GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World.

NASA’s $3.9 Bn Cassini Spacecraft Makes Death Plunge Into Saturn.

Background-

  • Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft disintegrated in the skies above Saturn on Friday, 15th September, 2017, in a final, fateful blaze of cosmic gloryrs.
  • Confirmation of Cassini’s expected demise came about 7.55am EDT. That’s when radio signals from the spacecraft , following a remarkable journey of 20 yea– its last scientific gifts to Earth – came to an abrupt halt. The radio waves went flat, and the spacecraft fell silent.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • Cassini actually burned up like a meteor 83 minutes earlier as it dove through Saturn’s atmosphere, becoming one with the giant gas planet it set out in 1997 to explore. But it took that long for the news to arrive at Earth a billion miles away.
  • The only spacecraft to ever orbit Saturn, Cassini showed us the planet, its rings and moons up close in all their glory. Perhaps most tantalizing, ocean worlds were unveiled by Cassini and its hitchhiking companion, the Huygens lander, on the moons Enceladus and Titan, which could possibly harbor life.
  • Cassini snapped its “last memento photos” of the Saturn system Thursday, 14th September. Dutiful to the end, the spacecraft sampled Saturn’s atmosphere Friday morning as it made its final plunge.
  • More than 1,500 people, many of them past and present team members, had gathered at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for what was described as both a vigil and celebration. Even more congregated at nearby California Institute of Technology, which runs the lab for Nasa.
  • Project scientist Linda Spilker noted Cassini has been running “a marathon of scientific discovery” for 13 years at Saturn.
  • The spacecraft tumbled out of control while plummeting at more than 76,000 mph (122,000 kph). Project officials invited ground telescopes to look for Cassini’s last-gasp flash, but weren’t hopeful it would be spotted from a billion miles away.

Sources- The Times Of India.

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India Signs 76 Million US Dollar Loan Deal With Japan International Cooperation Limited (JICA) To Upgrade Alang-Sosiya Shipyards.

Background

  • The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $76 million with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for a project to upgrade the environment management plan at Alang-Sosiya ship recycling yards.
  • The total cost of the project will be $ 111 million, out of which $76 million will be provided as soft loan from JICA. Out of the remaining amount, $25 million as taxes and fees will be borne by Government of Gujarat and the balance $10 million will be shared by Ministry of Shipping & Government of Gujarat.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The project will be executed by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and is likely to be completed by 2022.
  • This project will help the Alang-Sosia ship-recycling yards to comply with international safety & environmental regulations. This will attract more business at the recycling facilities at Alang, thereby further consolidating India’s share in the global ship-recycling industry.
  • This project will also help in safeguarding the marine and coastal environment. The use of advanced decontamination technology will rule out the possibility of fire accidents in oil and chemical tankers, thereby ensuring workers safety.
  • The project is expected to result in increase in direct employment from 50,000 to 92,000 people and in-direct employment from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakh people.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper III- Environment, Technology.

With A Target To Raise $4.83 Bn, Karnataka Becomes First State To Roll Out Electric Vehicle And Energy Storage Policy.

Background

  • The Karnataka state government, in its efforts to become the Electric Vehicle Capital Of India, has approved the state’s Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy 2017. The initiative is in line with the union government’s vision to make the country an all-electric vehicle market by 2031.
  • As per reports, the Electric Vehicle policy of Karnataka envisions making the state a hub for the production of alternative fuel vehicles, and push the ‘Make In Karnataka’ initiative.
  • Known as IT capital and startup capital of the country, Karnataka is the first Indian state to roll out an Electric Vehicle Policy.

 

The Karnataka government effort to launch Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy 2017 aims to-

  • Reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and bring down pollution levels.
  • Attract investments worth $4.83 Bn (INR 31K Cr) and create around 55,000 employment opportunities.
  • Set up new EV manufacturing zones, as well as set up charging stations in public and private spaces including airports, railway stations, metro stations, highrise buildings, malls, information technology (IT) parks, and apartment complexes
  • Encourage startups to develop business models focused on supporting economic applications for EVs.
  • Create special purpose vehicle that will involve civic agencies, state transport and energy companies, and its renewable energy and industrial boards for the creation of charging infrastructure within the state.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • In line with the Industrial Policy 2014-19, Karnataka government also shared its intentions to provide incentives and concessions for manufacturers in the state.
  • Karnataka is home to electric mobility startups like Reva, Mahindra Electric and Ather Energy and component manufacturers like Bosch and Delphi. This automatically adds an added advantage for the government to boost the state’s tech and startup ecosystem.
  • In last few months, the state government has announced a plethora of initiatives to boost its tech and startup ecosystem.
  • While reports of the government’s plans to make India an electric vehicle nation by 2030 has long been making the rounds, the latest development is quite possibly one of the first concrete steps taken to materialise the ambitious goal.

Sources- INC42.