Current Affairs Jan 18

Semeru Volcano

Why in News?

  • Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island of Java, spewed hot clouds as far away as 4.5 kilometers (nearly 3 miles).
  • Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic activity as well as earthquakes.

About Semeru

  • Semeru – also known as “The Great Mountain” – is the highest volcano in Java and one of the most active. It is also one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist hiking destinations.
  • The volcano previously erupted in December.
  • Within the last week, Indonesia has endured multiple landslides, a deadly earthquake on Sulawesi Island, and the loss of a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 with 62 people on board.

What makes a volcano erupt?

  • There are several different causes for a volcano to erupt which all fundamentally come down to a pressure change within the volcano which forces the magma to overflow the chamber it is held in.
  • The most common type of eruption is caused by the movement of tectonic plates.
  • When one is pushed under the other the magma, sediment and seawater is forced into the chamber which eventually overflows and the volcano erupts spewing lava into the sky.
  • This kind of eruption produces sticky, thick lava at temperatures from 800 to 1,000C.
  • The second type of eruption caused by tectonic plates is when the plates move away from each other allowing magma to rise and fill the the gap, which can cause a gentle explosion of thin lava of temperatures between 800 to 1,200C.
  • Decreasing temperatures can cause old magma to crystallise and sink to the bottom of the chamber and this movement can force fresh liquid magma up and out – similar to dropping a brick in a bucket of water.
  • Finally a decrease in external pressure can trigger an eruption as it may minimise the volcano’s ability to hold back by increasing the pressures inside the magma chamber.
  • This kind of eruption can be caused by natural events such as typhoons, which decrease rock density, and glacial melting on the top of the volcano which alters the molten rock composition.
  • Glacial melting is believed to be one cause behind the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland.




Merapi Volcano

Why in News?

  • Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano spewed avalanches of hot clouds, recently.
  • The amplitude record and seismic recording data from Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center estimated the hot clouds spread less than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the crater.

About Mountain

  • Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi (literally Fire Mountain in Indonesian and Javanese), is an active stratovolcano located on the border between Central Java and Special Region of Yogyakarta provinces, Indonesia.
  • It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548.
  • The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) mountain is about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the Yogyakarta city centre.
  • Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers.
  • Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.




Upper Ocean Temperatures

Why in News?

  • Enough extra heat was absorbed by the world’s seas last year to boil some 1.3 billion kettles, continuing a trend of increasing ocean temperatures, a study has found.

Report Said

  • Researchers from China said that a ‘severe risk’ is posed to humanity by the rising temperatures, which continue despite the COVID-related dip in emissions last year.
  • The ocean acts as a buffer to global warming, soaking up more than 90 per cent of the extra heat generated by the phenomenon.
  • The effects of ocean warming will bring more natural catastrophes — such as the wildfires that raged in Australia and the Amazon in 2020.
  • In the new study, researchers noted the highest ocean temperatures recorded in 65 years as taken from surface level down to a depth of 1.24 miles (2 kilometres).
  • ‘Warmer oceans and a warmer atmosphere also promote more intense rainfalls in all storms, and especially hurricanes, increasing the risk of flooding.
  • Extreme fires like those witnessed in 2020 will become even more common in the future. Warmer oceans also make storms more powerful, particularly typhoons and hurricanes.
  • Over 90 per cent of the excess heat due to global warming is absorbed by the oceans, so ocean warming is a direct indicator of global warming.

Ocean Salinity

  • Alongside analysing ocean temperatures, the researchers also examined ocean salinity measurements taken down to a depth of 1.24 miles (2 kilometres), as recorded in the so-called World Ocean Database.
  • They found that the upper layers of the oceans are warming faster than their deeper counterparts — with knock-on effects that could damage marine ecosystems.
  • ‘The fresh gets fresher, the salty gets saltier.
  • ‘The ocean takes a large amount of global warming heat, buffering global warming.’


  • On land, heatwaves can be deadly for humans and wildlife and can devastate crops and forests.
  • Unusually warm periods can also occur in the ocean.
  • These can last for weeks or months, killing off kelp forests and corals, and producing other significant impacts on marine ecosystems, fishing and aquaculture industries.
  • Yet until recently, the formation, distribution and frequency of marine heatwaves had received little research attention.

