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— January 2022 —

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January 11, 2022

NASA's Webb Telescope Reaches Major Milestone as Mirror Unfolds

NASA Webb Telescope

NASA Webb Telescope

Photo: James Webb Space Telescope’s final fold. Image provided by & copyright © NASA.

NASA Webb Telescope

Photo: Webb Model - Pranavi Chatrathi. These are Pranavi Chatrathi’s models. Pranavi says, “I am thrilled to win two prizes for the 2 James Webb Space Telescopes I built for the Texas State Fair. I love telescopes. I am waiting to see the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Image provided by & copyright © NASA.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2022 — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team fully deployed its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, completing the final stage of all significant spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations.

A joint effort with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency, the Webb mission will explore every phase of cosmic history - from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.

“Today, NASA achieved another engineering milestone decades in the making. While the journey is not complete, I join the Webb team in breathing a little easier and imagining the future breakthroughs bound to inspire the world,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The James Webb Space Telescope is an unprecedented mission that is on the precipice of seeing the light from the first galaxies and discovering the mysteries of our universe. Each feat already achieved and future accomplishment is a testament to the thousands of innovators who poured their life’s passion into this mission.”

NASA had folded the two wings of Webb’s primary mirror to fit it inside the nose cone of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket before launch. Then, after more than a week of other critical spacecraft deployments, the Webb team began remotely unfolding the hexagonal segments of the primary mirror, the largest ever launched into space.

Mission Operations Center ground control at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore began deploying the second side panel of the mirror at 8:53 a.m. EST. Once it extended and latched into position at 1:17 p.m. EST, the team declared all major deployments completed.

The world’s largest and most complex space science telescope will now begin moving its 18 primary mirror segments to align the telescope optics. First, the ground team will command 126 actuators on the backsides of the segments to flex each mirror - an alignment that will take months to complete. Then the group will calibrate the science instruments before delivering Webb’s first images this summer.

“I am so proud of the team - spanning continents and decades - that delivered this first-of-its-kind achievement,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate in NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Webb’s successful deployment exemplifies the best of what NASA has to offer: the willingness to attempt bold and challenging things in the name of discoveries still unknown.”

Soon, Webb will also undergo a third mid-course correction burn - one of three planned to place the telescope precisely in orbit around the second Lagrange point, commonly known as L2, nearly 1 million miles from Earth. It is Webb’s final orbital position, where its sun shield will protect it from light from the Sun, Earth, and Moon that could interfere with infrared light observations. As a result, Webb can peer back over 13.5 billion years to capture infrared light from celestial objects, with much higher resolution than ever before, and to study our solar system as well as distant worlds.

Source: NASA

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 8:51 AM | View the original post

January 9, 2022

PoliMOVE wins the Autonomous Challenge; Makes history as the First Head-to-Head Autonomous Race Car Competition Champion

Autonomous Race Car

Autonomous Race Car

Autonomous Race Car

LAS VEGAS, January 8, 2022 — The Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) team PoliMOVE from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) and the University of Alabama today won the Autonomous Challenge, making history as the first head-to-head autonomous racecar competition champion. PoliMOVE competed at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a field of 5 teams from 5 countries representing seven universities to win the $150,000 grand prize. TUM Autonomous Motorsport from the Technische Universität München (Germany) took home with $50,000.

The rules of the IAC competition required each team to qualify in a high-speed autonomous racecar time trial competition determining their seed in the head-to-head passing competition. The IAC teams raced the Dallara AV-21, the most advanced autonomous racecar. As a result, PoliMOVE competed against TUM Autonomous Motorsport in the final round of the competition. In addition, PoliMOVE set the fastest speed record on an oval with a top speed of 173 mph.

“Today was the real birth of autonomous racing,” said Prof. Sergio Savaresi, team lead of Politecnico di Milano. “The real high-speed multi-agent racing was pushed to its very limits. The research on autonomous cars will certainly benefit from this historic milestone.”

Organized by Energy Systems Network, the primary goal of the IAC is to solve real-world problems by advancing technology that will speed the commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles and deployments of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Pushing Limits for the entire independent community and helping to increase safety and performance is of critical importance, not only in motorsports but across all modes of commercial transportation.

“We came to CES this week, the world’s most influential technology innovation event, to showcase to the world how this competition is catapulting autonomous technologies forward,” said Paul Mitchell, president, and CEO, Energy Systems Network. “We’re harnessing the power of prize competitions to attract the best and the brightest minds from around the globe to further the state-of-the-art technology in safety and performance of automated vehicles, and the teams did just that today with another historic competition.”

