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Science and technology

3 Solved Questions with Answers
  • 2023

    16. What is the main task of India’s third moon mission which could not be achieved in its earlier mission? List the countries that have achieved this task. Introduce the subsystems in the spacecraft launched and explain the role of the ‘Virtual Launch Control Centre’ at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre which contributed to the successful launch from Sriharikota.

    The Chandrayaan-3 created history for India and the world by doing the first soft landing on the south pole of moon. India joined the United States, Russia, and China to become the 4th nation to land on the moon.

    The Chandrayaan-3 comprised the Vikram Lander and Pragyaan Rover. The rover aims to move around the landing site conducting experiments and sending data to the lander which in turn will send data to the orbiter that will eventually be communicated back to the earth. The Chandrayaan-3 could become a game-changer because the ‘permanently shadowed regions’ near the South Pole may contain potential water-ice and resources. For this, the various subsystems onboard Chandrayaan-3 seek to undertake several experiments.

    Lander payloads

    • Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE): It measures thermal conductivity and temperature.
    • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA): It measures the seismic frequencies around the landing site.
    • Langmuir Probe (LP): It estimates the plasma density and its changes over time.

    Rover payloads

    • Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS): It determines elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks.
    • Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS): It derives chemical composition and infers mineralogical composition of lunar surface.

    Propulsion module payload

    • Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE): It aims to study exo-planets for habitability.

    Role of Virtual Launch Control Centre

    • Nerve centre of the operation: All procedures and operations of the launch and the mission are controlled from this place.
    • Master control: In case of any abnormalities, safety protocols or the final abortion of the mission can be initiated from here.

    With the success of Chandrayaan-3, India can now look forward to the sample retrieval from the moon surface under Chandrayaan-4 mission that will help deepen our understanding of the lunar surface. The morale boost from a successful landing has also provided the much-needed motivation for further missions.

  • 2023

    6. Discuss several ways in which microorganisms can help in meeting the current fuel shortage.

    Microorganisms like algae, bacteria etc., can be used to generate several fuels, including ethanol, hydrogen, methane, lipids, and butanol out of raw organic materials, thereby converting the chemical energy in the biomass into chemical energy in the form of fuels.

    Microorganism can help in meeting the current fuel shortage

    • Biofuel Production: Certain microorganisms such as algae and bacteria can be used to produce biofuels like biodiesel and bioethanol. For example, algae can convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into lipids, which can be processed into biodiesel.
    • Biogas Production: Microbes are used in anaerobic digestion to break down organic waste, such as agriculture residues, sewage etc. to produce biogas.
    • Hydrogen Production: Several microorganisms can produce hydrogen gas through fermentation processes which can be further used as a clean fuel in various applications, including fuel cells, which can power vehicles.
    • Bioremediation: Microorganisms can help in cleaning oil spills and contaminated sites by breaking down hydrocarbons which can be used to recover useful hydrocarbons from polluted areas.
    • Carbon Capture and Utilization: Microorganisms can capture and convert carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial processes into biofuels.

    The development of pilot plants for microbial energy fuel production is necessary to mitigate the fuel shortage and not only can it reduce the higher crude prices but also can serve the environment in a sustainable way.

  • 2023

    5. Introduce the concept of Artificial Intelligence (Al). How does Al help clinical diagnosis? Do you perceive any threat to privacy of the individual in the use of Al in healthcare?

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is the epitome of information technology excellence in the world right now. It is the closest that we have come to developing a human-like intelligence in a computer and it is based on processing a plethora of data.

    AI in clinical diagnosis

    • Comprehensive Analysis: AI can help process a large amount of data and based on previous medical history it can provide a comprehensive analysis of the patient’s health.
    • Early Detection: Patterns in data are easily detectable by AI. Through data sets of thousands of people, AI can predict a disease that is possible for a particular individual with particular symptoms.
      • For example, AI has been reported to recognize patterns in people with family history of heart disease and suggest which ones of them were at risk.
    • Helping Hand: Rather than replacing doctors, AI can help by supplementing their efforts and making the decision easier to take.
    • Monitoring: AI based wearable devices can help monitor the levels of various parameters of health of an individual.
      • For example, monitoring of blood pressure by smart watches.

    Threats of privacy

    • Big Data: AI becomes ‘intelligent’ by processing huge amounts of data. People's consent becomes necessary, but it is generally not adhered to.
    • Data Breach: With big databases comprising individual’s medical records, the value of security goes up significantly as the data breach can lead to serious repercussions.

    The advent of Artificial Intelligence continues to cause massive changes throughout the world in all sectors. Healthcare has already been revolutionised by technology but its better utility depends on proper redressal of concerns.

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