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Scientists create Bionic leaf that turns sunlight into liquid fuel

Scientists have created a system that uses solar energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels. 
•    The system can convert solar energy to biomass with 10 percent efficiency, far above the 1 percent seen in the fastest-growing plants.
•    A team of scientists from Harvard University (United States) has created this unique bionic leaf 
•    This artificial photosynthesis device has been dubbed bionic leaf 2.0. 
•    The new system can convert solar energy to biomass with 10% efficiency.  
•    Its efficiency is much higher than the 1% seen in the fastest growing plants. 
•    Scientists had used a new cobalt-phosphorous alloy catalyst for this experiment in order to increase efficiency. 
•    This artificial photosynthesis system can be used to generate usable fuels. This artificial leaf use solar power to split water and make hydrogen fuel.

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NASA has successfully deployed the first experimental inflatable room attached to the ISS

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully deployed the first experimental inflatable room attached to the International Space Station (ISS). 
•    The experimental inflatable room dubbed as BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) was deployed after it was successfully expanded and pressurized.
•    The inflatable room BEAM has been built by Nevada Company Bigelow Aerospace. It will be attached to the ISS for a two-year test and is the first such habitat to hold humans in orbit.
•    It is made up of aluminium and soft fabric which expands in space. It is light weight and also takes minimal space. It creates place for astronauts to live and work. 
•    It is 4 metres long and 3.2 metres in diameter with 16 cubic metres of interior volume when fully expanded. 
•    Its 2 year orbital test is intended to pave the way towards the use of such habitable rooms for long space trips, including to Mars and Moon.

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USAID launched India’s first integrated web portal designed Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in India.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Power today launched India’s first integrated web portal designed to promote and mainstream Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in India. 
•    The portal ( (link is external)) was launched by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pujari, Secretary, Ministry of Power, and Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, USAID Mission Director to India.
•    A first of its kind, the portal provides complete information about Net Zero Energy Buildings – those that generate as much energy as they use – as well as how to achieve near-zero energy status through the use of efficient lighting and equipment, integration of renewable energy technologies, and best practice design strategies.
•    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States Government agency which is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid.
•    President John F. Kennedy created USAID from its predecessor agencies in 1961 by Executive Order. USAID's programs are authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act, which the Congress supplements through directions in annual funding appropriation acts and other legislation.
•    Although it is technically an independent agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.
•    USAID operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

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India and Australia have signed MoU to enhance research and development (R&D) capabilities in biotechnology

Seeking to stimulate and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry, BIRAC, a PSU under the Ministry of Science and Technology signed MoU with Horticulture Innovation Australia for launching a joint funding call.

•    The focus of the call is to undertake horticultural research in order to develop and deploy modern tools of plant biotechnology to improve crop productivity. 
•    The event was presided over by Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu and Vijay Raghavan.
•    Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) is a not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development and marketing company for Australia's horticulture industry.
•    It works collaboratively with industry, the Australian government and the nation's leading research institutions to deliver ground-breaking advancements in areas such as agri-technology, pest management, and trade and industry promotion.
•    Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products, or "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Art. 2).
•    Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with the (related) fields of bioengineering, biomedical engineering, bio-manufacturing, etc.

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BrahMos supersonic cruise missile test fired

India on 27th May successfully test fired the over 290-km range BrahMos land-attack supersonic cruise missile.

•    The system was put to check by the Indian Air Force, which has acquired a squadron of it consisting of over 50 missiles, at about 1200 hours in the Pokharan firing range.
•    The unique BrahMos weapon system on numerous occasions has established its supremacy in the world of supersonic cruise missile.
•    The flight conducted has met its mission parameters in a copybook manner.
•    The missile met all flight parameters the formidable weapon successfully hit and annihilated the designated target.
•    Present DRDO chief is S Christopher.
•    The accuracy was recently re-established in a campaign conducted by the Indian Army in the eastern sector last year.
•    This formidable missile system has empowered all three wings of the armed forces with impeccable anti-ship and land attack capability.

