Tuesday, December 23, 2008

South Indians have their paternal lineage in Europe, maternal genes in East Asia

December 24, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 23: The paternal lineage of South Indians is traceable to Europe while their maternal genes point to East Asia.
A joint study by a group of international research organisations on the caste populations in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh has revealed that South Indian paternal lineages have been more substantially influenced by western or central Eurasians compared to South Indian maternal lineages.
The study was conducted by the Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, USA, Schizophrenia Research Foundation, India, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Australia, and University of Washington School of Medicine, USA. The researchers suggested an affinity between Dravidian populations from South India
and populations in the north and west.
The research team led by senior scientist Dr LB Jorde studied Y-chromosomes (for paternal lineage) and found that Tamil castes showed higher affinity to Europeans than to eastern Asians, and that genetic distance estimates to the Europeans are ordered by caste rank.
And when the team studied the mitochondrial DNA (maternal lineage), it found that Tamil castes have higher affinity to eastern Asians than to Europeans. Same was the case with caste populations in Andhra Pradesh.
Certain South Asian lineages are common in Tamil and Andhra castes. One of the South Asian lineages, U7, is the most prevalent "U" lineage in both the groups. Interestingly, U7 is also common in Iran, Pakistan, and northern India. "This suggests an affinity between Dravidian populations from South India and populations to the north and west," Dr Jorde said.
Although other interpretations may be possible, Dr Jorde said their data from the research study is "consistent with a model in which nomadic populations from northwest and central Eurasia intercalated over millennia into an already complex, genetically diverse set of subcontinental populations."
As these populations grew, mixed, and expanded, a system of social stratification likely developed in situ, spreading to the Indo-Gangetic plain, and then southward over the Deccan plateau. The predominantly south and east Asian mtDNA (maternal) haplogroup M is found in more than half of individuals from a wide sampling of castes and is nearly fixed in some AustroAsiatic tribal populations. This maternal
haplogroup is uncommon in western European populations.
In contrast, some paternally-inherited Y-chromosome lineages are more closely related to lineages originating in central Asians and Europeans.Genetic distances estimated from autosomal polymorphisms have typically demonstrated that caste populations tend to occupy a position intermediate between European and East Asian populations.
"The genetic affinities among the more than 2000 extant caste populations of India, however, are complex. Genetic distances between caste populations from Andhra Pradesh are correlated with differences in caste rank, suggesting that endogamy and differential inter-caste gene flow influences genetic structure," the study noted.
The study reveals that in Tamil Nadu, genetic distances between castes are positively correlated with caste rank. A similar pattern was detected in upper, middle, and lower rank castes of Andhra Pradesh.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Musi pollution: Hookworm threat due to use of sewage in agriculture

December 22, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 21: Hyderabadis, who consume fruits and vegetables grown over 3,600 hectares under Musi ayacut, run the risk of severe worm infection that may cause appetite loss, abdominal pain, shortness of breath and a variety of skin diseases.
According to a joint study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the International Water Management Institute, Hyderabad, farmers as well as consumers are hit by use of sewage or wastewater in agriculture in and around Hyderabad. As unpolluted water is not available in sufficient quantities in the State capital region for agriculture, scores of farmers in the downstream of Musi are increasingly going in for untreated water for their crops and orchards,
exposing their health as well as of consumers.
If the WHO standards are to be followed, wastewater used in Hyderabad to irrigate is unfit for crop production.
"Intestinal nematode infections have been identified as the main health risk associated with this practice. To protect consumer and farmer health, the World Health Organisation has established an intestinal nematode water quality standard... The use of wastewater poses a number of health risks. Predominant among these is the risk of intestinal helminth infection," Jeroen H J Ensink of London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told this correspondent.
The study found that in Hyderabad around 250 households use wastewater from the Musi river to irrigate 500 hectares of land. Downstream of Hyderabad, farmers, with the help of weirs, irrigate 3,100 hectares of agricultural land.
For the purpose of the study, the research team divided the city and its suburbs into three zones, centre of Hyderabad (high concentration of hookworm eggs), peri-urban zone of Hyderabad (medium concentration of hookworm infection) and villages downstream of the river Musi.
The team found prevalence of hookworm and heavy hookworm infection and other intestinal parasites like Ascaris (giant round worms) and Trichuris (whip worms). Overall, 31.2 per cent of persons, who formed part of the study, were infected by at least one intestinal nematode infection. Of these, hookworm is the most prevalent (29.8 per cent), followed by Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura.
The mean intensity of infection ranged from 35 eggs per gram of faeces (epg) for hookworm to 1.7 epg for T. trichiura. The highest intensity of infection in a person was found for hookworm (1,789 epg), followed by A. lumbricoides (1,333 epg) and T. trichiura (336 epg).He said a significant difference in the prevalence of hookworm, Ascaris and Trichuris was found among the three city zones. Farming families
in centre of Hyderabad had a significantly higher prevalence of hookworm, Ascaris and Trichuris infection. In addition, they also exhibited a significantly higher intensity of infection for all three infections relative to farming families in other two zones.
"Among all persons, use of untreated wastewater, when controlled for confounding variables, was associated with an almost four-fold increased risk of hookworm and heavy hookworm infection. This result was in contrast to the use of partially treated wastewater, which showed no significant association with hookworm infection when controlled for confounding variables. Use of untreated wastewater further showed a greater than five-fold increased risk of Ascaris and Trichuris infection.
Use of partially treated wastewater was associated with a greater than three-fold increased risk of Ascaris infection," Jeroen Ensink said.
The highest risks were associated with use of untreated wastewater, and use of partially treated wastewater was associated only with an increased risk of Ascaris. Use of untreated wastewater was also associated with a higher intensity of infection, especially for hookworm infection.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Metals in Ayurveda: Scientific evaluation and standardisation of herbal drugs

November 23, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 22: With the USA and European nations rejecting Ayurvedic drugs containing metals, the Central government has now embarked on a mega scientific mission to prove that metallic compounds in traditional Indian system of medicine are indeed helpful in fighting diseases.
Only Ayurveda system of medicine extensively utilises a variety of metals to treat certain health problems and boost immunity to fight diseases. But since there's no scientific evaluation of these drugs, developed nations have put a ban on them.
The Department of Science and Technology has entrusted the research, evaluation and standardisation work of Ayurvedic drugs containing metallic compounds to a number of scientific, research and pharma bodies across the country, including the city-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.
Ayurvedic medicines consist of ingredients of herbal, mineral, metallic and animal origin. While scientists in many countries are working on herbal products, no country is working on metallic products, which is an important strength area of Ayurveda. This is because, barring India, this knowledge does not exist anywhere else.
"Arsenic and mercury may be harmful. But when taken in minute quantities they have several health benefits. Ayurvedic drugs have been using these and other metals for centuries. What we need to prove is that these metallic compounds are beneficial to health in small quantities. We have taken up the evaluation and standardisation work.
Once our task is complete Ayurvedic drugs will get scientific backing," Dr J Madhusudhan Rao, director-grade scientist, IICT, told this correspondent. The DST believes that it is one area where India can make original contribution to the world and thus there's need for validation of claim of metallic products. "It is our heritage and needs to be subjected through well planned research in order to bring it to international fora as India’s unique contribution," he added.
The task before the scientific team is to identify different types of bhasmas and formulations for carrying out scientific studies with regard to the standardisation of raw materials, processes and finished products. It also involves chemical transformation, safety, efficacy evaluation, and validation through networking of the various institutions and industries having expertise in this area.
Ayurvedic drugs containing metals will be subjected to pre-clinical studies in animal models for pharmacological evaluation and toxicity,pharmacodynamic and tissue distribution studies. Later, the drugs will be used on human beings for clinical studies, though thousands of Indians have already been using them for centuries.
"It is essential to understand the chemical nature of the complexation taking place with metallic ions and organic phyto-constituents present in medicinal plants with which the metals are treated. Unless we understand the nature of the complex compounds formed during the processing of metals/minerals and medicinal plant material, it is not possible to evolve the quality parameters and understand the
mechanism of action of such important, potent and unique drugs of Ayurveda and Siddha," DST guidelines on Ayurveda research point out.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Green Chemistry: Indian college laboratories to go green

November 22, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 21: Chemistry labs in colleges and universities will not smell foul or emit dense chemical fumes posing danger to the health of students, if the Department of Science and Technology has its way.
The DST has formulated a concept what it calls "Green Chemistry" to protect the health of students and teachers and keep the environment free of chemical pollutants. The DST's move comes in the wake of ban on smoking in public places.
A task force set up by the DST has prepared a set of guidelines for all educational institutions across the country as part of the Central government's efforts to make chemistry learning ecologically and health friendly.
The chemistry lab tests now conducted in most of the colleges and universities in the country were introduced more than 50 years ago.Many of these experiments, particularly involving toxic chemicals like liquid bromine, potassium cyanide, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, are not at all safe to human health.
The DST held a series of meetings including in Hyderabad before arriving at the new guidelines in the form of a monograph. It wants to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of substances hazardous to human health and environment, in educational institutions.
The Andhra Pradesh State government has expressed its willingness to introduce the Green Chemistry concept. "We are holding talks with universities and the Board of Intermediate Education. We are seized of the issue and take a decision on the implementation of new guidelines after taking into consideration the suggestions from our educational institutions," Prof KC Reddy, chairman of AP State Council of Higher Education, told this correspondent.
According to the new guidelines, wherever practicable, synthetic methodologies should be designed to use and generate substances that posses little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
Chemical products should be designed to preserve efficacy of function while reducing toxicity. The use of auxiliary substances like solvents and separation agents should be made unnecessary wherever possible and, innocuous when used.
Under the new guidelines tests with mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead, bismuth and chromium salts, which are toxic, will be excluded from syllabus meant for the undergraduate general stream students. But these tests may be kept for students of honours course for demonstration only.
College managements should avoid lab experiments using organic solvents like ether, petroleum ether or ethyl acetate. Instead they should use ethanol and methanol. Institutions should use alternative reagents which are not only eco-friendly but also be easily available anywhere in the country in bulk quantities at very cheap price.
The guidelines assume significance as the conditions in many laboratories for doing inorganic analysis by conventional methods in the undergraduate level are at all not eco-friendly. The gases are toxic and causes health-hazards. Insufficiency of exhaust fans remain a big problem. Sometimes experiments are carried out in closed doors in hot and humid conditions. Moreover, most of the labs not properly
Students often fall victim of this bad infrastructure. The acid fumes, which are toxic, pollute the atmosphere.

Some notable guidelines

1. Direct use of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas generated from Kipp’s
apparatus must be avoided.

2. A better alternative for hydrogen sulphide in inorganic group
analysis is highly desirable and efforts should continue to find one.

3. Rampant use of concentrated acids like nitric oxide (HNO3),
hydrochloric acid (HCl) must be avoided.

4. Ammonia bottles must always remain tightly corked. Chemical tests
using concentrated acids or ammonia must be carried out in fume-
cupboard. The gases from the exhaust may be passed through alkali
solution (preferably lime water) for absorption. The nitrite or nitrate
salts of calcium may be used as fertiliser.

5. Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, eye shower should be kept ready in a
particular common place. Hand gloves, safety glasses, and aprons must
be made compulsory during lab work.

6. Use of chemicals like carbon tetrachloride, benzene should be
avoided and can be substituted by toluene or acetic acid in butanol.

7. Experiments involving conductometry, polarimetry, potentiometry,
pH metry, colorometry, polarography, spectrophotomery, requires
chemicals in very low concentrations and have no negative influence
on the health or environment, hence these experiments may not need
any change or alterations.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Take Orange Juice And Beat Cigarette Smoke-related Health Problems

November 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 20: A glass of lemon or orange juice four times a day will help prevent life-threatening lung disease, emphysema, in cigarette smokers and victims of second hand smoke.
A group of scientists from Dr BC Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology has found that daily intake of vitamin C will help prevent emphysema, an irreversible disease characterised by destruction of the
lung alveolar cells causing enlargement of airspace. There's no effective
treatment and it will ultimately lead to morbidity and death. About 15 per cent of smokers suffer from the problem.
The team conducted work on guinea pigs, which are close to human beings in anatomical and physiological functions in certain aspects.
"Guinea pig lung has anatomical similarity with human lung and also the guinea pig lung shows cigarette smoke-induce pathophysiological response similar to that of human lung. If the results obtained with guinea pigs are extrapolated to humans, then 2 grams of vitamin C per day, preferably in divided doses 500 mg, 4 times a day, should prevent emphysematous lung damage in smokers," Dr Indu B Chatterjee, one of the researchers, told this correspondent.
At present doctors try to manage the problems caused by emphysema by giving bronchodilators and oxygen therapy. Globally, including India, one out of 75 persons suffers from this disease. About 95 of emphysema cases are caused by cigarette smoking. However, only 15 per cent of the smokers are afflicted by this disease.
"The mechanism of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema is not clear. Cigarette smoke contains about 4000 compounds and it is a conjecture how many of these are responsible for causing emphysema. We have isolated and characterised one single compound, p-benzosemiquinone, from cigarette smoke, which appears to be the major cause of cigarette smoke-induced emphysema in a guinea pig model," Dr Chatterjee said.
The team has also patented a special filter, which traps p-benzosemiquinone from the mainstream cigarette smoke. The smoke coming out of this filtered cigarette does not produce emphysema in a guinea pig model.
"We have delineated the mechanism of action of cigarette smoke and also p-benzosemiquinone and prevention of emphysema. Vitamin C, at a moderately high dosage, almost completely prevents cigarette smoke or p-benzosemiquinone-induced emphysema," Dr Chatterjee added.
Vitamin C, abundantly present in lemon, orange and other citrus fruits, is a strong antioxidant. The team has also determined the modulatory effect of vitamin C in preventing pathophysiological events.
The researchers exposed vitamin C-restricted guinea pigs to cigarette smoke (five cigarettes daily; two puffs per cigarette) for 21 days with and without supplementation of 15 mg vitamin C per guinea pig per day.
Damage to lung including lung injury was evaluated. "Exposure of guinea pigs to cigarette smoke resulted in progressive protein damage, inflammation, apoptosis and lung injury up to 21 days of the experimental period.
Administration of 15 mg of vitamin C/guinea pig/day prevented all these pathophysiological effects," Dr Chatterjee pointed out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 formally begins its two year mission to the earth's natural satellite

November 17, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 16: Chandrayaan-1 formally began its two year lunar mission on Sunday with the Indian Space Research Organisation switching on some of the scientific equipment including the terrain mapping camera and the lunar laser ranging instrument.
The terrain mapping camera took three-dimensional images of the lunar terrain, the first-ever spacecraft to do so. With the successful beaming back of images by the terrain mapping camera to the ISRO's centres, India became the first country in the world to have mapped the Moon in length, breadth and depth. Thus far only astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin have observed the Moon in three dimensions. Chandrayaan-1's images of the Moon are the first ones to be seen in 3D through lens.
According to ISRO director S Satish, the terrain mapping camera took "breathtaking pictures of the lunar panorama".
The pictures will be processed on Monday. This will give ISRO scientists what exactly lies hidden on the Moon, as this will be the first view of the Moon in three dimensions.
The lunar laser ranging instrument and terrain mapping camera are two of the 11 scientific instruments on board the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The laser equipment was turned on when the spacecraft was passing over western part of
the Moon’s visible hemisphere.

"Preliminary assessment of the data from laser instrument indicates that the instrument’s performance is normal," he said. The instrument sends pulses of infrared laser light towards a strip of lunar surface and detects the reflected
portion of that light. With this, the instrument can very accurately measure the height of Moon’s surface features.
According to ISRO, the laser instrument will be continuously kept on and it takes 10 measurements per second on both day and night sides of the Moon. It provides topographical details of both polar and equatorial regions of the Moon. Detailed analysis of the data sent by LLRI helps in understanding the internal structure of the Moon as well as the way that celestial body evolved.
ISRO also turned on radiation dose monitor on Sunday. It might be recalled that the Moon Impact Probe symbolically carrying the Indian tricolour was ejected onto the lunar terrain on Friday.
The terrain mapping camera has been functional for quite some time now. It has already sent pictures of the Earth and the Moon, though from a longer range. Now it is taking pictures from a close angle formally heralding the beginning of the Chandrayaan-1's two year mission to the lunar world.
The pictures and other scientific data sent by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft from lunar orbit have been received by antennas of Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu. The spacecraft operations are being carried out from the Satellite Control Centre of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bangalore.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

