Science and Technology Current affairs in December 2020

Science and Technology Current affairs in December 2020

Science and Technology Current Affairs December 2020

30th December 2020

India’s first Indigenous vaccine “Pneumosil” against pneumonia

India’s first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine  ‘Pneumosil’ has been launched by the Union Minister of Health. The vaccine has been developed by Serum Institute of India Private Limited(SIIPL) in association with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Pneumonia shall be available in the market in a single-dose -vial and prefilled syringe, and in multidose-vial presentations. Conjugate vaccine refers to the vaccine that is composed of a substance called polysaccharide antigen fused or conjugated to a carrier molecule. This enhances the efficacy of the vaccine.


28th December 2020

DiGiBOXX: Niti Aayog launches India's own cloud storage platform, 20GB storage for free users

The NITI Ayog has launched Digital Asset  Management and Storage platform, which is called DigiBoxx. This initiative is in tandem with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. India is all set to have its cloud storage platform. This cloud storage and file sharing service shall be available for desktop, iOS, and Android users, both business and regular users. 20GB of cloud storage space is available without any cost, and 100 GB of space per can be availed at a nominal price of Rs.30.

ISRO to set up Regional Academic Centre for Space at IIT-BHU

A virtual Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Indian Space Organization and the IIT-BHU in Uttar Pradesh. This MoU has been signed for the setting up of a Regional Academic Center for Space (RAC-S). This agreement is the first step towards advanced research in future technology and using it in our space Program. The regional academic center is all set to act as a facilitator to promote space tech activities in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh

26th December 2020

Swatchata Abhiyan Mobile app has been launched

The Union Minister of Social Justice has launched Swachhata Abhiyan mobile Application. The mobile application is supposed to identify and geotag the data of the insanitary latrines and manual scavengers. The idea is to identify the insanitary latrines using the application, and then replace them with the sanitary ones. It also aims to rehabilitate the manual scavengers and provide them with the dignity of life.

25th December 2020

India has successfully test-fired army variant of MRSAM from ITR, Odhisa

A medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) has been successfully been test-fired from Balasore. The missile was fired from a ground mobile launcher at the launch pad ‘1’ of the Integrated Test Range. The missile hit its target successfully. ‘Banshee’, an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) was first flown into the air and then was hit by MRSAM. The DRDO has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries.

22nd December 2020

India’s first hypersonic wind tunnel test facility has been inaugurated at Hyderabad.

The Union Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh has inaugurated India’s very first advanced Hyper Sonic Wind Tunnel Facility.  India becomes only the third country after the USA and Russia to have such a facility in terms of operability and size. This project has been developed entirely in India, in the association of various industries. The state-of-the-art hypersonic wind tunnel facility is a pressure vacuum-driven enclosed free jet facility. It has a nozzle exit of 1-meter diameter. It is expected to simulate Mach No 5 to 12. This is a crucial step towards the utilization of complex futuristic aerospace and defense systems.

19th December 2020

The USA approves IGA in GalSafe Pigs

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved a first-of-its-kind Intentional Genomic Alteration (IGA) GalSafe pigs which are a kind of domesticated pigs. The pigs may be used for food and human therapeutics. An animal biotechnology product for both food and biomedical purposes  has been approved by a regulator for the first time. Intentional genomic alteration means intentionally altering the gene, and is also known as “genome editing” or “genetic engineering”.

Solar Wind Hack

Solar Wind Hack is a cyber attack which has recently been discovered in the United States of America. It has emerged as one of the biggest ever targeted attack against the US government, the agencies and several other private companies. Many institutions thus have fallen prey to breach of data. SolarWinds is one of the most widely used, and effective tools for network monitoring across federal networks and major corporations. The malware attacks by disguising the initial attack within legitimate software updates issued by SolarWinds.

18th December 2020

ISRO has launched the Communication Satellite CMS-01 

The Indian Space Research Organization has launched India’s 42nd Communication Satellite CMS-01 using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle- PSLV-C50 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Siharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The PSLV rocket shall inject India’s new communication satellite CMS-01 into the geo-synchronous transfer orbit. The extra thrust will be provided by the six strap-on motors that shall be fitted with the rocket. The extended C- band attached to the satellite shall be useful in covering not only mainland India, but also cover its far-flung island territories of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar for communication purposes. The mission life  of the Satellite will be of 7 years.

