UPSC Prelims News of 17 December 2022
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
Context: The Delhi Forest Department is planning to procure electric cycles and golf carts to enable visits to the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.
About Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary:
- Location: The wildlife sanctuary is located on the southern part of the Delhi Ridge. The ridge is the northernmost stretch of the Aravalli range which begins in Gujarat and extends across Rajasthan and Haryana.
- The sanctuary is also part of the Sariska-Delhi Wildlife Corridor which runs from the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan to the Delhi Ridge.
- Climate: The sanctuary displays semi-arid climate with dominance of shrubs and stunted trees.
- Features: There are many artificial lakes formed as a result of abandoned mining pits in the area.
- Fauna: The sanctuary is home to striped hyena, jungle cat, golden jackal, Indian hare, Indian boar, black buck, sambar deer, spotted deer and hog deer among others.
- Endangered red-headed vulture and Egyptian vulture are also found here.
- Significance: The region is Delhi NCR’s green lung, carbon sink, source of ground water recharge, and shelterbelt against advancing aridity.
- The sanctuary has a diverse wildlife population as it forms a buffer zone between arid region and Indo-Gangetic plains.
Context: NASA-led international satellite mission was launched to conduct a comprehensive survey of the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers for the first time.
About the Satellite:
- Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT): It is an advanced radar satellite that aims to provide scientists with a deeper understanding of the water covering the planet and how climate change affects the oceans and life on Earth.
Functions of SWOT Satellite:
- SWOT’s radar instrument operates at the so-called Ka-band frequency of the microwave spectrum, allowing scans to penetrate cloud cover and darkness over wide swaths of the Earth.
- It enables scientists to accurately map their observations in two dimensions regardless of weather or time of day and to cover large geographic areas far more quickly than before.
- Freshwater bodies: Through its three-year mission, the satellite will continuously monitor the water resources of the planet.
- It will be able to provide scientists with a deeper understanding of how climate change affects the oceans and life on Earth.
- Ocean’s Tipping Point: Oceans are estimated to have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat trapped in Earth’s atmosphere.
- SWOT will aid in calculating a point, at which oceans start releasing, rather than absorbing, huge amounts of heat back into the atmosphere and accelerate global warming, rather than limiting it.
- Partner Country: NASA is the lead sponsor of the mission, along with the French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), with contributions from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the UK Space Agency.
Significance of SWOT Satellite:
- It will be able to monitor the water levels of different ocean features at a resolution ten times that of current technologies.
- It will be able to measure over a million lakes and rivers on Earth.
- It will be able to improve the accuracy of flood forecasts and provide scientists with more precise monitoring of impending droughts.
- It will be able to determine 90 per cent of the water levels of the planet by scanning the surface of the Earth using its radar between 78°N latitude and 78°S latitude every 21 days
Context: The flight test of the Agni-5 was successfully conducted by India, days after Chinese and Indian troops clashed at the Line of Actual Control in Tawang.
More on the News
- The test has been carried out by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which is a key tri-services formation that manages and administers all the strategic assets and falls under the purview of the Nuclear Command Authority of India.
- It is a long-range surface-to-surface nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missile.
- It has been developed by DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
- It uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine and can strike targets at ranges of 5,000 to 5,500 km which puts major cities in China, including the capital Beijing, within its range.
About the Nuclear Command Authority:
- It is the sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons.
- It comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council. The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister.
- The Executive Council, chaired by the National Security Advisor, provides inputs for decision-making by the Nuclear Command Authority and executes the directives given to it by the Political Council.