- The unmanned BepiColombo spacecraft is a joint effort of European and Japanese space agencies for a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. Mercury’s extreme temperatures, the intense gravity pull of the sun and blistering solar radiation make for hellish conditions. BepiColombo will release two probes — Bepi and Mio — that will independently investigate the surface and magnetic field of Mercury. The probes are designed to cope with temperatures varying from 430 degrees Celsius (806 F) on the side facing the sun, and -180 degrees Celsius (-292 F) in Mercury’s shadow. The ESA-developed Bepi will operate in Mercury’s inner orbit, and JAXA’s Mio will be in the outer orbit to gather data that would reveal the internal structure of the planet, its surface and geological evolution. Scientists hope to build on the insights gained by NASA’s Messenger probe, which ended its mission in 2015 after a four-year orbit of Mercury. The only other spacecraft to visit Mercury was NASA’s Mariner 10 that flew past the planet in the mid-1970s.Mercury, which is only slightly larger than Earth’s moon, has a massive iron core about which little is known.
- The asteroid-exploring spacecraft, Hayabusa 2, was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in December 2014 on the surface of a primitive asteroid called Ryugu. The spacecraft recently released two moving rovers onto the asteroid’s surface. The rovers are designed to bounce, because the lack of gravity on Ryugu makes it impossible for them to roll. The asteroid has a rocky surface. Ryugu is what is called a C-type or carbonaceous asteroid which, is more likely to yield clues about the origins of life than the S-type or silicaceous asteroids that have been more commonly explored. C-type asteroids exist furthest from the Sun, and have consequently been least altered by heat and are, therefore, most likely to contain water.
- C-FLOWS, which stands for Chennai FLood Warning System is the six-module ensemble can predict flooding due to heavy rainfall, sea-level rise and increase in water levels of the three rivers — Cooum, Adyar and Kosasthalaiyar — that traverse the city.
- Scientists have detected the largest, most extensive collection of galaxies ever registered in the early days of universe, a proto-supercluster, nicknamed ‘Hyperion’. Superclusters are the largest known systems of the galaxies. Galaxies are not spread out in the universe at random but packed together in groups based on where in the universe they started to form.The Hyperion proto-supercluster is the largest and earliest known proto-supercluster, 5,000 times the mass of the Milky Way and seen at 20% of the current age of the universe i.e. 2 billion years after the Big Bang.
- India, Japan and the U.S. are set to elevate the bilateral ‘Cope India’ air exercise to a trilateral format. The three countries already conduct naval war games under the expanded Malabar naval exercise. Malabar began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S.
- India and China will resume the annual joint Army exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ in December in China’s Chengdu region. The scope of the exercise is to understand transnational terrorism and evolve joint drills for the conduct of counter terrorism operations, in addition to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.
- The Reserve Bank of India has released the guidelines for interoperability between prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) such as wallets and cards that will effectively allow users of popular payment wallets such as Paytm, Freecharge, Mobikwik, PhonePe and PayZapp, among others, to transfer money from one wallet to another. The wallets could implement interoperability through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). The RBI has also allowed PPIs to issue cards using authorised card networks such as Mastercard, Visa or Rupay.Where PPIs are issued in the form of wallets, interoperability across PPIs shall be enabled through UPI… Where PPIs are issued in the form of cards, the cards shall be affiliated to the authorised card networks. PPI issuers shall adhere to all the requirements of card networks/UPI.
- The Global Hunger Index(GHI) is tool that measures and tracks hunger globally, by region, and by country.The GHI is calculated annually, and its results appear in a report issued in October each year. Created in 2006, the GHI was initially published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Welthungerhilfe. In 2007, the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide also became a co-publisher. In 2018, the GHI was a joint project of Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, with IFPRI stepping aside from its involvement in the report. The 2018 Global Hunger Index was published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. The GHI uses four indicators – Undernourishment, Child Wasting, Child Stunting and Child Mortality.
- India and France are in discussions for a bilateral tri-service military exercise. This will be India’s third such joint exercise with the other two being held with Russia and US (planned). India and France currently hold bilateral exercises between individual services — Shakti, Varuna and Garuda respectively for the Army, Navy and Air Force. India and France signed a logistics pact in March 2018 which gives access to their militaries to each other’s bases for logistics support. The agreement gives India access to French military bases all over the world on a “reciprocal basis,” of particular interest for New Delhi are the three French bases in the Indian Ocean — Reunion Island, Djibouti and Abu Dhabi.
- Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, has topped the first-ever standalone ranking of Indian higher educationinstitutions by QS, a think tank that is famous for bringing out world rankings of institutions.
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