DRDO Golden Jubilee: The Next 50 Years

November 16, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 15: The successful test-fire of Shourya missile earlier this week has pushed India into a special league of nations with the most modern weaponry and striking power. It's indeed kudos to the scientific brain power of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which is currently celebrating its golden jubilee year.
Shourya is just another feather in the cap of the DRDO. In the last five decades DRDO has indigenised technologies through constant research and improvement. The US imposed sanctions did not deter it from going ahead with its mission to make India a superpower.
Apart from developing the world lightest combat aircraft, the LCA, the laboratories attached to the DRDO have perfected the art of missile technology. They have also established India's superiority in electronic warfare systems by developing the state-of-the-art EW systems that would fool the enemy aircraft and missiles.
The Agni series of missiles have made India self-sufficient in defence
system. The Agni 5, under development, will have a range as far as 5,000 km, capable of hitting targets even in Europe. The DRDO is also planning to develop and produce super hypersonic missile systems that would fly quite low with super speed, seven to eight times the speed of sound. Shourya missile flew at five times the speed of sound. The next generation of missiles is an improvement over Shourya technology.
The DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production with the Defence Science Organisation. The DRDO was then a small organisation with 10 establishments or laboratories. Over the years, it has grown multi-directionally in terms of the variety of subject disciplines, number of laboratories, achievements and stature.
Today, DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories which are deeply engaged in developing defence technologies covering various disciplines, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, combat vehicles, engineering systems, instrumentation, missiles, advanced computing and simulation, special materials, naval systems, life sciences, training, information systems and agriculture.
It is now backed by over 5000 scientists and about 25,000 other scientific, technical and supporting personnel. Several major projects for the development of missiles, armaments, light combat aircraft, radars and electronic warfare systems are on hand and significant achievements have already been made in several such technologies, according to DRDO.
The thrust areas include integral ram rocket engine, multi-target tracking capability, homing guidance using seeker and networking of radars.
The Agni series of missiles, brainchild of former President and eminent defence scientist DR APJ Abdul Kalam, gave India an edge over its neighbours. Agni is an intermediate range ballistic missile. Agni-I used solid propulsion booster and a liquid propulsion upper stage, derived from Prithvi, essentially to prove the re-entry structure, control and guidance.
The strap-down inertial navigation system adopts explicit guidance, which has attempted for the first time in the world. It uses all carbon composite structure for protecting payload during its re-entry phase.The DRDO has also developed, though in association with Russia, BrahMos, which is a supersonic cruise missile and can be used against ship and land targets. It has a range of up to 300 kms. The missile is
uniquely configured for installing in ships, submarines and aircraft and on ground vehicles.
Another missile, Prithvi, has higher lethal effect compared to any equivalent class of missiles in the world. Prithvi is a unique missile today having manoeuvrable trajectory and high level capability with field interchangeable warheads. This system is now being configured for launching from ship, increasing its capability as a sea mobile system.

DRDO Golden Jubilee: LCA Puts India Ahead

Light Combat Aircraft

Light Combat Aircraft is one of the major achievements of the Defence
Research and Development Organisation. The LCA developed by the
Aeronautical Development Agency, is the smallest light weight multirole
combat aircraft in the world.
This single-seat single-engine tactical fighter is among the best in the world.
It is also India's first modern fighter aircraft, designed specifically to meet the
requirements of the Indian Air Force.
The LC aircraft is a precision weapon launch platform with multirole
capability. It has a choice of three hard points below each wing, and one
under the fuselage giving it considerable flexibility to carry a variety of
missiles, bombs and rockets, as per mission requirements: air-to-air, air-to-
ground or air-to-sea. According DRDO, high manoeuvrability and carefree
handling capability of the aircraft combined with advanced cockpit, digital
avionics and weapon system interface give LCA very good point and shoot
capability with quick turn around time.
LCA is planned to replace the MiG series of aircraft currently operated by the
Indian Air Force. About 200 single seat fighters and 20 two-seat LCA
trainers are projected requirements of Indian Air Force for its squadron
service in the next decade. LCA Programme involves building and flight-
testing of two technology demonstrators - TD1 and TD2 (both already
airborne) and five prototype vehicles (PV to PV5), the last being a two-seat
trainer version, towards operational clearance including weaponisation.
A naval version of the LCA capable of operation from an aircraft carrier is
also under development. Two naval prototypes (NP1 and NP2) are proposed
to be built and flown to obtain clearance for deck operation.

LCA for Navy:

1. Aircraft carrier operation with ski-jump and arrested landing
2. Nose drooped for better cockpit vision
3. Additional aerodynamic features like LEVCON and fore plane to reduce
carrier landing speed
4. Maximum take off weight from carrier - 12.5 tons
5 External store carrying capacity from carrier - 3.5 tons
6. Strengthened Fuselage
7. Stronger undercarriage due to higher sink rate
8. Arrestor hook for deck recovery
9. Fuel dump system

LCA - Trainer

1. Operational 2-seater
2. Aerodynamic commonalty with naval versions
3. Design and layouts in 3-D
4. Marginally reduced internal fuel

DRDO Golden Jubilee: Achievements In The Last 50 Years

The DRDO laboratories spread across the country have been instrumental in
developing new technologies for the growth of the nation. They range from
defence equipment like light combat aircraft to missiles and medical facilities
like pace makers to artificial teeth and everyday utilities like water testing kit
to protective technologies for VVIPs in the form of bullet proof and land
mine proof vehicles.
The major technologies developed so far include:
1. Aluminium alloy material for small arms.
2. Active sensor based on induction-balanced principle for influence mine.
3. Free flight rocket launching technology.
4. Electronic fuses for artillery shells, bombs and mine.
5. Pre-fragmented, Incendiary and shaped charge warheads.
6. Fire/explosion detection and suppression system for missile
7. Fire extinguisher for candle smoke composition.
8. High altitude foam extinguisher.
9. Integrated fire and explosion suppression system for armoured fighting
10. Composite propellant, fuel rich propellants, protective liner for increasing
gun barrel life, combustible cartridge case.
11. Case bonded rocket motors.
12. Explosive detection kit.
13. Electro explosive device.
14. Air-borne telemetry receiving system for down range applications.
15. Electronic warfare systems, Falcon, Kaveri engine, Lakshya
16. Recovery parachute system for light combat aircraft
17. Abhay
18. Amphibious floating bridge and ferry system
19. Ajeya
20. Geo-environmental monitoring systems
21. High speed low drag aircraft bombs
22. Electronic warfare Samyukta communications
23. Battlefield surveillance radar
24. Weapon locating radar
25. Sangraha
26. Samyukta
27. 3D Car
28. Integrated weapon system simulation
29. Flameless ration heater, gloves and suit
30. Iron removal unit for ferruginous water
31. Multi-insect repellent spray
32. Rapid quantification and detection techniques for pesticides in fruits and
33. Technologies for dengue control
34. Transgenic tomato for abiotic stress
35. Agni series of missiles
36. Other missiles like Akash, Brahmos, Dhanush, Pinaka, Prithvi, and
37. Various types of warheads

DRDO Golden Jubilee: DRDO Laboratories Are Jewels In The Crown Of India

The Defence Development and Research Organisation is an umbrella
body of as many as 47 research, scientific, engineering and
technological development laboratories spread across the country. Each
of these laboratories is specialised in a particular research and
development area.
The following are the DRDO laboratories:

·1. Advanced Numerical Research & Analysis Group, Hyderabad
·2. Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment, Agra
·3. Armament Research & Development Establishment, Pune
·4. Center for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Bangalore
·5. Center for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety, Bangalore
·6. Center for Military Airworthiness & Certification, Bangalore
·7. Centre for Air Borne Systems, Bangalore
·8. Combat Vehicles Research & Development Estt, Chennai
·9. Defence Agricultural Research Laboratory, Pithoragarh
·10. Defence Avionics Research Establishment, Bangalore
·11. Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory,
·12. Defence Electronics Application Laboratory, Dehradun
·13. Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
·14. Defence Food Research Laboratory, Mysore
·15. Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (Deemed University),
·16. Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Delhi
·17. Defence Institute of Psychological Research, Delhi
·18. Defence Laboratory, Jodhpur
·19. Defence Materials & Stores Research & Development
Establishment, Kanpur
·20. Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
·21. Defence Research & Development Laboratory, Hyderabad
·22. Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior
·23. Defence Research Laboratory, Tejpur
·24. Defence Scientific Information & Documentation Centre, Delhi
·25. Defence Terrain Research Laboratory, Delhi
·26. Electronics & Radar Development Establishment, Bangalore
·27. Field Research Laboratory
·28. Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Bangalore
·29. High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, Pune
·30. Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences, Delhi
·31. Institute of Systems Studies & Analyses, Delhi
·32. Institute of Technology Management, Mussorie
·33. Instruments Research & Development Establishment, Dehradun
·34. Integrated Test Range, Balasore
·35. Laser Science & Technology Centre, Delhi
·36. Mcrowave Tube Research & Development Center, Bangalore
·37. Naval Materials Research Laboratory, Ambernath
·38. Naval Physical & Ocenographic Laboratory, Cochin
·39. Naval Science & Technological Laboratory, Vishakapatnam
·40. Proof & Experimental Establishment, Balasore
·41. Research & Development Establishment, Pune
·42. Research Center Imarat, Hyderabad
·43. Scientific Analysis Group, Delhi
·44. Snow & Avalanche Study Estt, Chandigarh
·45. Solid State Physics Laboratory, Delhi
·46. Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh
·47. Vehicle Research & Development Establishment, Ahmednagar

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chandrayaan-1: India's Moon Mission Puts Tricolour On The Lunar Terrain

November 15, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 14: India on Friday night literally hit the Moon when the TV-box sized Moon Impact Probe painted in Indian tri-colour landed on the lunar surface.
The formal landing of MIP at 8.31 pm, ejected from India's first-ever lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft now circling 100 km away from the Moon, marks India's legal presence on the Earth's only natural satellite.
Only the USA, former USSR and 17-nation European Space Agency have literally landed on the lunar terrain with their unmanned probes. India's MIP feat comes nearly 50 years after former USSR sent its probe to the Moon.
India, thus became the fourth nation in the world to land probes on the Moon. Though Asian giants China and Japan too had sent their Moon missions, they did not land probes or rovers onto the lunar soil. The MIP, painted in the Indian national flag, took about 25 minutes to descend 100 km from Chandrayaan-1 to hit the Moon surface.
The data gathered from the impact will enable the Indian Space Research Organisation to identify which are the "safe" spots on the Moon to land its next Moon Mission, Chandrayaan-2, scheduled for 2011.
ISRO spokesperson S Satish described the operation as "perfect". Earlier, ISRO scientists began the countdown to hurl the 34 kg probe from the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The remote operation was carried out from the ISRO's deep space network at Byalalu near Bengaluru, with the ground support from ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network.
"The landing of the impact probe has an emotional significance for all Indians. The touching of the tricolour on the lunar surface signifies India’s presence on the moon," ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said.

Earlier, the ISRO ground team activated a small thruster to eject the probe as the Chandrayaan-1 traversed from north to south in the polar orbit, crossing the lunar equator. The probe plunged at a speed of about five km per minute and hit the Moon surface at Shackleton crater near the lunar south pole at 88.9 degrees latitude and 0 degree longitude.
As the MIP started descending onto the Moon from Chandrayaan-1, the special equipment on it took video images of the lunar surface and transmitted data to the ISRO's centres.
"During the descent phase, it was spin-stabilised. The primary objective is to demonstrate the technologies required for landing the probe at a desired location on the Moon and to qualify some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions," Satish said.
The Moon Impact Probe essentially consists of honeycomb structure, which houses all the subsystems and instruments. It comprises the avionics and thermal control systems. The avionics system supports the payloads and provides communication link between MIP and the main orbiter, from separation to impact.
The mission envisages collecting all the instrument data during descent and ransmits to main orbiter, which in turn will transmit them to the ground station during visible phases. The mass spectrometer attached to the probe measured the constituents of lunar atmosphere during the descent.

Friday, November 14, 2008

World Diabetes Day: Lifestyle Changes Make Children Diabetic

World Diabetes Day -- November 14

November 14, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 14: Today is the World Diabetes Day. This year the World Health Organisation lays emphasis on childhood diabetes, which is becoming a major health hazard, both in developed and developing countries. India continues to occupy one of the top few slots in the world diabetes map, with fast changing lifestyles of Indians throwing up new cases almost every day.
What's horrifying is that even Indians living abroad are more prone to
diabetes than the native populations.
Since diabetes cannot be prevented and continues to afflict a person throughout his or her life, once affected, the World Health Organisation has sounded alarming bells on childhood diabetes. According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare statistics, the incidence of childhood diabetes has been steadily going up in the country. And the reasons are quite obvious: childhood obesity and increasing sedentary lifestyles even in young populations. Within the country Hyderabad ranks No.1 in diabetes, both adult and childhood, according to recent research findings.
The World Diabetes Day is observed as a mark of homage to Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best discovered insulin in 1922. Frederick's birth anniversary falls on November 14. Insulin has been saving millions of lives world over every year.
There are 180 million diabetic patients in the world, as per WHO estimates, and of them 41 million are Indians. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 if no medical interventions were made at government or individual level. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries including India.
When it comes to diabetes in children, as many as five lakh children under the age of 15 are affected by Type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin injections. And the list has been going up by 70,000 new cases added to it every year. In India too, childhood diabetes has been increasing at a rate of three per cent per year. But the disease is spreading faster in schoolchildren at a rate of five per cent per year.
"Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by enabling individuals to lose seven to 10 per cent of their body weight, and by increasing their physical activity to a modest level. Regular exercise will also help a lot," says health expert Dr T Srinivasa Sarma.
Children with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar regularly to help control their diabetes, he suggesting.
A study by International Diabetes Federation projects 11 per cent of India's urban population and three per cent of rural populace as high risk groups.
"This mainly because of their sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity,
obesity, stress and consumption of diets rich in fat, sugar and high calories.
The most prevalent is Type 2 diabetes, which constitutes 95 per cent of the diabetic population in the country," points out Dr Jana Jayaprakashsai, senior diabetologist.
The economic burden of diabetes management on a family is quite high and many families do not afford the treatment cost. Overall, direct health care costs of diabetes range from 2.5 per cent to 15 per cent of annual health care budgets. As per WHO estimates, the costs of lost production may be as much as five times the direct health care cost.
"Because of its chronic nature, the severity of its complications and the means required to control them, diabetes is a costly disease, not only for affected individuals and their families, but also for the health systems.
Studies in India estimate that, for a low-income Indian family with an adult with diabetes, as much as 25 per cent of family income may be devoted to diabetes care. For families in the USA with a child who has diabetes, the corresponding figure is 10 per cent," points out a WHO release on the eve of World Diabetes Day.
While may diseases limit their damage to a particular part of the body, diabetes has damaging effect on almost every organ including limbs, eyes, heart, kidneys and nervous system. According to diabetologists Dr R Pradeepa and Dr V Mohan, "diabetes is the single most important metabolic disease which can affect nearly every organ system in the body. Some of the diabetes related complications are coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to develop blindness, 17 times more likely to develop kidney disease, 30-40 times more likely to undergo amputation,
two to four times more likely to develop myocardial infarction and twice as
likely to suffer a stroke than non-diabetics.
According to Dr A Ramachandran, who has conducted a study on the incidence of diabetes in India, in urban areas, the prevalence staggers around 15 to 18 per cent. Also, in the rural areas the prevalence has been increasing.
"There's an increase in prevalence of diabetes from 2.2 per cent in 1989 to 6.4 per cent in Southern India. It is increasing in epidemic proportions. As of today, India is the headquarters for diabetes in the world," he added.

Types of diabetes

Doctors classify diabetes as Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is also
called diabetes mellitus. People suffering from this type of diabetes
need to take insulin. Those suffering from Type 2 or non insulin-
dependent diabetes do not require intake of insulin through external

Diabetes is a chronic disease associated with the problems with the
production and supply of insulin, an hormone produced by pancreas.
We need insulin to use the energy stored in food. When a person
develops diabetes he or she produces no or insufficient insulin (Type 1
diabetes), or his or her body cannot use effectively the insulin produced
(Type 2 diabetes).

Type 1 Diabetes:

According to the World Health Organisation, Type 1 diabetes is an
autoimmune disease that cannot be prevented. Globally it is the most
common form of diabetes in children, affecting around five lakh
children under 15.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is also increasing in children because of childhood
obesity and sedentary lifestyles. "Type 2 diabetes in children is
becoming a global public health issue with potentially serious
outcomes," says a WHO report on the eve of World Diabetes Day.

Diabetes - Warning Signs

It is quite easy to identify diabetes even without formal blood and urine
tests. Like any other disease, diabetes too has many symptoms. The
World Health Organisation has listed the following warning signs to
identify diabetes:
1. Frequent urination
2. Excessive thirst
3. Increased hunger
4. Weight loss
5. Tiredness
6. Lack of interest and concentration
7. Blurred vision
8. Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu).

