Here’s a look at what made news in the world of science and technology this week.
India signs Artemis Accords: On 21 June, India became the 27th country to sign the Artemis Accords. Nasa Administrator Bill Nelson participated in the signing ceremony for the agency and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s ambassador to the United States, signed on behalf of India in Washington. According to Nasa, the Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations, including those participating in Nasa’s Artemis program, which aims to return astronauts to the lunar surface. The Accords were established by the US space agency, in coordination with the US Department of State, in 2020 together with seven other founding member nations. According to Nasa, the Artemis Accords reinforce and implement key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
You can now silence unknown calls on WhatsApp: Earlier this week, WhatsApp added two new updates for users to increase the level of privacy on the platform. Apart from Privacy Checkup, which will help ensure all users are aware of their privacy options, WhatsApp users have more control over incoming calls with a feature designed to silence unknown callers. It helps automatically screen out spam, scams, and calls from unknown people for increased protection, according to a WhatsApp blog post on the rollout of these updates. These calls will not show on your phone, but they will be visible on the call list.
On 20 June, a report from the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development said that glaciers across the Hindu Kush Himalayan mountain ranges are melting at unprecedented rates and could lose up to 80% of their volume this century if greenhouse gas emissions weren’t reduced sharply. According to a report in the Associated Press, the report warned that flash floods and avalanches would grow more likely in coming years. The availability of fresh water could also be curtailed for nearly 2 billion people who live downstream of 12 rivers that originate in the mountains.
Maven aircraft captures ultraviolet views of Mars: On 22 June, Nasa revealed two stunning pictures of Mars captured by its Maven (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) mission spacecraft. The two ultraviolet images were taken at different points along Mars’ orbit around the Sun. Nasa said in a statement that Maven’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument obtained these global views of Mars in 2022 and 2023 when the planet was near opposite ends of its elliptical orbit. By viewing the planet in ultraviolet wavelengths, scientists can gain insight into the Martian atmosphere and view surface features in remarkable ways, the US space agency said. Maven was launched in November 2013 and entered Mars’ orbit in September 2014. According to Nasa, the mission’s goal is to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the Sun and solar wind to explore the loss of the Martian atmosphere to space.
(Compiled with inputs from news agencies)