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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Sonification Project

29th Sep 2020


Why in News?

NASA’s Chandra X-ray centre unveiled a new sonification project that transforms data from the astronomical images into audio.

What is data sonification?

  1. It refers to the use of sound values to represent real data. It is the auditory version of data visualisation.
  2. With this the users can experience different phenomena captured in an astronomical image as an aural experience.
  3. For example the birth of a star, a cloud of dust or even a black hole can be heard as a high- or low-pitched sound.

How astronomical images were translated into sound?

  1. NASA’s distant telescopes in space collect digital data in the form of ones and zeros before converting them into images.
  2. Chandra project has created a celestial concert of sorts by translating the same data into sounds.
  3. Pitch and volume are used to denote the brightness and position of a celestial object or phenomena.
  4. Using the above method three samples were released – Galactic centre, Cassiopeia A and Pillars of creation-Nebula.
  5. Data for these were collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.

Where are these celestial objects?

Galactic centre

  1. It comprises a collection of celestial objects such as neutron and white dwarf stars, clouds of dust and gas and a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A٭.
  2. Data collected from the telescopes have been used to create an image using X-ray, Visible and Infrared light before translating them into sound.

Cassiopeia A:

  1. It is located 11,000 light years away from the earth in the Northern cassiopeia constellation.
  2. It is one of the most well-known remnants of a massive star and was destroyed by a supernova explosion around 325 years ago.

Pillars of creation:

  1. This is located in the centre of eagle Nebula also known as messier 16.
  2. It comprises towers of cosmic dust and gas.

Why is the sonification project useful?

  1. It incorporates science content into learning environment effectively and efficiently for learners of all ages
  2. These projects allow audiences including visually impaired communities to experience space through data.

Artemis Mission:

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Why in News?

NASA published an outline for the Artemis program that aims to send the next man and the first woman to the lunar surface by 2024.

Artemis Mission:

  1. Started by NASA in 2011, it is called Acceleration, Reconnection Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s interaction with the sun.
  2. Through this program NASA aims to demonstrate new technologies that will be useful for further exploration of the Mars planet.
  3. This program is divided into three parts Artemis I, Artemis II, Artemis III.
  4. Artemis I to be launched in 2021 comprises an uncrewed flight to test the space launch system (SLS) and Orion spacecraft.
  5. Artemis II will be the first crewed flight test to be launched in 2023, while Artemis 3 will land astronauts on the Moon’s south pole in 2024.


This process involves three elements.

  1. Exploration of the ground system, the space launch system (SLS),  Orion spacecraft,  Gateway lunar outpost,  lunar landers and the Artemis generation space suit.
  2. NASA’s new rocket called SLS will send astronauts on board the Orion spacecraft to the Gateway lunar outpost.
  3. Gateway lunar outpost, a small spaceship, will Orbit around the moon for the astronauts to live and work around the moon.
  4. Lunar Landers will transport the Astronauts from the Gateway lunar outpost to the surface of the Moon to carry out expeditions.

History of Moon exploration

  1. In 1959 Soviet Union’s Luna 1 and 2 became the first Rovers to visit the moon
  2. In 1969 the US sent the Apollo mission to the moon and astronauts landed & walked for the first time on the moon.
  3. Between 1969 and 1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the surface of the moon and brought back over 382 kgs of lunar Rock and soil back to Earth for study.


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