Science and Technology | Science and Technology News - November 2011

Drupal Software
Drupal is a free, open source social publishing platform – that enabled the survival of famous news website of Al Jazeera amid the escalating pressure; besides latching global governments onto its services. Over 2 per cent of all websites worldwide, from blogs to corporate, political and government sites use Drupal as their back-end system. This includes the United States government's official website, the It is a software package that allows you to organise, manage and publish content, with endless customisation; Drupal is used by millions today. And, India is now as much a part of this online revolution. Various government organisations, including the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, have adopted Drupal as their communication platform over the past year.

Russia’s Mars mission launch successful
Russia returned to long-range space exploration on Tuesday with the successful launch of a probe that will, if all goes well, fly to Mars and bring a soil sample from one of its moons back to earth. A Zenit-2SB booster was fired on schedule from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space centre last week, starting the space vehicle on a three-year flight to the Mars moon Phobos. Russia’s last inter-planetary space mission was in 1996.

Hubble telescope spots dwarf galaxies
NASA’s powerful Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a number of young dwarf galaxies brimming with star formation. The galaxies are many times smaller than the Milky Way, yet they churn out stars at such a fast pace that their stellar content would double in just 10 million years. By comparison, the Milky Way would take a thousand times longer to double its star population.

India to commission third research station in Antarctica
Nearly 28 years after it set up the first permanent research station in the South Polar region, India is all set to commission and occupy a third such station in Antarctica by March next year. After the station named ‘Bharti’ becomes operational, India will join the league of select nations that have multiple operation stations in the region. The new station is located almost 3,000 km away from the existing ‘Maitri’ station which is serving the nation since its inception in 1988-89.

India successfully test-fired Shourya missile
India's hypersonic missile, Shourya, was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur on the Orissa coast in late september. Shourya is the land-variant of India's K-15 missile which is launched under the water and is being fitted into the Navy's nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant. This is the third flight of Shourya, all of which have been successful and this flight paves the way for its production and induction into the Services. It was designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads. The missile can be used by both the Navy and the Army because it could perform various roles. 

Earth's magnetic field is generated by a process called geodynamo. It is powered by heat from the inner core, which drives complex fluid motions in the molten iron of the outer core.

Oxygen and Hypoxia
Scientists have identified a protein called p75NTR which they claim kickstarts the response to low levels of oxygen. The finding may pave the way for research into potentially fatal disorders like cancer, heart attack, and stroke. A team at Gladstone Institutes, USA has, in fact, mapped out the chain of events that take place during hypoxia – a condition that can occur in people with diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It deprives tissues and organs of adequate oxygen supply. When activated by hypoxia, p75NTR sets off the cascading series of events that result in increased blood-vessel production to replenish oxygen levels during disease. By monitoring the responses of mice under hypoxic conditions, Dr Akassoglou found that hypoxia first activated the p75NTR protein, which then activated HIF1-alpha and set everything in motion.

Nobel Laureate Hargobind Khorana dead
Nobel laureate Hargobind Khorana died at 89,in Massachusetts.Khorana won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968, sharing it with two others, for unveiling the nucleotide sequence of RNA and deciphering the genetic code. Their research helped to show how the nucleotides in nucleic acids, which carry the genetic code of the cell, control the cell's synthesis of proteins.

Scientists create world's lightest material 1,000 times thinner than a human hair
Scientists claim to have created  the world’s lightest solid material, a metal which can sit atop a dandelion without even crushing its seeds. The substance is made of tiny hollow metallic tubes – the walls of which are 1,000 times thinner than those of a human hair. The researchers say the material, which consists of 99.99 per cent air, is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam and has ‘extraordinarily high energy absorption’ properties. The resulting material has a density of 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimetre.