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Science

CSA supports Mission Control For Software Development For Lunar Mission

The Canadian Space Agency(CSA) has extended their support for developing Mission Control Software for space exploration assignments of next generation. $250k will be contributed by CSA towards the Space Technology Development Program for their development and this will in turn help Mission Control to be able to participate in the lunar robotic missions.

Mission control’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Michele Faragalli said that the current programs like the Commercial Lunar Payload Service of NASA will give a new face to space exploration. He further mentioned that rovers as well as some other types of robotic systems would play a significant part in commercial lunar exploration. The rover technology used currently requires management by the operators on earth continuously and is expensive. Exploration based on rovers can be made cost-effective by providing flexible options for the operators on the earth and if the performance of tasks could be made autonomously onboard.

The Mission Control Software will result in low-cost missions by organizing operations and development of space robotics. This will result in efficient operations, quicker development and a better mission management experience. By using cloud-based connectivity, mission operators situated at any part of the world would b able to make their participation in the lunar exploration. This would also give a chance to the non-experts like the students and Canadian public members to engage themselves in lunar missions.

Many software-based systems have been developed by Mission Control for increasing safety, efficiency and the scientific return of rover missions. The Mission Control Software which can be used for addressing operational issues faced during analogue missions and field tests is actually an extension of the above mentioned work. Mission Control’s President and CEO, Ewan Reid said that the Mission Control Software will allow people to operate the robots on moon and to interact with them. He thanked CSA for providing their support for the advanced technology.

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Top Stories

NASA Renames Street Outside Its HQ As “Hidden Figures Way”

As part of honoring the three women of African-American origin who had played an important role in paving the way in space agency for posterity, NASA has named the streets outside its headquarters as “Hidden Figures Way”. The three women namely Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan had made remarkable contributions in the field of space flight in 1960s. However their struggles and successes came to be known to the people only after many decades.

Margot Lee Shetterly, who was the author of the book which was the inspiration behind the Oscar-nominated movie, said in Washington that Hidden Figures helped in valuing the contributions of the unnoticed people who made important contributions at the starting of this story. She said that we have reached in the present state and who we are now is because of the courage and persistence of those people. The unveiling of street name was attended by Ms Shetterly along with each of the woman’s family members.

Ted Cruz, Republican Senator had cosponsored the bill for the renaming of the block and he said that the coming generations would be inspired by the name. He further said that when small boys and girls come to visit NASA they would look up and see this sign. This would serve as powerful evidence that if somebody happened to tell the little children that they cannot do something, they were telling a lie.

It was in the 1940s that African-American women who were college educated were recruited by NASA as human computers. However those people had to face discrimination at work, both gender and racial. NASA will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first moon walk on July 20 and the renaming of the streets has come ahead of this celebration. NASA has announced that by 2024 they would be sending Americans to moon and this would include the very first woman to be walking on the surface of the moon. NASA said that of the total 500 above people who have gone to space, the percentage of women is less than 11%.

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Business

Elon Musk Assures Shareholders On Tesla’s Model 3—Report

Recently, a shareholder’s meet was organized by Tesla. The company had witnessed a considerable amount of change since the meeting took place last year. Elon Musk had to face lawsuits filed by Securities and Exchange Commission. The lawsuit was filed against him after Musk claimed that he has enough money with which Tesla can be turned into a private company.

Presently, during the shareholder’s meet, Elon Musk said that he does not want to talk about the things which had taken place in the past. During the meet, Musk focused on Tesla. He told his audience that the demand for Tesla’s Model 3 is surpassing its manufacturing. Elon Musk also said that within a year, Tesla will be able to run on auto pilot mode. At the meeting Musk also talked about various other vehicles which Tesla is manufacturing at present viz. Model Y, pickup and semi truck.

Though Elon Musk promised about various things during the meeting but investors can’t follow what he was saying. Shares of Tesla have come down more than 29% and on Tuesday price per share was recorded around $217.

