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Prelims Booster

23rd October – Prelims Booster

OSIRIS-REx

Recently, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx — Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer — spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it is meant to collect samples of dust and pebbles and deliver them back to Earth in 2023.

What is an asteroid?

  • Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much smaller than planets. They are also called minor planets.
  • Asteroids are divided into three classes. First, those found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which is estimated to contain somewhere between 1.1-1.9 million asteroids.
  • The second group is that of trojans, which are asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet. NASA reports the presence of Jupiter, Neptune and Mars trojans. In 2011, they reported an Earth trojan as well.
  • The third classification is Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), which have orbits that pass close by the Earth. Those that cross the Earth’s orbit are called Earth-crossers. More than 10,000 such asteroids are known, out of which over 1,400 are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs).

What is the OSIRIS-REx mission?

  • This is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid. The mission is essentially a seven-year-long voyage and will conclude when at least 60 grams of samples are delivered back to the Earth.
  • The mission was launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018 and since then, the spacecraft has been trying to match the velocity of the asteroid using small rocket thrusters to rendezvous it.
  • It also utilised this time to survey the surface and identify potential sites to take samples.

About Bennu Asteroid –

  • Bennu is an asteroid about as tall as the Empire State Building and located at a distance of about 200 million miles away from the Earth.
  • There is a slight possibility that Bennu, which is classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO), might strike the Earth in the next century, between the years 2175 and 2199. NEOs are comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allows them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.
  • Scientists study asteroids to look for information about the formation and history of planets and the Sun since asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system. Another reason for tracking them is to look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.

Important terminological differences –

  • Comet: A body of ice, rock and dust that can be several miles in diameter and orbits the sun. Debris from comets is the source of many meteoroids.
  • Meteoroid: A small rocky or metal object, usually between the size of a grain of sand or a boulder, that orbits the sun. It originates from a comet or asteroid.
  • Meteor: A meteoroid that enters the earth’s atmosphere and vaporises. Also called a “shooting star.”
  • Meteorite: A meteor that hits Earth without burning up in the atmosphere i.e. it reaches the Earth’s surface.
  • Meteor shower: A collection of meteors visible when Earth passes through a trail of debris left by a comet.
  • Asteroid: An object larger than a meteoroid that orbits the sun and is made of rock or metal. Historically, objects larger than 10 meters across have been called asteroids.

Integrated Theatre Commands

Army Chief General Manoj Naravane has said that the next step in defence reforms after the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) would be the formation of integrated theatre commands. This process would be “deliberate, thoughtful and well considered.”

What is a ‘theatre command’?

  • A theatre command is an organisational structure designed to control all military assets in a theatre of war to achieve military effects.
  • A joint command is called a ‘theatre command’ in military parlance (of army, air force and navy).
  • It places the resources of all forces at the command of a senior military commander.
  • For example a ‘theatre command’ in the North will integrate components of the IAF and the Army, and also have component of the Navy integrated with it.
  • At present, the only joint command is learnt to be in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
  • Kargil Review Committee, Shekatkar Committee have lamented on compartmentalised planning against external and internal threats with some ‘jointness’ envisaged at the highest levels. To combat disjointed and fragmented execution at the operational and lower levels, a theatre command becomes necessary.

General Consent for CBI Investigation

The Maharashtra government has withdrawn “general consent” given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe cases in the state. The decision means the central agency will have to get consent from the state government for every case it registers in Maharashtra.

Types of cases in which CBI is involved at a state level –

The CBI is divided into three categories when it comes to investigation –

  • The first is the Anti-Corruption Division that investigates cases against public servants under the control of the central government, public servants in public sector undertakings, also under the control of the central government, cases against public servants working under state governments, which have been entrusted to the CBI by the state, and serious departmental irregularities committed by the above mentioned.
  • The Economic Offences Division investigates financial crimes, bank frauds, money laundering, illegal money market operations, graft in PSUs and banks.
  • The Special Crimes Division handles cases of conventional nature such as offences relating to internal security, espionage, sabotage, narcotics and psychotropic substances, antiquities, murders, dacoities/robberies, and cheating among others.

Impact of withdrawal of ‘general consent’ –

  • The decision will increase work for both the CBI and the state government. Every time the CBI traps some central government employee taking a bribe, it will need to seek approval from the Maharashtra government before registering a case.
  • Similarly, the Maharashtra government department too will be burdened with approval requests on a case-by-case basis.
  • The CBI has, however, recently started taking recourse in a Calcutta High Court judgment. The HC, in its order in the Ramesh Chandra Singh and another vs CBI, observed that “the court is of the view that the central government/CBI’s power to investigate and prosecute its own officials cannot be in any way impeded or interfered by the state even if the offences were committed within the territory of the state.”