Karen Chupka, EVP of CES, Consumer Technology Association, officially started the competition with the call, “Ladies and gentlemen, start your software.” Halo, a remote-piloted driverless car service operating on T-Mobile’s 5G network, served as the official pace car, leading each set of IAC teams off of pit lane and completing a warmup lap at speeds of 65-80 mph before the start of each round. Next, Bridgette Foster, from Las Vegas, sang the national anthem.

The call to action for this competition has been remarkable, with 41 university teams initially signing up to compete more than two years ago, representing top engineering and technology programs from 14 U.S. states and 11 countries. However, the IAC first made history on October 23, 2021, when it held the Indy Autonomous Challenge Powered by Cisco, the first high-speed autonomous racecar competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

Nine teams from 8 countries representing 19 universities came to Las Vegas this week to compete in the Autonomous Challenge @ CES.

Source: Indy Autonomous Challenge

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:02 PM | View the original post

View of UN Headquarters in Snow

United Nations

Photo: A view of UN Headquarters in snow. January 7, 2022. The United States of America. New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten.

United Nations

Photo: A view of the Visitors Plaza at UN Headquarters in snow. January 7, 2022. The United States of America. New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten.

Source: United Nations, New York

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 6:39 AM | View the original post

January 8, 2022

IBM Watson Advertising Brings Artificial intelligence (AI) Driven Weather Analytics to AWS Data Exchange.

IBM Watson Advertising and The Weather Company offer AWS Data Exchange users access to weather data and insights to inform marketing strategies


ARMONK, N.Y., Jan. 7, 2022 — IBM Watson Advertising (NYSE: IBM) today announced data availability from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, on AWS Data Exchange, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The AWS Data Exchange allows businesses to find and subscribe to third-party data in the cloud easily.

By providing data from one of the world’s most accurate weather forecasters, IBM Watson Advertising’s Weather Analytics harnesses the relationship between weather and consumer behavior using artificial intelligence to extract deep insights to help businesses make more confident, data-driven, and insightful enterprise decisions.

The weather datasets can help analyze how weather affects consumer purchasing across different categories such as pharmaceuticals, apparel, consumer packaged goods, and indoor and outdoor activities. Local data by ZIP code, including historical weather data, 15-day forecast weather data, and comparative data such as hot, cold, windy, and other conditions, could also be used to help inform campaigns, supply chain, and forecasting decisions. This data can even help surface unique or non-obvious relationships between weather and consumer behavior.

“We know that weather can impact nearly everything in daily life. How we feel, what we do, even what we buy,” said Sheri Bachstein, Chief Executive Officer at The Weather Company and General Manager of IBM Watson Advertising. “This expanded relationship with AWS gives more businesses access to the weather data that can drive consumer behavior and purchase. We are committed to opening up our insights and technology to a broad set of organizations and giving more companies access to efficiency driving data and tech.”

Insights that show locations where the weather could affect sales can help businesses drive revenue based on predictive consumer behavior.

AWS Data Exchange helps make it easy to find, subscribe to, and use third-party data from providers in the cloud. IBM elaborated that subscribers can use the AWS console or APIs to load IBM Watson Advertising solutions into many AWS analytics and machine learning services.

Watson is IBM’s Artificial intelligence (AI) technology for business. It helps organizations better predict and shape future outcomes, automate complex processes, and optimize employees’ time. Watson has evolved from an IBM Research project to experimentation to a scaled, open set of products that run anywhere. With more than 40,000 client engagements, leading global brands apply Watson across various industries to transform how people work.

Source: IBM

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 10:03 AM | View the original post

January 7, 2022

India celebrates Silver Jubilee of Nifty 50 Index and 20 Years of Derivatives in Indian Capital Markets.

National Stock Exchange of India, NSE

National Stock Exchange of India, NSE

Photo: The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) Building in Mumbai.

MUMBAI, India, January 6, 2022 — The Nifty 50 Index was launched on April 22, 1996, and has completed 25 successful years. The Index, representing the 50 large capitalized and liquid stocks across 13 sectors, has grown 15 times in 25 years, delivering annualized returns over 25 years of 11.2%.

Nifty 50 Index was the first underlying benchmark on which the first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) was launched in India. It was also the first Index in National Stock Exchange NSE’s derivatives market. As of November 30, 2021, Assets Under Management (AUM) of passive products tracking the Nifty 50 index were USD 25 billion.