16th December 2020

Russian Angara A5 heavy-lift rocket recoded a successful second test

Russian Angara A5 heavy-lift rocket successfully delivered a dummy payload into orbit. The test flight carried a mass simulator into orbit on a marathon nine-hour mission mimicking a mission profile.  Such missions may be planned in the  future by Russian military and commercial payloads. The Angara A5 is the most powerful new Russian launcher, and is designed to replace the Proton M rocket.

15th December 2020

Rare type of Malaria caused by Plasmodium Ovale has been identified

The National Institute of Malaria Research - NIMR, has recently given a statement that the rare type of Malaria which had been identified in a jawan in Kerala is an isolated case, which he had contacted in Sudan. Plasmodium ovale is one of the five known species of malarial parasites. The parasite can stay in the human spleen or liver for an extremely long time, even for several years, and the person may then develop symptoms in the future.

Geminids meteor shower can be observed in the night sky

The Geminids meteor shower which is believed to be the strongest meteor shower of the year is active from December 4-December 20.  December 13th and 14th were the best nights for viewing these meteor showers. The Geminids meteor showers are unique as they do not originate from a comet, but from what is believed to be an asteroid or an extinct comet called 3200 Phaethon 

Rare Black Fungus disease has been observed

Mucormycosis or zygomycosis, a serious but rare fungal infection has been observed as a secondary infection in patients suffering from Covid.  It is caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.Mucormycosis mainly affects the people who are suffering from  health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.  Mucormycosis, caused after Covid infection has high morbidity and mortality.

14th December 2020

VigyanYatras are being organized 

Various institutions are organizing VigyanYatras, the promotional activity of IISF,  to promote Scientific Temper among Masses, online and mobile science exhibition vans were flagged off in around 30 locations ahead of the 6th  India International Science Festival(IISF) to be organized from December 22 to 25th.

13th December 2020

India’s first mRNA vaccine by Gennova received approval for human trials

The Drug Controller General of India has approved India's first indigenous mRNA vaccine candidate, HGCO19 developed by Pune-based Gennova to initiate Phase I/II human clinical trials, as was declared by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is supported by the seed grant under the Ind-CEPI mission of the Department of Science and Technology. mRNA vaccines, unlike the regular vaccines, carry the molecular instructions to produce the protein in the body through a synthetic RNA of the virus.

Plans for IBM GRAF conceptualized

The International technology company IBM has planned to create a high-resolution weather forecast model, IBM GRAF,  which can generate forecasts at a resolution of 3 kilometers and will rely on user-generated data for the improvement of the accuracy of forecasts available in India. Currently, a 12-kilometer model is being used by the India Meteorological Department to generate forecasts.

Unique Barcoding Software — Trakea has been introduced.

Unique barcoding software — Trakea,  a forensic evidence management system has been introduced which helps in the automation of the entire procedure, from the collection of vital samples from the scene of the crime to the conduction of analysis of the samples, followed by the tracking of the casewise forensic reports electronically through barcodes,  to ensure that there is no tampering with the thousands of forensic reports that form the backbone of the criminal investigation system, and subsequent trials in the courts of law. It has been adopted by the Haryana Police.

12th November 2020

A single-dose injectable Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine of Biological E has been pre-qualified by the WHO

World Health Organization (WHO)  has prequalified A single-dose injectable Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine of Biological E. The Prequalification project, set up in 2001, consisting of a transparent, scientifically sound assessment, is a service provided by the World Health Organization for the facilitation of access to medicines that meet the unified standards of quality, safety, and efficacy for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

11th December 2020

Worlds' first satellite-based narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network introduced

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited in partnership with Skylo has announced the world's first satellite-based NB-IoT in tandem with the vision of a truly Digital India. This solution is expected to connect with BSNL’s satellite ground infrastructure and provide pan-India coverage, which shall also include the  Indian seas.

Quantum Key Distribution technology has been successfully demonstrated

The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and The Research Centre Imarat (RCI) participated in the successful launch of Quantum Key Distribution technology. Quantum computing is faster and more powerful than other computers, and it is believed that it might be able to break existing levels of encryption. QKD works by using photons, that is by transmitting light for transferring data. QKD allows two distant users to produce a common, random string of secret bits, which is called a secret key.

