Current Affairs Nov 21

India’s Import of Crude Oil Will Reduce In Coming Years

  • In the normal sugar season, about 320 LMT of sugar is produced against domestic consumption of 260 LMT.
  • To deal with surplus stocks of sugar, sugar-mills are being encouraged by the Government to export sugar, for which Government has been extending financial assistance.
  • However, India being a developing country can export sugar by extending financial assistance for marketing and transport only up to year 2023 as per WTO arrangements.
  • So, as a long term solution to deal with surplus sugar, to improve sustainability of sugar industry and to ensure timely payment of cane dues to farmers,
      • Government has been encouraging diversion of excess sugarcane & sugar to ethanol for supplying to Oil Marketing Companies for blending with petrol
      • Which not only would reduce import dependency on crude oil, promote ethanol as a fuel which is indigenous & nonpolluting, but will also enhance income of sugarcane farmers.
  • Earlier, the Government had fixed a target of 10% blending of fuel grade ethanol with petrol by 2022 and 20% blending by 2030 but now Government is preparing a plan to prepone achievement of 20% blending target.
  • However, as the existing ethanol distillation capacity in the country is not sufficient to produce ethanol to achieve blending targets,
      • Government is encouraging sugar mills, distilleries and entrepreneurs to set up new distilleries and to expand their existing distillation capacities and
      • Is also extending financial assistance by way of interest subvention for 5 years at 6% maximum rate of interest against the loans availed by sugar mills/ distilleries from banks for setting up their projects.
  • However, as the blending targets cannot be achieved only by diverting sugarcane / sugar to ethanol therefore,
      • Government is also encouraging distilleries to produce ethanol from other feed stocks like grains, etc for which the present distillation capacity is not sufficient.
  • Government is making efforts for production of ethanol from surplus rice with FCI to supply to Oil Marketing Companies to mix with petrol in Ethanol Supply Year 2020-21 (December-November).
  • Efforts are also being made to produce ethanol from maize in states which have sufficient production of maize.



Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT)

  • The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy is being conducted from 18 – 20 November 2020.
  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies are participating in the CORPAT.
  • As part of Government of India’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with
      • EEZ Surveillance, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and other capacity building and capability-enhancement activities, on their request.
  • The two navies have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line twice a year since 2005, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
  • CORPAT builds up the understanding and interoperability between navies and facilitates institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy.
  • It further enhances the operational synergy by exchange of information for prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and for conduct of SAR operations at sea.



World Fisheries Day: Nov 21st

  • Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying is celebrating the ‘World Fisheries Day’ on 21st November 2020.
  • For the first time in Fisheries Sector the Government of India will award
      • Best performing States for 2019-20 namely, Odisha (amongst Marine states),
      • Uttar Pradesh (amongst Inland states) and
      • Assam (amongst Hilly and NE states).
  • The Govt. of India will also award
      • Best Organisations for 2019-20 [Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd. (for Marine); Telangana State Fishermen Cooperative societies Federation Ltd (for Inland), and Assam Apex Cooperative Fish Marketing and Processing Federation Ltd. (for Hilly region)];
      • Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh as best Marine District;
      • Kalahandi, Odisha as best Inland District;
      • Nagaon, Assam as Best Hilly and NE District.
  • World Fisheries Day is celebrated on 21st November every year to demonstrate solidarity with all fisherfolk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders throughout the world.
  • It started in 1997 where “World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers” met at New Delhi leading to formation of “World Fisheries Forum” with representatives from 18 countries and signed a declaration advocating for a global mandate of sustainable fishing practices and policies.
  • The event aims to draw attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of our marine and inland resources.
  • The celebrations serve to focus on changing the way the world manages global fisheries to ensure sustainable stocks and healthy ecosystems.
  • India is leading fish producing country and second major producer of fish through aquaculture in the world.
  • India contributes about 7.7% to the global fish production and country ranks 4th in global exports of fish products.
  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Blue Revolution” which was launched in December, 2015 had made vital contributions towards the development of the sector.
  • The Fisheries sector has contributed about 1.24% to the national GVA and about 7.28% of the agricultural GVA in 2018-19.
  • This year, on 10th September, 2020, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the “Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana” (PMMSY) at an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores for a period of five years, i.e., from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • PMMSY aims to achieve fish production to 22 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2024-25 and also to create an additional employment opportunity to about 55 lakh people.
  • Government has also extended to facilities of Kissan Credit Cards (KCC) to fishers and fish farmers to help them in meeting their working capital needs.




