Artificial Sun Achieves Record High Temperatures

South Korean Breakthrough

  • South Korean scientists achieved a record in nuclear fusion research.
  • Their “artificial sun,” Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), produced heat of 100 million degrees Celsius for 48 seconds.
  • This temperature is seven times hotter than the Sun’s core (15 million degrees Celsius).

What is an Artificial Sun?

  • Nuclear fusion reactor facility mimicking the Sun’s energy production.
  • Uses hydrogen isotopes (deuterium and tritium) as fuel.
  • Achieves extremely high temperatures to create plasma (hot, charged gas).

Nuclear Fusion: Promising Clean Energy Source

  • Fusion is the process of combining light atomic nuclei to form a heavier one, releasing massive energy.
  • It powers the Sun and other stars.
  • Significance:
    • Clean energy source: No greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Highly efficient: Generates more energy per fuel unit than fission.
    • Abundant fuel sources: Deuterium from seawater, tritium from lithium.
    • Intrinsically safe: Low risk of meltdowns or long-lived nuclear waste.


Konda Reddi Tribe: Indigenous Knowledge Aids Conservation

Konda Reddi Tribe

  • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Inhabits Papikonda hills of Godavari region.

Indigenous Knowledge of Indian Laurel Tree

  • Konda Reddi tribe claimed the Indian laurel tree (Terminalia tomentosa) stores water, especially in summer.
  • Andhra Pradesh Forest Department verified this knowledge by cutting the bark and finding water reserves.
  • This knowledge can aid forest conservation efforts in dry seasons.

Indian Laurel Tree

  • Also known as Indian Silver Oak.
  • Timber has high commercial value.

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • Identified by the Dhebar Commission (1973).
  • More vulnerable than other tribal groups.
  • Characteristics:
    • Primitive traits
    • Geographical isolation
    • Low literacy
    • Stagnant or declining population
    • Dependence on hunting and gathering
  • Face exploitation from more developed tribes.
  • Odisha and Madhya Pradesh have the highest PVTG populations (2011 Census).


One Vehicle, One FASTag Rule Enforced

  • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)enforces “One Vehicle, One FASTag” rule from April 1st, 2024.
  • FASTag:Electronic toll collection system using RFID technology.
  • Aim:Improve efficiency and seamless movement at toll plazas.
  • Benefits:Discourages misuse of FASTags (one tag for multiple vehicles or vice versa).

Drought Damages Cardamom Plantations

  • Kerala:Drought causes extensive damage to cardamom plantations.
  • ICAR-KVK Idukki Supports Farmers:
    • Foliar application of Pigmented Facultative Methylotrophic Bacteria (PPFM):
      • Enhances plant growth and yield.
      • Increases photosynthetic activity.
    • Screening PPFM strains for plant growth promotion:
      • Nitrogen fixation.
      • Phytohormone production.
    • PPFMs:Aerobic bacteria used in agriculture for foliar sprays and seed applications.
    • Cardamom:
      • Ginger family (Zingiberaceae).
      • Native to Western Ghats of South India.
      • Perennial herbaceous plant.
      • Thrives in warm, humid climate with 1500-2500 mm annual rainfall.
      • Ideal temperature: 15°C to 35°C.
      • Prefers deep, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.


Carbon Fibre: A Lightweight Alternative

  • What is it?Carbon fiber is a strong, lightweight material made by heating organic materials like PAN at high temperatures.
  • Key Features:High modulus and specific tensile strength due to well-aligned graphite crystallites.
  • Applications:
    • Aerospace manufacturing (aircraft parts)
    • Civil engineering (construction)
    • Defence (military equipment)
    • Sports equipment (e.g., bicycle frames)
    • Medical devices (prosthetic limbs)
  • India’s Status:Currently relies on imports (US, France, Japan, Germany) due to no domestic production.


NICES Programme Combating Climate Change

  • Joint Initiative:ISRO, Department of Space & other bodies under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  • Launched in 2012:Aims to monitor climate change through space technology.


  • Generate long-term Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) from Indian & other Earth Observation satellites.
    • Over 70 geophysical variables on land, ocean & atmosphere available.
  • Focus areas: Space-based ECVs, climate indicators, challenges, extreme weather & climate services.


India Aims for Atomic Clock Development

  • Goal:Join a select group (US, UK, Japan, South Korea) with indigenous atomic clocks.
  • What is it?A timekeeping device using atomic vibrations for exceptional precision (billionths of a second).
  • Working Principle:Combines quartz crystal oscillators with atomic ensembles for superior stability.
  • Benefits in Space Navigation:
    • Precise distance measurement for spacecraft.
    • Achieved by calculating signal travel time (known speed of light).
  • India’s Scenario:
    • NAVIC navigation system relies on Indian atomic clocks.
    • ISRO-NPL MoU aims to:
      • Authenticate precise timings for ISRO.
      • Reduce dependence on US-built GPS.


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