Here's a look at what made news in the world of science and technology this week.
Isro hints at 'Aditya L1', 'Chandrayaan-3' launches
Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman S. Somanath said on 22 March that Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission, and its first solar mission, Aditya L1, “will possibly happen” by the middle of this year. At a science conference in Ahmedabad, Somanath said the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft was ready and that the organisation was conducting simulations and tests. Isro is also in the process of integrating scientific instruments into the Aditya L1 satellite, Somanath added. The latter is an exciting solar mission that will study the Sun’s corona, chromosphere and photosphere. According to Isro, Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-2 (2019) to demonstrate end-to-end capabilities in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface.
A global drinking water crisis
A key report from the United Nations (UN) has revealed that 26% of the world’s population doesn’t have access to safe drinking water and 46% lacks access to basic sanitation. The UN World Water Development Report 2023, released on 21 March, warned of the huge gap left to meet UN goals to ensure all people have access to clean water and sanitation by 2030. The report was released by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) on the eve of the first major UN conference on water (22-24 March) in over 45 years, which was attended by more than 170 nations.
Let's talk about the proposed European Union AI Act
While there is no timeline yet on when it will be finalised, the European Union’s proposed act on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has got everyone talking. It’s expected to be a landmark piece of EU legislation governing the use of AI in Europe and has been in the works for over two years, according to a Reuters report. Lawmakers have proposed classifying AI tools according to their perceived level of risk, from low to unacceptable. The obligations of governments and companies using these tools will depend on the risk level. Moreover, the law will apply to anyone who provides a product or service that uses AI, covering systems that can generate output such as content, predictions, recommendations, or decisions influencing environments, the Reuters report adds.