Daily Mail



Forest Loss ‘hotspots’ Bigger than Germany

Why in News?

  • More than 43 million hectares of forest — an area bigger than Germany — have been lost in a little over a decade in just a handful of deforestation hotspots, conservation organisation WWF said.
  • Swathes of forest continue to be flattened each year — mainly due to industrial-scale agriculture — as biodiversity-rich areas are cleared to create space for livestock and crops.

Analysis by WWF

  • Found that just 29 sites across South America, Africa and South East Asia were responsible for more than half of the global forest loss.
  • The Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, the Bolivian Amazon, Paraguay, Argentina, Madagascar, along with Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia and Malaysia were among the worst affected.
  • In Brazil’s Cerrado region, home to five percent of the planet’s animals and plants, land has been cleared rapidly for soy and cattle production, leading to a 32.8-percent loss of forest area between 2004-2017.
  • The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a groundbreaking report on land use in 2019, in which it outlined a string of looming trade-offs in using land.
  • In that same year, the UN’s biodiversity panel said that 75 percent of all land on earth had been “severely degraded” by human activity.
  • Forests are an enormous carbon sink, together with other vegetation and soil sucking up roughly a third of all the carbon pollution humans produce annually.

New Indian Express



‘Ocean 100’

Why in News?

  • Most of the revenues extracted from use of the world’s oceans is concentrated among 100 transnational corporations, which have been identified for the first time by researchers.
  • Dubbed the “Ocean 100,” these “ocean economy” companies collectively generated $1.1 trillion in revenues in 2018, according to research published.
  • If the group were a country, it would have the world’s 16th-largest economy, roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Mexico.

About the Study

  • The researchers studied eight core industries in the ocean economy: offshore oil and gas, marine equipment and construction, seafood production and processing, container shipping, shipbuilding and repair, cruise tourism, port activities and offshore wind.
  • The 100 largest companies took an estimated 60 percent of the $1.9 trillion in revenues generated by these industries in 2018, the most recent year analyzed.
  • Offshore oil and gas dominated the Ocean 100 list with a combined revenue of $830 billion.
  • On average, the 10 largest companies in each industry took 45 percent of that industry’s total revenue.
  • The highest concentrations were found in cruise tourism (93 percent), container shipping (85 percent) and port activities (82 percent).

Ocean 100

  • The Ocean 100 builds on the concept of “keystone actors” developed by Österblom and his colleagues at the centre in a 2015 paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.
  • Using keystone species in ecosystems as an analogy, the researchers identified a handful of corporations that dominate the global seafood industry.
  • The study led to the formation of the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) initiative as a way to connect scientists with industry leaders to work toward more sustainable seafood production.

UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

  • This year marks the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, designed to give us the science we need for the ocean we want.



Red and Green Snow Algae Increase Snowmelt

Why in News?

  • Red and green algae that grow on snow in the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) cause significant extra snowmelt on par with melt from dust on snow in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Algal blooms are likely to increase in Antarctica as the planet continues to warm, which will further exacerbate seasonal snowmelt and contribute to the expansion of ice-free areas in the AP region.


  • This could have serious impacts on regional climate, snow and ice melt, freshwater availability and ecosystems, yet is not accounted for in current global climate models.
  • The blooms can be so intense and dark, like wearing a dark T-shirt on a sunny day that they warm up the surface and cause more melting.
  • The warming is likely expanding and strengthening the snow algae bloom season, which could continue to increase in this region of Antarctica as the climate continues to warm.

Impact on Albedo

  • The researchers investigated the impacts of red and green algae on albedo, which is how much light the surface of the snow reflects back to space, and radiative forcing, which is how much energy the surface absorbs.
  • Darker surfaces decrease albedo and increase radiative forcing, and positive radiative forcing causes the planet to warm.
  • Because algal blooms are linked to animal waste, which produces the nutrients that the algae need to grow, the researchers chose sites that seals, penguins and other birds frequent.