The Model 3, which is considered as an iconic car designed by Tesla, loses its charm after buyers lost half of their tax credit. After the shareholder’s meet, share of Tesla showed a sudden spike of 3%. While speaking to the audience, Elon Musk said that its Model 3 is performing better than expected. At present, Tesla is also focusing to make cost effective batteries for Model 3 so that it can make the vehicle accessible to many other buyers.

Tesla is also preparing to develop a manufacturing unit in Shanghai where it will start to work on Model Y, pickup and semi truck. Musk also stated that the Company is set to unveil its Cyberpunk truck this summer. Elon Musk also said that due to manufacturing unit in Shanghai, the company will get upper hand in competing with indigenous car manufacturing companies.

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Science

Astronomers Express Concerns Over Starlink Satellites—Report

SpaceX has launched 60 smallsats, kicking off its Starlink program. It’s part of a 12,000 smallsat strong constellation which will provide cheap internet globally. It was a successful launch. However, astronomers are worried that these satellites will eventually be more than stars in Earth’s night sky, preventing a better look at the Universe. A resolution was adopted at the 234th ASA meeting attended by scientists and astronomers worldwide. It stated that it was worried about constellation deployments at the planet’s orbit. Since more satellites will be joining them, there are tons of potential problems to be expected.

Observations of far-off objects and radio observations could be disrupted due to interference with satellite functions. However, satellites are useful for enhancing observations. Companies like SpaceX can work with the ASA to mitigate such effects. IAU and British RAU have also issued similar statements. Musk promises that satellites won’t be visible after settling into their orbits. However, astronomers are yet to be convinced. While it is true that satellites can be quite bright after launch, the sheer quantity of satellites launched is adding concern for astronomers.

Jeff Hall of AAS stated that the number was concerning. If they happen to be detectable and bright, that would be a problem. Only 30 GPS satellites were in orbit at the moment, which were mostly invisible and with orbits located quite far away. Not knowing Starlink satellite sizes was another concern. Hall stated that it could be invisible to the naked eye. However, current telescope tech is quite sensitive.

Astronomy groups currently are in talks with satellite companies. SpaceX might share data about orbits, enabling astronomers to gauge the impact of the launch on their observations. After that, discussions about solutions could be possible, as satellite companies and scientists team up to mitigate unfavorable impacts. Hall stated that cooperation was the key.

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Technology

Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Launch A Likely Option For Employee Salary

Facebook is all set to launch its cryptocurrency during this month. Employees behind the project may possibly be allowed to receive salaries in the new cryptocurrency, as per The Information. This is likely to be a game-changer for the company, which is mostly dependent on advertising revenue.

David Marcus, an ex-PayPal executive was charged with seeking out opportunities in blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, last year. Ever since then, news outlets have written about Facebook’s plan to build a cryptocurrency, which could be exchanged, traded and stored, just like actual money. Facebook apps like WhatsApp and Messenger would enable the currency’s transactions. ATM-like outlets were also being planned where currency purchases could be made by interested users.

Building a more reliable and easier currency, which helps users pay for goods and transfer money between currencies, could allow diversification beyond advertising. Given the company’s 2bn strong user base, spread out across various platforms, this can be a goldmine.  Press, privacy advocates, and lawmakers have criticized Facebook’s information tracking systems used in its ad model.

The developers’ conference saw CEO Zuckerberg highlight payments as its next step. The conference was held during early 2019. However, CFA Wehner and COO Sandberg are still unsure of the project and its viability internally, the report said.

Facebook is considering getting third-party firms and organizations as nodes, which would manage the currency’s operations and provide additional aid, if necessary. To access this privilege, the firms would have to pay $10M.

Cryptocurrency nodes have the necessary computing power that can solve complex mathematical problems. This is used to authenticate and identify transaction legitimacy. Usually spreads among numerous partners and decentralized in nature, Facebook’s plan is to establish a Foundation that consists of its partner who will manage the cryptocurrency.

However, Facebook has officially declined to talk on the issue.