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Zero pendency courts project; NASA's First Planetary Defence system - Current Affairs

DART is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impact spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defence purposes.

May 7, 2019 16:36 IST
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Story 1: Zero pendency court project by Delhi high court

Delhi High Court has recently released a report that talks about the problem of increasing backlog and pendency of cases. Prompted by the urgent need to ensure timely justice, the Delhi High Court started a Pilot Project titled “Zero Pendency Courts” in certain subordinate courts in Delhi. The primary goal of the project was to study the flow of cases in the absence of backlog.

The conclusions from this project would help in identifying benchmarks for different types of cases time lines, number of judges, case flow management rules and a host of other relevant factors. Further, the project would not only provide information on the judicial time required to dispose a case but also gather stage wise details in each case. The various data analyses presented in the report have been done diligently keeping in view the different types of cases that judges handle and comparison between courts that handle similar types of cases have been carried out.

Objectives of the Zero Pendency Courts Project

  • To study the actual, real-time ‘Flow of Cases’ from the date of institution till final disposal.
  • To identify the variables responsible for delays in disposal of cases.
  • To assess realistic time lines needed for the final disposal of newly instituted cases relating to different jurisdictions.
  • To stipulate norms designating the acceptable or tolerable time schedules for disposal of different types of cases.
  • To assess the realistic time lines required for various stages of the ‘flow of cases’ in different jurisdictions.
  • To appreciate the institution patterns and mapping the nature of litigation in different jurisdictions in different District Courts.

Key Highlights

  • Delhi needs 43 more Judges above the current strength of 143 to clear all pending cases in one year.
  • As on March 2019, there were 5.5 lakh criminal cases and 1.8 lakh civil cases pending in subordinate courts in Delhi. The number of criminal cases in Delhi is far more than the number of civil cases.
  • The highest amount of time per hearing on average was spent on the final arguments stage followed by the final order or judgement.
  • A considerable amount of time is taken on dictation, researching on case laws etc. before pronouncing the final judgement. Thus, a lot of time is spent on each of the hearings.

Story 2: NASA's First Planetary Defense Technology to Collide with Asteroid in 2022

NASA’s first mission to demonstrate a planetary defence technique, The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), will get one opportunity to hit small moonlet in the binary asteroid system Didymos. The asteroid poses no threat to Earth and is an ideal test target. NASA revealed that details about its plan to hit a small moonlet target in a double asteroid system with a spacecraft in 2022.

The asteroid, called Didymoon or Didymos B, is a moon asteroid around 150 meters tall orbiting a larger body Didymos A, the most accessible asteroid of its size from the Earth. Current observations will help researchers to better understand the extent of the impact made when DART slams into its target – Didymos B – in September 2022.

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART)

  • Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impact spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defence purposes. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.
  • The mission's target is 65803 Didymos, a binary asteroid system in which one asteroid is orbited by a smaller one.
  • The primary asteroid is about 800 m (2,600 ft) in diameter; its small satellite is about 150 m (490 ft) in diameter in an orbit about 1.1 km from the primary.
  • DART will target the smaller asteroid. Didymos is not an Earth-crossing asteroid, and there is no possibility that the deflection experiment could create an impact hazard.

Recent design change

In a recent design change, DART will now be able to complete its mission by relying on small hydrazine thrusters in addition to having the ability to utilize the electric propulsion system, NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster Commercial (NEXT-C) ion engine, which will also push the start of the primary launch window to July of 2021, shortening the mission flight time. While much of the work on DART so far has been modelling and simulation, many parts of the spacecraft have started to take shape. A full-scale mock-up of DART now serves as a placeholder for the assembly of cables and connectors that will eventually make up the wiring harness.


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