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  • CSIR National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) rolled out its HANSA-NG (Next Generation) aircraft at the aircraft hangar at the Belur campus.
  • The all-composite HANSA-NG, certified in 2000 by the DGCA under the JAR-VLA category, has been revitalised to cater to the demand for trainer aircraft.
  • With the growing need for an advanced Swadeshi trainer aircraft, the government sanctioned the HANSA–NG project towards the end of 2018.
  • The trainer aircraft is equipped with IFR-compliant avionics with smart multi-functional displays, a glass cockpit and a bubble canopy design. The selection of a highly efficient digitally controlled Rotax 912 ISC engine with superior performance increased the range and endurance.
  • Approvals were obtained from DGCA and manufacturing of HANSA-NG was initiated in September 2020.
  • The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) signed an MoU with CSIR-NAL as a launch customer of HANSA-NG for pilot training.
  • The Centre for Civil Aircraft Design and Development (C-CADD) at Bangalore’s National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), now renamed as Roddam Narasimha Civil Aircraft Centre (RN-CAC), was inaugurated.
  • The centre is named after renowned Indian aerospace scientist and engineer Professor Roddam Narasimha who passed away in December 2020.
  • RN-CAC will create the essential nucleus and play the pivotal role in the Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) programme once the formal approval is received from the government.

IIT- K Extend Shelf Life Of Sugarcane Juice:

  • IIT Kharagpur researcher is working on an innovation to extend the shelf-life of freshly extracted sugarcane juice through ultra-filtering and ozonization
  • Sugarcane juice has an enriched nutritional profile, which accommodates health components such as, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins (like Vitamins C&B) that offer quick relief from heatstroke, dehydration, constipation, jaundice, etc. by supplying instant energy.
  • Owing to the absence of simple sugars and low glycemic index (30-40), its average intake by diabetic persons is also acceptable.
  • However, the colour and flavour unique to the juice get deteriorated immediately after its extraction due to biological processes of browning and microbial fermentation.
  • Its short shelf life limits its long-term storage and marketing.
  • Thermal treatments used to enhance the shelf life of sugarcane juice destroy its pleasant taste and aroma. Non-thermal methods hold promise in this regard.
  • The process technology being pursued by IIT Kharagpur research scholar, involves ultra-filtering and ozonization of the freshly extracted microfiltered juice followed by packaging under an aseptic environment.
  • The combined membrane filtration and ozone treatment technology resulted in 7 log reduction in bacteria, 5 log reduction in yeasts and moulds and 85% inactivation of enzyme polyphenol oxidase.
  • This could minimize the juice fermentation and brown to a greater extent during storage.
  • The combined technology treated juice could be successfully stored up to 12 weeks under refrigeration without any appreciable change in its bioactive and essential nutrients. The treated juice well retained its sensory characteristics especially the colour and flavour during storage.

Facts about centipede venom unveiled at National History Museum:

  • As part of an ongoing, wider study into centipede venoms, the researchers set out to discover whether centipede venom toxins may have evolved elsewhere in the tree of life, in places other than their direct, arthropod ancestors.
  • They soon unveiled that centipedes have repeatedly stocked their venoms with proteins that independently evolved within bacteria and fungi.
  • The centipedes have acquired these toxin components through a process known as ‘horizontal gene transfer’.
  • Horizontal gene transfer is a process by which genetic material moves between distantly related organisms, in this case between bacteria and fungi, and centipedes.
  • It is distinguished from the movement of genetic material from parents to offspring and from ancestors to direct descendants, which is known as vertical gene transfer.
  • It reveals the largest, most diversely sourced contribution of horizontal gene transfer to the evolution of animal venom composition known to date.
  • Many studies have been carried out into the venoms of various creatures: snakes, scorpions, spiders, often because they are dangerous to humans. However, as centipedes are not dangerous to humans, their venoms have been neglected in terms of research.
  • But interest is rising and the complex processes happening within centipede venom evolution show it is fertile ground for investigating phenomena such as horizontal gene transfer.
  • Three of the five venom protein families that centipedes have acquired by horizontal gene transfer are used by bacteria explicitly to exploit their hosts’, including by damaging their cells by the formation of pores.

Scientists have detected a rare medium sized black hole:

  • Scientists in Australia have discovered a rare, medium-sized black hole that could help us estimate the total number of these objects in the universe.
  • At the moment, there are two well-known types of black hole.
  • Stellar black holes are usually between three and ten times the mass of our Sun and supermassive black holes, which exist at the centre of most galaxies, can reach masses that are millions, or even billions of times as heavy as the Sun.
  • The newly discovered black hole, found by researchers has been described as an ‘intermediate-mass’ or ‘goldilocks’ black hole as it weight sits between the stellar and supermassive black holes. It’s thought to be approximately 55,000 times the mass of our Sun.
  • Researchers estimate that there are around 46,000 intermediate-mass black holes in our galaxy alone.
  • Before this latest discovery, only a handful of intermediate-mass black holes, with masses ranging between 100 and 100,000 times that of the Sun, had been identified. However, no black holes have been previously found with masses that sit right in the middle of that range.
  • The new discovery was made through the detection of something known as a gravitationally lensed gamma-ray burst.
  • The burst – a half-second flash of high-energy light emitted by a pair of merging stars – had an “echo”, caused by the intermediate-mass black hole, which bent the path of the light on its way to Earth causing the astronomers to see the same flash twice.
  • Special software developed to detect black holes from gravitational waves helped show that the two flashes were in fact images of the same object.
  • The researchers were able to precisely measure the mass of the new intermediate black hole, but there are still questions around how it was actually formed.