Facts in News


    Facts in News

    World Asteroid Day

    The International Asteroid Day is observed every year on June 30 as per the United Nations resolution.


    • The day marks the Tunguska impact when an asteroid struck over Siberia in 1908. The impact was the biggest in recorded history.
    • It started in 2016 in order to make people aware of the possible impact of Asteroids on Earth and its inhabitants.
    • The day was co-founded by Stephen Hawking, Grigorij Richters, Danica Remy, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, and Brian May.
    • The decision was made based on a proposal by the Association of Space Explorers, which was endorsed by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).


    • Apart from the stars, planets and satellites, there are numerous tiny bodies that also move around the sun. These bodies are called asteroids. They are found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
    • Asteroids are leftover from the formation of our solar system. Our solar system began about 4.6 billion years ago when a big cloud of gas and dust collapsed.
    • Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA): Which have orbits that pass close by the Earth.
    • Trojans: Asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet.
      • NASA reports the presence of Jupiter, Neptune and Mars trojans.

    NASA Asteroid Missions

    • NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft landed on Eros, an asteroid near Earth, in 2001.
    • Dawn spacecraft travelled to the asteroid belt in 2011
    • In 2016, NASA launched the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to study an asteroid near Earth named Bennu.
    • Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission: NASA in 2018 has announced that it had started the construction of DART, scheduled to be launched in 2021 with an aim to slam into the smaller asteroid of the Didymos system in 2022.
    • Hera mission: It is the asteroid deflection mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) that scheduled to be launched in 2024 

    Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS)

    • Set up by the General Assembly in 1959 to govern the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity for peace, security and development.
    • It was tasked with reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, studying space-related activities that could be undertaken by the United Nations.

    Guindy National Park

    Guindy National Park provides a number of ecosystem services to the people of one of India’s biggest metropolises.

    Ecosystem Services:

    • It is the varied benefits to humans provided by the natural environment and from healthy ecosystems.

    Image Courtesy: Earthwise Aware


    • It is India’s eighth-smallest national park and one of the very few national parks located in heart of Chennai’s metropolitan area.
    • It was one of the last remnants of the tropical dry evergreen forests of the Coromandel Coast.
      • It purifies the air but also acts as a habitat for a wide number of faunal species.
    • Guindy National Park was originally a game reserve. During the 1670s, a garden space (Guindy Lodge) was carved out of the Guindy forest and that was built by William Langhome (1672-1678), the governor of colonial Madras as his residence.
    • Guindy Snake Park is next to Guindy National Park. It gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in 1995.

    Flora & Fauna:

    • It has a significant population of blackbucks, spotted deers, jackals, varieties of snakes, over 100 species of birds and over 60 species of butterflies.

    Saral Sanchar Portal

    • Telecom companies can now apply online for the licence to use spectrum for trials and demonstration on Saral Sanchar Portal 
    • Saral Sanchar (Simplified Application For Registration and Licenses) is a web-based portal for Issuing various types of licenses and registration certificates.
    • The following types of licenses/authorizations shall be issued from this portal:
      • Unified License.
      • Unified License-Virtual Network Operator.
      • WPC Licenses (Wireless Planning and Coordination).

    Atmanirbhar Krishi App

    The App was created to equip farmers with actionable agricultural insights and early weather alerts.


    • The data related to soil type, soil health, moisture, weather, and water table were aggregated and analysed to generate personalized insights.
    • The app brings together data relevant to the farmer and his farm, from various agencies and departments of the Government of India.


    • The app was envisioned in 5 stages:
      • Data aggregation
      • Building centralized insights
      • Enable local expertise (KVK) supported interactions and insights
      • Deriving Machine Learning inferences
      • Continuous improvement


    • Available in 12 languages for free of cost for farmers, start-ups, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Self Help Groups, and NGOs.
    • Designed to work on minimal bandwidth considering the connectivity issues in the remote areas of the country.
    • The app relies on the geo-location of the farm to provide relevant data.
    • It will facilitate Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) to interact with farmers more specifically as per the existing ground realities.

    Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs)

    • They are an agricultural extension centre in India, usually associated with a local agricultural university.
    • These centres serve as the ultimate link between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and farmers and aim to apply agricultural research in a practical, localized setting. 
    • All KVKs fall under the jurisdiction of one of the 11 Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARIs) throughout India.


    • It is the first autonomous digital drone defence dome system in India.


    • Developed by: Hyderabad-based Grene Robotics 
    • Range: An area of 1,000-2,000 sq km per system 
    • Uses
      • provides protection to defence bases; 
      • Detection of threats such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), incoming weapons, loitering munitions, low Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets autonomously; and
      • beneficial for linear infrastructures like international borders against advanced weaponry.
    • Key attributes:
      • Real-time situational awareness
      • Distributed, Decentralised and Mobile
      • Integrated and Intelligent meshed network
      • Ability to integrate with all current weapons suite and infrastructure
      • Honeycombed cell structure seamlessly built over a combination of 9-10 technologies
      • 24x7x365 persistent and autonomous monitoring, tracking and action


    • The first-of-its-kind research initiative called ‘Fund for Industrial Research Engagement (FIRE)’ is launched by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).


    • Collaboration:  Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI and Intel India.
    • Aim: To utilize the expertise available in academic institutions and national laboratories to solve industry-specific problems for the larger benefit of society. 
    • Benefits:
    • Brings together industry and academia on a common platform.
    • Promotes innovative technology solutions and strengthens academic research through collaboration with key research and development (R&D) organizations in India. 
    • Extended to other industry members, which would increase its impact and reach.
    • SERB:
      • A statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI.
      • Aims to build up best management systems that would match the best global practices in the area of promotion and funding of basic research.