Naturopathy Day: 18th November

  • Naturopathy Day is observed every year in the country on 18th November, the day on which Mahatma Gandhi become a Life Member of the Nature Cure Foundation Trust and signed the deed.
  • Gandhiji is considered the founding figure of Naturopathy in India, as it was largely through his efforts that this practice which originated in Europe became popular in India.
  • It is the art and science of healthy living that does not apply any form of medication.
  • Naturopaths believe that the body is made up of panchamahabhoota, the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, space.
  • For instance, earth treatments may include mud packs, water treatments may have a hip bath for pelvic disorders, fire treatments may include steam baths and hot oil packs, space treatments will have fasting, while air treatments centre on pranayama.
  • Elimination forms a large part of the treatment, through four elimination organs: the skin, lung, kidney, and colon.
  • Its limitations are for emergency situations, like accidents or a heart attack.
  • The reasons naturopathy has failed to take off, includes the lack of a central governing body to regulate the study and practice of the system, and the fact that it has no pharma products to market.




1st Animal study in India on coronavirus

  • The first animal study in India on coronavirus, which is a collaborative effort between Ministry of AYUSH and Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), has moved to its final stage.
  • This concerns pre-clinical studies on four oral interventions which have already been taken up for clinical studies.
  • The clinical studies are being pursued through another collaboration of the Ministry of AYUSH, the partner in this one being the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The collaboration relating to the animal study (in-vivo) arose from an MoU signed between the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) of the Ministry of AYUSH and the DBT.
  • It is based on the concept of reverse Pharmacology (PH) which explores the scientific reasoning behind established medical practice like those of Ayurveda.
  • The study was being held at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of DBT located in Faridabad.



National Newborn Week 2020: 15-21 November

  • In India, the National Newborn Week 2020 is observed every year from 15 to 21 November.
  • Purpose: to reinforce the importance of newborn health as a key priority area of the health sector and reduce the infant mortality rate by improving healthcare conditions for babies in the neonatal period.
  • The theme of National Newborn Week 2020 is ‘Quality, Equity, Dignity for every newborn at every health facility and everywhere’.
  • In 2014, India became the first country to launch the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP), in alignment with the Global Every Newborn Action Plan towards eliminating preventable deaths of new-borns and stillbirths.

Care of newborns includes:

  • Immediate and thorough drying,
  • Skin to skin contact of the newborn with the mother,
  • Cord clamping and cutting after the first minutes after birth,
  • Early initiation of breastfeeding, and exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Newborns who do not start breathing on their own by one minute after birth should receive positive pressure ventilation with room air by a self-inflating bag and mask.
  • After the first hour of life, newborns should receive eye care, vitamin K, and recommended immunizations (birth dose of OPV and Hepatitis B vaccine, BCG).
  • They should be assessed for birth weight, gestational age, congenital defects and signs of newborn illness.
  • Special care should be provided for sick newborns, those who are preterm and/or low birth weight, and those who are exposed or infected by HIV or have congenital syphilis.




Draft Rules under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020

  • Union Ministry of Labour and Employment has notified the draft rules under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 inviting objections and suggestions, if any, from the stakeholders.
  • Draft Rules are aimed at enhancing safety, health and working conditions and simplifying procedures

The salient features of the draft rules include:

  • Appointment letter in prescribed format including designation, category of skill, wages, avenue for achieving higher wages/higher position etc. to every employee of an establishment within three months of coming into force of the rules.
      1. As per new rules no employee shall be employed in any establishment unless he has been issued a letter of appointment.
  • Annual health examination to be conducted by the employer free of cost for every worker of factory, dock, mine and building or other construction work, who has completed 45 years of age.
  •  Provision has also been made in the rules regarding journey allowance once in a year for to & fro journey and Toll Free Helpline number for interstate migrant worker with a view to address their concerns and grievances in a timely manner.
  • Single electronic registration, license and annual integrated return for an establishment.
  • An all India single license for contractor supplying or engaging contract labour in more than one State for five years has been provided as against work order based licensing at present.
  • Rules for prohibition of employment of contract labour for core activity of an establishment and the classification of core and non-core activities is laid down in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.
  • Payment of wages to contact labour
      1. the contractor shall fix the wage periods and no wage period shall exceed one month.
      2. The wages of every person employed as contract labour in an establishment or by the contactor shall be paid before the expiry of seventh day after the last day of the wage period.
      3. The wages shall be disbursed through bank transfer or electronic mode only.
  • Safety committees have been made mandatory for every establishment employing 500 or more workers to provide an opportunity for the workers to represent their concern on occupational safety and health matters and rules have been provided for composition and functions of safety committees.
  • The rules has been made regarding conditions relating to safety of women employment in all establishment for all type of work before 6 a.m. and beyond 7 p.m. with their consent.
  • In calculating overtime on any day, a fraction of an hour between 15 to 30 minutes shall be counted as 30 minutes, at present less than 30 minutes is counted as no overtime.
  • Mines rules have also been simplified and integrated with the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions rules.
  • Thus, the draft Rules are aimed at enhancing safety, health and working conditions in establishments, simplifying the procedures and protocols, allowing electronic mode of maintaining registers, records and furnishing returns, thus ensuring safe, healthy and decent working conditions.



