decade ago, that their wings took much longer to decompose than their bodies.It is the first time scientists have found that tiny features found on a natural surface, rather than chemicals, kill bacteria.
    Supreme Court of India Rejected Novartis’ Patent Plea for Cancer Drug Called Glivec
    The Supreme Court of India on 1 April 2013 rejected the plea of Novartis, the Swiss drug maker, to patent the updated version of cancer drug called Glivec. A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai dismissed the patent plea to Novartis on the basis that there was no inventiveness or novelty in the new version of the drug. In its ruling, the Supreme Court of India declared that because the application for patent on beta-crystalline salt did not meet any inventiveness or novelty standard, therefore the company’s plea for patent was dismissed.
    World’s first solar plane to fly across US
    A first of its kind ultra-lightweight plane powered completely by the sun is set to fly coast-to-coast this spring.The Solar Impulse plane will stop in Dallas city in Texas during its historic cross-country journey that begins on May 1.The plane, which requires zero fuel and relies solely on solar panels and battery power, would be the world’s first plane powered purely by solar energy.
    Obama Announced $100 Million “Brain Initiative” Project
    On 2 April US President Barack Obama has announced the “BRAIN Initiative” a $100 million brain-mapping project.The BRAIN initiative will attempt to find ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease and strokes while also aiding in job growth.
    Carbon aerogel world’s lightest material
    Chinese scientists have developed the world’s lightest substance — carbon aerogel — with a density only one sixth of that of the air.Scientists at Zhejiang University produced the solid material which has a density of only 0.16 mg/cubic centimetre, breaking the previous record of the world’s lightest material held by graphite aerogel.The graphite aerogel was developed by German scientists last year with a density of 0.18 mg/cubic centimetre.
    Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Detected Evidence of Dark Matter
    On 3 April NASA scientists announced the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) placed on the International Space Station (ISS) may have detected the elusive dark matter. The scientists made the announcement after they observed an excess of positrons in the Cosmic Ray Flux, which can be the reason of the presence of elusive dark matter.
    100 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy
    Scientists have proposed a new method for finding Earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy and they anticipate that their number may be up to a whopping 100 billion.The strategy devised by researchers at The University of Auckland uses a technique called gravitational microlensing, currently used by a Japan-New Zealand collaboration called MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) at New Zealand’s Mt John Observatory.
    German Shipyard Launches World’s Largest Private Yacht
    On 5 April A German shipyard has launched “”Azzam”" , the world’s largest private yacht at 590-feet long, which also happens to be among the fastest vessels, costing a whopping USD 609 million.The luxury private vessel ‘Azzam’ – with a beam 68-feet high – overshadows previous longest superyacht, The Eclipse, by 57-feet. Designed  by Nauta Yachts in Italy and constructed by German company Lurssen Yachts, Azzam is almost two football fields long and rivals the size of some cruise ships.It took four years to complete the superyacht from concept to construction.With 94,000 horsepower generated from two gas turbines and two diesel engines, the Azzam can reach speeds of over 55.5kph, which makes it one of the fastest yachts in the world.
    New Camera System That Can Captured Images From 1 km Away
    In the month of April the team of researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh , developed a New Laser powered Camera System that can take image of any object from a distance of about one kilometer by creating high-resolution 3D images.The technique on which the camera is based is called ‘Time-of-Flight (ToF)’ navigation systems for autonomous vehicles. In this principle of photography, to capture the image of the far away object, a laser beam is bounced on the object and measure the time that is taken by the beam of light to be back to the detector.
    India test-fires nuclear capable Agni-II missile
    The medium-range, nuclear capable Agni-II missile was successfully test-fired with a strike range of more than 2,000 kms from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast on 07 April 2013.The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher from the Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR).The 20-metre-long Agni-II is a two-stage, solid-propelled ballistic missile. It has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1,000 kgs over a distance of 2,000 kms.The state-of-the-art Agni-II missile was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad.Agni-II is part of the Agni series of missiles developed by DRDO which includes Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV with 4,000 km range and Agni-V with a more than 5,000 km range.
    NASA Approved “TESS” Project
    NASA has approved a The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a $200 million mission to search for Earth-size planets orbiting the nearby stars.Led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with seed funding from Google, TESS was one of 11 proposals selected for NASA funding in September 2011, down from the original 22 submitted in February of that year.TESS, along with the Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER), had been selected for launch in 2017.
    The project will come into full swing within the next four years.
    Pakistan Tests Nuclear-Capable Hatf-IV Missile
    Pakistan successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable Hatf-IV ballistic missile on 10 April 2013. The missile has a range of 900 km and it can also hit targets in India. Hatf- IV ballistic missile is also called Shaheen-1.
    Indian Astronomer Discovered Blue Super-Giant Star
    An Indian scientist Dr. duo Ananda Hota and his Taiwanese colleague Dr. Youichi Ohyama have discovered a blue super-giant star located in the constellation Virgo, far beyond our Milky Way Galaxy. Over 55 million years ago, the star emerged in an extremely wild environment, surrounded by intensely hot plasma (a million degrees centigrade) and amidst raging cyclone winds blowing at four million kilometres per hour.This star is  in small IC 3418 Milky Way Galaxy and it is about 5.5 billion light-years away from Earth.
    Astronomers find most Earth-like planets yet
    NASA scientists announced on 19 April 2013 that they discovered two earths like plants which are 1200 light years far from earth. NASA discovered the five plants which are rotating around Kepler 62 star using the Kepler Space Telescope.  Two of the five planets orbiting a sun-like star called Kepler-62 are squarely in what astronomers call the habitable zone — not too hot, not too cold and possibly bearing water. These two plants are named as a Kepler-63e and Kepler 62f.
    China Tested Self Developed Biofuel Flight
    On 24 April China successfully conducted a first test flight powered by self-developed biofuel made mainly from palm oil and recycled cooking oil.An Airbus A320 operated by China Eastern Airlines landed at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport ,after completing an 85-minute journey using aviation biofuel produced by Sinopec, the country’s top oil refiner.The success made China the fourth country after the United States, France and Finland to boast independent production of bio-jet-fuel.