News Crux Science & Technology

Square Kilometre Array Observatory Launched


  • The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council held its inaugural meeting and approved the establishment of the world’s largest radio telescope.
  • The new venture is being deemed as important following the collapse of one of the most prolific radio telescopes in the world, the Arecibo in Puerto Rico, in December last year.
  • The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an intergovernmental radio telescope project being planned to be built in Australia and South Africa.
  • The headquarters of the SKA are located at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England.
  • The SKAO has been designed to operate for more than five decades, and the construction of the first phase of the SKA is estimated to be completed by 2027.

Location of SKAO Radio Telescopes

  • Under the organisation, two radio telescope networks would be set up at
    • South Africa:Would be located in the Karoo region and will be operated by SARAO or the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).
    • Australia: The telescope network in Australia would be located on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Aim of this Project

  • The scientific aims of this project include the studying of gravitational waves in order to test the theories proposed by Albert Einstein, along with improving the human understanding of the Universe’s evolution.
  • Apart from that, the SKAO also hopes to look for signs of life in outer space, while mapping hundreds of millions of galaxies.

Participating Countries

  • SKA is a project marking the participation of 40% of the global population, in terms of the countries that are participating.
  • As many as 16 countries are currently a part of this project either at a government or national-coordination level or as observers. This includes India, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Germany, France, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, China, and Sweden.
  • Moreover, there are eight African countries which are participating in coordinated action in order to support the expansion of the SKA project in the continent in the future.

SKAO & India

  • India is participating at a national-coordination level, which is led by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
  • A total of 19 institutions are a part of the Indian coordination team, including IISc Bangalore, IIT Indore, IIT Kharagpur, and IIT Kanpur among others, and these institutions are located across the country.

News Crux Health

FSSAI Caps Trans Fatty Acids In Food


  • The FSSAI has amended its rules to put a cap on trans fatty acids (TFAs) in food products just after it tightened the norms for oils and fats.
  • Food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient shall not contain industrial trans fatty acids more than 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product, on and from 1st January, 2022.
  • In December, the FSSAI had capped TFAs in oils and fats to 3% by 2021, and 2% by 2022 from the current levels of 5%.

About Trans Fatty Acids

  • Trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, increase shelf life of food items and for use as an adulterant as they are cheap. They are present in baked, fried and processed foods as well as adulterated ghee which becomes solid at room temperature. They are the most harmful form of fats as they clog arteries and cause hypertension, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

WHO Targets & India

  • As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of intake of industrially produced trans fatty acids. The WHO has called for the elimination of industrially-produced trans fatty acids from the global food supply by 2023.
  • FSSAI is reaching this goal a year sooner than the WHO deadline i.e. 2022.