31 May 2023 The Hindu Newspaper Notes

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What are Exoplanets?


Exoplanets are planets that orbit other stars and are beyond our solar system. The first confirmation of detection of exoplanets occurred in 1992.

According to NASA, to date, more than 5,000 exoplanets have been discovered.

Scientists believe that there are more planets than stars as each star have at least one planet orbiting it.

Exoplanets come in a host of different sizes. They can be gas giants bigger than Jupiter or as small and rocky as Earth. They are also known to have different kinds of temperatures — boiling hot to freezing cold.



Exoplanets are very hard to see directly with telescopes. They are hidden by the bright glare of the stars they orbit.

So, astronomers use other ways to detect and study exoplanets such as looking at the effects these planets have on the stars they orbit.



Cambodia, country on the Indochinese mainland of Southeast Asia.

Its capital is Phnom Penh.

It is bordered to the west and northwest by Thailand, to the northeast by Laos, to the east and southeast by Vietnam and to the southwest by the Gulf of Thailand.

The two dominant hydrological features of Cambodia are the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap (Great Lake).

Topography: The Elephant Mountains and Cardamom Mountain of the southwest and western regions; the Dangrek Mountains of the North adjoining of the Korat Plateau of Thailand and Rattanakiri Plateau and Chhlong highlands on the east merging with the Central Highlands of Viet Nam.

Conservation and restoration of the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Preah Vihar are being carried out under India’s funding.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)


SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.

It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.

It was created in 2001.
The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.


Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.

Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.

Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organization in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.

India and Pakistan became members in 2017.

On 17th September, 2021, it was announced that Iran would become a full member of the SCO.


Strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states.

Promoting effective cooperation in -politics, trade & economy, research & technology and culture.

Enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.

Maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.

Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran.

Heads of State Council – The supreme SCO body which decides its internal functioning and its interaction with other States & international organisations, and considers international issues.

Heads of Government Council – Approves the budget, considers and decides upon issues related to economic spheres of interaction within SCO.

Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs – Considers issues related to day-to-day activities.

SCO Secretariat – Based in Beijing to provide informational, analytical & organizational support.

Official language:
The official working language of the SCO Secretariat is Russian and Chinese.


China’s Tiangong Space Station

Tiangong Space Station

The Tiangong space station is a Chinese space station being built in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 kilometers above the earth.

It is part of China Manned Space Program and is the country’s first long-term space station.

China is going to operationalize its new Tiangong multi-module space station for at least ten years.

China launched an unmanned module named “Tianhe”, or “Harmony of the Heavens” for its permanent space station in 2021 that it plans to complete by the end of 2022.

Tianhe core module is the first module to launch the Tiangong space station module.

They were launched into the designated orbit by the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft

What is the Importance of this Launch for China?

China is only the third country in history to have put both astronauts into space and to build a space station, after the Russia and the US.

The China Space Station (CSS) is also expected to be a competitor to the International Space Stations.

The International Space Station (ISS) Is a collaborative project of several countries.

The ISS is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history and the largest structure humans have ever put into space.

What are India’s Space Station Programmes?


India is planning to launch its own space station by 2030, joining the league of US, Russia, and China to an elite space club.

The Indian space station will be much smaller (mass of 20 tonnes) than the International Space Station and will be used for carrying out microgravity experiments (not for space tourism).

It will orbit Earth at an altitude of around 400 km.

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) is working on a space docking experiment (Spandex), a technology that is crucial for making the space station functional.

Space docking is a technology that allows transferring humans from one spacecraft to another


Space stations are essential for collecting meaningful scientific data, especially for biological experiments.

Provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. (as Gaganyaan will take humans and experiments in microgravity for a few days only).

Space stations are used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body


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