  • When compared with clean snow, the scientists found that green algae patches reduce snow albedo by 40 percent, and red algae patches reduce albedo by 20 percent.
  • Green snow algae contain more chlorophyll than red snow algae and therefore absorb more solar radiation, reducing albedo by a greater amount for the same concentration of algae in the snow.
  • As a result, radiative forcing averages are twice as high for green patches compared with red patches.


Cryospheric Hazards

Why in News?

  • Recently, researchers analyzed hazards related to the atmospheric, oceanic and land cryosphere and their phenomena, mechanisms and impacts. They also evaluated the future trends of the risks of cryospheric hazards.


  • The cryosphere is an important component of the global climate system.
  • In a narrow sense, it mainly refers the glaciers, permafrost, snow cover, and sea ice because these components are continuously distributed below the freezing point with a certain thickness.
  • Cryospheric components are sensitive to climate warming, and changes in the cryosphere can lead to serious hazards to human society.

Study Findings

  • The researchers found that the recorded frost hazards show a decreasing trend, and the hail hazards distribution showed great heterogeneities in the frequency and magnitude.
  • The frequency of freezing rain events may decrease in the future, but the changes in ice load, duration of freezing rain events remains poorly understood.
  • The probability of cold heavy snowfall, ice storms, and blizzards may increase during the weak polar vortex events.
  • Therefore, it’s getting more and more difficult to predict hazards from the atmospheric cryosphere in the future, while property loss is expected to increase due to the increases in population density and wealth.
  • For the hazards from the oceanic cryosphere, researchers found that the sea ice extent is declining rapidly, making it possible for the human activities extend further into high latitude areas. The iceberg numbers will likely increase, which will increase icebergs hazards.
  • Besides, climate change also accelerates the erosion of permafrost-dominated coastlines. Due to the rapid melting of mountain glaciers and ice sheets, the sea level rise is expected to continue in the next decades and will cause threats to low coastal lands.



Egypt’s Aswan Dam

Why in News?

  • Half a century since Egypt’s ground-breaking Aswan dam was inaugurated with much fanfare, harnessing the Nile for hydropower and irrigation, the giant barrier is still criticised for its human and environmental toll.
  • It is also a stark reminder — amid high tensions today as Addis Ababa fills its colossal Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) upstream — of just how volatile politics over the life-giving, but finite, Nile water resources can be.

Aswan Dam

  • The Aswan High Dam was spearheaded in the early 1950s by charismatic pan-Arabist president Gamal Abdel Nasser.
  • Egypt, where the river provides some 97 percent of water for more than 100 million people, is the final section of the Nile’s 6,650-kilometre (4,130-mile), 10-nation journey to the Mediterranean.
  • But the 111-metre-high and 3.6-kilometre-wide Aswan High Dam, dwarfing the far smaller Aswan Low Dam built under British rule in 1902, crucially gave Cairo power to regulate the flow.
  • The dam was inaugurated on January 15, 1971, three months after Nasser’s death, by his successor Anwar al-Sadat.
  • For Egypt, an otherwise desert nation where 97 percent of the population lives along the green and fertile Nile banks, the dam revolutionised its relationship with the land. It also brought electricity to much of the country.
  • Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa, today uses similar arguments, saying its 145-metre (475-foot) GERD Blue Nile barrier — set to be Africa’s largest hydro-electric dam — is vital to provide power for its 110 million people.
  • But Egypt, with the Arab world’s largest population, sees the GERD as an existential threat.

Bangkok Post



Bolivia’s Second Largest Lake Disappeared

Why in News?

  • A huge lake in Bolivia has almost entirely disappeared. Lake Poopó used to be the countries second largest, after Lake Titicaca, and just a few decades ago in its wet season peak it would stretch almost 70km end to end and cover an area of 3,000 sq km – the size of a small country like Luxembourg.
  • Today, the lake is largely a flat expanse of salty mud.

