Current News Science & Technology

New NASA Missions To Study Venus


  • NASA has selected two new missions to Venus, Earth’s nearest planetary neighbour.
  • A part of NASA’s Discovery Program, the missions aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world when it has so many other characteristics similar to ours – and may have been the first habitable world in the solar system, complete with an ocean and Earth-like climate.

The Two Missions

DAVINCI+

  • DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) will measure the composition of Venus’ atmosphere to understand how it formed and evolved, as well as determine whether the planet ever had an ocean.
  • The mission consists of a descent sphere that will plunge through the planet’s thick atmosphere, making precise measurements of noble gases and other elements to understand why Venus’ atmosphere is a runaway hothouse compared the Earth’s.
  • It will return the first high resolution pictures of the unique geological features on Venus known as “tesserae,” which may be comparable to Earth’s continents, suggesting that Venus has plate tectonics.
  • This would be the first U.S.-led mission to Venus’ atmosphere since 1978, and the results from DAVINCI+ could reshape our understanding of terrestrial planet formation in our solar system and beyond.
  • James Garvin of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator. Goddard provides project management.

VERITAS

  • VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) will map Venus’ surface to determine the planet’s geologic history and understand why it developed so differently than Earth.
  • Orbiting Venus with a synthetic aperture radar, VERITAS will chart surface elevations over nearly the entire planet to create 3D reconstructions of topography and confirm whether processes such as plate tectonics and volcanism are still active on Venus.
  • VERITAS also will map infrared emissions from Venus’ surface to map its rock type, which is largely unknown, and determine whether active volcanoes are releasing water vapor into the atmosphere.

Technology Demonstration with above two Missions

  • In addition to the two missions, NASA selected a pair of technology demonstrations to fly along with them. VERITAS will host the Deep Space Atomic Clock-2. The ultra-precise clock signal generated with this technology will ultimately help enable autonomous spacecraft maneuvers and enhance radio science observations.
  • DAVINCI+ will host the Compact Ultraviolet to Visible Imaging Spectrometer (CUVIS). CUVIS will make high resolution measurements of ultraviolet light using a new instrument based on freeform optics. These observations will be used to determine the nature of the unknown ultraviolet absorber in Venus’ atmosphere that absorbs up to half the incoming solar energy.

News Crux Social Initiative

SAGE (Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine) Initiative


  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the SAGE (Seniorcare Aging Growth Engine) initiative and SAGE portal for elderly persons on 4th June 2021.
  • SAGE programme and SAGE portal have been launched with a view to help such persons who are interested in entrepreneurship in the field of providing services for elderly care.
  • The SAGE portal will be a “one-stop access” of elderly care products and services by credible start-ups.
  • The start-ups will be selected on the basis of innovative products and services, which they should be able to provide across sectors such as health, housing, care centers, apart from technological access linked to finances, food and wealth management, and legal guidance.
  • On the recommendation of a committee set up for the purpose, upto Rs 1 crore will be given to Startups for elderly care.

News Crux States In News

Goa Govt. Constitutes State Planning Body “GIFT”


  • The Goa government has notified the formation of Goa Institution for Future Transformation (GIFT), a state planning body modelled on the lines of the Centre’s NITI Aayog.
  • The Chairman of GIFT will be the Chief Minister (CM) of Goa (Current CM – Dr. Pramod Sawant).
  • It will assist, advise and guide the government on policy making, its formulation and implementation.
  • It will also help in monitoring sustainable development goals and evaluation of several development plans, programmes and schemes.

News Crux Ecology & Environment

Ethanol Blending Target Brought Forward


  • The government has brought forward the target date for achieving 20 per cent ethanol-blending with petrol by two years to 2023 to help reduce India's dependence on costly oil imports
  • Last year, the government had set a target of reaching 10 per cent ethanol-blending in petrol (10 per cent of ethanol mixed with 90 per cent of diesel) by 2022, and 20 per cent doping by 2030.
  • Earlier this year, the target for 20 per cent blending was brought forward to 2025.
  • And now, it has been further advanced to April 2023.