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Samsung to launch 1st nationwide loT Network

Samsung Electronics will partner with SK Telecom to build a LoRaWAN network for the Internet of Things that will cover all of South Korea. 
•    The two companies claim that this is the world’s first nationwide IoT network.
•    LoRaWAN stands for “long-range wide-area network,” and is specifically designed for Internet-connected, battery-operated objects. 
•    South Korea may be getting the first countrywide IoT network, but LoRaWAN has already been used to build a citywide IoT data network in Amsterdam that launched last August.
•    Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom’s IoT network will be available throughout South Korea by the middle of this year. 
•    The South Korean government has said that it plans to invest 100 billion won by 2024 in smart cars and IoT as part of a drive to promote the country’s startup industry and decrease its dependence on semiconductor manufacturing.
•    South Korea’s Internet speeds are already among the fastest in the world.

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American biochemist Frances Arnold awarded the Millennium Technology Prize 2016

Frances Arnold, the Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, has been awarded the Millennium Technology Prize for her "directed evolution" method, which creates new and better proteins in the laboratory using principles of evolution. 
•    The Millennium Technology Prize, worth one million euros (approximately $1.1 million), is the world's most prominent award for technological innovations that enhance the quality of people's lives.
•    Arnold received her undergraduate degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University in 1979. 
•    She earned her graduate degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1985. 
•    She arrived at Caltech as a visiting associate in 1986 and became an assistant professor in 1987, associate professor in 1992, professor in 1996, and Dickinson Professor in 2000.
•    She is the recipient o the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the engineering profession's highest honor, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. 
•    She got elected to all three branches of the National Academies—the National Academy of Engineering (2000), the Institute of Medicine (2004), and the National Academy of Sciences (2008)
•    She is the first woman elected to all three branches.
•    The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every two years by Technology Academy Finland (TAF) to "groundbreaking technological innovations that enhance the quality of people's lives in a sustainable manner," according to the prize website. 
•    Arnold is the first woman to win the prize

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A joint US-Australian military research team successfully tested a hypersonic technology in the Australian desert

•    A two-hour flight from Sydney to London is a step closer to reality after the latest successful test Wednesday of hypersonic technology in the Australian desert.
•    A joint US-Australian military research team is running a series of 10 trials at the world's largest land testing range, Woomera in South Australia, and at Norway's Andoya Rocket Range.
•    Scientists have said hypersonic technology could cut travelling time from Sydney to London to as little as two hours for the 17,000-kilometre (19,540-mile) flight.
•    Hypersonic flight involves travelling at more than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5).
•    Scientists involved in the programme -- called Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFRE) -- are developing an engine that can fly at Mach 7
•    Each test builds on previous ones, with the latest used to measure heat on the outside of a vehicle in hypersonic flight, Smart said.
•    The next test, scheduled for 2017, would involve the scramjet engine separating from the rocket booster and flying on its own, he added.
•    The first test was conducted in 2009 with the project expected to be completed in 2018.

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Fossils of oldest multi-cellular organism found

The researchers, writing in the journal Nature Communications, said they had uncovered fossils showing that complex life on Earth began more than 1.5bn years ago.
•    After first emerging from the primordial soup, life remained primitive and single-celled for billions of years, but some of those cells eventually congregated like clones in a colony. 
•    Scientists took to calling the later part of this period the “boring billion” because evolution seemed to have stalled.
•    Previously, eukaryotes of comparable size had not been known to appear in the fossil record until about 600m years ago, when a multitude of soft-bodied creatures inhabited the world’s oceans.
•    Their very existence 1.56bn years ago would mean that “oxygen levels were sufficiently high to allow for such large organisms to subsist”.
•    Antcliffe suggested the fossils were more likely corresponded to colonies of bacterial cells, rather than a single complex organism.
•    Truly multicellular creatures display three-dimensional form in which only some cells are in direct contact with the environment.

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Researchers create mirror image of DNA-copying protein

Scientists at Tsinghua University in Beijing have created a mirror-image version of a protein responsible for two life-critical functions:, copying DNA and transcribing it into RNA
•    Crucial step in someday making reverse-versions of molecules that could be more resistant to viral attacks.
•    Have to build their own reverse version of the DNA polymerase that coordinates copying, which drastically slowed down the process. 
•    Scientists have been making mirror images of DNA for years, so the Tsinghua researchers were able to order many parts of their experiment, but they did have to build their own reverse version of the DNA polymerase that coordinates copying, which drastically slowed down the process. 
•    That will need to speed up to make the process financially rewarding, but biochemical companies are already looking at the lucrative potential for mirror-image molecules, which could more efficiently operate inside the body without being degraded by enzymes that break down typically-oriented molecules.

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