Prelims Revision-33

    1. Astronomers have discovered a frozen planet with a mass over three times that of the Earth, orbiting the closest solitary star to the Sun. The potentially rocky planet, known as Barnard’s star b, is a ‘super-Earth’ and orbits around its host star once every 233 days. Barnard’s star is the next closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri triple system. It is a type of faint, low-mass star called a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are considered to be the best places to look for exoplanet candidates, which are planets outside our solar system. Barnard’s star b is the second closest known exoplanet to our Sun. The closest lies just over four light-years from Earth. That exoplanet, Proxima b, orbits around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. The researchers used the radial velocity method during the observations that led to the discovery of Barnard’s star b. This technique detects wobbles in a star which are likely to be caused by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. These wobbles affect the light coming from the star.
    2. The Matua community of West Bengal trace their ancestry to East Bengal, and many of them entered West Bengal after Partition and after the formation of Bangladesh. Matuas are Namasudras, a Scheduled Caste group.  Matua is a sect of Vaishnavite Hinduism.
    3. The ‘Train 18’ project of the Railways is the country’s first engineless train.
    4. Amravati, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is all set to host the powerboat racing of the year—Formula 1 Powerboat Racing (F1H20) WorldChampionship. The Formula 1 Powerboat Racing World Championship is making a grand comeback in India after 2004.
    5. GSAT-29 was recently launched on board the developmental flight GSLV-MkIII D2. The satellite was placed in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit. The communication satellite, weighing 3,423 kg, “is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for new and critical technologies. The Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are expected to cater to communication requirements for people in remote areas in the country, especially Jammu and Kashmir, and the North-East.
    6. The Centre expects to roll out a new Ease of Doing Agri-Business Index for states on the basis of their performance in encouraging agri-business, especially with regard to marketing, land and governance reforms, their investment in agriculture, increased productivity, reduction of input costs, and risk mitigation measures. NITI Aayog already brings out a Agricultural Marketing and Farm Friendly Reforms Index, rating States on their implementation of such reforms. The proposed index has a wider ambit, but the focus is still on reforms, with marketing reforms (25%) and governance and land reforms (20%) carrying almost half of the weight of the parameters in its scoring system.
    7. Bannerghatta National Park is in Karnataka.
    8. SpiNNaker – is the world’s largest supercomputer designed to work in the same way as the human brain. Spiking Neural Network Architecture (SpiNNaker) machine is capable of completing more than 200 million million actions per second. The machine has ben designed and built in The University of Manchester in the UK; Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate primarily by emitting ‘spikes’ of pure electro-chemical energy; cortex is the outer layer of the brain that receives and processes information from the senses.
    9. A region of the brain called the Basal Ganglia is affected in Parkinson’s disease.
    10. Opportunity, also known as MER-B or MER-1, and nicknamed “Oppy”, is a robotic rover that was active on Mars from 2004 to late 2018.