Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 13 February 2023

First stretch of Delhi-Mumbai Expressway

GS Paper - 2 (Infrastructure)

Prime Minister 12 February 2023 inaugurated a 246-km stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway; the Delhi-Dausa-Lalsot section is set to reduce the travel time from the national capital to Jaipur from five hours to around three and a half hours. The Prime Minister also added that rural 'haats' are being developed around the expressway where the local artisans can sell their wares.

More about the Expressway

  1. The first completed stretch of the mammoth expressway is part of the government's Golden Quadrilateral project that aims to span the length and breadth of the country.

  2. The Delhi-Mumbai Expressway is set to be the longest in India at 1,386 km.

  3. The roadway is aimed at cutting down the distance between Delhi and Mumbai by 12%, from 1,424 km to 1,242 km

  4. Travel time is expected to go down by 50%, making a trip possible in 12 hours.

  5. The expressway will pass through six states - Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra - while connecting major cities like Kota, Indore, Jaipur, Bhopal, Vadodara and Surat.

  6. This project will have pathways to 93 PM Gati Shakti Economic Nodes, 13 ports, eight major airports and eight multi-modal logistics parks (MMLPs).

  7. Also connected will be the upcoming greenfield airports in Jewar and Navi Mumbai.


World's first cloud-built demo satellite

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

JANUS-1 satellite that rode on Isro’s new mini-rocket SSLV-D2 and reached its orbit successfully is the world's first satellite fully conceived, designed and manufactured using an Indian company's end-to-end cloud platform. Interestingly, the complete assembly, integration and test for JANUS-1 have been conducted in Bengaluru by Ananth Technologies Ltd (ATL).

More about the Satellite

  1. JANUS-1 is a software defined 6U technology demonstration satellite designed and built using the Antaris cloud software platform and SatOSsoftware, as well as XDLinx's modular spacecraft bus.

  2. ATL has also contributed various avionics subsystems for Isro’s earth observation satellite EOS-7 that was the main payload of SSLV-D2.

  3. From concept to launch readiness, JANUS-1 was designed and built in just 10 months at a cost saving of 75% over comparable satellite missions.

  4. The first cloud-based satellite means one can access the data of JANUS-1 satellite from the cloud of Antaris company. The cost and time savings that are achieved through this approach (of making JANUS-1) is immense and best in the industry.

  5. JANUS-1 carries five payloads including IOT (internet of things) and communication systems.

  6. Isro’s EOS-7 is a miniature version of Isro’s earth observation Cartosat satellite with all-weather capability (used by security agencies to keep eye on borders) as the government is planning to launch more and more mini satellites to meet its security and communication needs through the new mini-launcher SSLV.

  7. Antaris anticipates that future spacecraft missions can be ready for launch in as few as six months.


India in ICAO's safety oversight ranking

GS Paper - 2 (Infrastructure)

India's aviation safety oversight ranking has jumped to the 55th position from 112th place earlier, with a significant improvement in the country's score under the ICAO's coordinated validation mission. Under its Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) Continuous Monitoring Approach, an ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) was undertaken in India from 9 November to 16, 2022.


  1. After the final report India's safety oversight capability ranking has climbed from 112 to 55. It may be noted that this ranking is dynamic and is contingent upon the outcomes of various Audits undertaken by ICAO.

  2. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) undertakes an audit of all the contracting states under this programme.

  3. Last year's mission to India covered the areas of LEG, ORG, PEL, OPS and AGA on-site while the area of AIR was validated virtually during the same period. The Effective Implementation (EI) of six areas was assessed.

  4. LEG is Primary Aviation Legislation and Specific Operating RegulationsORG is Civil Aviation Organisation; PEL is Personnel Licensing and Training; OPS is Aircraft Operations; AGA is Aerodrome and Ground Aid and AIR is Airworthiness of Aircraft.

  5. The USOAP audit of the civil aviation system of India conducted in 2017 generated an overall EI of 55.15 per cent for the eight critical elements of the country's safety oversight system.


NASA’s Curiosity Rover found Water on Mars

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Curiosity Rover has discovered new evidence that an ancient lake existed in a region of Mars, which was earlier believed to be drier. The rover was traversing through an area of Mars called the “sulfate-bearing unit”, and researchers previously thought would show evidence of “mere trickles of water, as scientists believed the rocks there formed as the surface of the red planet was drying out”. Instead, they found some of the clearest events of ancient waters.


  1. Having climbed nearly a half-mile above Mount Sharp’s base, the rover found that these rippled rock textures preserved in what’s nicknamed the “Marker Band” – a thin layer of dark rock that stands out from the rest of Mount Sharp.

  2. As it climbed higher, it travelled over rocks that would have formed more recently. That’s why researchers didn’t expect to see such clear markers of a large body of water.

  3. Curiosity has attempted to extract samples from some of the rocks, but they proved too hard for the rover’s drill.

  4. Since 2014, the Curiosity rover has been ascending the foothills of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) mountain that was once laced with lakes and streams that would have provided a rich environment for microbial life, if any ever formed on the Red Planet.

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