Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 09 August 2023

Quit India Movement Day 2023

GS Paper - 1 (History)

The Quit India Movement, also known as the August Movement or Bharat Chodo Andolan, was a significant civil disobedience movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress on 8 August 1942. The movement aimed to demand an end to British colonial rule in India and achieve full independence. On this day, 8th August, in 1942, Gandhi gave the famous "Do or Die" speech, urging the Indian people to act decisively and nonviolently against British rule.

More about the movement

  • The Quit India Movement was launched during World War II, when the British government's involvement in the war had strained its resources and the Indian people's patience with continued colonial rule had grown thin.
  • The movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi and supported by the Indian National Congress, which was the principal political party advocating for Indian independence.
  • The primary goal of the Quit India Movement was to demand an immediate end to British rule in India and to establish an independent and sovereign nation.
  • On 8 August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi gave his famous "Do or Die" speech, urging the Indian people to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and to be prepared to sacrifice their lives for the cause of independence.
  • The movement saw widespread protestsstrikes, and acts of civil disobedience across the country. People participated in marchesdemonstrations, and various forms of nonviolent resistance.
  • The British colonial government responded with a heavy hand, imposing severe repressive measures to suppress the movement. Thousands of protesters were arrested, and there were incidents of violence and clashes with the police.

Impact of this Movement

  • The Quit India Movement contributed to weakening the British colonial administration in India and increased international pressure on the British government to address India's demand for independence.
  • The movement marked a turning point in India's struggle for independence and played a significant role in accelerating the process of decolonization. It demonstrated the determination and unity of the Indian people in their quest for freedom.
  • The movement set the stage for further negotiations and discussions between the Indian National Congress and the British government after World War II, ultimately leading to India's independence in 1947.


Nuclear-powered rocket cut travel time to Mars

GS Paper - 3 (Energy)

In less than three years, NASA could be testing a nuclear rocket in space. The space agency and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced that Lockheed Martin had been selected to design, build and test a propulsion system that could one day speed astronauts on a trip to Mars. The program is named DRACO, short for the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations.

What if a spacecraft could get to Mars in half the time it currently takes?

  • Every 26 months or soMars and Earth are close enough for a shorter journey between the worlds. But even then it is a pretty long trip, lasting seven to nine months. For most of the time, the spacecraft is just coasting through space.
  • But if the spacecraft could continue accelerating through the first half of the journey and then start slowing down again, the travel time could be slashed.
  • Current rocket engines, which typically rely on the combustion of a fuel like hydrogen or methane with oxygen, are not efficient enough to accomplish that; there is not enough room in the spacecraft to carry that much propellant.
  • But nuclear reactionsgenerating energy from the splitting of uranium atoms, are much more efficient.
  • The DRACO engine would consist of a nuclear reactor that would heat hydrogen from a chilly minus 420 degrees Fahrenheit to a toasty 4,400 degrees, with the hot gas shooting from a nozzle to generate thrust. Greater fuel efficiency could speed up journeys to Mars, reducing the amount of time astronauts spend exposed to the treacherous environment of deep space.
  • Nuclear propulsion could also have uses closer to home, which is why DARPA is investing in the project. The technology may allow rapid maneuvers of military satellites in orbit around Earth.


  • Nuclear propulsion for space is not a new idea. In the 1950s and 1960s, Project Orion — financed by NASA, the Air Force and the Advanced Research Projects Agency — contemplated using the explosions of atomic bombs to accelerate spacecraft.
  • At the same time, NASA and other agencies also undertook Project Rover and Project NERVA, efforts that aimed to develop nuclear-thermal engines similar in concept to those now being pursued by the DRACO program.
  • series of 23 reactors were built and tested, but none were ever launched to space. Until the end of this program in 1973, NASA had contemplated using nuclear reactors to propel space probes to Jupiter, Saturn and beyond, as well as to provide power at a lunar base.
  • The technical capabilities, including early safety protocols, remain viable today, Tabitha Dodson, the DRACO project manager, said in a news briefing on 2 August 2023.
  • A key difference between NERVA and DRACO is that NERVA used weapons-grade uranium for its reactors, while DRACO will use a less-enriched form of uranium. The reactor would not be turned on until it reached space, part of the precautions to minimize the possibility of a radioactive accident on Earth.


The legacy of the Voyager mission

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lost communication with Earth’s longest-running space probe, Voyager 2, the space agency detected a “heartbeat” signal from the spacecraft. Although too faint for extraction of data, the detected signal confirms that Voyager 2, which is about 19.9 billion kilometres away from Earth, is still operating.

Why were the Voyager spacecraft sent into space?

  • In 1972, NASA cancelled its plans of exploring the five outer planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) with four highly complex spacecraft — the proposal, estimated to cost $ 1 billion, was scrapped due to budgetary constraints.
  • Instead, it proposed to send the Voyager probes, initially slated to explore only Jupiter and Saturn. In 1974, however, it was decided that if one spacecraft completes the mission, the other one would be redirected towards Uranus and then Neptune.
  • Interestingly, the spacecraft were scheduled for a take-off towards the end of the 1970s for a reason.
  • NASA chose the particular launch window to take advantage of a rare alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune that occurs once every 175 years.
  • The alignment allowed the spacecraft to harness the gravity of each planet and swing from one to the next using relatively minimal amounts of fuel. NASA first demonstrated the technique with its Mariner 10 mission to Venus and Mercury from 1973 to 1975.
  • Voyager 2 was launched on 20 August 1977, two weeks before the 5 September Voyager 1 takeoff.
  • This reversal of order took place as the two spacecraft were put on different trajectories — Voyager 1 was set on a path to reach Jupiter and Saturnahead of Voyager 2.

What are the most notable achievements of the Voyager spacecraft?

  • Fifteen months after its launch, Voyager 1 reached its first target planet, Jupiter, on 5 March 1979, and was soon followed by Voyager 2, which arrived there on 9 July.
  • The most interesting discoveries made by Voyager 1 included the finding that Ioone of Jupiter’s moons, was geologically active.
  • After the Saturn expedition, as Voyager 1 headed on a trajectory to escape the solar systemVoyager 2 was redirected towards Uranus — both probes had fulfilled their primary mission goals but scientists kept them operational for further exploration.
  • Voyager 2 arrived at Uranus in 1986, becoming the first human-made object to fly past the aquamarine planet.
  • The spacecraft took stunning photographs and confirmed that the main constituents of Uranus are hydrogen and helium.
  • Then, the probe went to Neptune. Becoming the first human-made object to fly by the planet in 1989Voyager 2 made some more notable discoveries there.
  • Apart from finding new moons and rings, it discovered that Neptune is more active than previously thought — winds on the planet blow at the speed of 1,100 kph.
  • After the Neptune encounter, Voyager 2, like Voyager 1, was put on the path to head out of the solar system. While Voyager 1 officially entered interstellar space in August 2012Voyager 2 made its entry in November 2018.

Book A Free Counseling Session