India to develop super hypersonic missiles with Mac7 speed

November 14, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 13: India is developing a whole new family of missiles that are quite light in weight and capable of hitting targets with speeds ranging between 7410 km and 8645 km per hour.
According to Defence Research and Development Organisation chief controller (research and development) Dr VK Saraswat, these hypersonic missiles with such great speeds cannot be intercepted by enemies. They will fly at low altitudes of 30 mts and hit the target with great precision.
"The DRDO is spending Rs 50 crore to develop the hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle. The present-day missiles are quite bulky and weighs between 20 and 30 tonnes. Moreover, they fly quite high. We are looking at futuristic missiles with hypersonic speeds and flying low. They are also lighter in weight," Dr Saraswat told reporters a day after India successfully tested 600 km range surface-to-surface missile Shourya.
The DRDO, he said was looking for hypersonic missiles with Mac6 to Mac7 speed (six to seven times the speed of sound. Sound travels at a speed of 1235 km per hour). The new missile will be build using indigenous technology without any foreign collaboration. It will also double up as a long-range cruise missile.
Saraswat said the DRDO was also doing research to make the hypersonic missile as a launch vehicle for satellites. This will help DRDO improve its resources through commercial launch of satellites.
He said the success of Chandrayaan-1 and India's signing of 123 agreement with the USA had opened new avenues in aerospace and nuclear sector. India is going to open up market for 60,000 crore to Rs 70,000 crore in the next 10 years. "But the Indian industry should gear up to grab the opportunity by producing globally competitive projects. There will be eight to 10 new nuclear reactors coming up in the country opening 15 billion to 20 billion US dollars investment opportunities," he said.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

India to send Sun Mission Aditya in 2012

November 11, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 10: India will send its space mission to the Sun in 2012 to find out answers for how and why solar flares and solar winds disturb the communication network and play havoc with electronics back home on the Earth.
The Sun's corona as also its flares and winds create geomagnetic field disturbances on the Earth and often damage man-made satellites and spacecraft hovering up in the sky under intense sunlight.
After the successful launch of its moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation is now gearing up for the Mission Aditya, aimed at unravelling the secrets of the Sun, the father of our solar system. ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair on Monday announced in Bengaluru that ISRO was ready with its new space programme to explore the corona of the Sun in 2012.
Mission Aditya has been on the cards for quite some time now and it got a boost after the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1 lunarcraft into its designated orbit around the Moon.
The success of the Aditya Mission will not only solve some of the mysteries surrounding the Sun but also provide vital clues for ISRO on how to protect its satellites and spaceware from being damaged by hot winds and flares ejected out of the corona, the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere. The temperature in corona ranges between 8 lakh to 30 lakh Celsius. Material is ejected from the corona into space containing several billion tons of matter with speed ranging to several million miles per hour. Such material interacts with spacecraft and other man-made material in its path inducing electrical currents. They also damage power systems, disrupt communications and degrade high-tech navigation systems.
ISRO's Aditya Mission is a solar coronagraph or equipment that measures or studies the corona of the sun. Madhavan Nair said Aditya will study corona in visible and near infra red bands to "study the coronal mass ejection and consequently crucial physical parameters for space weather such as the coronal magnetic field structures,
velocity fields and their variability in the inner corona".
Unlike the Chandrayaan-1, which has entered the realms of the lunar world for observation as close as 100 km, Aditya will study the Sun riding piggyback on the Earth. It will weigh about 100 kgs and will have a near-earth orbit of 600 km.
ISRO has planned Aditya launch in 2012 in coordination with the solar maximum when the sunspots will be at the maximum. The last solar maximum occurs once in 11 years. Aditya Mission will cost about Rs 50 crore as against Chandrayaan-1's about Rs 400 crore. Like Chandrayaan-1 it will have a life span of two years and ISRO team hopes
to generate enough data during this period.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 successfully manoeuvred to the right path

November 9, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Nov 8: India on Saturday joined the select club of four Moon-faring nations when its first-ever lunarcraft, Chandrayaan-1, successfully entered the elliptical orbit of the Moon after a series of complex manoeuvres by a team of ISRO scientists based in Bengaluru.
Though India sent its unmanned mission to the Moon on October 22, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft had been orbiting the Earth all along and only on Saturday evening, it successfully came off the gravitational pull of the human planet to enter the unknown realms of the lunar world. It is now orbiting at a distance of 500 km from the Moon when it is nearest, and 7,500 km when it is farthest, from the Earth's natural satellite.
"We will put the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in the designated orbit of about 100 km away from the Moon in a couple of days. This is the first time that an Indian built spacecraft has broken away from the Earth’s gravitational field and reached the moon," ISRO's director (PR) S Satish told this correspondent from Bengaluru.
Only the United States of America, the erstwhile USSR, Japan and China have thus far sent their missions to the Moon. With Saturday's crucial manoeuvring of the orbit of the Chandrayaan-1, India enters the select Moon Club. When the Chandrayaan-1 is put in the designated orbit of 100 km away from the Moon, ISRO scientists back home
in Bengaluru will order the spacecraft to eject a probe onto the lunar soil. The probe carries the Indian national flag, a brainchild of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
According to Mr Satish, the motor on the spacecraft was fired for about 805 seconds at around 4.51 pm to put Chandrayaan-1 into an elliptical orbit with 7,502 km aposelene (farthest from moon) and 500 km pericelene (nearest to moon).
Putting the spacecraft in the lunar orbit is a critical task and any minor mistake in ground command would have sent it farther deep into the Space, far away from the lunar world."Our scientific prowess is on the rise. We are proud of Chandrayaan-I. The very fact that it has been a success so far is a great achievement. The lunar mission will take a closer look at the north and the south poles, something which
has not been attempted before," Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Science and Technology, who is in Hyderabad to release his book, told this correspondent.
An ISRO official statement later said Chandrayaan-1’s liquid engine was fired when the spacecraft passed at a distance of about 500 km from the Moon to reduce its velocity to enable lunar gravity to capture it into an orbit around the Moon.
The spacecraft is now orbiting the moon in an elliptical orbit that passes over the polar regions of the moon. Chandrayaan-1 takes about 11 hours to go round the moon once in this orbit. "The performance of all the systems onboard Chandrayaan-1 is normal. In the coming days, the height of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft’s orbit around the moon will be carefully reduced in steps to achieve a final polar orbit of
about 100 km height from the moon’s surface. Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of the spacecraft will be released to hit the lunar surface. Later, the other scientific instruments will be turned on sequentially leading to the normal phase of the mission," it said.
Since its launch, the liquid engine of Chandrayaan-1 has been successfully fired five times at opportune moments to increase the apogee (farthest distance from earth) height, first to 37,900 km, then to 74,715 km, later to 164,600 km, after that to 267,000 km and finally to 380,000 km. During this period, the Terrain Mapping Camera, one of the 11 scientific instruments of the spacecraft, was successfully operated twice to take the pictures, first of the Earth, and
then moon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chandrayaan-1: India's Mission To The Moon Successful, Lunar Craft Put Into Orbit

A new era dawns in Indian history. India now joins the World Moon Club. We salute you, India

October 22, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 22: India wakes up to a new dawn on Wednesday as Chandrayaan-1 successfully blasts off to the moon. The first phase of the mission is successful and ISRO scientists have achieved the designed path for the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
India’s first-ever mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, left the earth’s orbit for a close encounter with the lunar world, pushing India into a select group of moon-faring nations alongside the space giants like the US.
The indigenously built rocket, PSLV-C11, took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Wednesday morning carrying the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, after the weatherman gave his clearance. Sriharikota, where the launch centre is located, had been witnessing inclement weather and there were some doubts about the launch. But ISRO scientists once again proved their capabilities by going ahead with the take-off the clouds and associated dangers notwithstanding.

Things went as planned and the rocket carrying the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft ignited at the fixed muhurat at 6.22 am. The final countdown progressed well and the entire scientific community in the world had set its eyes on the Indian mission to unravel the secrets hidden behind the beauty of the Moon. The Indian lunar craft will move around the Moon for two years transmitting data through radio signals to ISRO and other designated ground centres around the globe.
Chandrayaan-1 pushed India to a select group of moon-faring nations which have drawn up ambitious plans to colonise the earth's only natural satellite in the next couple of decades. Only the USA, Russia, China, Japan and ESA have sent their missions to the own. Incidentally, Chandrayaan-1 is also the first-ever multinational scientific mission outside the earth's vicinity led by a developing nation. Moreover, Chandrayaan-1 is the most technologically advanced mission to the Moon ever sent by man. This explains why even advanced space organisations like NASA and ESA are collaborating with ISRO to share the Moon data.
Once in its designated orbit about 100 km away from Moon, Chandrayaan-1 will be one of the three lunar orbitors presently hovering around the lunar world. The other two orbitors belong to Japan and China. The Americans will send their own lunar orbitor in March next year to join the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in the dark realms of the Moon. The success or otherwise of Chandrayaan-1 will make or mar the future manned missions to the Moon.
ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair congratulated the scientists associated with the project for the success of Chandrayaan-1.
The 1,380-kg Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft thrust into the Space by the indigenous PSLV-C11 rocket at around 6.20 am. It carries scientific equipment supplied by the USA and the ESA. Of the 11 scientific equipment or payloads, five are entirely designed and developed in India, three from European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from the NASA.

Indian Flag on the Moon

سارے جہاں سے اچھا ہندوستاں ہمارا
ہم بلبليں ہيں اس کي، يہ گلستاں ہمارا

सारे जहां से अच्छा हिन्दोस्तां हमारा
हम बुलबुले हैं उसकी ये गुलसितां हमारा

sāre jahāñ se achchā hindostāñ hamārā
ham bulbuleñ haiñ us kī vuh gulsitāñ hamārā

(Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan (India). We are its nightingales, and it (is) our garden abode.)

