IAS Questions for Prelims: 19 September 2017
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1. Recently, the researchers led by the University of Sheffield in the U.K. found that ‘Planet 9’ is unlikely to have been captured from another planetary system. Consider the following statements regarding this:
1. Last year, astronomers working in the U.S. postulated the presence of ‘Planet 9’ to explain the strange orbital properties of some Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects.
2. Planet 9 is at least ten times bigger than Earth, making it unlikely that it formed at such a large distance from the Sun.
3. Pluto was downgraded in status to a ‘dwarf planet’ because astronomers discovered many other small objects so-called Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects at similar distances from the Sun.
Which of the following above statements is true?
a. 1 and 2
b. 2 and 3
c. 1 and 3
d. 1, 2 and 3
‘Planet 9’ — an unseen planet on the edge of our solar system — probably formed closer to the home around the Sun than previously thought, astronomers say. Researchers led by the University of Sheffield in the U.K. found that ‘Planet 9’ is unlikely to have been captured from another planetary system, as has previously been suggested.
The outskirts of the solar system have always been something of an enigma, with astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries searching for a giant planet that was not there, and the subsequent discovery of Pluto in 1930. Pluto was downgraded in status to a ‘dwarf planet’ because astronomers discovered many other small objects so-called Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects at similar distances from the Sun.
Last year, astronomers working in the U.S. postulated the presence of ‘Planet 9’ to explain the strange orbital properties of some Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects.
2. Recently, the scientists have characterised wind and cloud patterns of the night-side of which of the planet for the first time?
Scientists have characterised wind and cloud patterns of the night side of planet Venus for the first time and found that it behaves very differently from the part facing the Sun.
The night side exhibits unexpected and previously-unseen cloud types, morphologies, and dynamics — some of which appear to be connected to features on the planet’s surface. “This is the first time we’ve been able to characterise how the atmosphere circulates on the night side of Venus on a global scale,” said Javier Peralta of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
3. Which of the following spacecraft of NASA has ended its historic exploration of Saturn recently?
After a remarkable journey of 20 years, NASA's lone mission to Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft, ended its journey on September 15 by disintegrating in the skies above the planet. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 15, 1997, Cassini arrived at Saturn in 2004, and since then it has been sending a myriad of information on the second-largest planet of the solar system.
Cassini discovered that Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon, has water underneath its icy surface. According to NASA, Cassini “revealed this ocean world to be one of the solar system’s most scientifically interesting destinations”.
4. Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has moved which of the following animal into the less urgent “vulnerable” category from an endangered species category?
a. Indian Rhinoceros
b. Snow Leopard
d. Chinese Pangolin
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in September 2017 announced that snow leopards are no longer considered an endangered species. The IUCN moved the animal into the less urgent “vulnerable” category. Although, the species still remain at risk from a reduction in numbers of its prey and poaching for its fur and bones. It is interesting to note that the IUCN has reclassified snow leopard for the first time in 45 years.
An endangered species has been categorised as likely to become extinct. Endangered, as categorized by the IUCN Red List, is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN's schema after Critically Endangered. As per IUCN, species are considered Endangered, if they are fewer than 2500 and experiencing a high rate of decline.
5. Recently, Zannah Mustapha has given UN's annual Nansen award for his “crucial mediating” role as well as his work helping children affected by the long-running conflict belongs to which of the following country?
A Nigerian lawyer who helped secure the release of more than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram was on Monday awarded one of the United Nations’ top prizes.
The UNHCR said Zannah Mustapha has given the annual Nansen award for his “crucial mediating” role as well as his work helping children affected by the long-running conflict. Mr. Mustapha set up The Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School 10 years ago, which has since proved a lifeline for children in conflict-riven and impoverished northeast Nigeria. The primary school has 540 pupils — more than half of them girls. Students include the children of Boko Haram fighters and Nigerian soldiers. Mr. Mustapha is a well-known figure in northeast Nigeria having previously represented the family of Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram who died in police custody in 2009.