Expected Questions in Science and Technology 2019 – IAS/NET (Part-1) - (Set 2) (Download PDF)


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Please find below the most important expected topics for the upcoming UPSC Prelims exam 2019. Subscribe@Examrace YouTube Channel to get the complete series of expected questions. For practice and solutions visit - doorsteptutor. com. You can download the pdf by clicking the option “Download PDF”.

Hayabusa2 probe: Ryugu asteroid

  • Hayabusa2 has surveyed asteroid Ryugu’s surface & landed multiple robotic probes on its rocky terrain.

Findings of probe are:

  • Asteroid Ryugu is far drier than expected. Ryugu is quite young (by asteroid standards), at around 100 million years old, suggests its parent body was much largely devoid of water, too.
  • Ryugu has oblate “spinning top” shape, which suggests that rocky body may have once spun at twice its current rate.
  • Hayabusa2 has completed touchdown manoeuvre to collect samples from Ryugu’s surface, which will be brought back to Earth in a return capsule in late 2020.


  • Hayabusa2 is asteroid sample-return mission of Japanese space agency, JAXA.
  • It is successor of Hayabusa which had returned asteroid samples in 2010.
  • Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu on 27 June 2018 & would survey asteroid Ryugu for year & half during which time it will collect samples. Mission plan is expected to depart in December 2019 & return samples to Earth in December 2020.

Asteroid Ryugu

  • Asteroid Ryugu is near-Earth object & potentially hazardous asteroid of Apollo group.
  • Asteroid Ryugu is primitive carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid.
  • Asteroid Ryugu is expected to preserve most pristine materials in Solar System, a mixture of minerals, ice & organic compounds that interact with each other.
  • Studies of Asteroid Ryugu is expected to provide additional knowledge on origin & evolution of inner planets & in particular, origin of water & organic compounds on Earth & all relevant to origin of life on Earth.

Blockchain technology

  • Blockchain can be thought of as a public account ledger, immutable, transparent & permanent one. Each transaction is recorded & stored in ledger that is out on public bulletin board. Every transaction adds a block to chain of transactions & each one is evaluated by every user based on algorithms they’ve agreed upon.
  • Copy of blockchain is stored on every user’s server so that a user cannot alter it w/o other users finding out. Blockchain was conceived for financial transactions, its characteristics make it apt solution that can support voting systems.
  • Blockchain is backbone technology on which bitcoins run. It is a digital public ledger that records every transaction. Blockchain removes need for using a trusted 3rd party like bank to make a transaction by directly connecting customers & suppliers.
  • Bitcoin is just one of applications for technology, whose use is being tested across industries. It is witnessing a lot of traction w/I India, in sectors like banking & insurance.
  • Blockchain is expected to improve efficiency of a transaction by eliminating middlemen, reducing cost of all transactions. It is likely to increase transparency & bring down fraud as every transaction would be recorded & distributed on a public ledger.
  • In India, there is a consortium ‘BankChain’ which has about 27 banks from India (including SBI & ICICI) & Middle East as its members. Consortium is exploring using usage of Blockchain technology to make business safer, faster & cheaper.
  • Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of RBI, is developing a model platform for blockchain technology.

ISRO making green propellant

  • Scientists at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) are developing environment-friendly propellant blend based on hydroxyl ammonium nitrate (HAN) to power satellites & spacecraft.

Key Facts

  • HAN-based monopropellant formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol & water. Methanol was added to reduce combustion instability & HAN was used for its capacity to control burn rate & lower freezing point of propellant.
  • Propellant formulation was tested for compatibility w/4 metal samples over period of 6 months. Variety of tests to investigate its characteristics, like thermal & catalytic decomposition & compatibility was undertaken w/different materials.


  • HAN-based monopropellant will replace conventional hydrazine rocket fuel, a highly toxic & carcinogenic chemical, w/greener propellant for future missions.
  • It will ensure cost effective re-usable, recoverable, re-startable & reliable space launches of ISRO.
  • Due to its high performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated space industry as choice of propellant for over 6 decades despite hazards.

Ruthenium: Fourth single element to show ferromagnetism

Chemical element ruthenium (Ru) is 4th element to have unique magnetic properties (ferromagnetism) at room temperature. So far only 3 periodic table elements Iron (Fe), Cobalt (Co) & Nickel (Ni) are found to be ferromagnetic at room temperature.

Key Facts

  • Ru can be 4th single element ferromagnetic material by using ultra-thin films to force ferromagnetic phase.
  • It took them about 2 years to find right way to grow this material & validate it. Discovery will help to improve sensors, devices in computer memory & logic industry or other devices using magnetic materials.
  • From application perspective, Ru is interesting because it is resistant to oxidation & additional has high thermal stability – a vital requirement for scaling magnetic memories.


  • Chemical element w/symbol Ru & atomic number 44.
  • It is rare transition metal belonging to platinum group of periodic table. It is inert to most other chemicals.
  • It was discovered in 1844 by Russian-born scientist Karl Ernst.
  • It named Ruthenium, after Latin name of Russia. Ruthenium is usually found as minor component of platinum ores.
  • It is used in wear-resistant electrical contacts & thick-film resistors. Its minor application is in platinum alloys & as a chemistry catalyst.

