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UPSC Essentials — Mains answer practice : GS 3 (Week 15)

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UPSC Essentials brings to you its initiative for the practice of Mains answer writing. Mains Answer Writing covers essential topics of static and dynamic parts of the UPSC Civil Services syllabus covered under various GS papers. This answer-writing practice is designed to help you as a value addition to your UPSC CSE Mains. Attempt today’s answer writing on questions related to topics of GS-3 to check your progress.

QUESTION 1

Aditya L1 is the first Indian space-based mission to study the Sun. What are the payloads of the mission? Discuss the objectives of the Aditya L1.

QUESTION 2

Methane is the primary component of natural gas and is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) with a global warming potential (GWP). Discuss how we can reduce methane emissions.

General points on the structure of the answers

Introduction

— The introduction of the answer is essential and should be restricted to 3-5 lines. Remember, a one-liner is not a standard introduction.

— It may consist of basic information by giving some definitions from the trusted source and authentic facts.

Body

— It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

— The answer must be preferably written as a mix of points and short paragraphs rather than using long paragraphs or just points.

— Using facts from authentic government sources makes your answer more comprehensive. Analysis is important based on the demand of the question, but do not over analyse.

— Underlining keywords gives you an edge over other candidates and enhances presentation of the answer.

— Using flowcharts/tree-diagram in the answers saves much time and boosts your score. However, it should be used logically and only where it is required.

Way forward/ Conclusion

— The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach. However, if you feel that an important problem must be highlighted, you may add it in your conclusion. Try not to repeat any point from body or introduction.

— You may use the findings of reports or surveys conducted at national and international levels, quotes etc. in your answers.

Self Evaluation

— It is the most important part of our Mains answer writing practice. UPSC Essentials will provide some guiding points or ideas as a thought process that will help you to evaluate your answers.

THOUGHT PROCESS

You may enrich your answers by some of the following points

QUESTION 1: Aditya L1 is the first Indian space-based mission to study the Sun. What are the payloads of the mission? Discuss the objectives of the Aditya L1.

Introduction:

A simple introduction to this answer can revolve around a general statement about Aditya L1.

— The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Aditya L-1, the first Indian space-based mission to study the Sun, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

— The solar probe was carried into space by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in ‘XL’ configuration. SLV is one of the most reliable and versatile workhorse rockets of ISRO.

— The PSLV will initially place the Aditya L-1 in a lower Earth orbit. Subsequently, the spacecraft’s orbit around the Earth will be raised multiple times before it is put on a path to a halo orbit around the L1 Lagrange point.

(Source: Aditya L-1 launch: All you need to know about the mission)

Body:

You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

Payloads of the Mission

— The spacecraft carries seven scientific payloads for systematic study of the Sun. All payloads are indigenously developed in collaboration with various ISRO Centres.

Visible Emission Line Coronagraph

— It is designed to study solar corona and dynamics of coronal mass ejections.

— The payload is developed by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru in close collaboration with ISRO.

— VELC is the prime payload onboard Aditya-L1, designed as a reflective coronagraph with a multi-slit spectrograph.

— Solar Ultra-violet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) to image the Solar Photosphere and Chromosphere in near Ultra-violet (UV) and, to measure the solar irradiance variations in near UV.

— The payload is developed by Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune in close collaboration with ISRO.

— SUIT is a UV telescope to image the solar disk in the near ultra-violet wavelength range.

— Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) and High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) are designed to study the X-ray flares from the Sun over a wide X-ray energy range. Both these payloads are developed at U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.

— SoLEXS is a soft X-ray spectrometer onboard Aditya-L1. The payload is designed to measure the solar soft X-ray flux to study solar flares.

— Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) and Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) payloads are designed to study the solar wind and energetic ions, as well as their energy distribution.

— Magnetometer payload is capable of measuring interplanetary magnetic fields at the L1 point. The payload is developed at Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems, Bengaluru.

Objectives of the Aditya L-1

The main objective of the mission is to expand our knowledge of the Sun, and how its radiation, heat, flow of particles, and magnetic fields affect us. There are various other objectives that the mission will embark upon:

(i) To study the upper atmospheric layers of the Sun called chromosphere and corona. While the corona is the outermost layer, the chromosphere is just below it.

(ii) To examine coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun’s corona.

(iii) To analyse the corona’s magnetic field and the driver of the space weather.

