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Science and Tech Weekly Brief: Important events and latest updates of last week

Tulika Tandon

Listed below are the most important topics of Science and Technology that have been in news in the past week. The topics are helpful from UPSC and various other competitive exam point of view. Take a look below. 

World's smallest memory device: Know all details here

Researchers have recently created the world’s smallest memory device. This would lead to faster, smaller and more energy-efficient electronic chips for consumer electronics and brain-inspired computing in the world.


  1. The researchers have reduced the size even further, shrinking the cross-section area down to just a single square nanometer. 
  2. The theory that can lead to such dense memory storage on such tiny devices has also been revealed. The research was published recently in a journal called ‘Nature Nanotechnology’. The researchers belong to the University of Texas at Austin. 
  3. Ultrasmall holes in the material have helped in unlocking high-density memory storage capability of the device.
  4. The researchers have used molybdenum disulfide as the primary nanomaterial in their study.

Benefits of development

With smaller processors, anyone can make more compact computers and phones. However shrinking down chips also decreases their energy demands and increases capacity, which means it paves a way for faster, smarter devices that take less power to operate.

GMRT, the third facility from India to receive milestone from IEEE

Recently Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) became the third scientific facility from India to receive the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) milestone for its innovative engineering, advanced technology and contributions made in the field of radio astronomy.

GMRT: Key points

  1. GMRT is an array of 30 antennas that are positioned in a ‘Y’ shape, at Khodad village in Junnar taluka of Pune district. 
  2. It is operated by the TIFR – National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, NCRA. Late Govind Swarup came up with the idea of GMRT.
  3. It is extensively used for studying the universe in low frequency since 2000 and is an indigenous project
  4. The design is based on the `SMART' concept which means Stretch Mesh Attached to Rope Trusses. 
  5. The telescope has been useful in various path-breaking discoveries. 
  6. Scientists from almost 40 countries use the data generated from this telescope. 

Recently, the facility underwent its first upgrade, thereby allowing researchers to dig deeper into the universe.

Superinfections:  What is the new discovery?

Recently the researches at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute have found new theories about superinfections and highlighted that influenza increases susceptibility to bacterial infections.

What is Superinfection?

It is the infection occurring after an earlier infection, especially after the patient has been treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics. It is an overgrowth of an opportunistic pathogen from the bacterial or yeast imbalance of systemic antibiotics.

The example cited by the researchers was that influenza was caused by a virus, but the most common cause of death in influenza was found to be secondary pneumonia, that is a bacterial disease.

The reason behind influenza infections leading to an increased risk of bacterial pneumonia is not known.

Research Findings

As per the research, when an individual gets infected by influenza various antioxidants, such as vitamin C are consumed from the blood which causes their deficiency.

Due to the absence of these nutrients and antioxidants, a favourable environment for bacteria in the lungs is created.

The bacteria then adapt to the inflammatory environment by increasing the production of an enzyme called High-temperature requirement A (HtrA) which then weakens the immune system and promotes bacterial growth in the influenza-infected airways

Significance of the research:

The results from this research can be used to find new therapies for double infections between the influenza virus and pneumococcal bacteria and also COVID 19. 

Hayabusa 2 Mission: Details and key facts

Mission Hayabusa-2 is an asteroid sample-return mission that has been launched by the Japanese space agency, JAXA. The mission was a follow-up mission of Hayabusa 1 that collected asteroid samples in 2010 and returned to earth.

Hayabusa-2 was launched on 3 December 2014 and was targeted for near-Earth asteroid Ryugu. It touched the asteroid on 27 June 2018 and blew itself a crater on the asteroid by dropping explosives on it and collected samples. It would now return to earth on December 6, 2020. The spacecraft will release the capsule from a height of about 220,000 km, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA informed.

Science and Tech Brief: Topics in a quick go




China's spacecraft successfully lands on the moon to bring back lunar rocks to Earth, the first attempt since the 1970s

China's Chang'e 5 probe "successfully landed" at the planned landing site, as per local media that cited the China National Space Administration.

It successfully landed its spacecraft on the Moon on December 1, 2020, to bring back lunar rocks to the Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

The lander was launched on November 24, 2020, from the Hainan island in China. The mission is the latest in the Chinese space programme

‘Mission COVID Suraksha’ launched to help boost vaccine development for COVID 19

The Central Government has launched ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’ in order to facilitate the development of approximately 5-6 COVID-19 vaccine candidates. According to the Department of Biotechnology, it will also ensure that the vaccine candidates are brought closure to introduction and licensure in the market.


The mission will help in accelerating the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. It will also introduce them in the market for the consideration of regulation authorities for introduction in public health systems to control the further spread of infection.

What is Green Hydrogen

The technology for green hydrogen is based on the generation of hydrogen through electrolysis. It is a universal, light and highly reactive fuel. Using this method, electrical current is used to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in the water. In case the electricity is produced through renewable sources of energy, the hydrogen would be green hydrogen.

Hayabusa 1 Mission

It is a JAXA mission that commenced on May 2003 and was the first-ever space capsule to land and take off from an asteroid. It measured and collected samples from an asteroid named Ikotava



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