RISECREEK: Project Shakti

  • Computer scientists from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras have developed 1st of family of 6 industry-standard microprocessors under Project Shakti.
  • Initial batch of 300 chips are named RISECREEK & are fabricated at Intel’s facility at Oregon, US for free to run Linux operating system.
  • Project Shakti was started in 2014 as IIT-M initiative & part of it is funded by Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.

RISECREEK microprocessors

  • Their design is open source & can be adapted by others. They optimise power use & compete w/international units such as Cortex A5 from Advanced RISC Machines (ARM).
  • They have better performance in terms of DMIPS per megahertz rating than A5 & score of 1.68 against competition’s 1.57.
  • These viable industry-grade microprocessors can operate at frequency of 350 MHz, thus meets demands of defence & strategic equipment of country like NAVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite) & Internet of Things (IoT) electronics. These processors can be tapped for future efforts in semiconductors.

Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project

  • New gravitational wave detector to measure ripples in fabric of space & time is set to be built in India by 2025
  • Environment Ministry has allowed scientists to test suitability of land in Maharashtra’s Hingoli district to host LIGO project.
  • New Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector will add to 2 already operational in US.
  • 3 American physicists Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne & Barry Barish won Nobel Prize for their contribution towards LIGO experiment.
  • LIGO operates 3 gravitational wave detectors-One is at Livingston in Louisiana & other 2 are at Hanford in Washington & detectors are located about 3,000 km apart in L shape. Overall project is funded by National science foundation.

About LIGO

  • It is large scale physics experiment observatory established in 2002 to detect gravitational waves.
  • Present telescopes could detect objects which emit electromagnetic radiations like X-ray, gamma rays etc. Merger of black holes & many other cataclysmic events do not emit electromagnetic waves rather gravitational waves.
  • LIGO was established to unfold many unknown phenomenon in universe thru gravitational waves detection.

Artificial Intelligence: Potential Benefits & Risks

Potential Benefits of AI :

Governance: Process Optimization & Cost Saving, Decision Making & Problem Solving, Human Resources Management

Economy: Next Generation of Economic Growth, Spurring Innovation, Value and Job Creation

Automotive Industry: Self-driving Cars, Enhanced fuel efficiency, Enhances Safety Features, Optimize Logistics & Supply Chain

Defence & Security: Decision Making (Tactical & Strategic), Trainings & War-gaming Logistics, Fleet Management, Periodic Maintenance, Intelligence Analysis, Face Recognition & Crime Prevention

Foreign Policy: Decision Making, Scenario Analysis, Analysis of Historical Data/Events Negotiations, Information Analysis, Public Diplomacy

Healthcare: Drug Discovery & Safety, Diagnosis & Lab Results Analysis, Preventive Care, Insurance Risk Assessment.

Potential Risks of AI:

Governance: Lack of Technical Competence, Inability to Synchronize Goals/Expectations, Dependence on Foreign Technology

Economy: Economic Competition & Espionage, Threats to Intellectual Property, Loss of Conventional Jobs

Automotive Industry: Regulatory Challenges, Overdependence on Technology, Software Error, Defect or Failure Susceptible to Hacking/Interference

Defence & Security: Dependence on Foreign Technology, Human Safety & Security, Software Error, Defect or Failure Potential Weapons Arms Race

Foreign Policy: Lack of Cognitive Data for Deep Learning, Multilateral Rules of the Road, Technology Acceptance in Decision Making, Lack of Data from Other Countries, Dependence on Foreign Technology, Potential Weapons Arms Race

Healthcare: Training Doctors & Paramedical Staff, Generating Awareness, Acceptance of AI in Medical Practices, Technology Affordability

GSAT-6A: A satellite designated to be used by Armed Forces

ISRO successfully launched GSAT 6A communication satellite on board of GSLV-F08 rocket from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This was overall 12th GSLV flight (& 5th successful) & 6th flight with indigenously built cryogenic upper stage engine.


  • High power S-band communication satellite w/mission life of about 10 years. Placed in Geosynchronous orbit of Earth. It weighs 2066 kg & is most powerful home-made communication satellite till date.
  • It has smaller 0.8-metre antenna for communication in C band. It will provide mobile communication to India thru multi beam coverage facility.
  • It will provide platform for developing technologies like demonstration of S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals & network management techniques that could be useful in satellite based mobile communication applications. It will be designated for military use especially in remotest areas of country.

Special feature of GSAT-6A: 6-metre-wide umbrella-like antenna that will be unfurled in space. Antenna is thrice as broad as antennas generally used in ISRO satellites. It will enable mobile communication from anywhere via hand-held ground terminals. It will require small ground station as regular communication satellites with smaller antenna require much larger ground stations.


S-band is electromagnetic spectrum covering frequencies from 2 to 4 gigahertz (GHz). It is very useful & is used globally for 4G service & is extremely valuable for mobile broadband services. It crosses conventional boundary b/w Super High Frequency (SHF) & Ultra High Frequency (UHF) bands at 3.0 GHz.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 27, 2019


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