10th December 2020

CO-WIN for COVID-19 vaccine delivery 

The Government of India has introduced a new digital platform which has been named  ‘CO-WIN’ for COVID-19 vaccine delivery, which is soon to be available as a mobile application as well, with the same name. This new app will let people register for the vaccine. The platform will have the database of the vaccine, healthcare workers, bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities. The app will also have separate modules for administrator, registration, vaccination, beneficiary acknowledgment, and reports.

Successful trials of Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC)

A protective carbine of DRDO has completed its final phase trials in early December 2020. This carbine is 5.56x30mm and has met all the standardized qualitative GSQR  parameters. JVPC is a Gas Operated Semi Bull-pup automatic weapon. It has a more than 700 rpm rate of fire. The effective range of the carbine is more than 100 m and it weighs about 3.0 kg. Its key features are high reliability, retractable Butt, low recoil, ergonomic design, single hand firing capability, and multiple Picatinny rails.

9th December 2020

Eluru mystery Disease 

In Eluru town,  Andhra Pradesh, about  550 people fell sick due to an undiagnosed illness, which was then followed by a blood test conducted by the AIIMS team. It was found out that lead and nickel in drinking water or/and milk could be the possible reason for people falling ill. The condition manifested as seizures, anxiety, vomiting, and headache, but was not found contagious.

8th December 2020

Jupiter and Saturn are to be seen in the Great Conjunction

In an extremely rare celestial phenomenon, Jupiter and Saturn will be seen in conjunction that is very close to each other on the 21st of December. These celestials bodies will be so close that they’ll appear as one bright star.

The mysterious Havana Syndrome has been demystified

About four years ago,  ‘Havana syndrome’, a mysterious neurological illness had begun to affect the  American diplomats and the intelligence operatives in Cuba, China, among other countries. A report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) has discovered that  ‘directed’ microwave radiation could be a plausible cause of this syndrome which manifested as nausea, severe headaches, dizziness,  fatigue, sleep problems, and hearing loss.

7th December 2020

Hayabusa2 Mission of Japan is set to return back to the Earth

Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission, which was launched in December 2014,  will be returning back to Earth after 6 years. It shall be carrying the samples from the Ryugu asteroid, which is 300 million km away from the earth that orbits the Sun. Hayabusa2 took over 42 months to reach the asteroid.

ICICI Bank has launched voice assistance-based banking services chatbot iPal with Amazon

This chatbot was launched by ICICI bank for its customers so that they can check the balance, seek credit card details, and also ask other queries among others through this application. iPal is integrated with Alexa and Google  Assistant. Customers can undertake banking services using voice commands

6th December 2020

Pixxel has signed a pact with NSIL to launch India’s first private remote-sensing satellite

Pixxel, a space start-up has entered into an agreement with State-run NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) for the launch of the country’s first-ever private remote-sensing satellite on an ISRO PSLV rocket early next year. This is a first of a kind agreement after the establishment of  IN-SPACe, the regulatory body under the Department of Space for enabling private players to take up space activities in India. Pixxel has announced plans to launch a constellation of about  30 satellites between December 2022 to June 2023.

Hera Mission gets a budgetary allotment

The budget of the Hera mission has been approved by The European Space Agency (ESA). Hera is the European component of the international double-spacecraft collaboration, the mission which has been planned to slam a spacecraft into an asteroid which has been planned for launch in 2024. In this mission, NASA shall look over the kinetic impact and the Hera mission of ESA shall study the post-impact survey. NASA will be sending Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)as part of its planetary defense program,  to target Didymoon, a moonlet,  as part of its planetary defense program.

Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) program

The GOAL is a program initiated by the social media giant Facebook the objective of which is to guide and encourage girls from tribal backgrounds from across all of India to become village-level digital young leaders for their tribal communities. This will connect the tribal girls to the industry experts in the field of fashion, arts, business, to help them learn digital and life skills, and will also help bridge the gender gap by improving digital access.