National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) commenced trading in derivatives with the launch of Index Futures benchmarked to Nifty 50 Index on June 12, 2000, in the equity derivatives segment. It was followed by trading in Index Options (also based on Nifty 50 Index) on June 4, 2001, Options on Individual Securities from July 2, 2001, and Futures on Individual Securities from November 9, 2001.

NSE has been the largest derivatives exchange globally for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020. In addition, the Index options contract on the Nifty 50 Index was the largest traded contract globally for multiple years.

The equity derivatives market has provided a practical risk management framework for investors and has also propelled the growth of the underlying cash equity segment. In the last ten years, volumes in the cash equity segment of stocks available in derivatives have increased by 5.5 times in line with single stock derivatives, which have increased 5.4 times. Availability of products is one of the criteria used by various investors, particularly institutional investors, for the basis of their investment in a security or an asset class in a jurisdiction.

Mr. Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry & Consumer Affairs, was the Chief Guest for this momentous occasion. Mr. Piyush Goyal said: My best wishes to National Stock Exchange on the Silver Jubilee of Nifty 50 Index and 20 years of launching Derivatives.”

Mr. Ajay Tyagi, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman said: “NSE has made many important contributions to develop Indian Capital Markets over the years. It has achieved global stature and made a mark worldwide by being the largest derivative exchange globally for two consecutive years - in 2019 and 2020. I urge the exchange to continue its endeavor to be innovative, bring in best global practices to and further build trust of investors and issuers in Indian Capital Markets.”

Mr. Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO, NSE, said: “On behalf of National Stock Exchange, I would like to express my gratitude to the Government of India, Securities Exchange Board of India, and the Reserve Bank of India along with all the stakeholders for their support over the last 25 plus years. As India emerges out of the ongoing pandemic, NSE shall continue to provide a robust platform for raising capital and effective products for risk management. As a frontline regulator, NSE will continue to focus on disciplined market development and what is in the best interests of investors and issuers, and in further strengthening trust in markets.”

National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) is the world’s largest derivatives exchange by trading volume (contracts) as per the statistics maintained by the Futures Industry Association (FIA) for the calendar year 2020. In addition, NSE is ranked 4th in the world in the cash equities by the number of trades as per the statistics maintained by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) for the calendar year 2020. NSE was the first exchange in India to implement electronic or screen-based trading. It began operations in 1994 and is ranked as the largest stock exchange in India in terms of total and average daily turnover for equity shares every year since 1995. NSE has a fully integrated business model comprising exchange listings, trading services, clearing and settlement services, indices, market data feeds, technology solutions, and financial education offerings.

Source: National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. (NSE)

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:10 AM | View the original post

January 5, 2022

University Grants Commission (UGC), India, asks all Academic Institutions to accept Digital Format Degrees/Certificates presented through "DigiLocker" as Valid.

University Grants Commission

New Delhi, January 5, 2022 — University Grants Commission (UGC), India, has issued a communication addressed to Vice Chancellors of all universities and Secretaries of Higher and School Education of all states.

UGC has informed them that the National Academic Depository (NAD) is an online storehouse of academic awards (Degrees, Mark-Sheets, and others) lodged by the Academic Institutions in a digital format. It lets students get authentic documents/certificates in digital form directly from their original issuers anytime, anywhere without any physical interference.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) Government of India has designated the University Grants Commission (UGC) as an authorized body to implement NAD as a permanent scheme without levy of any user charges, in co-operation with the DigiLocker, as a single depository of NAD. As a result, educational Institutions can register themselves and upload academic awards of their institution on NAD through the DigiLocker NAD portal, the UGC letter explains.

The DigiLocker platform of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, can pull students’ Degrees, Mark-sheets, and other documents into the issued documents section in an electronic form once uploaded through the DigiLocker-NAD platform by the original issuer. UGC further states that these electronic records on the DigiLocker platform are valid documents per the Information Technology Act, 2000 provisions.

Accordingly, UGC has asked all Academic Institutions to accept Degrees, Certificates, Mark-sheets, and other related documents available as “Issued Documents” in DigiLocker Account as “Valid Documents.”

Source: University Grants Commission (UGC)

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 10:49 AM | View the original post

January 3, 2022

Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, inaugurates Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology at Chandigarh University.

Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University

Photos: The Union Minister for Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh, addressed the gathering during the inauguration of the Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology at Chandigarh University, in Punjab, on January 03, 2022.

Chandigarh University

Photo: The Union Minister for Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh, inaugurating the Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology at Chandigarh University, in Punjab on January 03, 2022.

