Space Internet and breakthroughs in medicine: the main achievements of Russian science in January

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At the beginning of 2023, Russian scientists have already managed to create a miniature satellite for the operational tracking of natural disasters, develop the first domestic test system for conducting liquid biopsy, figure out how to organize high-quality satellite communications throughout the country, improve cellulose production, and so on. About these and other achievements later in the article.

💡 This is a material from the “Made in Russia 🇬🇺” cycle, which describes the main domestic inventions, as well as important events in various fields of science and industry in Russia.

Created a nanosatellite capable of tracking natural disasters

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Students from Moscow, with the support of the Innovation Promotion Foundation, have developed the Svyatobor-1 nanosatellite as part of the Space-Pi project of the Planet Duty Program, whose task is to instill in schoolchildren and students an interest in space technologies. The device is made on the OrbiCraft-Pro platform of the Sputniks company. The spacecraft is equipped with thermal imaging and color cameras, which allows it to take photographs with a resolution of 15-17 meters per pixel (the exact figure depends on the height of the orbit), as well as a VERA plasma engine. The main task of the device will be tracking various natural disasters (for example, forest fires) directly from space. If Svyatobor-1 successfully passes all stages of pre-launch tests (at the moment only the camera system has been tested), then by the summer of this year it will be able to be put into orbit to work as intended.

Developed the first domestic test system for liquid biopsy

Space Internet and breakthroughs in medicine: the main achievements of Russian science in January

💡 In simple words

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At the moment, one of the ways to fight cancer is tumor chemotherapy. However, this procedure causes a huge number of severe side effects that manifest themselves due to the mechanism of action: chemotherapy drugs, being the most powerful DNA-toxic agents by their principle of action, destroy tumor cells and everything around. At the same time, treatment is carried out according to approved clinical protocols with a certain number of courses, which often do not take into account the specifics of a particular organism, its special reaction to administered drugs and disease resistance. And there is no way to correctly and accurately determine the effectiveness of treatment in order to reduce the number of chemotherapy courses without sacrificing quality in modern clinical practice. Abroad, there are methods of liquid biopsy with high accuracy, but the analysis time is more than a month. This and the high cost of the method do not favor its wide application. Russian scientists have developed a similar method with much more favorable performance. The new test system will reduce the cost of the procedure by up to 10 times compared to existing analogues, and the examination time will be no more than five to seven days. These advantages will make it possible to include the procedure in clinical guidelines and standards of care for a wide range of patients with lymphomas, and in the future – with other tumor diseases.

👨‍🔬 Detail

The domestic test system was developed based on the technology of nanopore sequencing of freely circulating DNA and will allow the analysis of mutations in the genetic material of the tumor in the biological fluids of patients (liquid biopsy). When cancer cells are destroyed, the tumor releases DNA into the bloodstream, which can be analyzed for the presence of tumor-specific mutations, and if they are absent, the course of chemotherapy can be stopped, reducing the amount of side effects. Now scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology are developing a set of target DNA markers (certain fragments that accurately indicate the presence of a malignant tumor) of oncogenes associated with lymphomas, and are also determining approaches for the analysis of mutations. Further development is waiting for technical and clinical trials and entering the market in the form of a full-fledged diagnostic test system.

They came up with powerful microwave devices for organizing, in particular, satellite Internet

💡 In simple words

Microwave (super high frequency) radiation is radio waves that are used in everything from microwave ovens and Wi-Fi to cellular communications and satellite navigation. In microwave technology, there are also various devices, for example, attenuators, phase shifters, and so on. All of them work on solid materials. Ruselectronics holding (part of Rostec) has come up with a new microwave device for terrestrial space communication systems, which will provide access to digital television, high-speed Internet and mobile communications throughout the country.

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The new device is based on high-power traveling wave lamps (TWT) — vacuum devices in which the interaction of a traveling electromagnetic wave and an electron flow moving in the same direction is used to generate and / or amplify microwave electromagnetic waves (in contrast to a backward wave lamp, where electromagnetic waves move along the slowing system in the direction opposite to the direction of electron motion). TWTs are one of the key elements of satellite ground stations, acting as microwave power amplifiers, which makes it possible to increase the radio signal delivery distance. Interestingly, twin 12-watt TWTs were mounted on the hull under the saucer of the New Horizons spacecraft that visited Pluto in 2015. Roselectronics specialists intend to create two new types of lamps – C- and Ku-bands with air cooling and an output power of up to 700 W. More powerful devices will have not only an increased radio signal delivery radius, but also a longer service life. This will allow creating a high-quality space communication system in the country. The creation of the first prototypes of new devices and testing is scheduled for 2024, and mass production – for 2025.

Simplify pulp production

💡 In simple words

Cellulose serves as the basis not only for the production of paper, but also for various chemical products: viscose silk, varnishes, paints, gunpowder. In its manufacture, raw materials must be cleaned of impurities and bleached. The last stage is the most important, as at this stage the raw materials are treated with chemicals that change the whiteness of the pulp so that high quality paper and cardboard can be made from it. This procedure was decided to be carried out using hydrogen peroxide. In addition, scientists have proposed using wood as a raw material for the production of cellulose in order to get rid of the need to purchase expensive imported cotton. The new technology turned out to be both more economical and more environmentally friendly than its counterparts.

👨‍🔬 Detail

Space Internet and breakthroughs in medicine: the main achievements of Russian science in January

At present, chlorine or chlorine-containing reagents are mainly used for bleaching raw materials for pulp production. In search of more economical and environmentally friendly methods of processing, scientists at the Perm Polytechnic University have developed an original technology. To obtain the fibrous raw material of unbleached pulp, they used ordinary wood. Then the resulting mass was sequentially treated with hydrogen peroxide in an alkaline and acidic environment with the addition of a catalyst. Thanks to the use of a single oxidizing agent, bleaching is carried out at atmospheric pressure, which greatly simplifies the process. The resulting cellulose has a fairly high level of quality and can be used both for the production of paper and for further chemical processing, for example, to obtain viscose fabrics or gunpowder.

Improved the model for managing automatic systems

One of the main problems in the theory of automatic control is the impossibility of ensuring the established quality of regulation at any given time. When all the parameters of the process that needs to be automated are known in advance and they cannot be changed, then existing approaches to automation work without problems. When there are unaccounted factors, then modern methods begin to fail. Adaptive and intelligent control are called upon to solve the problem. However, this is possible only after training the control system. That is, after any updates in the process, the system needs time to collect information about the new object, after which it can again switch to process control. And in some self-driving cars, every second of autopilot failure can cost the lives of passengers. Another example is electric power networks, where it is necessary to maintain the frequency and voltage within a given limit at any given time. Factors that cannot be predicted in this case are icing on the wires or a short circuit. In the event of any emergency, the frequency or voltage will deviate from the specified parameters. Existing security systems in such circumstances simply turn off the network, even if the situation does not require it. Because of this, a lot of time is lost to restart the system. If there was a control system capable of balancing the frequency, and not turning off the network, it would be possible to significantly increase the efficiency of electric power networks.

Russian scientists have proposed a new method for controlling automated systems that can keep them within a given range of operating values ​​(that is, the system will still deviate from ideal performance, but stay within the specified limits), even when some parameters are not known in advance. Such a breakthrough became possible due to the use of modern non-linear control methods. The operability of the new method was confirmed on an experimental stand for the control of electric power networks, as well as in theoretical calculations for the control of an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Source: Trash Box

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