[Sci-Tech]TheHindu Sep-Oct-Nov(Part4of4): Space, Defense related: INSAT3D, Vikramaditya, EMP, Napalm

Science44 Comments

  1. Prologue
  2. INSAT 3D
  3. RH 200 & Thumba
  4. GSAT-7
  5. GSAT-14
  6. Chandra X-ray Observatory
  7. Olympic torch in Space
  8. Defense related
    1. #1: INS Vikarmaditya
    2. #2: Napalm
    3. #3: EMP Bomb
  9. Physics/Chemistry
    1. #1: Tree Leaves to detect gold
    2. #2: Candle flame vs Gravity
  10. Mock Questions


So far in the Science Tech compilation for the months September-October-November:


  • Weather satellite (meteorology), search and rescue operations.
  • At present India’s meteorological observation is done by two satellites Kalpana-1 and INSAT 3A. This INSAT 3D is more powerful and advanced.
  • it can detect signals from distressed fishing boats, aeroplanes etc. and help in search and rescue missions, with help of coast guard, navy etc.
  • Launched in late August 2013.
  • expiry date= after seven years in 2020

RH 200 & Thumba

  • Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), Kerala, under ISRO
  • 1963: Vikarm Sarabhai and team had launched an American rocket Nike-Apachefrom here.
  • 2013: completed 50 years. RH 200 rocket was launched.
  • RH 200 is a Rohini series advanced sounding rocket. can carry 10 kg payload.
  • to study the upper atmosphere.


  • India’s first full-fledged military communications satellite
  • Navy will use it for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications.
  • Launched from French Guiana in late August 2013.


  • this communication satellite was to be launched ~mid-August 2013, from Sriharikota, Andhra
  • but #EPICFAIL because launch vehicle GSLV-D5 developed a leak= ISRO had to cancel.


NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity- gave two new findings

  1. Martian meteorites—really are from the Mars Planet.
  2. Found two isotops of argon gas : Argon-36 and Argon-38–by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on Curiosity.

Chandra X-ray Observatory

  • belongs to NASA
  • allows scientists from around the world to obtain X-ray images- to understand universe’s structure and evolution
  • It recently found a black hole @the center of milky way a producing high energy particles.
  • High energy particles = produced by young stars and blackholes.
  • They play important role regulating the rate of formation of new stars.

Olympic torch in Space

  • 2014’s winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia during February.
  • From Kazakhstan, rocket was launched to carry Olympic torch to the international space station. (ISS)
  • Astronauts will carry out a spacewalk with this Olympic torch. That way we can brag Olympic torch has even been to space.
  • This torch has also been through:
  1. World’s deepest lake: Baikal
  2. Highest mountain in Russia and Europe: Mt.Elbrus
Ashish Yadavfrom Haryana.Selected in NASA’s three year astronaut training program.

Defense related

#1: INS Vikramaditya

1987INS Virat- Aircraft carrier inducted.
1994India starts negotiating with Russia to get their aircraft carrier called Admiral Gorshkov (to be added as INS Vikramaditya)
2004formal deal signed
2013,INS Vikrant: India’s first ever indigenously built aircraft carrier launched @Kochi.
2013, NovFinally Russia handed over the ship to Indian Navy, after almost 9 year’s wait. Total cost: >12000 cr. rupees.

Ok but why is it so special?

  • INS Virat is soon to retire. Vikrant’s testing is still ongoing. So, We needed a new aircraft carrier.
  • vikramaditya will makes us only the third country in the world after the US and Italy to own more than air craft one carrier. (Vikrama+Vikrant)
  • Even China has only one aircraft carrier: Liaoning
  • INS Vikramaditya can carry
    • 30 aircraft including MiG 29K, Sea Harrier; Dhruv, Chetak helicopters.
    • 1600 personnel
    • Its radar has a range of 500kms.

2013 has been a special year for Indian Navy for following reasons:

  1. got Boeing P8 I long range maritime reconnaissance planes
  2. got Hawk jets to train navy pilots.
  3. got full fledged communication satellite GSAT-7
  4. first MiG-29K squadron was commissioned
  5. INS Vikrant: first indigenous aircraft carrier, was launched at Kochi.
  6. INS Arihant- India’s first home grown nuclear submarine: Its nuke reactor went ‘critical’ in August month.
  7. and finally got this INS Vikramaditya

#2: Napalm

  • incendiary weapon, designed by American chemists during WW2
  • Principle: fuel + thickening agent= fuel burns longer, gives higher temperature= more damage if poured on an enemy bunker/vehicle/soldier.
  • Thickening agent used was: Naphthenate + aluminium palmitate. (hence called Napalm)
  • was widely used during Korean and Vietnam War.
  • UN convention prohibits the use of Napalm against civilians.

