Science & Technology

NASA announces funding for moon and Mars mission tech

September 29, 2019

NASA announced agreements worth a combined $43.2 million with 14 commercial partners Friday -- including Blue Origin and SpaceX -- to fund experiments in propellant and power generation, in-space refueling, efficient propulsion systems, and lunar rover technology.

Venus May Have Supported Life Billions of Years Ago

September 27, 2019

The hellish planet Venus may have had a perfectly habitable environment for 2 to 3 billion years after the planet formed, suggesting life would have had ample time to emerge there, according to a new study.

NASA Wants a New Space Telescope to Protect Us All from Dangerous Asteroids

September 26, 2019

Earth will soon lose a key tool in the fight to spot potentially hazardous asteroids -- and NASA has decided to fund a custom-built replacement. NASA wants to build a space telescope to survey the sky in infrared light, a much-needed boost in its program to identify and track asteroids in Earth's immediate neighborhood.

Google Tightens Its Voice Assistant Rules Amid Privacy Backlash

September 26, 2019

After months of revelations that smart speakers get a very human intelligence boost from contractors who transcribe and review customer audio snippets, the mea culpas are flowing in. At the end of August, Apple issued a rare apology about how it had handled human review of audio for Siri. Amazon has made it easier for users to understand how their data might be used and control whether or not it is eligible for review at all. And now Google is joining the fray with a set of privacy announcements about Google Assistant.

China is still lagging behind the U.S. in AI innovation despite $6.1 billion in funding

September 25, 2019

Contrary to what the mainstream media would have you believe, China is still behind and second to the United States in artificial intelligence (AI) innovation, according to Lux Research, a leading provider of tech-enabled research and advisory services for technology innovation. Over the past four years, Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) startups have received $6.1 billion in funding.

Astronomers May Have Spotted the Most Massive Neutron Star Yet

September 25, 2019

It's a pulsar, named J0740+6620, and discrepancies in the timing of its pulses has allowed its mass to be calculated to 2.14 times that of the Sun, packed into a star just 30 kilometres (19 miles) across. To put that into perspective, the Sun has a diameter of 1.391 million km (~864,000 miles).

Meet Dragonfly: The Diminutive Drone Set to Soar Across the Skies of Titan

September 24, 2019

When NASA’s new drone Dragonfly arrives on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, it won’t roll across the surface like Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity have on Mars. Instead, Dragonfly is a dual-rotor quadcopter that will fly from point to point, using a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system. It leverages existing drone technology we have on Earth to make the system work.

Google claims it has finally reached quantum supremacy

September 24, 2019

This could be the dawn of a new era in computing. Google has claimed that its quantum computer performed a calculation that would be practically impossible for even the best supercomputer - in other words, it has attained quantum supremacy. If true, it is big news.

Apple will build new Mac Pros in Texas amid tariffs

September 24, 2019

Apple’s insanely expensive new desktop computer will be made in the United States -- not China, the company announced Monday. The $6,000 Mac Pro will be built at Apple’s Austin, Texas, plant following US trade regulators approving 10 requests for tariff exemptions filed by Apple for computer parts.

Why is it so hard to land on the Moon?

September 24, 2019

Space is hard. That was the takeaway on Sept. 7, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with its Vikram lunar lander during an attempt to touch down at the moon's south pole. Of the 30 soft-landing attempts made by space agencies and companies around the world, more than one-third have ended in failure...

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