Current Affairs: Science, Technology & Environment: 20.6.09

This Post Published on 20.6.09
June 18, 2009 : Current carbon dioxide levels highest in past 2.1 mn years
June18, 2009 : NASA starts back to moon with dual mission
June18, 2009 : Oceansat 2 to be ready by August
June19, 2009 : New global programme to save tigers to link India

June 18, 2009 : Current carbon dioxide levels highest in past 2.1 mn years
Present day carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have touched the highest mark in the past 2.1 million years which may result in large scale climatic changes from the greenhouse effect, says a study published in the June 19 edition of the journal Science. The present levels of carbon dioxide are 38 per cent higher than the levels that hovered around 280 parts per million during last 2.1 million years.

Carbon dioxide is a principal green house gas which traps the warm infrared rays coming from the sun and blocks them from being reflected again into space by the earth’s surface. This helps in maintaining adequate temperature on earth, making it liveable. But its rapid increase emanating from human activities like vehicles, factories etc is increasing the temperature to an extent that large scale climate change is becoming inevitable.

June18, 2009 : NASA starts back to moon with dual mission
NASA launched a dual mission on Thursday to help pave the way for humans to return to the moon, as the US space agency looks beyond the continuing needs of the International Space Station. The Atlas V rocket launch lifted off from NASA’s Cape Canaveral in Florida. A scheduling conflict with the space shuttle Endeavour, which now won’t be launched before July 11, delayed the launch by a day.

A US Atlas rocket carried the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) – two craft that will update primitive maps of the moon and search for water. The goal is to design a new generation of manned spacecraft, the Orion project, expected to be ready by 2015.

June18, 2009 : Oceansat 2 to be ready by August
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s ocean observation mission, Oceansat 2, will be ready by August. Oceansat 2 will have a device to study surface level winds that will help in predicting the sea conditions. Its ocean colour monitor is useful in identifying potential areas for fishery. Earth observation satellite Cartosat 2B, would be ready for launch this year. Data from the satellite would be used for mapping and other cartographic applications.

June19, 2009 : New global programme to save tigers to link India
Smithsonian Institution and the World Bank Group plan to link relevant institutions in India, China, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand and other tiger range countries with global conservation science and professional training centres.

The National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Centre located in the Shenandoah Mountains in Front Royal, Virginia, will serve as one of the initial launch-pads for development of the proposed conservation and development network.

The World Bank will dedicate more than $1 million over the next year toward these training efforts, and the Smithsonian and World Bank will work to expand the alliance to include other members and raise additional financing for implementation. The Year-of-the-Tiger Summit is scheduled to be held in the second half of 2010.

As poaching, habitat loss and other issues have reduced the global tiger population in the wild to less than 3,500 and the losses continue, the new programme under the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) will help stabilise and restore wild tiger populations and save this endangered species from extinction in its natural habitats.

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