1. Prologue
  2. 30-meter telescope (TMT)
  3. India based Neutrino Observatory (INO)
  4. TOPS: Terrestrial Observation and Predicting System (TOPS)


Combining space-tech related topics from September W1 to October W3, in three part series

  1. IRNSS: the desi GPS
  2. Stuff send to space: NISAR-mission, GSLV-6, GSAT MK-3
  3. Stuff build on land: TMT, INO, TOPS

Apart from this lot of ball by ball commentary happened- Comet Siding spring, ESA’s Rosetta Mission, NASA’s Orion mission, Lunar Eclipse, Blood moon. But I don’t consider them much important for Mains-2014. Although I’ve noted them down, will release them later for prelim space-tech series.

Thirty meter telescope (TMT)

Topic in News: Oct W1, 2014. (As such an old topic but keeps resurfacing on Hindu every once in a while.)

Thirty Meter Telescope TMT

  • Thirty Meter Telescope (Because its primary mirror is 30m wide)
  • World’s largest infrared telescope
  • World largest optical telescope (because its primary mirror is 30m wide.) although this record will be soon broken, when European Extremely Large telescope is build. (42m mirror)
  • TMT is 12 times better than Hubble space telescope.
  • Therefore, can search for stars that are less bright or farther from Earth.
  • TMT will help finding most distant and oldest stars that were born after Big Bang. Thus we can learn more about the origin of the universe.
  • Mauna Kea volcano summit, in Hawaii.
  • Controversy: Project will harm the habitat of Rare Weiku bug.
Who? India, Japan, US, China and Canada.
  • 2010: Pact signed
  • 2022: project will be finished.
Cost: 1.5 billion$

India’s contribution to TMT project

  • 10% finance (1000 crore rupees).
  • India will develop the control system, sensors, fabrication, actuator systems of this telescope.
  • Godrej and other Indian private companies will do the mirror-coating and polishing of this telescope.
  • Indian astronomers will be allowed to use this telescope for the time proportional to India’s contribution (10%). Japanese will get to use it for 25% and so on.

Mock Question (GS3): Write a note on Thirty Meter Telescope and India’s contribution to this project. 200 words.

India based Neutrino Observatory (INO)

Topic in news: Sep W3, 2014

INO Indian Neutrino observatory

  • Mega science project under 12th Five year plan.
  • To setup an underground lab for pure science.
  • INO lab has 50,000 tonnes magnetic detector and an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector.
  • To study neutrinos and particle physics.
  • Later can be used for doing under-ground experiments in pure research in biology, physics and chemistry as well.
Where? Bodi west hills, Theni district, South Tamilnadu
  • jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
  • BARC, Tata institute of Fundamental research (TIFR) and dozen other chillar Indian research institutes.

Location factors:

(for hardcore-geology MCQs in CDS and CAPF)

  • To detect Neutrino and their reactions, the lab has to be at least 1000 m below surface, to reduce natural cosmic radiation.
  • Mountains of South India, are most ideal for this lab, because they’ve dense rock (mostly gneiss) while the Himalayas are mostly metamorphic sedimentary rock with only pockets of gneiss.
  • Bodi west hills is made up of Charnockite (hardest rock known.) Earthquake risk minimum.
  • Hence better than hills in Karnataka, because they’ve more schistic type rocks, the rocks.

Mock Question (GS3): Write a short note on features and functions of INO Neutrino observatory.

TOPS: Terrestrial Observation and Predicting System (TOPS)

Topic in news: Sep W4, 2014

NASA TOPS system


Who? Ramakrishna Nemani, an Indian scientist in NASA-National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
What? He modified NASA technology to help Indian farmers against floods, droughts, climate change and smooth implementation of crop-insurance. hence important from two angles:

  1. (GS3): e-technology in the aid of farmers
  2. (GS3): indigenization of technology
How? Terrestrial Observation and Predicting System (TOPS)

What is TOPS?

TOPS system collects weather and climate data using

  1. satellite remote sensing
  2. ground weather stations
  3. Human inputs and
  4. using climatic forecasting and ecosystem models

Ya, but What is the benefit of such data?

  1. Helps categorizing agro-regions according to climate risk. Thus, Crop production and loss can be determine in advance.
  2. Both farmer and Insurance companies can make ‘business’ decisions accordingly.
  3. Ensures that right amount of crop insurance reaches the right farmer. (By linking computerized land records, Adhar, Jan Dhan bank account.)

Mock Question (GS3): Discuss the potential utilities of NASA-TOPS system in Indian agriculture.