NASA finds more signs of liquid water on Mars

NASA has announced that it has come one step closer to ascertaining the presence of liquid water on Mars, and released new evidence obtained by one of its orbiters that has renewed hopes for a direct discovery in the future. At a press conference at the NASA HQ in Washington, D.C., a panel comprising the agency’s administrative chiefs, technical … Read more

PSLV lifts off with ASTROSAT

At 10 am this (Monday) morning, a PSLV-XL rocket lifted off with India’s first space-borne astronomical observatory from ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. The observatory, titled ASTROSAT, is set to be placed in a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 650.17 km by the rocket after its fourth-stage ignition is cut off 21 minutes … Read more

The pitfalls of thinking that ASTROSAT will be ‘India’s Hubble’

ASTROSAT's instruments being tested at ISRO's Satellite Centre in Bangalore. Source: ISRO

The Hubble Space Telescope needs no introduction. It’s become well known for its stunning images of nebulae and star-fields, and it wouldn’t be amiss to say the telescope has even become synonymous with images of strange beauty often from distant cosmic shores. No doubt saying something is like the Hubble Space Telescope simplifies the task of … Read more

New National Encryption Policy doesn’t seem to like encryption

Encryption. Credit: yusamoilov/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

A new draft National Encryption Policy put out by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology seeks to define the various encryption standards allowable on data originating from the country, and does so in its traditional ham-handed way. In an abridged version of the document, put out by DEITY, the department proposes some practices that effectively … Read more

ISRO to launch India’s first astronomy satellite on September 28

India’s first astronomy satellite will be launched on September 28. ISRO has noted that while it has launched payloads capable of making astronomical observations before, this is the first time one dedicated to astronomy will be launched. Called ASTROSAT, it was first scheduled for launch in 2005, then in 2010, and finally in 2015 with delays largely … Read more

From unboiling eggs to the effects of intense kissing, IgNobel Prizes reward good ol’ curiosity

The 2012 IgNobel Prize. Source: UCSB

The year’s IgNobel Awards were held on September 17, and rewarded research that defines a kind of excellence that still impacts society without managing the sobriety of character that often bags the more vaunted Nobel Prizes. The 25th edition, held as usual at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, and as usual presided over by the magazine Improbable Research‘s … Read more

Impoverishing science by its association with divisive social issues

Radha Mohan Singh. Source:

Instead of insuring them against the vagaries of the seasons, the latest offering from the Ministry of Agriculture is a suggestion that farmers think their seeds into producing more. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said on September 15 that the government was going to put its weight behind ‘Yogic farming’. “The idea behind Yogic farming is to … Read more

The Nobel intent

About three weeks from now, the Nobel Foundation will announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Prizes. Every year, commentators, opinionators and enthusiasts try to guess who will win the awards – some of them have become famous because they’ve been able to guess the winners with uncanny accuracy. However, as it happens, the prizewinners’ profiles … Read more