Lake Poopo

  • Lake Poopó, is found at nearly 3,700 meters above sea level in the “Altiplano”, a large plateau in the center of the Andes Mountains.
  • It is an endorheic basin: nothing flows out, and water is lost only through evaporation. Since dissolved minerals stick around when water is evaporated, the lake is as salty as the ocean—in some places considerably saltier.
  • Nowadays, Water levels have declined over the past two decades, and eventually the lake dried out entirely at the end of 2015 after the extreme weather phenomenon of El Niño.
  • Worst affected of all are the Urus-Muratos, an indigenous community whose entire way of life was based around fishing Lake Poopó.
  • Throughout Lake Poopó’s history, there have been several periods when water levels were very low but the lake used to recover by itself thanks to the rainy season and water from its main tributary the Desaguadero River, which itself drains Lake Titicaca and flows into the slightly lower altitude Poopó.
  • But during the past few decades, much of the Desaguadero was diverted for irrigation, so there was less water left to top up the lake.
  • As Poopó is unusually shallow, mostly just a few metres deep, relatively small changes in overall water volume make a big difference to its surface area.
  • Though the lake has partially recovered due to above-average precipitation in the years since 2015, the situation is still dire.


  • Bolivia is the biggest producer of quinoa in the world and the crop increased by 45.5% from 1980 to 2011.
  • As quinoa became more popular around the world over the past decade, production increased a further 60% in just five years to meet global demand.




Trains flagged off and the Railway projects inaugurated by PM

Why in News?

  • Prime Minister flagged off 8 new trains from various destinations to Kevadiya and inaugurated the Dabhoi – Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge rail line (18 km), new Broad Gauge railway line from Chandod to Kevadiya (32 km), Newly electrified Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 km), the new station buildings of Dabhoi Jn., Chandod & Kevadiya.

Electrification of Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section

  • Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section (80 RKM) has been electrified as per Ministry of Railways Mission of 100% Railway Electrification policy.
  • This will provide cleaner, greener, faster & environment friendly Rail Transportation which will reduce carbon footprint.

 Major Benefits of the Project

  • Providing seamless rail connectivity to the world’s tallest ‘Statue of Unity’ from various directions of the nation.
  • The new Kevadiya Railway station is located approx. 6.5 km away from Statue of Unity’.
  • The alignment passes through the tribal belt of Vadaj – Chandod – Moriya – Tilakwada – Garudeshwar and will bring development to the area/ region.
  • It will also provide connectivity to important religious and ancient pilgrim places nestled on the banks of Holy River Narmada such as old temples at Karnali, Poicha & Garudeshwar.
  • Boost to both domestic & international tourism.
  • Act as a catalyst for overall socio-economic development of the region.

Salient Features of Kevadiya station

  • Kevadiya Railway Station has been registered with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for being India’s First Railway Station to be certified as Green Building by IGBC ever since inception of construction
  • LED lights and star rated branded electrical appliances will save electricity.
  • Water management through rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, eco-waterless urinals and drip irrigation.
  • The segregated green waste at source will be reused to produce fertilizer and reduce waste

Statue of Unity

  • Foundation stone for the construction of Statue of Unity was laid by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 31st October, 2013, as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
  • The gigantic Statue of Unity standing tall at a towering height of 182 meters warmly opened its doors to the public on 31st October, 2018 on the occasion of the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
  • This unique idea is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – the Iron Man & the architect of the united India.




Indigenous Device for Correcting Ballooning Of Brain Arteries & Device For Healing Of Heart Hole

Why in News?

  • Indians will soon have access to the country’s first indigenous flow diverter stent for diverting blood flow away from localized ballooning of arteries in the brain and a device that promotes better healing of the hole in the heart.

Presently Used?

  • Nitinol-based occluder devices, which are presently used to heal Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) or hole in the heart that affects 8 out of every 1000 living babies born, are currently imported to meet demands.
  • Besides, currently, India does not manufacture flow diverters stents, which are needed for diverting blood flow away from an intracranial aneurysm or localized ballooning of arteries in the brain, helping reduce chances of its rupture and related stroke.

