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RSTV: SCIENCE MONITOR 12.12.2020

RSTV


IISF-2020- Guinness World Records:

  • India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 was organized during 22-25 December 2020 on virtual platform.
  • This is the largest science festival on virtual platform.
  • The central theme of this year’s IISF is “Science for self-reliance India and Global Welfare”.
  • This year, 41 events will be organized under 9 verticals. IISF 2020 will also endeavour to send the entries of Guinness World Records in five different categories.
  • One of the most awaited events of IISF, the Guinness World Record, had five events. It includes virtual science festival running on all five days and approximately 2,000 participated at peak hour.
  • Light, Shadow and Time Device Making record had 5,000 students.
  • On 23rd December around 30,000 students attempted Online Hand Hygiene Lesson and Activity.
  • The fourth event was held on 24th December where around 30,000 students will attempted the record of applying protective masks and taking an oath online.
  • The last day of the program witnessed 35,000 students who will take a lesson on nutrition and health.

Efficient method to harvest drinking water from humid air:

  • Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati have developed novel materials that can efficiently harvest water from humid air.
  • With increasing water scarcity throughout the world, there have been attempts to collect and conserve water through non-traditional means.
  • Scientists have turned to nature to design ways of water harvesting. For example, in regions of the world with naturally scanty rainfall, plants and insects have devised ingenious strategies to pull and collect water right out of the air. Mimicking this, scientists worldwide are trying to build technologies that can pull out water from thin air, both literally and figuratively.
  • Such water-harvesting techniques use the concept of hydrophobicity or water-repelling nature of some materials”.
  • The concept of hydrophobicity can be understood by looking at the lotus leaf. The lotus leaf is water repellent because there is a layer of trapped air between the leaf surface and the water droplet, which causes the droplet to slide off the leaf.
  • However simple hydrophobicity such as this is unsuitable for water harvesting from highly humid environments because high moisture content can displace the trapped air and cause permanent damage. Instead, researchers mimic the pitcher plant, an ‘insect-eating’ plant, that has a slippery surface that causes insects that land on it to fall into its tube-shaped structure, to be digested. In the past geometries of Rice leaves and cacti are associated with ‘Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surface(s)’ or SLIPS to improve the water harvesting performance.
  • The research team from IIT Guwahati has used the concept of chemically patterned SLIPS for the first time, to effectively harvest water from moist air.
  • Given that more than 50% of India’s population has no access to safe drinking water and about 200,000 people die every year due to lack of access to safe water, the inexpensive method for harvesting water from water vapour or fog droplets in air can potentially alleviate the water scarcity issues in the country.
  • Apart from water harvesting, SLIPS could be used for other purposes, such as easily cleanable household appliances, in underwater hulls of ships and submarines to prevent bio-fouling and anti-icing windows for aircraft.

Saguna rice  technique:

  • Saguna Rice Technique is a unique new method of cultivation of rice and related rotation crops without ploughing, puddling and transplanting (rice) on permanent raised beds. This is a zerotill, Conservation Agriculture (CA) type of cultivation method evolved at Saguna Baug, Neral, Dist. Raigad, Maharashtra.
  • The permanent raised beds used in this method facilitates ample of oxygen supply to root zone area while maintaining optimum moisture condition there.
  • The SRT iron forma (the tool will be better soon) facilitates planting of crop in predetermined distances enabling precise plant population per unit area. Absence of puddling and transplanting of rice makes it possible for not dependent on erratic behavior of rain.
  • Advantages of SRT:
    • For not having to do puddling, transplanting and hand hoeing, saves 30% to 40% cost of production & not requiring transplanting saves 50% treacherous labour.
    • Loss of valuable silt (about 20%) during puddling can be prevented thus more fertile land can be handed over to next generation.

Hayabusa2:

  • Hayabusa2 of Japan, had successfully collected samples from asteroid- Ryugu– 300 million km from Earth.
  • Notably, Hayabusa2 is the second Japanese spacecraft to land on an asteroid, after Hayabusa achieved a similar feat back in 2005.
  • In mid-September 2005, Hayabusa landed on the asteroid Itokawa, and managed to collect samples in the form of grains of asteroidal material. It returned to Earth with the samples in June 2010, thereby becoming the first spacecraft to return asteroid samples to Earth for analysis.
  • It is an asteroid sample-return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA.
  • It was launched on 3 December 2014 and rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu on 27 June 2018.
  • Hayabusa2 carries multiple science payloads for remote sensing, sampling, and four small rovers that will investigate the asteroid surface to inform the environmental and geological context of the samples collected.
  • The scientific objectives of Hayabusa2 mission are twofold:
    • To characterize the asteroid from remote sensing observations (with multispectral cameras, near-infrared spectrometer, thermal infrared imager, laser altimeter) on a macroscopic scale
    • To analyse the samples returned from the asteroid on a microscopic scale.