Why in News? Syrian Air force dropped Napalm bombs over schoolchildren. (BBC report.)

#3: EMP Bomb

  • EMP=electromagnetic pulse
  • Nuclear bomb blast => gamma radiation.
  • Atom is made up of: proton + neutron  + electron.
  • but this gamma radiation throws electrons out of the atom.
  • all those free electrons are then deflected by earth’s magnetic field. And thus an EMP blast is created.
  • An EMP blast can disable all type of electronic equipment. But it won’t damage physical structures- like bridges/buildings, It can’t kill people directly.
  • Solar flares also create EMP- damage satellites and communication network.
  • ok but why in news? Because North Korea has (allegedly) bought EMP bombs from Russia = South Korea is worried.


#1: Tree Leaves to detect gold

  • Gold mining companies spend billions of dollars to search new deposits of gold.
  • But Australian researcher came with a cheaper method= just study the tree leaves.
  • Acacias and eucalypts treet roots go very deep in the earth and while they suck water and minerals- they also suck gold particles.
  • But these trees treat the gold as toxic, and store it away in their leaves for shedding later.= by studying the chemical contents of the tree leaves, we can make a preliminary assessment about gold deposits in the area.
  • Synchrotron =particle accelerator machine in Australia. it was use for testing this tree-leaves-gold theory.

#2: Candle flame vs Gravity

  • When we light a candle, why does the flame go against the gravity (up)?
  • Burning candle= nearby air gets hot=moves upwards.
  • And the cold air from above comes downward.
  • Soon, this cold air also gets hot and moves upward.
  • This continuous cycle of air movement pushes the flame upwards and gives the teardrop / elongated shape.
  • If there is no gravity, then candle flame will be in spherical shape. (Because there is no up direction for the warm air to rise.)

Mock Questions

  1. Which among the following used GSLV launch vehicle?
    1. GSAT7
    2. GSAT14
    3. Mars Orbitor Mission
    4. None of Above
  2. Which of the following is not associated with Indian Navy
    1. Hawk Jet Trainer
    2. Boeing P8
    3. GSAT-7
    4. Samudra Paheredar
  3. Find the correct statement about Nepalm
    1. Napalm is used in synethsis of Agent Orange
    2. Napalm can be used as fuel in bomber jets.
    3. UN convention forbids the use of Napalm against enemy soldiers during war.
    4. None of Above
  4. Find incorrect statements
    1. an EMP blast cannot damage mechanical instruments stored in a bunker
    2. an EMP blast cannot kill soldiers hiding in a bunker
    3. an EMP blast cannot damage electronics stored in a bunker
    4. None of above

Q5. Consider following statements about ISRO Mars Mission

  1. Mangalyaan was launched using PSLV because PSLV can carry heavier weight and longer journey than GSLV
  2. Mangalyaan has a Spectrometer to determine hydrogen and Deuterium levels in Martian atmosphere
  3. Mangalyaan has a Photometer to study mineral composition of Martian soil

Correct statements are:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None

Q6. Consider following pairs

  1. Mangalyaan=first Indian spacecraft to cross Earth’s escape velocity of 11.2 km per second.
  2. INS Virat= India’s first ever indigenously built aircraft carrier
  3. GSAT-7= India’s first full-fledged Military communication satellite.

Correct pairs are

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None

Q7. Which of the following do not belong to ISRO?

  1. Chandra X-ray Observatory
  2. RH-200
  3. Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer
  4. Sample Analysis at Mars

Answer choice

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2, 3 and 4
  3. Only 2 and 4
  4. Only 1 and 4


5 marks

  1. Payloads on ISRO’s Mars orbital mission
  2. MENCA
  1. INSAT 3D
  2. GSAT-7
  3. GSAT-14

12 marks

  1. Discuss the modernization initiatives of 2013 that will help Indian Navy to become a Blue Water Navy.
  2. “India, a country faced with plethora of socio-economic problems, should not involve in space race with developed countries.” Do you agree? Justify your stand.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books
  2. Environment by ShankarIAS
  3. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  4. Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania (Hindi | English)
  5. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  6. Bipin Chandra: Post Independence
  7. Fast-track to Arithmetic Rajesh Verma
  8. MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning
  9. Disha’s Topicwise Paperset (Hindi | English)
  10. School Atlas
  11. Mains: Language papers
  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

So far 44 Comments posted

  1. Gyani

    Agar firdaus bar rue zamin ast hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto!
    Sir, apke charno ke liye likha hai.. 🙂

    1. vishal

      Meri taraf sey 100000k likes brother. you are very right

    2. rajasree

      hi sir , u r not giving answers some topic question.pls ging ansr,tnq u

  2. Anurag

    Thumbs Up !!