 Technology Transfer Agreement

  • In order to address the challenges, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) under the Technical Research Centre (TRC), has entered into Technology Transfer Agreements with Pune based Biorad Medisys for two biomedical implant devices— an Atrial Septal Defect Occluder and an Intracranial Flow Diverter Stents developed by the institute in collaboration with National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore (CSIR-NAL) using superelastic NiTiNOL alloys.
  • The novel ASD occlude developed by SCTIMST promotes better healing of the hole in the heart and also has softer edge for minimizing the damage to adjacent tissue.
  • The delivery system has a novel release mechanism to enable smooth release of the device.
  • The flexible flow diverter stent that allows accurate positioning of the device across the aneurysm developed by SCTIMST is the first one to be manufactured in India.
  • It possesses kink resistance and improved radial strength through a novel braiding pattern making the device flexible and adaptable to the distortion of the vessel boundaries.
  • The device is also provided with radio-opaque markers for radiographic visibility.
  • The associated delivery system allows accurate positioning of the device across the aneurysm.




Anomalous Behaviour of Self-propelled Fluctuations

Why in News?

  • Scientists have found a clue to dynamical origin of fluctuations in systems like fish schools, swarm of insects, flocking birds and bacterial colonies, which are called active matter systems.


  • This understanding can be useful in nanotechnology applications like building small-scale energy-efficient bio-devices as well as biomedical applications like characterizing infection spread in organs, antibiotic resistance and so on.

About System

  • Such systems are made up of self-driven components which extract energy from their surroundings to generate mechanical work.
  • Due to continuous energy input, such systems are driven far from equilibrium and exhibit, unlike in equilibrium, fascinating collective behaviours, like clustering, “giant” mass fluctuations and anomalous transport.
  • Particularly, their transport properties (molecular properties, analogous to viscosity, thermal conductivity and mobility that indicate the rate at which momentum, heat, and mass are transferred from one part of a system to another) can be perplexing at times.

Example to Understand

  • The anomalous behaviour of such systems can be understood by considering a cup of coffee, stirred with a spoon.
  • If one stops stirring, the coffee will eventually come to rest, due to the internal viscous forces, which resist the fluid motion.
  • In contrast, imagine “stirring” a bacterial solution, which, under suitable conditions (bacterial concentration), can exhibit perpetual or unceasing collective directed motion; in that case, the viscosity would vanish in such “active” bacterial fluids.


  • The team studied a toy model of self-propelled particles where the ballistic motion of bacteria (like Escherichia coli) was mimicked through long-ranged particle hopping.
  • They showed that, upon tuning concentration beyond a critical value, the conductivity, or the mobility, of the particles diverges; in other words, the resistance becomes zero.
  • Moreover, they demonstrated an intimate relationship between the zero resistance and the diverging mass fluctuations in the system, thus explaining the dynamical origin of “giant’’ mass fluctuations in the system.




Heat-tolerant Wheat Varieties

Why in News?

  • Vijay Gahlaut, an Inspire Faculty Fellow of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), is exploring the epigenetic route to modify gene expression in a manner that is stably transmitted but do not involve differences in the underlying DNA sequence, so that the heritable genes do not buckle under heat stress and non-stress conditions during different grain filling stages.


  • Heat stress causes a dramatic reduction in yield and quality loss of wheat, the food crop that nurtures more than one-third of the world population.

Professor Identified

  • The role of DNA methylation (a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule) patterns of heat stress-tolerant and heat stress-sensitive wheat genotypes during different grain filling stages.
  • Proposes to carry this out through a process called epigenomic mapping, which will also help in the identification of natural epigenetic variation.
  • His recent publication in the journal ‘Genomics’ has shown that differential expression pattern of C5-MTase genes under heat stress suggesting their role in stress response in wheat. This could give a major clue to producing heat-tolerant productive wheat varieties.
  • The utilization of identical genes that differ in the extent of methylation known asepialleles identified through his research could be one of the most promising solutions to improving wheat productivity by engineering elite wheat varieties with enhanced heat stress tolerance and increase grain yield.





Why in News?