Chandrayaan-1 will fulfil the ambition of a billion hearts as it carries the
Indian flag in one of its equipment that will be thrust onto the moon surface.
The only other countries that had pegged their national flags on the lunar terrain are the USA, Russia and Japan.

India overtakes its giant neighbour China as far as sending its national flag to the moon is concerned. It was the idea of former president APJ Abdul Kalam that ISRO should include the national flag in the Chandrayaan-1 mission.
Chandrayaan-1 culminates four years of scientific work at ISRO including international cooperation by leading space agencies. More than 1,000 scientists worked day and night to make India's dream mission a reality. The total cost of the project is Rs 386 crore including Rs 100 crore towards establishment charges. But if Chandrayaan-1 finds Helium 3 fuel or water on the moon, India will be able to lay claim on the lunar world when human colonies begin to spring up there. The return will be million times more than what ISRO had invested on the mission.
"Today, as per the international charter, the moon belongs to the global community. Nobody can make special claim on the surface. But in due course, we don't know how things will change. But our presence will be established through this mission," ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair told reporters.

Chandrayaan-1: How Ground Segment Receives The Signals From the Lunar Craft

October 22, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 21: If sending Chandrayaan-1 into the lunar orbit is a Herculean task, deciphering the radio signals that are sent back to the earth from the spacecraft is equally challenging.
The radio signals, beamed back by Chandrayaan-1 to the master control room in Bengaluru 4,00,000 km away from it, become quite weak. ISRO scientists will have to adopt special methods to enhance the signals to decipher the message from the first-ever lunar orbitor sent by India.
"During the various phases of its flight, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will send detailed information about its health to Earth through its transmitter. At the same time, the spacecraft will be ready to receive radio commands sent from Chandrayaan-1 Spacecraft Control Centre instructing it to perform various tasks. Besides, the spacecraft receives, modifies and retransmits the radio waves sent by ground antennas in a precise way. This plays a crucial role in knowing its position and orbit at a particular instant of time. All these happen at 'S-band' frequencies in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum.," according to an ISRO
As Chandrayaan-1 orbits the Moon, the spacecraft sends valuable imagery and other scientific information to Earth through X-band (at a higher frequency compared to S-band), which also lies in the microwave region But, such information is transmitted through radio at a very low power of a few watts. Thus, radio signals carrying that
precious information become extremely feeble by the time they travel 4,00,000 km from the Moon and reach ISRO's ground station in Bengaluru back on the earth.
The Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-1 performs the crucial task of receiving the radio signals sent by spacecraft.
It also transmits the radio commands to be sent to the spacecraft during different phases of its mission. Besides, it processes and safe keeps the scientific information sent by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
ISRO scientists are armed by a number of equipment to decode the message relayed back by Chandrayaan-1, howsoever weak they are. The ground segment of ISRO includes the Indian Deep Space Network, Spacecraft Control Centre and Indian Space Science Data Centre.
"Deep Space Network performs the important task of receiving the radio signals transmitted by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft that become incredibly feeble by the time they reach the earth. Besides, it can send commands to the spacecraft at a power level of up to 20 kilowatts," the Chandrayaan pre-launch communiqué said.
IDSN consists of two large parabolic antennas, one with 18 m and the other 32 m diameter at Byalalu, in the outskirts of Bengaluru. Of these, the 32 m antenna with its 'seven mirror beam wave guide system' is indigenously developed. The 18 m antenna can support Chandrayaan-1 mission, but the 32 m antenna can support
Chandrayaan-1 and any spacecraft mission further deep into space.
During the initial phase of the mission, besides these two antennas, other ground stations in Lucknow, Sriharikota, Thiruvananthapuram, Port Blair, Mauritius, Brunei, Biak (Indonesia) and Bearslake (Russia) as well as external network stations at Goldstone, Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, Hawaii (all three in USA), Brazil and Russia support the mission.
The Spacecraft Control Centre, located near ISTRAC campus at Peenya, North of Bengaluru, is the focal point of all the operational activities of Chandrayaan-1 during all the phases of the mission. Commands to be transmitted to Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft to maintain its health as well as to make it perform various tasks originate from here.
Experts specialising in various spacecraft subsystems as well as spacecraft mission operations personnel are stationed at SCC.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chandrayaan-1: India Joins Helium 3 Race With the USA, Russia, China, Europe And Japan

October 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 20: India has joined the race for Helium-3, a replacement for fossil fuels, with the USA, Russia, Japan, Europe, and China as the countdown for the historic Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon began on Monday.
One of the mission objectives of India's lunar orbitor, Chandrayaan-1, is to understand the mineralogy of the Moon in much finer detail and quantify precious Helium-3 stocks buried underneath its craters. "No one is sure whether there's Helium-3 at all on the Moon. It has been thus far a scientific hypothesis. Chandrayaan-1 will make this belief a reality," astrophysicist N Sri Raghunandan Kumar said.
Once Chandrayaan-1 relays its data on the Helium-3 stocks to ISRO's master control room back home in Bengaluru, India will have a larger claim on the natural lunar resources when man begins to colonise it at a later date. India will have a greater advantage under the IPR regime, since it has not only spent Rs 386 crore on the mission but also came out with new findings on Helium-3.
Helium-3 is an isotope of the earthly Helium, the gas that is generally used to inflate balloons. But unlike its poor cousin, Helium-3 is quite precious, 100 times more valuable than gold. It is the gas that is touted as the future fuel of nuclear plants and automotives.
At present market prices of petroleum products, a tonne of Helium-3 costs not less than Rs 13,500 crore as against Rs 140 crore per tonne of gold. It is precious than enriched uranium, not only in terms of its value but also in terms of radioactive emission.
Helium-3 is clean and less radioactive than uranium and thorium. And the Moon is said to have one million tonnes of Helium-3. Chandrayaan-1 will explore whether the Moon has even larger stocks of this clean nuclear fuel. According to ISRO scientists, Helium-3 is present in the Moon's regolith (loose rocks or mantle) just below the surface of its false seas (maria).
Incidentally, Helium-3 is the only lunar resource worth extracting and bringing back to Earth. The human planet too has Helium-3 reserves, but they are less than 200 kgs. A tonne and a half of Helium-3 is sufficient to light up India for 365 days.
Senior astronomer Prof G Yellaih told this correspondent that the energy needs of the Earth would double in the next four decades and Helium-3 could be used to produce clean electricity. "Helium-3 can be used in fusion reactors to meet the energy needs of the world in future. India will definitely have a claim over Helium-3 by virtue of Chandrayaan-1 mission," he pointed out.
European Space Agency astrophysicists are of the view that the by-products of Helium-3 after its use for nuclear energy will be extremely helpful to support life in future lunar colonies. The by-products include hydrogen, water, nitrogen and methane.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the USA has estimated that a space shuttle load of Helium-3 would power the entire US for a year. For a developing country like India, a shuttle load of this celestial gas will work wonders as part of its energy requirements are concerned.
"There is more than 100 times more energy in the Helium-3 on the Moon than in all the economically recoverable coal, oil, and natural gas on earth. Helium-3 is highly safe and the fusion reactor using this fuel can be located amidst populated areas," he said.

Chandrayaan-1: The Course It Takes From Sriharikota To The Lunar World

October 21, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 20: India's first lunar orbitor, Chandrayaan-1, will travel about 4,00,000 kilometres outside the Earth's atmosphere to capture the "beautiful secrets" of the Moon. But astrophysicists at ISRO will have to wait for at least 18 days to get the first close-up pictures of the lunar terrain from Chandrayaan-1.
Not until November 8, Chandrayaan-1 will reach its designated orbit around the Earth's only natural satellite, at a safe but close distance of 100 km from the Moon. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C11 blasts off from Sriharikota island in Nellore district in the early morning of October 22 carrying Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The PSLV-C11 will leave the spacecraft at a point in space, 250 km from the Earth at its closest (perigee) and 23,000 km at its farthest (apogee).
According to the celestial schedule drawn up by ISRO team, after circling the Earth in its initial orbit for a while, Chandrayaan-1 is taken into two more elliptical orbits whose apogees lie still higher at 37,000 km and 73,000 km respectively. "This is done at opportune moments by firing the spacecraft's Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) when the spacecraft is near perigee. Subsequently, LAM is fired again to take the spacecraft to an extremely high elliptical orbit whose apogee lies at about 3,87,000 km," says the ISRO's plan of action.
In this orbit, the spacecraft makes one complete revolution around the Earth in about 11 days. During its second revolution around the Earth in this orbit, the spacecraft will approach the Moon's north pole at a safe distance of about a few hundred kilometres since the Moon would have arrived there in its journey round the Earth.
"Once the Chandrayaan-1 reaches the vicinity of the Moon, the spacecraft is oriented in a particular way and its LAM is again fired. This slows down the spacecraft sufficiently to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit. Following this, the height of the spacecraft's orbit around the moon is reduced in steps. After a careful and detailed observation of perturbations in its intermediate orbits around the moon, the height of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft's orbit
will be finally lowered to its intended 100 km height from the lunar surface," an ISRO release says.
Later, the Moon Impact Probe will be ejected from Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft at the earliest opportunity to hit the lunar surface in a chosen area. Following this, cameras and other scientific instruments are turned on and thoroughly tested. This leads to the operational phase of the mission. This phase lasts about two years during which Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft explores the lunar surface with its array of
instruments that includes cameras, spectrometers and its radar system.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chandrayaan-1: "Safe" and "Terror" Spots On The Moon

