Science & Technology Current Affairs - 2019

Science & Technology Current Affairs 2019-2020 category comprises current affairs with all important national / international updates in science and tech and events for the year 2019-2020 for UPSC, States, Civil services, SSC and other competitive examinations of India and States.

Category Wise PDF Compilations available at This Link

Centre ropes in IBM for pilot study on using AI in Agriculture

Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with IBM India Private Limited (Indian subsidiary of IBM) for undertaking a pilot study to utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI) and weather technology solutions in agriculture in selected pilot districts.

Key Highlights of SoI

The pilot study will be undertaken in 3 districts of Bhopal, Rajkot and Nanded in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively. The pilot study will be conducted for Kharif crop season 2019.

As part of collaboration, IBM’s Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture will be leveraged to gain village level soil moisture and farm level weather forecast in 3 pilot districts.

IBM’s Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture will give solution in field of agriculture through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Weather Technology at village level as well as farm level so as to provide weather forecast and soil moisture information on free of charge basis to help farmers for taking decisions regarding crop and water management for better production and productivity.

Benefits: Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture can improve the future of food and crop years as it aims to harness multiple data points and combine predictive analytics, AI, weather data, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to give farmers insights on plowing, planting crops, spraying, and harvesting.

Significance:

This move of signing of SoI between Agriculture Ministry and IBM to enable use of Next-Generation technologies like AI and advanced weather data for better insights to make faster and more informed agricultural decisions signifies that India is foraying further into the digital age in line of aspiration towards achieving goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2010.

It can also be seen as government’s assurance to bring digital technologies to help our farmers to increase their income and transform Indian agriculture.

NASA’s Dragonfly to look for Origins, Signs of Life in Titan

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced its plan to launch Dragonfly drone helicopter to Saturn’s largest moon Titan in search of building blocks of life.

About NASA’s Dragonfly Mission

It is part of space agencies quest to search for building blocks of life and will aim towards collecting samples and examining sites around Saturn’s icy moon, Titan. Dragonfly will launch be launched in 2026 and will arrive at its destination in 2034.

Dragonfly Drone:

The rotorcraft will fly to dozens of promising locations on icy moon Titan looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth.

Dragonfly marks the 1st time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet. It will become 1st vehicle ever to fly its entire science payload to new places for repeatable and targeted access to surface materials.

Specifications:

It has 8 rotors and flies like a large drone.

It will take advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere which is 4 times denser than Earth.

The instruments attached will search for chemical evidence of past or extant life.

Why Titan?

Saturn’s largest moon Titan is the only celestial body besides Earth that is known to have liquid rivers, lakes and seas on its surface, although these contain hydrocarbons like methane and ethane, not water. It is considered to be a richly organic world of its own and is viewed by scientists as an equivalent of very early-era Earth. Thus it can provide clues to how life may have arisen on Earth.

Like Earth’s, Titan’s atmosphere is made mostly of nitrogen (N), but it is 4 times denser.

Titan is 2nd-largest moon in solar system. It has a thick water ice crust, beneath which is an ocean made primarily of water and also its clouds and rains are methane.