China has  unfurled its flag on the Moon

China has unfurled its national flag on the surface of the moon becoming just the second nation to achieve this feat. The USA is the only other nation to have achieved this feat when it planted its flag on the Moon in 1969, during the Apollo Mission. China achieved the historic feat when its  Chang’e-5 probe, which was launched on the 24th  of November to collect soil and rock samples from the lunar surface, also planted the flag of the country. If the probe land earth safely, it shall make China the only third country to successfully bring back samples from the moon

5 December 2020

Department of Space has entered into a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Agnikul Cosmos Pvt. Ltd

Under the Non Disclosure agreement, between the Department of Science and Agnikul, a Chennai based start-up which is located in the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development, IIT Madras and builds small private satellite launch vehicles will be enabled for accessing the technical expertise and facilities that are available in the Indian Space Research Organization.

Arecibo Telescope has collapsed

Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico is a massive famous telescope, for its stellar contributions to astronomy has recently collapsed. Arecibo telescope, built-in 1963, is the second-largest single-dish radio telescope in the world employed to observe asteroids, planets, and the ionosphere. It was owned by the US National Science Foundation.

HL-2M Tokamak: The Artificial Sun of China

China, for the very first time, has successfully powered up its ‘artificial sun’ nuclear fusion reactor which is China’s largest and the most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device. This marks a great advancement in China’s nuclear power research capabilities.  The mission has been named Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST). The researchers are in the hope that this device can be a potential powerful clean energy source.

Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder 

The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), during its first all-sky survey has mapped over three million galaxies, recently,  in a record 300 hours. The ASKAP is an extremely powerful telescope developed and operated by CSIRO, the science agency of Australia.

China is Claiming Quantum Supremacy with a Computer 10 Billion Times Faster Than Google’s Prototype.

Quantum Supremacy is a term proposed by John Preskill, a theoretical physics professor in the year 2012, to describe the point where quantum computers can perform activities that any classical computer cannot. In 2019, Google had claimed that it had built a computer that could compute at 200 seconds, which would take about 10,000 years for the fastest supercomputer.

4 December 2020

HAL has delivered the biggest ever Cryogenic Propellant Tank to ISRO

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has delivered the biggest developmental cryogenic propellant tank to the Indian Space Research Organization. The Cryogenic Propellant Tank - C32 LH2, is made up of aluminum alloy. The CPT has been designed for improving the payload capability of the GSLV MK-III launching vehicle.

3 December, 2020

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope bags the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers milestone

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope(GMRT) has become the 3rd Indian facility to achieve the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers(IEEE) milestone

Key point:

  • Pune’s GMRT is an array of 30 antennas in a ‘Y’ fashion
  • It is operated by TIFR – National Centre for Radio Astrophysics
  • This was the brainchild of Govind Swarup.
  •  It was awarded the IEEE milestone for its novel engineering, advanced technology in radio astronomy.
  • The HQ of IEEE HQ is in New Jersey, United States.

U.K. became the  first country to approve Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

The United Kingdom became the 1st country to formally approve the Pfizer & BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

Key Points:

  • This is a symbolic milestone in the fight against the pandemic.
  •  Clinical trials of the vaccine by Pfizer, a U.S. pharmaceutical giant, and its German partner, BioNTech was 95 effective.
  • The PM of the UK is Boris Johnson

2 December, 2020

India's highest-rated autotransformer

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has set the new record for manufacturing India's highest-rated autotransformer at Madhya Pradesh.

Key Point:

  • State-owned engineering firm BHEL successfully manufactured & tested (short circuit) India's highest rating Auto Transformer 
  • This was done at the National High Power Test Laboratory (NHPTL) at Bina in Madhya Pradesh.  
  • It is a new benchmark in the global transformer industry
  • Transformers play a crucial role in bulk power transmission

Indian Oil has launched India's first 100 Octane petrol

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation has launched the nation's first 100 Octane petrol at Uttar Pradesh.

Key Point:

  • This shall help India to join a select league of nations globally that have such superior quality fuel. 
  • This XP100 premium is manufactured at IOC's Mathura refinery, located  in Uttar Pradesh
  • Hindustan Petroleum had recently launched the Octane 99 fuel.

Lab-Created Meat gets approval for commercial sale

Singapore Becomes First Country to Approve the sale of Lab-created Meat.

Key Point:

  • Eat Just Inc., a maker of meat & egg substitutes, is approved to sell its laboratory-created chicken in Singapore,
  •  This becomes the first government to allow the sale of cultured meat.
  •  It is created from animal cells without slaughtering any chickens.
  • It shall be marketed under the GOOD Meat Brand.