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Science and Tech Weekly Brief: Check all important updates from December 7-11 here

Tulika Tandon

Science and Technology have reached new heights this week. From a balloon carrying your WiFi signals to the Prime Minister of India launching free Public WiFi, named PM WANI, the field has experienced a lot of change and huddle. Take a look at the detailed list of major events that have occurred in the past one week that is from December 7-11, 2020. 

  • Loon Internet Balloon completes 312 days flight

About Loon:

Loon internet-beaming balloon made it’s longest balloon flight in the Stratosphere for 312 days. Loon earlier held the record for the longest balloon flight in the Stratosphere which was for 223 days in 2018 – 2019.

Loons are high altitude balloons that provide internet to remote areas. It is the third layer of connectivity ecosystem to help places with minimum reach receive connectivity with the rest of the world. These balloons that reach the stratosphere and provide internet connections to regions that were once thought un-servable. 

Loon: Key Details

  1. These are manufactured by Alphabet, Google's parent company and can reach up to 20 km above the Earth into the stratosphere.
  2. They are the size of  a mini aircraft when inflated balloons are made from sheets of polyethene The balloons are powered by solar panels and are controlled by software on the ground
  3. It delivers 4G LTE and 5G connectivity to the areas it is assigned to and is capable of covering 200 times more areas than land cell towers. 

Also Read| What is Loon- Know complete details here

  • China's Artificial Sun: Unique Features

China’s Atomic Energy Authority tested its HL-2M Tokamak reactor for the first time on Friday, December 4, 2020. The brief test which lasted for a few seconds has been hailed as an important achievement in the field of science. It can be used to provide safer fuel amid a global crisis.

About China’s Nuclear Fusion Reactor

HL-2M Tokamak can help China in reaching its target to produce fusion energy commercially by 2050. The power in the reactor is generated by applying powerful magnetic fields to a contained loop of hot plasma. The plasma can reach temperatures of more than 150 million centigrades.

The plasma heats up to 10 times more than the core of the sun but is contained using magnets and supercooling technique. China has also been working with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project which is a coalition of dozens of nuclear-powered nations. Know what is a Nuclear Reactor here.

  • Robotic Surgery: An emerging field in medical science

Robotic surgery is majorly a robot-assisted surgery. It allows doctors to perform various complex procedures with high precision, flexibility and control than it would be achievable with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is associated with minimally invasive surgery process performed through tiny incisions. 

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

  1. Robotic surgeries cause less tissue damage for the patient which helps in faster recovery. There are also lesser chances of getting infected when it is performed with smaller incisions
  2. Patients experience lesser pain during Robotic Surgery due to smaller incisions. There is minimal blood loss in this kind of surgery which in turn means lesser blood transfusions are required
  3. Robotic surgeries allow complex surgeries to be easily done that would have been difficult with traditional methods. These provide faster recovery time and fewer chances of infections

Robotic Surgery: Fact Check

It was 2018 when a telerobotic coronary intervention was performed by a cardiologist named Dr Tejas Patel on a middle-aged woman in Gujarat for the first experimental coronary stenting.

  • Public WiFi Access Network Interface: Details 

The public Wi-Fi network service is to be called as PM Wi-Fi Access Network Interface or WANI scheme. It would be set up by the public data office aggregators or PDOAs and would provide Wi-Fi service through the public data offices or PDO's. No license fee will be charged for providing broadband internet services. To know complete details on PM WANI scheme click here.

Objectives of PM-WANI

  1. PM-WANI scheme would introduce more business-friendly environment by boosting ease of doing business. It aims to provide high-speed internet that has come up as a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  2. High-speed internet is not accessible in areas that do not have a 4G mobile coverage. PM WANI aims to aid the deployment of a public Wi-Fi network service. 
  3. The proliferation of a public Wi-Fi network will create employment and penetration in the economy
  4. Enhancement of the disposable incomes is also expected in the hands of small and medium businessmen and this would in turn increase GDP. 
  • Solar Power Plants In India:

India ranks third in Asia and fourth in the world in terms of solar power production. Currently, the country is only using 38% of its total capacity of renewable energy. Also, the world’s largest solar park would be constructed in Rajasthan.

The solar power parks across India are responsible for more than 25000 MW power generation. PM Narendra Modi would also be inaugurating the world’s largest renewable solar and wind energy park in Gujarat’s Kutch and another desalination plant, on December 15, 2020.

Take a look at the major solar plants in order of their size, power generation and location in the table below.


Solar Plant Name




Bhadla Solar Park, Rajasthan

Jodhpur district of Rajasthan

2055 MW

14000 acres

Pavagada Solar Park

Palavalli, Karnataka


13000 acres

Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, Andhra Pradesh

Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh

1000 MW

5932 acres

NP Kunta Ultra Mega Solar Park

Anathapuram, Andhra Pradesh

1500 MW

7924 acres

Rewa Ultra Mega Solar

Rewa, Madhya Pradesh

750 MW

1590 acres

Know about Solar Plant List in India here.

Science and Technology Brief: Topics to watch out for

Listed below are the important definitions and topics that might be important from a competitive exam point of view. 



Fusion: Process explained

Nuclear fusion is a reaction involving two or more atomic nuclei being combined to form one or more other atomic nuclei and subatomic particles. The difference in mass between the reactants and products is released or the absorbed in form of energy.

What is Bariatric Surgery

This kind of surgery helps someone lose weight through amendments in the digestive system of the person

What is Robotics

Robotics is the intersection of science, engineering and technology that produces machines, called robots, that substitute for (or replicate) human actions. In other words, it is an interdisciplinary sector of science and engineering dedicated to the design, construction and use of mechanical robots.

Public Data Office (PDO)

These units would help in establishing, operating the WANI compliant Wi-Fi access points. These would also deliver broadband services to subscribers.

Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA)

These would aggregate the PDOs and perform all the actions including authorization and accounting.

Central Registry

There would also be a central registry maintaining the details of the app providers, PDOAs, as well as PDOs. This central registry will be maintained by C-DoT or Centre of Development for Telematics

Brain Fingerprinting

Brain fingerprinting, also known as Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP) is a neuro-psychological method of interrogation in which the suspect’s participation in the crime is investigated by studying the brain’s response.


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