  • In an effort to honour sporting heroes of the country, the Sports Ministry has taken a decision to name all upcoming and upgraded sporting facilities of the Sports Authority of India, after renowned athletes, who have contributed to sports in India.
  • In the first leg, the newly built air-conditioned wrestling hall and the learners swimming pool in the National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Lucknow, the 100-bedded hostel in NCOE Bhopal, the multipurpose hall and Girls’ hostel in NCOE Sonepat, as well as the new STC In Guwahati which has a hostel, multipurpose hall and staff quarters, will be named after local star sportspersons.



G7 summit

Why in News?

  • The United Kingdom has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the G7 summit that is scheduled to be held in June.
  • Apart from India, Australia and South Korea are also invited to participate in the proceedings of the summit as “guest countries”.
  • Modi participated in the Biarritz G7 summit in 2019 when French President Emmanuel Macron had invited India.
  • Cooperation between the U.K. and India is significant this year as India is a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council, where the United Kingdom will take over the presidency in February.

The Group of 7

  • The G-7 or ‘Group of Seven’ are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975 by the top economies of the time as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues.
  • Canada joined the group in 1976, and the European Union began attending in 1977.
  • Initially formed as an effort by the US and its allies to discuss economic issues.
  • The G-7 was known as the ‘G-8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.
  • The Group returned to being called G-7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
  • The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters.
  • The decisions taken by leaders during annual summits are non-binding.
  • The rise of India, China, and Brazil over the past few decades has reduced the G-7’s relevance, whose share in global GDP has now fallen to around 40%.



Red Panda

Why in News?

  • Scientists from the ZSI have concluded that India is home to both the (sub) species — Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and the Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani) and the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh splits the red panda into these two phylogenetic species.
  • The red panda was considered a monotypic species till 2020 until the scientists studied its genetic make-up with respect to the geographical distribution and described the occurrence of the two species.

Pragmatic genetic evidence

  • This study provides pragmatic genetic evidence and demonstrates the Siang river as a potential boundary of species divergence in red panda by contributing samples from Indian Himalayan Region.
  • The Himalayan red panda was relatively affected more during the Pleistocene glaciation and experienced a severe reduction in the population size when compared to the Chinese red panda.
  • The reason for the reduction in the population size of the Himalayan red panda is due to the geological and climatic oscillations as the landscape was exposed to heavier topographic and geological changes through repeated cycles of the wet and dry periods during the last glacial maxima and Pleistocene Era.
  • The red panda is shy, solitary and arboreal animal. It primarily feeds on bamboo and avoids human presence.




India’s first Labour Movement museum

Why in News?

  • The country’s first Labour Movement Museum, showcasing the history of world labour movement, would be launched in Kerala’s houseboat tourism hub, Alappuzha.


  • The museum will feature a huge repository of documents and exhibits that shaped the labour movements across the continents and impacted Alappuzha, the cradle of the labour movement in the country, in particular and Kerala in general.
  • Located alongside the Port and Coir museums displaying the town’s rich maritime heritage, the Labour Movement Museum, the first such window in the country on the class struggle and spirited fight of workers, is part of a larger project that will also be of tourist appeal.
  • Packed with history predating the advent of the Western colonialism, Alappuzha had a virtual monopoly over the production and shipping of coir made of coconut husk, a product that had immense global demand.




NASA’s Juno Mission

Why in News?

  • NASA has authorized a mission extension for its Juno spacecraft exploring Jupiter. 
  • The agency’s most distant planetary orbiter will now continue its investigation of the solar system’s largest planet through September 2025, or until the spacecraft’s end of life.
  • This expansion tasks Juno with becoming an explorer of the full Jovian system—Jupiter and its rings and moons—with multiple rendezvous planned for three of Jupiter’s most intriguing Galilean moons: Ganymede, Europa, and Io.

Juno Mission

  • Proposed in 2003 and launched in 2011, Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The prime mission will be completed in July 2021. 
  • The extended mission involves 42 additional orbits, including close passes of Jupiter’s north polar cyclones; flybys of Ganymede, Europa, and Io; as well as the first extensive exploration of the faint rings encircling the planet.
  • The data Juno collects will contribute to the goals of the next generation of missions to the Jovian system—NASA’s Europa Clipper and the ESA (European Space Agency) JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission.

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