Identifying M Dwarf Stars That Can Be Potentially Habitable

  • Scientists have established some empirical relationships enabling the use of spectral indices for finding the fundamental parameters of M dwarf stars that could identify them as potentially habitable.
  • M dwarfs are the tiniest of the stars that have masses ranging from about 8 percent to about 50 percent of the Sun’s mass.
  • More than 70% of all stars in our Galaxy are M dwarfs (also known as red dwarfs), dominating the stellar populations by number.
  • As new evidence that the chances of the occurrence of planetary systems, especially Earth-like planets orbiting in ‘habitable zones’, increases with decreasing stellar mass and radius,
      • M dwarfs are becoming attractive targets for potentially habitable extra-planet searches due to their proximity, small size, and low mass.
      • NASA’s Kepler mission suggests that M dwarfs are swarming with rocky planets, making the characterization of these low-mass stars crucial.
  • A total of 53 M dwarfs were studied using the TIFR Near-Infrared (NIR) Spectrometer and Imager (TIRSPEC) instrument on the 2-m Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at Hanle, India.
  • A new medium resolution spectra of M-type dwarf stars (M0V–M7V) covering the NIR wavelength was derived.
  • Using effective temperature (Teff), radius, and luminosity of nearby bright calibrator stars, the team has created new empirical relationships among those fundamental parameters and spectral indices of M dwarfs.
  • The determination of stellar parameters in M dwarfs have been a challenging task as these M dwarfs are smaller, cooler, and fainter than Sun-like stars.
  • These new empirical relationships could help overcome this challenge.



Study on ‘Status of Radicalisation’

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has, for the first time, approved a research study on “status of radicalisation in India.”
  • The study would attempt to legally define “radicalisation” and suggest amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), the police think tank of the MHA, had invited research proposals from academicians and legal experts in the year 2018.
  • It received 75 proposals, and two topics – “Status of Radicalization in India: An Exploratory Study of Prevention and Remedies” and “Functioning and Impact of Open Prisons on Rehabilitation of Prisoners” were shortlisted by the MHA in September.
  • S. Bajpai, Director of the Centre for Criminology and Victimology, National Law University (NLU), Delhi, will conduct the research on radicalisation.
  • Radicalisation is yet to be defined legally, this leads to misuse by the police.
  • Bajpai, is also the member-secretary of Committee on Criminal Reforms constituted by the MHA to overhaul the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC).



An Algorithm to Detect Brain Signals, Restore Body Movement

  • A machine learning algorithm has been designed to detect patterns in brain signals that relate to specific actions like walking and typing.
  • These signals can be used to develop brain-machine interfaces that help restore lost functions for people with neurological and mental disorders.
  • Study titled ‘Modeling behaviorally relevant neural dynamics enabled by preferential subspace identification.’
  • The team tested the algorithm on standard brain datasets during the performance of arm and eye movements.
  • The algorithm could predict the movement kinematics by simply looking at the neural patterns in brain signals that generate the movement.
  • The algorithm can also identify multiple actions by assessing brain signals. For example, it can recognise when the brain is typing a message on a keyboard and acknowledge if a person is thirsty at that same time.
  • Funded by the U.S. Army, the system could be used to foresee and notify soldiers if they are stressed or fatigued, before they realise themselves.



Lunar Rovers to Be Powered By Wireless Chargers

  • A NASA-funded space technology company Astrobotic is developing lightweight, ultrafast wireless chargers that could help both humans and robots live and work on the moon.
  • A wireless charging system would mitigate challenges for standalone systems that don’t have the resources to generate power independently through the traditional methods.
  • The magnetic resonance-based power supply system is the first of its kind in space proximity charging.
  • The charging technology can be used not only on the Moon, but also in critical space applications on Mars, in orbit, and beyond.
  • Astrobotic’s ultralight CubeRover will be the first space technology to be integrated with the wireless charging system.
  • The CubeRover will have an intelligent autonomous navigation system that will help it to find charging docks to power-up.
  • Such a high precise navigation system will also help other planetary rovers to find charging stations.
  • Astrobotic expects the new technology to eliminate the issues on wireless charging in space like how to keep away the metallic iron in moon dust from interfering with charging connections.
  • Moon dust is very fine and tends to stick to surfaces because it gets electrically charged.