Chandigarh, India, January 3, 2022 — Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, inaugurated Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology (KCCRSST) at Chandigarh University today. He also launched a Scholarship Scheme worth Rs 10 crore for the wards of Defence Personnel of the three Services.

In his address, Shri Rajnath Singh described the establishment of the Research Centre as an essential step towards strengthening the country’s space sector by stressing that it is only through these efforts that India can become a leader in future technologies. He likened the KCCRSST with ‘Pride of India’ Kalpana Chawla, hoping that this research facility would touch new heights of success, similar to the remarkable achievements of the late India-born astronaut who brought universal recognition to her country of origin.

Underlining the importance of the space sector in today’s times, Rajnath Singh said it is deeply connected with mapping, imaging, and connectivity facilities, speedy transportation, weather forecast, disaster management, and border security.

Rajnath Singh called for developing futuristic technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big-Data, and Block-chain for the Nation’s overall development. He stressed that progress in space technology would develop scientific temper in the country’s youth, and India will move forward in frontier technologies.

The Defence Minister lauded Chandigarh University for setting records of success in research & innovation, placements, and global rankings in the last few years and described the achievements of the University as a symbol of the increasing participation of the private sector in the field of education.

“All these achievements of Chandigarh University are examples of the increasing importance of the private sector in the education sector of our country. I believe that if our country’s education and knowledge-science have to reach the world level, then the public and private sectors of the country will have to work together. In this direction, we are moving forward fast,” he said.

Remembering late India-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla, Shri Rajnath Singh described her as a symbol of women empowerment, who took a flight beyond imagination. He urged the people to remember her zeal & enthusiasm and motivate their daughters to go ahead & touch unimaginable heights, echoing the Government’s vision of increased participation of women in all sectors.

Established with the objective of training students in space science, satellite development, and meeting future challenges in space research, the state-of-the-art KCCRSST would be the Ground Control Station (GCS) for the Chandigarh University’s Student Satellite CUSAT and a Geo-Spatial Centre for analysis. CUSAT is an in-house advanced nanosatellite designed by Chandigarh University’s students.

“It is extraordinary for a university to have its own space research center and satellite. In the 21st century, the future of India would be secure only when you have a sparkle in your eyes to reach the stars and planets. It is a commendable feat, and I am certain that more Indians like Aryabhatta, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, and Kalpana Chawla will emerge from amongst you,” the Defence Minister told the students present on occasion.

CUSAT will be among the 75 student-built satellites India will launch into space on the eve of its 75th Independence Day in 2022. Chandigarh University has joined the list of 13 institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and IIT Bombay. It has become the first University in North India to design and develop its satellite. About 75 students of the University are working on the Chandigarh University Student Satellite Project under the guidance of eminent Indian scientists, including Padma Shri Prof RM Vasagam, Padma Shri Dr. Mylaswamy Annadurai, Padma Shri YS Rajan, Padma Bhushan Dr. BN Suresh, Padma Shri Dr. BN Dattaguru, V Mahadevan, Dr. L V Muralikrishna Reddy, and Dr. K Gopalakrishnan.

With the launch of CUSAT, Punjab will become the first border state in India to have its own satellite in space. The launch of Chandigarh University’s nanosatellite CUSAT will prove to be an essential step for the country. It will collect border intrusion detection, agriculture, weather forecasting, and natural disaster forecasting data. In addition, the Ground Control Station (GCS) will help develop satellite research facilities and launch satellites in countries that do not have progressed satellite technology. The Ground Control Station (GCS) under the KCCRSST will monitor most Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites, including CUSAT, and as a SatNOGS project member, observe more than 380 satellites with over 810 transmitters in more than 50 Countries.

Chancellor of Chandigarh University, S. Satnam Singh Sandhu, said that ever since our inception, the University has been striving to provide quality, innovative and experiential learning to its students, and the establishment of this center is one of the steps in this direction.

“We have always been a pioneer in the field of Research and Development, and this center of excellence will further strengthen our position in aerospace technology. Moreover, this state-of-the-art center will not be limited to the students of Chandigarh University. We will soon be announcing short-term courses for Satellite design and development,” he said.

“Through this center, Chandigarh University will help develop satellite research facilities in 57 countries including Brazil, Egypt, Colombia, Turkey, and train foreign students for satellite design and development,” Mr. Sandhu added.

Sources: Ministry of Defence, Government of India; Chandigarh University

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 9:19 AM | View the original post

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