- NASA Funding Project “RAMA” to Turn Asteroids into Spaceships
- NASA has announced it would give funds to a California-based 3D printing company for finding ways to turn asteroids into giant, autonomous spacecraft, which could fly to outposts in space.
- The project is named as RAMA (Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata).
- The company plans to use 3D printing to turn the asteroids into self-flying vehicles by 2030.
- The company is considering sending an advanced robotic “Seed Craft” out to rendezvous with a succession of near-Earth asteroids in space, as part of its long-term project.
- The Seed Craft would harvest material from the space rocks, then use this feedstock to construct propulsion, navigation, energy-storage and other key systems onsite with the aid of 3D printing and other technologies.
- Thus, transformed into autonomous spacecraft, the asteroids could be programmed to fly to a mining station in Earth-moon space, or anywhere else they’re needed.
Topic- GS-3- Science and Technology
- Niti Aayog wants states to promote zero budget natural farming
- NITI Aayog made a case for promoting Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in states, saying it would help in doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)
- Under ZBNF, neither fertilizer nor pesticide is used and only 10 per cent of water is to be used for irrigation as compared to traditional farming technique.
- Farmers use only local seeds and produce their own seeds.
- The cost of biological pesticides and fertilizers is almost negligible compared to chemical fertilizers. So, this method of natural farming also called Zero Budget Farming.
- These biological pesticides and fertilizers include earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta etc.
- The states can promote ZBNF under the two farm sector schemes- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojajna-
- Launched in 2016.
- Improve organic farming and soil health.
- Also known as Traditional Farming Improvement Programme.
- Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
- Launched in 2007 to achieve 4 Percent annual growth in the agricultural sector during the 11th five-year plan.
- Incentivize the states to increase their investment in Agriculture.
Topic- GS-3- Agriculture
Source- Indian Express
- India focusing more on the e-visa scheme
- The Government of India had launched the e-Visa scheme on November 27, 2014.
- The scheme has been extended to 163 Countries/Territories. 25 Indian airports and 5 Indian Ports have been designated for providing e-visa service.
- e-Visa has been sub-divided into 3 categories i.e.
(a) e-tourist visa,
(b) e-Business visa and
(c) e-Medical visa
- This facility is available to Foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight-seeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, etc. and not valid for any other purpose/activities.
- Applicants of the eligible countries/territories may apply online minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 120 days.
- e-Visa will be valid for 60 days stay in India from the date of arrival in India.
- e-Visa can be availed for the maximum of two times in a calendar year i.e. between January to December.
- The Home Ministry has decided to enhance the e-visa scheme by including e-conference and e-medical attendant visa as well.
Topic- GS- 2- E-governance
Source- Indian Express
- China successfully launched two remote-sensing satellites for Pakistan
- China successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for Pakistan, marking the first international commercial launch for the Long March-2C rocket in about 19 years.
- The satellites (a) PRSS-1 and (b) PakTES-1A – were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.
- The PRSS-1 is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan.
- A scientific experiment satellite, PakTES-1A, developed by Pakistan, was sent into orbit via the same rocket.
- It is another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 2011.
Topic- GS-3- Defence
Source- Business Standard
- Only one male Great Indian Bustard left in Gujarat
- There being only one male Great Indian Bustard (GIB) left in Gujarat’s Kutch district have been confirmed by experts.
Great Indian Bustards
- Found mostly in India and some regions of Pakistan, the GIB is considered a “critically endangered” bird in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- Currently, it is found in only six states in the country — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.
- Rajasthan has the maximum number of GIBs and the bird is found in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Bikaner districts.
- The GIB plays a role in the germination of seeds in grasslands, and it is also a friend to farmers as it keeps a check on insects that destroy standing crops.”
- GIB was found only in the Indian subcontinent. Hence, once the species is lost, there will be no other species to replace it, and that will destabilise the ecosystem of the grassland and affect critical bio-diversities, as well as blackbucks and wolves, who share their habitat with the GIB.
Topic- GS-3- Environment
Source- Down to Earth
- Fish samples in Chennai test positive for formalin
- As many as 11 out of 30 samples of fish species purchased from Chinthadripet and Kasimedu, the two major fish markets in Chennai, have tested positive for formalin, a cancer-inducing chemical used illegally to preserve fish.
- Fish industry experts said formalin or formaldehyde is sprayed on the fish or injected into the fish or the fish is dipped into the solution.
- This helps keep the fish fresh for a longer time.
- A clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde and methanol used especially as a preservative.
- Formalin causes irritation in the eyes, throat, skin and stomach.
- In the long run, continued exposure causes harm to the kidneys, liver and can even cause cancers.
Topic- GS-3- Science and Technology
Source- The Hindu
- ADB accords approval for lining project of the Son canal in Shahabad- Bhojpur region of Bihar
- ADB representatives informed that ADB had accorded approval for this project.
- The estimated cost of this project is USD 503 million out of which USD 352 million is being provided by ADB.
- This project will bring immense benefits to the agriculture sector of Shahabad- Bhojpur region of Bihar.
Asian Development Bank
- It is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the city of Mandaluyong, Manila, Philippines.
- From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
- ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
- Japan and United States hold the largest proportion of shares.
- Son River of central India is the second largest of the Ganges’ southern tributaries after Yamuna River.
- The Son originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh.
- The Son parallels the Kaimur hills, flowing east-northeast through Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar states to join the Ganges just west of Patna.
- Its chief tributaries are the Rihand and the North Koel.
Topic- GS-3- Infrastructure