  3. Santosh

    1990 Odisha cyclone killed<<minor correction it was 1999.


    thanx sir…

  5. manee

    thanks…pls give 1 artcle on emotion intelligence and attitude….

  6. darshan

    Sir we are waiting for ur last topic under Land Reform ” forest rights act, draft national policy and few other misc topics ” , pls complete it sir

  7. Rohit

    Sir, How do you create time lines? Can you suggest any software and is there any possibility to link documents from this software like in mind maps?

    1. Mrunal

      @Rohit: software used for making the timeline=Mindview 5.0

  8. jp

    Thank you Sir…..

    1. Lancer

      MAVEN instruments

      Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer
      Instrument Lead: Paul Mahaffy
      Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

      Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph
      Instrument Lead: Nick Schneider
      Credit: NASA/CU-LASP

      Instrument Lead: Jack Connerney
      Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

      Solar Wind Electron Analyzer
      Instrument Lead: David Mitchell
      Credit: NASA/SSL

      SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition
      Instrument Lead: Jim McFadden
      Credit: NASA/SSL

      Langmuir Probe and Waves antenna
      Instrument Lead: Bob Ergun
      Credit: NASA/CU-LASP

      Solar Energetic Particles
      Instrument Lead: Davin Larson
      Credit: NASA/SSL

      Solar Wind Ion Analyzer
      Instrument Lead: Jasper Halekas
      Credit: NASA/SSL

  9. Amrit

    pls provide date of the comments.

  10. Gaurav

    you are simply great sir!!!! i like your way of writing!!

    1. Dale

      atom is made up of not only by electrons,protons,neutrons but many particles still there postiton,etc..

  11. Harish


  12. Shashank

    precisely written. Hats off to u.
    One can never bore by reading ur article(when u critise govt. n mention abt UPSC)

  13. Vinod Simha

    1 – b, 2 – d, 3 – d, 4 – c, 5 – d, 6 – c, 7 – d

  14. Moses Finney

    In the Mangalayaan timeline, GSAT GSAT GSAT GSAT “CSAT 2014” I like your sense of humor


    thanxXx a lot sir………this article is very useful for any of the exam purpose…….hatts off to u

  16. Chandan Kumar

    So, we sent one spectrometer and one photometer to Mars. What exactly is the difference between a photometer and a spectrometer? Some please explain.

  17. swat

    Spectrometer is used to identify materials/elements throuigh spectroscopic analysis, where as photometer measures quantity of the absorption of light of given wavelength/s this analysis helps to know the concentration of a substence in a mixture. For example in mars spectrometer helps indentify water and photometer helps know concentration of water.

  18. Ram yadav

    sir plz sugest me any blog for Engineering exams purpose…

    which can provide a clear cut information as your blog provide us information for civil + other services.
    plz sir make some effort for me sir plz.

  19. Harshit Bansal

    Sir, When will you upload for Dec-Jan-Feb-Mar?

  20. aditya swaroop

    Sir please upload science tech current articles for dec.-feb. && march-may

  21. aditya swaroop

    Please sir, ur help in science and tech. Is most needed

  22. Juhi Singh

    Hi Mrunal I guess this is the last article in currents – sci n tech… for UPSC is there anything coming soon? thanks

  23. aditya swaroop

    Sir, aap science & tech ke aur articles karoge kya??? Please tell

  24. aspirant

    sir nov last week to may sci-techplz

  25. Sushil

    please update sir this section after nov 2013 not any single thread on s&t

  26. Shilpy

    Best way to present the topics…

  27. Jude_Prudence

    How can Vikrant be both commissioned and decommissioned at the same time?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Vikrant_(R11)- ALANG se PALAG chala gaya ye wala

    “INS Vikrant: first indigenous aircraft carrier, was launched at Kochi.”

    Haaaaaoow is this possible? What am I missing? or they were too lazy and couldn’t come up with another name starting with “V”

  28. Jude_Prudence

    INS Vikrant R11 vs INS Vikrant 2013.this is how. Lazy people.


    what was the average velocity and maximum velocity of marshyan.

  30. Any

    Awesome.thanks a ton 🙂


    sir im not getting your posts and articles on upsc ias since one month,kindly confirm my subscription again

    1. Cartman

      you need to re-subscribe, thats all.

  32. prakash

    sir, i want current afire information from may2013 to may 2014 . i am requesting you , how i collect from your web

  33. Manshes

    sir, please update this section for upcoming exams like capf ,csat 15

  34. rakesh

    Please provide current science and tech of last one year Hindu column alag se

  35. suraj

    sir plese tell how i start preparation for upsc

  36. vicky

    Sir,plz update science and technology notes with current affairs

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