TOPIC 1 – CHIME Telescope

General Studies Paper 3: Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management  


An international group of astronomers has detected 535 Fast Radio Bursts (FRB), the highest-ever detected in a single sky scanning, possibly emerging from young neutron stars present in the universe.

  • FRBs are radio pulses ( registering in the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum) that look like light flashes and last for a fraction of a millisecond, and which can glow anytime.
  • Scientists used the radio telescope Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) to carry out its maiden sky scanning after it became operational in 2018.


  • CHIME comprises four massive cylindrical radio antennas, roughly the size and shape of snowboarding half-pipes, located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, operated by the National Research Council of Canada in British Columbia. The telescope receives radio signals each day from half of the sky as the Earth rotates.
  • TIFR–National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), McGill University and McGill Space Institute, Dunlap Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia and Canada Foundation for Innovation were involved in the sky scanning using CHIME.
  • FRBs were first detected in 2007 and since then, about 140 bursts have been confirmed.

Why it is advanced?

  • What makes CHIME an advanced radio telescope is its ability to look at a large area of the sky, even though it is kept stationary.
  • It focuses incoming signals using a correlator — a powerful digital signal processor that can work through huge amounts of data.
  • Data handling capacity of CHIME – It processes 7 terabits of information every second .
  • By using the Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and specialised algorithms the interferences – through mobile towers, airlines or satellites — are filtered out to ultimately confirm an FRB among millions of radio signals. The vast volumes of data of the order of 7 terabits per second is compressed to 140GB, after which further processing is done.
  • Digital signal processing is what makes CHIME able to reconstruct and ‘look’ in thousands of directions simultaneously.

How it is usefull?

The scientists plan to use the bursts, and their dispersion estimates, to map the distribution of gas throughout the universe.

TOPIC 2 – EnVision mission to Venus

General Studies Paper 3: Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management  


The European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday announced that it has selected EnVision as its next orbiter that will visit Venus sometime in the 2030s.


  • EnVision is an ESA led mission with contributions from NASA. It is likely to be launched sometime in the 2030s. The earliest launch opportunity for EnVision is 2031, followed by 2032 and 2033. Once launched on an Ariane 6 rocket, the spacecraft will take about 15 months to reach Venus and will take 16 more months to achieve orbit circularisation.
  • The spacecraft will carry a range of instruments to study the planet’s atmosphere and surface, monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyse its surface composition. A radar provided by NASA will help to image and map the surface.
  • EnVision will follow another ESA-led mission to Venus called ‘Venus Express’ (2005-2014) that focussed on atmospheric research and pointed to volcanic hotspots on the planet’s surface. Other than this, Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft has also been studying the planet’s atmosphere since 2015.


  • For those on Earth, Venus is the second-brightest object in the sky after the moon. It is called the Earth’s twin because of their similar sizes, the two planets have significant differences between them.
  • Venus moves forward on its orbit around the Sun but spins backwards around its axis slowly. This means on Venus the Sun rises in the west and sets in the East. One day on Venus is equivalent to 243 Earth days because of its backward spinning, opposite to that of the Earth’s and most other planets. Venus also does not have a moon and no rings.

Spacecrafts of different nations:

  • The first such spacecraft was the Soviet Union’s Venera series (the spacecraft, however, could not survive for long because of the planet’s harsh conditions), followed by NASA’s Magellan Mission that studied Venus from 1990-1994.
  • As of now, Japan’s Akatsuki mission is studying the planet from Orbit.

NASA’S Missions:

1)DAVINCI+ is short for ‘Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging’ and is the first US-led mission to the planet’s atmosphere since 1978. It will try to understand Venus’ composition to see how the planet formed and evolved. This mission also consists of a descent sphere that will pass through the planet’s thick atmosphere and make observations and take measurements of noble gases and other elements.

This mission will also try to return the first high resolution photographs of a geological feature that is unique to Venus. This feature, which is called “tesserae” may be comparable to Earth’s continents, NASA says. The presence of tesseraes may suggest that Venus has tectonic plates like Earth.

2) VERITAS is short for ‘Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy’ and will map the planet’s surface to determine its geologic history and understand the reasons why it developed so differently from Earth.

VERITAS will orbit Venus with a radar that will help to create a three dimensional reconstruction of its topography which might be able to tell scientists if processes such as plate tectonics and volcanism are still active there. This mission will also map the emissions from Venus’s surface that may help in determining the type of rocks that exist on Venus–a piece of information that is not exactly known yet. It will also determine if active volcanoes are releasing water vapour into the atmosphere.

TOPIC 3 – Maharashtra govt. clears action plan to protect heritage trees

General Studies-2: (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)

General Studies Paper 3: Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management  


The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday passed an action plan to protect and preserve trees older than 50 years in urban areas by terming them heritage trees.

What is the action plan ?

  • The plan includes the concept of heritage tree and plan of action for conservation; method to define age of the tree; compensatory plantation; rules to be followed before hacking trees; formation of the Maharashtra Tree Authority; structure of the local tree authority and their duties; tree census; fixing land of tree plantation; transplantation of trees; and tree cess and fine to be charged.
  • The State will also bring about amendments in the Maharashtra (Urban Area) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act.

What is Compensatory plantation :

It will include planting the number of trees equivalent to the age of trees to be cut. The saplings need to be six to eight feet in height while planting and they will undergo geo-tagging with seven years of caring period. The option of monetary compensation has also been given, instead of compensatory plantation.

State-level Tree Authority :

It will be formed to protect and preserve heritage trees.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • The authority will hear applications seeking permission to cut 200 or more trees that are five or more years old.
  • The local tree authorities will come under this body. Tree experts will be part of the local tree authorities.
  • These bodies will ensure that the tree census is conducted after every five years.
  • They will also be in charge of counting heritage trees, ensuring their preservation, keeping tabs on tree plantation, pruning and caring of trees, and ensuring that 33% of government land is used for tree plantation.
  • The State authority will issue directions for the use of tree cess. The fine amount cannot be more than ₹1 lakh per tree in case of violations.