(iv) To understand why the Sun’s not-so-bright corona is a million degree Celsius hot when the temperature on the surface of the Sun is just about 5,500 degree Celsius.

(v) To help scientists know the reasons behind the acceleration of particles on the Sun, which leads to the solar wind — the constant flow of particles from the Sun.

(Sources: www.isro.gov.in, Aditya L-1 launch: All you need to know about the mission)

Conclusion:

Your conclusion should be short. You may include:

— According to ISRO, the Sun “emits radiation/light in nearly all wavelengths along with various energetic particles and magnetic fields. The atmosphere of the Earth as well as its magnetic field acts as a protective shield and blocks a number of harmful wavelength radiations including particles and fields.”

— The mission hopes to generate user-friendly information that can help safeguard a range of satellite-dependent operations such as telecommunications, mobile-based Internet services, navigation, power grids, etc.

— Among the five Lagrange points, L1 is the most favoured to get an unhindered view of the Sun. L2 is located behind the Earth, and thus obstructs the view of the Sun, while L3 is behind the Sun which is not a great position to communicate with Earth. L4 and L5 are good and stable locations, but are much farther from Earth compared to L1, which is directly between the Sun and the Earth.

(Source: The Sun up close: Aditya-L1 mission and its objectives by Anjali Marar)

Points to Ponder

What is Halo Orbit?

What are Lagrange points?

What is space weather?

Related Previous Year Question

India has achieved remarkable successes in unmanned space missions including the Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission, but has not ventured into manned space mission. What are the main obstacles to launching a manned space mission, both in terms of technology and logistics? Examine critically. (2017)

QUESTION 2: Methane is the primary component of natural gas and is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) with a global warming potential (GWP). How we can reduce methane emissions?

Introduction:

A simple introduction to this answer can revolve around a general statement about Methane.

— Methane is a greenhouse gas, which is responsible for 30 per cent of the warming since preindustrial times, second only to carbon dioxide. A report by the United Nations Environment Programme observed that over a 20-year period, methane is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.

— There are various sources of methane including human and natural sources. Human sources of methane include landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes.

(Source: UPSC Essentials: Reports and data on your tips — IEA’s Global Methane Tracker 2023 by Manas Srivastava)

Body:

You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

Measures to Reduce Methane Emissions

— India has been persistent in its commitment to developing and implementing climate change policies. The following are ongoing attempts to limit methane emissions:

National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA): It involves climate-resilient practices such as methane reduction in rice agriculture which helps to significantly reduce methane emissions.

National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) project: The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed several technologies with mitigation potential for methane from rice viz.

(a) System for Rice Intensification: The technique has potential to enhance rice yield from 36-49% with about 22-35% less water than conventional transplanted rice;

(b) Direct Seeded Rice: The system reduces methane emissions as it does not involve raising nurseries, puddling and transplanting. Unlike transplanted paddy cultivation, standing water is not maintained in this system and

(c) Crop Diversification Programme: Methane emissions is avoided due to diversion of paddy to alternate crops like pulses, oilseeds, maize, cotton and agroforestry.

— Capacity-building programmes are conducted through Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country to create awareness on climate-resilient practices.

National Livestock Mission: It includes Breed Improvement and Balanced Rationing. Feeding better quality balanced rations to animals helps to minimise methane emissions from livestock. The Government of India also promotes for green fodder production, silage making, chaff cutting, and total mixed ration.

Gobar (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) –Dhan’ scheme: It supports biodegradable waste recovery and conversion of waste into resources and reduction of methane emissions.

(Sources: What is GOBAR-Dhan Yojana?, pib.gov.in, http://www.globalmethane.org)

Conclusion:

Your conclusion should be short. You may include:

— COP28 President Designate Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber called upon the oil and gas industry to phase out methane emissions by 2030 and align in favour of comprehensive net-zero emission plans by or before 2050.

— According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), methane emissions are among the top causes of global warming. Fossil fuel operations generate over one-third of all methane emissions from human activity. Thus, action on methane is seen as one of the most effective measures the energy sector can take to mitigate climate change.

(Source: COP28 president-designate urges oil industry to phase out methane emissions by 2030, eliminate carbon intensity by Sukalp Sharma)

Points to Ponder

Global Methane Pledge

Global Methane Initiative

Waste to Energy

Related Previous Year Question

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Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. (2022)

Previous Mains Answer Practice

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