October 20, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 19: As space faring nations plan to colonise the Moon with human beings in the near future, astrophysicists look towards Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 to spot out "safe" and "terror" landmarks on the Earth's only natural satellite.
The surface of the Moon is uneven and quite dangerous and there's little room for error or surprises. Any miscalculated landing will spell doom. Chandrayaan-1, India's first scientific mission outside the Earth's vicinity, is aided by the most advanced remote sensing technology to date. The Indian mission will help scientists identify places which are "safe" for human landing and habitation. It will also
give enough data on "terror" or dangerous spots, where landing means simply fixing an appointment with death.
Identifying safe and terror spots is of immense importance as the lunar terrain is believed to be marked by several dangerous areas which will "gulp away" anything that steps on them.
Imagine a spacecraft carrying a batch of aliens from another solar system,
planning to colonise the Earth, landing on the Mt Everest, deep in the Amazon jungles, amidst the sandy deserts of Sahara, on the volcanic Mt Etna, or in the Pacific Ocean. The invading ETs will end up in death. Human efforts to colonise the Moon is wrought with similar dangers.
The USA's Apollo-11 mission carrying Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin on July 20, 1969 had almost ended in a tragedy as they landed on a dangerous spot, but luckily manoeuvred to safety at the last minute with just 30 seconds of fuel remaining.
Chandrayaan-1 will address such problems in future manned missions by identifying safe and unsafe places on the Moon with the help of the scientific payload it is carrying aboard.
According to senior space scientist Max Meerman, "landing on the Moon is notoriously difficult. Much more so than on Mars". Astrophysicists, with the available data, are divided on the exact geological composition of the "waterless seas" or maria that dot the lunar surface. Some argue that they are hard with volcanic eruptions
including lava while others believe that the volcanic "dust" present there
is as fluffy as baby's powder, enough to "gulp" anything weighty.
If a spaceship lands on such a dangerous surface, it might get buried in the lunar soft soil. Good landing sites need to be even and free from large boulders that could damage spaceships as they attempt to land.
Moreover, scientists are not sure whether the polar regions on the Moon or its equatorial regions are the safe bet, both from the point of view of research and landing.
Moon models prepared by NASA and European Space Agency estimate that the temperature at the poles stay within about a 10 degree range of minus 50 degree Celsius while the
mercury at the equator fluctuates between minus 180 degree Celsius and 100 degree Celsius.
Chandrayaan-1 will also help scientists redesign and update their Moon maps with data on steep slopes, extreme temperatures and rocky terrain. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbitor scheduled for launch in March next year will also provide similar information.
"Once the maps have been created, mission planners will choose safe zones that are also scientifically interesting or are near possible resources," John Keller of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre said in an email to this correspondent.

Chandrayaan-1 Is Precursor For Future Space Missions

October 20, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 19: Chandrayaan-1 is more than a simple spacecraft designed to study the surface of the Moon. It is the most advanced mission to date to the Earth's only natural satellite and a precursor for future space missions including those to Mercury.
The European Space Agency, which is coordinating with the Indian Space Research Organisation, describes Chandrayaan-1 as "a champion in high-quality remote sensing" that will study the Moon in "great detail".
Chandrayaan-1 uses a wide range of electromagnetic wavelengths to analyse the lunar surface including its crust in high resolution. The latest equipment provides a deeper understanding of the origin, evolution and composition of the Moon.
The Indian lunar mission will also drop a probe onto the surface, to test the
properties of the surface upon impact. According to ESA's update on the mission, Chandrayaan-1 will use several electromagnetic wavelengths - visible, near infrared, microwave, X-ray - to map the Moon’s minerals in "unprecedented", high resolution, and study lunar geology and geochemistry.
Chandrayaan-1 will analyse geological, mineralogical and topographical aspects of the lunar surface in unprecedented detail, study the vertical distribution of crustal material, investigate the processes that led to the formation of craters, maria (false seas) and basins on the Moon, explore space weathering processes, that result from the interaction of the solar wind and cosmic rays with the Moon’s surface.
For the first time the Indian lunar mission will produce three dimensional maps of regions of particular scientific interest at high spatial resolution (5 to 10 mts).
Describing Chandrayaan-1 as a "special mission", the European Space Agency said "although missions have collected lunar samples in the past to analyse later on ground, the role of remote sensing of the lunar surface is gradually increasing. Direct, in-situ exploration of the Moon, particularly by the Apollo, Luna, and Lunar Prospector missions have provided a considerable amount of data of the lunar surface which gave us an insight into the processes responsible for lunar origin and evolution. Nevertheless, there are many aspects, such as the global mineralogical composition, size and structure of the Moon, that require further study from orbit using remote-sensing techniques."
Accommodating 11 instruments on board, Chandrayaan-1 will help answer these questions from orbit, by collecting global surface composition data to
understand the formation and evolution of lunar crust and the processes that
have modified it during its history.
Describing Chandrayaan-1 as a precursor for future space missions, scientists at the ESA hope that Chandrayaan-1’s objectives will be of great value for future missions to the Moon, Mercury and other bodies in the solar system which do not have an atmosphere. It will open up ample possibilities for comparative planetology studies.

Chandrayaan-1 inspires Hyderabadi Youth to Float Moon Lovers' Club

October 20, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 19: A group of city enthusiasts has floated a Moon Lovers' Club and plans to open a lunar portal on the web, coinciding with the launch of India's maiden mission to the unknown realms of the Earth's only natural satellite.
As the Indian Space Research Organisation gets ready with its ambitious lunar venture to study the little known secrets of the brightly shining object in the sky, the group led by young management executive Rajzeev V Baagree has pooled its resources to bring together all those who love the Moon.
Incidentally, Rajzeev Baagree, who hails from Hyderabad, is the first Indian to "purchase" a plot on the Moon a couple of years ago for Rs 4,600. His lunar venture inspired three more Indians to buy an acre of land each on the Moon.
"India is embarking on the Moon Yatra. And as one who `owns’ a plot in the lunar world, I feel it’s my responsibility to mobilise support from all quarters for the success of the Moon Mission. India has always inspired the world and now it’s all set to present Moon in a new form.
Chandrayaan-1 will be able to reveal the facets of the Moon which we do not know at present,” Rajzeev told this correspondent.
Thousands of Indians have already registered their names with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the USA for its lunar mission scheduled some time later. NASA has plans to send the names, of all those who have enrolled with it, to the lunar terrain. Since there’s not much atmospheric activity up over there, the names will remain for posterity.
Rajzeev also plans to “construct” a house of his own on the Moon. But he knows he has to wait till the NASA, the ISRO or some other space agency starts sending people to the lunar world on a pleasure trip. “Human habitation on the Moon is going to become a possibility sooner or latter. As the owner of a plot there, I can welcome our people. They can be my guests,” he hopes.
The membership to the Moon Lovers’ Club is open to all. Any one who has some interest in astronomy or simply moon can enroll themselves as members. The idea, according to Rajzeev, is to bring people with same interests onto the common platform so that they can share their knowledge with one another. The proposed Lunar Portal will help reduce distance between two Moon lovers. They can simply log onto the portal and post their comments.
Thus far as much as 300 million acres of lunar land has been “sold” by lunarlandowner.com, one of the many agencies that “market” lands on the moon. And the Chandrayaan-1 mission has only renewed the interests on lunar real estate deals.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 To Bring Down "Cost of Living" On The Moon

How Much Does A Bottle Of Water Cost On The Moon? A Cool $50,000, Says NASA

October 19, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 18: Journey to the Moon is indeed an exciting experience but he "cost of living" in the lunar world is simply prohibitive. A litre of bottled water, for instance, costs Rs 25,00,000 as per NASA estimates. Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden mission to the Earth's natural satellite, may bring down the cost of living on the Moon, as astrophysicists hope that the Indian spacecraft will provide vital clues on the presence of water in the lunar terrain.

A bottle of water on the Moon "costs" $50,000 or about Rs 25 lakh. If Chandrayaan-1 finds water, the cost will come down as scientists will be able to tap water on the lunar soil itself.

