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ICARUS: WHEN SCIENCE CARES ABOUT WILDLIFE

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims

Why in news?

The International Space Station, orbiting some 240 miles above the planet, is about to join the effort to monitor the world’s wildlife — and revolutionise the science of animal tracking.

ICARUS – Details

  • A large antenna and other equipment aboard the orbiting outpost, installed by spacewalking Russian astronauts in 2018, are being tested.
  • This will assist scientists and conservationists and provide more detailed information on the health of the world’s ecosystems.
  • The new approach, known as ICARUS — International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space — will be able to track animals across far larger areas.
  • ICARUS has also shrunk the size of the transmitters the animals wear.
  • These changes will allow researchers to track flocks of birds as they migrate over long distances instead of monitoring only one or two birds at a time

Significance

  • ICARUS combines off-theshelf technology, which includes solar and GPS units, and new technology specifically designed for tracking small animals.
  • Researchers will attach solar-powered bio-loggers to animals.
  • Far smaller than other technology, these sensors can hitch a ride on an array of animals and insects, like locusts, songbirds and baby tortoises.
  • Most tracking technologies can’t be attached to creatures that weigh less than 100 grams.

-Source: Times of India

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September 2022
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