NAG Missile

Final user trial of 3rd generation Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) NAG was carried out from Pokhran range. The missile was integrated with the actual warhead and a tank target was kept at designated range.

Details –

  • ATGM NAG has been developed by DRDO to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in day and night conditions. The missile has “Fire & Forget” “Top Attack” capabilities with passive homing guidance to defeat all main battle tanks (MBTs) equipped with composite and reactive armour.
  • The NAG missile carrier NAMICA is a BMP II based system with amphibious capability. With this final user trial, NAG will enter into production phase.
  • The missile will be produced by Defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), whereas Ordnance Factory Medak will produce the NAMICA.

MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Third Generation ATGM NAG Missile’?

  1. It has been developed by the DRDO to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in day and night conditions.
  2. It has ‘fire and forget’, ‘top attack’ capabilities with a passive homing guidance to defeat all main battle tanks equipped with composite and reactive armour.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – C

Explanation – ATGM NAG has been developed by DRDO to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in day and night conditions. The missile has “Fire & Forget” “Top Attack” capabilities with passive homing guidance to defeat all main battle tanks (MBTs) equipped with composite and reactive armour. The NAG missile carrier NAMICA is a BMP II based system with amphibious capability. With this final user trial, NAG will enter into production phase. The missile will be produced by Defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), whereas Ordnance Factory Medak will produce the NAMICA.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. The Anti-Corruption Division of the Central Bureau of Investigation can only investigate cases against public servants under the control of the central government.
  2. The Special Crimes Division of the CBI handles financial crimes, bank frauds, money laundering, illegal money market operations, graft in PSUs and banks.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – D

Explanation – The CBI is divided into three categories when it comes to investigation –

  • The first is the Anti-Corruption Division that investigates cases against public servants under the control of the central government, public servants in public sector undertakings, also under the control of the central government, cases against public servants working under state governments, which have been entrusted to the CBI by the state, and serious departmental irregularities committed by the above mentioned.
  • The Economic Offences Division investigates financial crimes, bank frauds, money laundering, illegal money market operations, graft in PSUs and banks.
  • The Special Crimes Division handles cases of conventional nature such as offences relating to internal security, espionage, sabotage, narcotics and psychotropic substances, antiquities, murders, dacoities/robberies, and cheating among others.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘theatre commands’?

  1. A theatre command is an organisation structure designed to control all military assets in a theatre of war to achieve military effects.
  2. It places the resources of all forces at the command of a senior army officer.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – A

Explanation – A theatre command is an organisational structure designed to control all military assets in a theatre of war to achieve military effects. A joint command is called a ‘theatre command’ in military parlance (of army, air force and navy). It places the resources of all forces at the command of a senior military commander. For example a ‘theatre command’ in the North will integrate components of the IAF and the Army, and also have component of the Navy integrated with it. At present, the only joint command is learnt to be in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Kargil Review Committee, Shekatkar Committee have lamented on compartmentalised planning against external and internal threats with some ‘jointness’ envisaged at the highest levels. To combat disjointed and fragmented execution at the operational and lower levels, a theatre command becomes necessary.

4. Which of the following is the only integrated theatre command of India?

  1. Special Frontier Force
  2. Andaman and Nicobar Command
  3. Peninsular Command
  4. Western Command

Answer – B

Explanation – India has an integrated theatre command only in ANC. There has been a demand for other integrated functional commands, such as the cyber, aerospace and Special Operations commands, but the government is yet to approve any.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first mission to the planet Mercury meant to return a sample from the rocky planet.
  2. Asteroid Bennu is classified as a Near Earth Asteroid which may strike the Earth in the next century.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – B

Explanation – OSIRIS-REx mission is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid. The mission is essentially a seven-year-long voyage and will conclude when at least 60 grams of samples are delivered back to the Earth. The mission was launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018 and since then, the spacecraft has been trying to match the velocity of the asteroid using small rocket thrusters to rendezvous it. Bennu is an asteroid about as tall as the Empire State Building and located at a distance of about 200 million miles away from the Earth. There is a slight possibility that Bennu, which is classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO), might strike the Earth in the next century, between the years 2175 and 2199. NEOs are comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allows them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.

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