The presence or otherwise of water on the Moon will make or mar the future manned missions to the lunar world including formation of human colonies and launch of pleasure jaunts. With the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Indian Space Research Organisation planning manned missions to the Moon and some
space agencies thinking of organising pleasure trips in the next 15 years, the major task before astrophysicists is how to deflate the cost of living in the lunar world.
Chandrayaan-1 is the right and immediate opportunity to find the existence or absence of water, water molecules, or ice on the Moon, although the NASA is also sending its own Lunar Reconnaissance Orbitor some time later this year with the same objective.
According to Chandrayaan-1 mission project director M Annadurai, cometary debris and meteorites containing water-bearing minerals constantly hit the Moon and some of it is trapped in the cold lunar terrain. "Over geological time, significant quantities of water could accumulate on the Moon."
The Indian lunar spacecraft carries on board a 6.5-kg mini synthetic aperture radar, developed by the applied physics laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. The radar will enable scientists probe for water in the permanently shadowed regions of the Moon's poles. Besides, Chandrayaan-1 has an indigenously build high energy x-ray
spectrometer that will also explore the polar regions of the Moon. It is believed that these poles are covered by thick ice deposits.
The NASA, which is coordinating with the ISRO on the lunar mission along with the European Space Agency, estimates that a bottle of drinking water on the Moon costs $50,000 (or roughly Rs 25 lakh). "Discovering water on the moon would be like finding a gold mine. In fact, scientists have discovered evidence for water or hydrogen, a component of water, in special places on the Moon," said Dr Richard Vondrak of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, in an email to this correspondent.
Astrophysicists believe that most of the Moon is drier than the driest terrestrial desert, but they do not rule out the existence of water either in liquid or solid state.
NASA and ISRO teams hope that Chandrayaan-1 ill help them identify the most likely places to find hydrogen or ice deposits on the lunar terrain.
According to NASA, water on the Moon could be used for more than just drinking. It could be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen for use as rocket fuel and breathable air. Even sufficient concentrations of hydrogen by itself would be valuable because it could be used as fuel or combined with oxygen from the soil to make water.
Since transporting water to the Moon is simply prohibitive, tapping the water resources there could bring down the cost of living drastically. Moreover, people can cultivate vegetables and fruits on the Moon to further bring down the cost. To transport just a kilogram of material from the Earth to the Moon, it would just nothing less than $50,000, NASA scientists said.
But until the Chandrayaan-1 provides man on the Earth a clear picture of water on the Moon, the presence of precious liquid up there continues to be just a wishful thinking.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Little known facts about Moon

1. The Moon was created when a rock the size of Mars slammed into Earth, shortly after the solar system began forming about 4.5 billion years ago.

2. More than 400 trees on Earth came from the Moon. Well, okay: They came from lunar orbit. Okay, the truth: In 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa took a bunch of seeds with him and, while Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were busy sauntering around on the surface, Roosa guarded his seeds. Later, the seeds were germinated on Earth, planted at various sites around the country, and came to be called the Moon trees. Most of them are doing just fine.

3. The Moon's heavily cratered surface is the result of intense pummeling by space rocks between 4.1 billion and 3.8 billion years ago. The scars of this war, seen as
craters, have not eroded much for two main reasons: The Moon is not geologically very active, so earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain-building don't destroy the landscape as they do on Earth; and with virtually no atmosphere there is no wind or rain, so very little surface erosion occurs.

4. The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. Right? Maybe not. In 1999, scientists found that a 3-mile- (5-kilometre-) wide asteroid may be caught in Earth's gravitational grip, thereby becoming a satellite of our planet. Cruithine, as it is called, takes 770 years to complete a horseshoe-shaped orbit around Earth, the scientists say, and it will remain in a suspended state around Earth for at least 5,000 years.

5. The Moon is not round (or spherical). Instead, it's shaped like an egg. If you go outside and look up, one of the small ends is pointing right at you. And the Moon's
centre of mass is not at the geometric centre of the satellite; it's about 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) off-centre.

6. Apollo astronauts used seismometers during their visits to the Moon and discovered that the gray orb isn't a totally dead place, geologically speaking. Small
moonquakes, originating several miles (kilometres) below the surface, are thought to be caused by the gravitational pull of Earth. Sometimes tiny fractures appear at the surface, and gas escapes. Scientists say they think the Moon probably has a core that is hot and perhaps partially molten, as is Earth's core. But data from NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft showed in 1999 that the Moon's core is small -- probably between 2 percent and 4 percent of its mass. This is tiny compared with Earth, in which the iron core makes up about 30 percent of the planet's mass.

7. Our Moon is bigger than Pluto. And at roughly one-fourth the diameter of Earth, some scientists think the Moon is more like a planet. They refer to the Earth-Moon system as a "double planet." Pluto and its moon Charon are also called a double-planet system by some.

8. As you read this, the Moon is moving away from us. Each year, the Moon steals some of Earth's rotational energy, and uses it to propel itself about 3.8
centimetres higher in its orbit. Researchers say that when it formed, the Moon was about 14,000 miles (22,530 kilometres) from Earth. It's now more than 280,000 miles, or 450,000 kilometres away.

(Courtesy: Space.com)

Chandrayaan-1: India's Mission To The Moon - What's The Next Step?

October 12, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: After the no manned missions, Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2, ISRO plans
to send a manned mission to the Earth's only natural satellite. The dream year is 2014. The manned mission in 2014 will be followed by the actual landing of an Indian national on the lunar surface by 2020. India plans to achieve this rare feat much before China realises its manned mission to the Moon.
So far only the USA and the erstwhile USSR had sent manned missions to the moon. But only the USA had achieved the feat of actually landing man onto the lunar surface. India will be second nation if it succeeds sending man onto the moon's terrain as
scheduled in 2020.
"We believe that pushing forward human presence in space may become essential for planetary exploration, a goal we have set for ISRO," said ISRO chairman G Madhavan
According to ISRO, the cost of manned flight to the moon will be around Rs 1500 crore.

Chandrayaan-1: Objectives of India's Moon Mission

October 12, 2008
By Syed Akbar

Objectives of the Moon Mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation, which has programmed Chandrayaan-1, has manifold ideas behind the mission. The main mission objectives are:

1. to realise the goal of harnessing the science payloads, lunar craft and
the launch vehicle with suitable ground support systems including deep space network station.

2. to realise the integration and testing, launching and achieving lunar
polar orbit of about 100 km, in-orbit operation of experiments, communication/ telecommand, telemetry data reception, quick look data and archival for scientific utilisation by identified group of scientists.

The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft

The Mission Chandrayaan-1 uses a 3-axis stabilised spacecraft with two star sensors, gyros and four reaction wheels.
The power generation is through a canted single-sided solar array that gives the required power during all phases of the mission. This deployable solar array consisting of a single panel generates 700 watts of peak power. During eclipse spacecraft will be powered by Lithium ion batteries.

The spacecraft employs a X-band, 0.7m diameter parabolic antenna for payload data
transmission. The antenna employs a dual gimbal mechanism to track the earth station when the spacecraft is in lunar orbit. The spacecraft uses a bipropellant integrated propulsion system to reach lunar orbit as well as orbit and attitude maintenance while orbiting the moon.

The propulsion system carries required propellant for a mission life of two years, with adequate margin.

Chandrayaan-1: SHAR All Set To Make History

October 12, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Satish Dhawan Space Centre, popularly known as SHAR, located at Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, is all set to register another record with the
launch of Chandrayaan-1 mission on October 22.
With 28 successful launchings, including some international satellites, to its credit of the 33 odysseys into space, Shar is gearing up for yet another milestone. A jewel in the ISRO’s crown, Shar is a spindle shaped island in the Bay of Bengal.
In just three decades the island has transformed from a habitation of
tribals to an ultra-high-security zone, where the best minds of India work - minds that have catapulted India to its fame of being one of the select group of nations with space age technology. The island was selected in 1969 for setting up of a satellite launch station because of the advantages of its location. Characteristics such as good launch azimuth corridor for various missions, advantage of earth's rotation for eastward launchings, proximity to the equator, and large uninhabited area as safety zone all make Sriharikota Range a perfect spaceport.
The space centre was renamed as 'Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR' on September 5, 2002, in memory of Prof. Satish Dhawan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Signs of cultural past can be seen all over the island, left behind by the people who lived here long before the spaceport was born. The native Yanadi tribe has been rehabilitated. SHAR has a unique combination of facilities, such as a solid propellant production plant, a rocket motor static test facility, launch complexes for a variety of rockets, telemetry, telecommand, tracking, data acquisition and processing facilities, and other support services. The first flight-test of 'Rohini-125', a small sounding rocket, took place from here on October 9, 1971.
Since then the facilities here were expanded to meet the growing needs of ISRO.