- In 2006, the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii spotted a quasi-satellite — a near-Earth object that orbits the Sun and yet remains close to the Earth. Scientists named it Kamo’oalewa.
- The asteroid is roughly the size of a Ferris wheel – between 150 and 190 feet in diameter – and gets as close as about 9 million miles from Earth.
- Because of its small size (about 50 metres wide), this quasi-satellite has been difficult for scientists to study, and little was known about it so far.
- Now, a study in the journal Communications Earth and Environment offers insights into where this satellite could have come from.
- One possibility is that Kamo’oalewa was a part of the Earth’s Moon.
- It could have broken away from the Moon due to a possible impact, and gone on to orbit the Sun rather than the Earth-like its parent does.
- When scientists compared its spectrum with a lunar sample that was brought back to Earth during the Apollo 14 mission, they found striking similarities between the two. A mission to collect Kamo’oalewa’s samples has been scheduled for a launch in 2025.
- Another possibility is that Kamo’oalewa was captured in its Earth-like orbit from the general population of Near Earth Objects.
- A third possibility could be that it originated from an as-yet-undiscovered quasi-stable population of Earth’s Trojan asteroids (Trojans are a group of asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet.
Habibganj to Rani Kamlapati
GS 1: Indian History
- The name of Bhopal’s Habibganj railway station has been changed to Rani Kamlapati station.
- This is to coincide with the inauguration of the station, which has been redeveloped at a cost of around Rs 100 crore with private participation — a first such large-scale PPP model in station redevelopment in India, in the works for the past few years.
- She was the widow of Nizam Shah, whose Gond dynasty ruled the then Ginnorgarh, 55 km from Bhopal, in the 18th century. Nizam Shah built the famous seven-storeyed Kamlapati Palace in her name in Bhopal.
- According to the state government, Kampalati is known to have shown great bravery in facing aggressors during her reign after her husband was killed.
- Kamlapati was the “last Hindu queen of Bhopal”, who did great work in the area of water management and set up parks and temples.
- The Gond are one of the largest tribal communities in India, spread across Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Odisha.
- The renamed and redeveloped railway station is being inaugurated on November 15, the birth anniversary of the iconic 19th century tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
How are railway station names changed?
- It is a common misconception that Indian Railways can change the name of its stations. That is not the case. While Indian Railways may own the station, it does not get involved in the business of naming it. This is left to the discretion of the state government concerned. Change of station names is entirely a state subject even though Railways belong to the Union government.
- The state governments send the request to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the nodal ministry for these matters, which then accords its approval, keeping the Ministry of Railways in the loop. Usually, it is ensured that no other station with the new name proposed exists anywhere in India. If a state government wants to change the name of a city, generally, there is little reason for the Centre to come in the way or keep an old name in circulation, including in the signage of its properties there.
What happens when a name is changed?
- Once the name change is notified by the state government following all due process, Indian Railways steps in to do the necessary work. A new station “code” for railway operation purposes may need to be invented.
- The name change is then fed into its ticketing system so that the new name along with the code is reflected on its tickets and reservation and train information.
- Lastly, it physically changes the name written at the station — building, platform signage, etc, and also in its communication materials for all practical purposes.
How are the languages, spellings to be displayed on the signboard decided?
- This aspect is governed by what is known as the Indian Railway Works Manual— a 260-odd-page document that codifies everything related to civil engineering construction works. Traditionally, station names were written only in Hindi and English. Over time, it was instructed that a third language, which is the local language, should be included.
- Even then, the matter is not simple. Paragraph 424 of the Manual says that Railways should obtain approval of the state government concerned on the spelling of the names (in all three languages) before putting them on its signboards.
CBI, ED chiefs have five-year terms
GS 2: Polity
- President promulgated two ordinances that would allow the Centre to extend the tenures of the directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from two years to up to five years.
- The chiefs of the Central agencies currently have a fixed two-year tenure, but can now be given three annual extensions.
- While the change in tenure of the CBI Director was effected by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the changes to the tenure of the ED Director was brought in by amending the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
- According to the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, provided that the period for which the Director of Enforcement holds the office on his initial appointment may, in the public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee under clause(a) and for the reason to be recorded in writing, be extended up to one year at a time.
- Provided further that no such extension shall be granted after the completion of a period of five years in total, including the period mentioned in the initial appointment.
- The Arunachal Cabinet approved the adoption of the rare species of Kaiser-e-Hind Butterfly (Teinopalpus imperialis) as the State Butterfly.
- It also adopted the Pakke Tiger Reserve 2047 declaration on climate change-resilient and responsive Arunachal Pradesh aimed at lowering emissions and sustainable development.
- The Kaiser-i-Hind is one of the very rare and elusive swallowtail butterflies which are found at medium and higher elevations.
- It flies high in the canopy of broad leaved temperate evergreen forests.
- Its presence indicates the existence of a good forest ecosystem and protection.
- In view of its rare conservation status, increasing threats, and popular appeal, the Kaiser-i-Hind has been declared as the State Butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It literally means Emperor of India. This butterfly with a 90-120 mm wingspan is found in six States along the Eastern Himalayas at elevations from 6,000-10,000 feet in well-wooded terrain.
- The butterfly also flutters in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and southern China.
- Kaiser-i-Hind is protected under Schedule II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it is hunted for supply to butterfly collectors.
India International Science Festival, 2021
Down to Earth
- Recently, 7th edition of the India International Science Festival (IISF) was launched by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
- IISF is an annual event considered to be the biggest platform in the country which brings together students, the public, researchers, innovators and artists from around the globe to experience the joy of doing science for the wellbeing of people and humanity.
- IISF 2021 is being organised jointly by the MoES, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, in collaboration with Vijnana Bharati.
- It will be held from December 10-13 in Panaji, Goa.
- The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, an autonomous institute under the MoES, is the nodal agency organising IISF 2021.
- Theme : ‘Celebrating Creativity in Science, Technology and Innovation for Prosperous India’.
- It will reflect the spirit and idea of Aazadi ka Amrit Mahotsavof the Govt of India.
- It is being organised in a hybrid model: it will be available for both virtual and in-person meet.
- It will have twelve programmes including the mega-science, technology, and industry expo.
The programmes will be categorised under five sections:
- Freedom Struggle: These will commemorate the role of the scientific community in Indian independence. They would help elaborate the role of the Indian scientific community in the freedom struggle, the emergence of scientific institutions and scientific movements and the role of the Indian scientific community in the freedom struggle.
- Ideas@75: These are aimed to discuss new science and technology (S&T) ideas for new India like smart hospitals (city, town & village), innovations in health and nutrition, waste management, blue economy, achieving sustainable development goals, initiatives for digital India and science education.
- Achievements@75: These events are aimed to showcase the S&T achievements of our country in the past 75 years in sectors such as defence, space, nuclear energy, health, engineering and megastructures, agriculture, and various S&T Institutions.
- Actions@75: These events are aimed to chart an S&T action plan for new India. It would include deliberations on the national language transitions mission, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things for digital India, national education policy, health and nutrition, clean energy and clean air, environment and climate change and skill development mission.
- Resolves@75: These events are aimed to come up with resolutions related to S&T towards achieving Atma Nirbhar Bharat in areas such as energy, science in vernacular languages, defence, food, expanding generation of knowledge, transforming India into a manufacturing hub of the world, and a leading economy.