Willow Warbler

  • Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), one of the longest migrating small birds that breeds throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic, has been sighted for the first time in the country at Punchakkari in the capital, Kerala.
  • While the bird weighs around 10 g, its long wing feathers that help fly long distances makes it peculiar. Usually seen in European and the Palearctic regions, the birds migrate to sub-Saharan Africa during early winter.
  • Warblers are generally difficult to identify owing to the small size and change in plumage twice a year.
  • They are also the most difficult groups of birds to identify in the field for their striking resemblance to each other.
  • The Vellayani-Punchakkari paddy fields are a birding hotspot on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.
  • It is known to harbour more than 213 species of birds that include both resident and migratory ones.
  • As many as seven species of warblers have been recorded from the Vellayani-Punchakkari fields.



Project Kirana

  • To enable women entrepreneurs to launch, grow and thrive, Mastercard and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced their partnership to launch Project Kirana.
  • A two year programme, the project will first be rolled out in select cities of Uttar Pradesh – Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi.
  • It will work to increase revenue streams, expand financial inclusion and digital payments adoption of kirana shops that are owned or operated by women.
  • The focus will specifically be on building financial and literacy skills and the topics will include banking, digital payments, savings and credit as well as insurance.
  • It will also include outreach to men and families in order to derive meaningful impact and reach.

Why Uttar Pradesh was chosen to launch this programme?

  • UP is one of the most populous states of India.
  • It also has the largest number of people engaged in the informal sector.
  • Besides this, it has the largest number of MSMEs at 14%.
  • The state has 10.3% of the total women employed in MSMEs which is also one of the largest after West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
  • Yet, within the state, not even 10% of the MSMEs are women-led. So there is a lot of scope to push the number up in the state.
  • The programme aims to build financial and digital literacy skills;
      • Improve basic business management skills including inventory management, accounting, budget management and customer loyalty;
      • Addressing cultural and other barriers to women becoming successful kirana entrepreneurs;
      • Including outreach to men, family members, and the community.


Booker Prize

  • The Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart has won the Booker prize for his first novel, Shuggie Bain, a story based on his own life that follows a boy growing up in poverty in 1980s Glasgow with a mother who is battling addiction.
  • He is the second Scot to win the £50,000 award after James Kelman took the prize in 1994 with How Late It Was, How Late, a book Stuart said “changed his life” because it was the first time he saw “my people, my dialect, on the page”.
  • The novel is dedicated to Stuart’s mother, who died of alcoholism when he was 16.
  • His second novel, titled Loch Awe.
  • Shuggie Bain was rejected by 30 editors before it was picked up by publishers Grove Atlantic in the US and Picador in the UK.
  • Stuart, who was born and raised in Glasgow, moved to New York at 24 to work in fashion design after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London.


Counter Terrorism Dialogue between India and the European Union

  • The 12th Counter Terrorism Dialogue between India and the European Union (EU) was held recently.
  • The Dialogue was an opportunity to continue close cooperation and coordination on this important element of the India-EU strategic partnership.
  • Both India and the EU resolved to support each other in the fight against terrorism.
  • India and the EU strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism.
  • India and the EU emphasised the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner.
  • They reaffirmed that it is crucial that perpetrators of violence and terrorism are brought to justice.
  • The participants of the Dialogue reviewed threats posed by UN-sanctioned terrorist entities and emphasised the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks.
  • They also underlined the urgent need for all countries to take immediate, sustained and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under their control is used for terrorist attacks on other countries.



Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

  • In the wake of rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a global group called ‘One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance’ was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • This 20-member group comprises heads of states, current and former ministers of different countries, leaders from the private sector and civil society.
  • It is co-chaired by the prime ministers of Barbados and Bangladesh, Mia Mottley and Sheikh Hasina Wazed, respectively.
  • The heads of FAO, OIE and WHO are ex-officio members of the group.
  • The group was created in response to a recommendation from the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) that submitted its report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in April 2019.
  • The IACG was convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations after the UN high-level meeting on AMR in 2017.
  • The group will harness the leadership and influence of these world-renowned figures to catalyze global attention and action to preserve antimicrobial medicines and avert the disastrous consequences of antimicrobial resistance.
  • The group has to monitor the global response to antimicrobial resistance;
      • Maintain public momentum;
      • Provide regular reports on the science and evidence related to AMR to the UN member states,
      • Advocate for the inclusion of AMR ‘lens’ in investments on agriculture, health, development, food and feed production; and
      • Push for multi-stakeholder engagement on the issue.
  • The group will meet twice a year.


Antimalaria Drug Resistance

  • Malaria killed 405,000 people in 2018 and affected 218 million people. However, the fight against this killer is becoming difficult due to the growing resistance against malarial drugs.
  • While the risk due to antimalarial drug resistance is not high currently, any complacency can lead to a loss of hard-fought gains, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The report, released as part of the ongoing World Antimicrobial Awareness week, was prepared on the basis of studies conducted from 2010-2019.
  • Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the first and second line of treatment for malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum).
  • This parasite causes a majority of malarial cases in the WHO’s African and South-East Asian regions, the hubs of the disease.
  • The role of the artemisinin compound is to reduce the number of parasites during the first three days of treatment (ie reduce parasite biomass).
  • The role of the partner drug is to eliminate the remaining parasites (ie cure the infection). Six ACT combinations are usually prescribed.
  • According to the new WHO report, ACTs remain efficacious across the world, by and large. Wherever treatment failures were observed, policy changes were introduced.
  • The five countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar have been epicentres of antimalarial drug resistance.
  • The highest prevalence of PfK13 mutations was found in the GMS. ‘C580Y’ is the mutation most frequently identified. It was found in 9.8 per cent of the samples.

Other malaria parasite

  • The other common parasite that causes malaria, especially in India, is P vivax.
  • Chloroquine (CQ) is the most commonly prescribed drug for this parasite.
  • Twenty-eight countries, including India, showed the CQ resistance.
  • Antimalarial therapies other than CQ had been deployed to treat malaria cases and they had shown effective results.


Edinburgh Medal 2020

  • Sunita Narain, director-general of New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), has won this year’s Edinburgh Medal 2020, instituted by the City of Edinburgh Council.
  • The Edinburgh Medal is an award given each year to women and men who have made significant contributions to science and technology and the understanding and well-being of humanity.
  • The Medal is being awarded in recognition of the role Narain has played and continues to play, in formulating policies on climate emergency in India as well as in the global arena.
  • Narain has also been named the ‘national climate leader’ from India for 2019 in the first National Climate Leader Awards published in the Global Spotlight Report #22 by Climate Scorecard.


Cucumber Peels

  • Cucumber peels may soon be seen in a new avatar — eco-friendly packaging of food materials.
  • Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, said they have developed cellulose nanocrystals from cucumber peels with high cellulose content that could be used instead of single-use plastic for food packaging material.
  • The cellulose nanomaterial developed displayed strength, elongation, barrier and optical properties possessed by natural biopolymers.
  • The cellulose nanocrystals possess modifiable properties, which resulted in better biodegradability and biocompatibility.
  • These nanocellulose materials are strong, renewable and economic material of the near future.
  • Cucumber peels possessed greater cellulose content, at 18.22 per cent.
  • They are also non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible product.
  • They have no adverse effects on health and the environment, and hence, could have a huge market potential by rendering management of organic waste with high cellulose content profitable.


Fritillaria Delavayi

  • For thousands of years, the dainty Fritillaria delavayi has grown slowly on the rocky slopes of the Hengduan Mountains in China, producing a bright green flower after its fifth year.
  • But people harvest the flower for traditional Chinese medicine.
  • As commercial harvesting has intensified, Fritillaria delavayi has vanished – by rapidly evolving to produce grey and brown leaves and flowers that cannot be so easily seen by pickers.
  • Scientists have discovered that the colour of the plant’s leaves has become more camouflaged – matching the background rocks on which they grow – in areas where there is more harvesting pressure from people.
  • Fritillaria delavayi is a perennial herb that grows leaves at a young age before producing a single flower after its fifth year every June.
  • The bulb of the fritillary species has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years but high prices in recent years have led to increased harvesting.
  • Many plants seem to use camouflage to hide from herbivores that may eat them – but here we see camouflage evolving in response to human collectors.



  • China is preparing to launch its lunar sample return mission, Chang’e-5.
  • Recently the 57-metre Long March-5 rocket was rolled into position at the Wenchang spacecraft launch site in south China’s Hainan province.
  • This will be the fifth launch of the Long March-5.
  • Chang’e-5 was originally planned for launch in 2017, but the failure of the Long March 5’s second flight delayed the schedule as a rocket engine was redesigned.
  • Chang’e-5 is a complex mission. A service module will stay in orbit while a lander will descend to the volcanic site of Mons Rümker, in the Oceanus Procellarum region of the lunar nearside.
  • The lander will robotically collect around 2kg of lunar material, which it will launch into lunar orbit to rendezvous with the service module.
  • This will then return to Earth.
  • The sequence is reminiscent of a crewed mission, and could be a test of software and systems that China will use for future human landings.