Space related News for UPSC and other Exams
Know all about satellites, space missions, planets and elements
- In its second development flight on Friday (February 10) morning, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) was launched successfully from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- It will place the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) earth observation satellite EOS-07 and two co-passenger satellites — Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 — developed by start-ups, in a 450-km circular orbit around the Earth.
- The new vehicle was developed to capture the emerging small and micro satellite commercial market, with launches offered on demand.
- A new vehicle is declared operational by the space agency after it completes two successful development flights. The last vehicle to be declared operational was the GSLV Mk III, now called LVM 3, when it carried Chandrayaan-2 in 2019.
- Janus - 1 : It is a technology demonstrator satellite built by US-based Antaris and its Indian partners XDLinks and Ananth Technologies. It is a six-unit cube satellite with five payloads on board — two from Singapore, and one each from Kenya, Australia, and Indonesia.
- AzaadiSAT2 : It is a Cubesat weighing around 8 kg and carries 75 different payloads. Girl students from rural regions across the country were provided guidance to build these payloads. The payloads are integrated by the student team of “Space Kidz India”.
- EOS– 07 : EOS-07 is a 156.3 kg satellite designed and developed by ISRO. Its mission objective is to design and develop payload instruments compatible with microsatellite buses and new technologies for future operational satellites.
- NISAR will be the first radar of its kind in space to systematically map Earth, using two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in our planet's surface less than a centimeter across.
- NISAR has been built by space agencies of the US and India under a partnership agreement signed in 2014. It is expected to be launched in January 2024 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre into a near-polar orbit.
- By using SAR, NISAR will produce high-resolution images. SAR is capable of penetrating clouds and can collect data day and night regardless of the weather conditions.
- NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days.
- Operational Time : 3 years.
- Contributions from NASA : L-Band Radar, GPS, High Capacity Solid-State Recorder and Payload Data Sub-system.
- Contributions from ISRO : S-Band Radar, GSLV Launch System and Spacecraft.
- Earth Science: NISAR will provide a wealth of data and information about the Earth's surface changes, natural hazards, and ecosystem disturbances, helping to advance our understanding of Earth system processes and climate change.
- Disaster Management: The mission will provide critical information to help manage natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, enabling faster response times and better risk assessments.
- Agriculture: NISAR data will be used to improve agriculture management and food security by providing information about crop growth, soil moisture, and land-use changes.
- Infrastructure Monitoring: The mission will provide data for infrastructure monitoring and management, such as monitoring of oil spills, urbanization, and deforestation.
- Climate Change: NISAR will help to monitor and understand the impacts of climate change on the Earth's land surface, including melting glaciers, sea-level rise, and changes in carbon storage.
Space Related News
- The small distant world called Quaoar, named after a god of creation in Native American mythology, is producing some surprises for astronomers as it orbits beyond Pluto in the frigid outer reaches of our solar system.
- Researchers (ESA’s Chepos Telescope) said on Wednesday they have detected a ring encircling Quaoar akin to the one around the planet Saturn. But the one around Quaoar defies the current understanding of where such rings can form - located much further away from it than current scientific understanding would allow.
- Discovered in 2002, it is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a region of icy planetesimals beyond Neptune.
- Its diameter of about 700 miles is a third that of Earth’s moon and half that of the dwarf planet Pluto. It has a small moon called Weywot.
- Quaoar is located outside the Roche limit – where particles should readily come together (due to gravitational field) around a celestial body to form a moon.
Quaoar (Rings in our Solar System)
- The greatest ring system in our solar system is found on Saturn.
- The non-planetary bodies Chariklo and Haumea, as well as the other giant gas planets Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
- They all fall within the Roche limit.
- Scientists have discovered a third natural source of quasicrystals, extending the latter’s reputation for violent origins.
- It is challenging to create quasicrystals in a laboratory, and the way they form has always been a mystery. Scientists have found natural quasicrystals in three different sources :
- Khatyrka Meteorite
- In the remains of the first atomic bomb detonated (the Trinity test, part of the Manhattan Project)
- In a metallic fragment in the Sand Hills dunes in northern Nebraska (USA)
- These three sources suggest that quasicrystals are formed under extreme conditions such as high pressure, high temperature, and heavy electric currents.
Quasicrystals (What Are They?)
- There are 3 forms of Solid Matter :
- The American-Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman discovered quasicrystals in the lab in 1982. He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery.
- Storage of energy
- Repair of bone tissues
- Broad wavelength reflectors
- Heat insulation
- Thermal spraying
- Coating of utensils
- Magnetron spurting
Jupiter Beats Saturn
- Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter, putting the total count at a record-breaking 92.
- That's more than any other planet in our solar system. Saturn, the one-time leader, comes in a close second with 83 confirmed moons.
- Jupiter and Saturn are loaded with small moons, believed to be fragments of once bigger moons that collided with one another or with comets or asteroids. The same goes for Uranus and Neptune, but they’re so distant that it makes moon-spotting even harder.
- Uranus has 27 confirmed moons, Neptune 14, Mars two, and Earth one. Venus and Mercury come up empty.
- Jupiter’s newly discovered moons have yet to be named.
North Star (Why in News?)
- Amid demands by the Opposition for a discussion on the row surrounding the Adani Group, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday said Parliament is the “North Star” of democracy and everyone is required to work in accordance with rules.
- Interestingly, some days back, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud had called the basic structure doctrine a “North Star”, that gives “certain direction to the interpreters and implementers of the Constitution when the path ahead is convoluted”.
North Star (What is it?)
- Polaris, also known as the North Star or the Pole Star, is a very bright star (around 2500 times more luminous than our sun) placed less than 1° away from the north celestial pole.
- Its position and brightness have made humans use it for navigation since late antiquity. It is a part of the constellation Ursa Minor and is around 323 light-years away from Earth.
- Since Polaris lies nearly in a direct line with the Earth’s rotational axis “above” the North Pole, it stands almost motionless in the night sky, with all the stars of the northern sky appearing to rotate around it.
- This makes it an excellent fixed point from which to draw measurements for celestial navigation.
- The northern celestial pole changes over time. “If you picture a line connecting Earth’s North and South Poles as the axis around which Earth rotates, that axis is slowly moving in its own circle”.
- Over a period of around 26,000 years, the Earth’s axis completes one full rotation.