Who is called the father of the Indian space programme?

Dr Vikram Sarabhai is widely known as the ‘father of the Indian space programme’. He helped establish the Indian space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and led it as chairman. 

Son of Ambalal Sarabhai, he came from the famous Sarabhai family of India who were major industrialists committed to the Indian independence movement. Vikram Sarabhai married the classical dancer Mrinalini in 1942. The couple had two children. His daughter Mallika gained prominence as an actress and activist, and his son Kartikeya too became an active person in science. During his lifetime, he practiced Jainism. He attended Gujarat College, Ahmedabad, but later moved to the University of Cambridge, England, where he took his tripos in natural sciences in 1940. In 1945 he returned to Cambridge to pursue a doctorate and wrote a thesis, “Cosmic Ray Investigations in Tropical Latitudes,” in 1947.

He led the Sarabhai family-owned business conglomerate. His interests varied from science to sports to statistics. He set up the Operations Research Group (ORG), the first market research organization in the country. Most notable among the many institutes he helped set up are the Nehru Foundation for Development in Ahmedabad, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association (ATIRA) and the (CEPT). Along with his wife Mrinalini Sarabhai, he founded the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. Other projects and institutions initiated or established by him include the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) in Kalpakkam, Variable Energy Cyclotron Project in Calcutta, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) in Hyderabad and Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Jaduguda, Jharkhand.

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When was the first rocket launched in India?

It was in November 1963 that India’s first rocket launch took off from a nondescript fishing village called Thumba on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The village soon came to be known as the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launch Station. The rocket was so small and light that it was transported on a bicycle to the Thumba launch station.

The first rockets were two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure). While the M-100 could carry a payload of 70 kg to an altitude of 85 km, the Centaure was capable of reaching 150 km with a payload of approximately 30 kg.

ISRO started launching indigenously made sounding rockets from 1965 and experience gained was of immense value in the mastering of solid propellant technology. In 1975, all sounding rocket activities were consolidated under the Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) Programme. RH-75, with a diameter of 75mm was the first truly Indian sounding rocket, which was followed by RH-100 and RH-125 rockets.  The sounding rocket programme was the bedrock on which the edifice of launch vehicle technology in ISRO could be built. It is possible to conduct coordinated campaigns by simultaneously launching sounding rockets from different locations. It is also possible to launch several sounding rockets in a single day.

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What are the difference between llamas and alpacas?

The first thing you will notice when comparing an alpaca and a llama is their size difference. Llamas are significantly bigger than alpacas. 

In regards to their height, llamas are taller, reaching 42 to 46 inches (106 to 117 cm) on average. Alpacas measure between 34 to 36 inches (86 to 92 cm) on average.

However, the weight difference between these two animals is even more significant. On average, llamas weigh between 280 and 450 pounds (127 to 204 kg). That is quite a lot compared to the 106 to 185-pound (48 to 84 kg) average weight range for alpacas.

Llamas have a longer face with a larger muzzle. Alpacas, on the other hand, have round, smooshed faces. They also have fluffy fur on their face, especially on their foreheads. Llamas tend to have short and thin fur around their face. 

Alpacas have softer facial features than llamas. Because of this, many people believe alpacas are the cuter of the two.

Llama ears are tall and long. They stand up in a shape that looks like a banana. Alpacas have shorter, pointy ears. Their fuzziness continues onto their ears, whereas llamas tend to have smoother and straighter fur around their ears. 

Credit : Peru For Less

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What are Llamas?

Llamas are hardy, smart animals that are easy to train. Native to Central and South America, they are used as pack animals as they can carry a generous load of weight. However, when they are overloaded, they simply lie down and refuse to move. Did you know llamas spit and kick when provoked or threatened?

Llamas, guanacos, vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna), and alpacas (V. pacos) are known collectively as lamoids. Unlike camels, llamas and other lamoids do not have the characteristic camel humps; they are slender-bodied animals and have long legs and long necks, short tails, small heads, and large pointed ears. Gregarious animals, they graze on grass and other plants. When annoyed, they spit. Lamoids are able to interbreed with one another and produce fertile offspring.

The llama is the largest of the four lamoid species. It averages 120 cm (47 inches) at the shoulder, with most males weighing between 136 and 181.4 kg (300 and 400 pounds) and most females weighing between 104.3 and 158.7 kg (230 and 350 pounds). A 113-kg (250-pound) llama can carry a load of 45–60 kg and average 25 to 30 km (15 to 20 miles) travel a day. The llama’s high thirst tolerance, endurance, and ability to subsist on a wide variety of forage makes it an important transport animal on the bleak Andean plateaus and mountains.

Credit : Britannica

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What is the other name for the eardrum?

Tympanic membrane, also called eardrum, thin layer of tissue in the human ear that receives sound vibrations from the outer air and transmits them to the auditory ossicles, which are tiny bones in the tympanic (middle-ear) cavity. 

The eardrum has three layers: the outer layer, inner layer, and middle layer. The middle layer is made of fibers that give the eardrum elasticity and stiffness. Cartilage holds the eardrum in place.

The eardrum covers the end of the external ear canal and looks like a flattened cone with its tip pointed inward toward the middle ear. It is transparent and is about the size of a dime.

The eardrum divides the outer ear from the middle ear. The eardrum sits between the end of the external ear canal and the auditory ossicles, which are three tiny bones in the middle ear, called the malleus, incus, and stapes.

Sometimes an infection may cause the eardrum to rupture. Symptoms of a ruptured eardrum include hearing loss, ear pain, itching, and fluid draining from the ear. Usually, eardrums that rupture heal on their own.

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