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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.

Categories
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.

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Business

Good Times Predicted For Beyond Meat; Share Price Soars By 36%

Beyond Meat’s shares saw a surge for over 36% on Friday. Analysts had increased their share price targets after the company posted a healthy Q1 profit, the first report after it went public. Valued at over $7.8 billion, the company’s shares have risen by over 400% ever since their IPO in May. The shares hit $136.81 on Friday, which was its highest ever price point.

Robert Moskow of Credit Suisse set Beyond Meat’s price target at $125. This is more than double its initial target of around $70 a share. The price target is close to the stock’s current market price. Beyond’s IPO sale had been at $25 a share. Annual revenue was expected to be more than $210 million, which is double of the last year’s total net sales. However, Moskow puts this year’s sales at over $224 million.

Interest from restaurants has increased after Beyond Meat’s IPO exceeded all expectations, providing positive publicity, he said. Only post-trial distributions were included for restaurants in forecasts of the company, as per executives who informed analysts via conference call.

Tim Hortons was currently testing breakfast sandwiches made with Beyond Breakfast Sausages, adding around $23 million in expected revenue during the current year. Goldman has increased his share price target from $97 to $120.

The CEO of Beyond Meat Ethan Brown stated that they were extremely conservative while discussing various guidance policies. Investors were informed that foodservice customers wouldn’t be included on any guidance until testing stages have been passed successfully, as per Goldman.

Adam Samuelson of Goldman Sachs increased his share price target from $67 to $76. Kevin Grundy of Jefferies increased his share price target from $85 to $105.Q1 revenue of around $40.2 million has been reported by Beyond Meat, which is about 215% more than the previous year. It has a $0.14 per share net loss on proforma basis.

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Business

New Step-Stool Versions From Walmart Help Save $30 Million In Costs

Walmart is a massive entity. Making even the tiniest changes to its operations can help the company save lots of money. Doug McMillion, the CEO of Walmart, stated at an annual shareholder meet of Walmart, current stools in use at Walmart’s distribution centers would be swapped out for a lighter version. The meeting was held in Arkansas. The move is likely to save the company around $30 million a year, he said to shareholders.

Tractor trailers are loaded with items by workers who use stools to get this done. Items are packed to the top, said McMillion. With the goal being to maximize the number of items loaded into a trailer, this would cut costs and decrease road mileage. Since more items are loaded, this allows for lesser trips and saves valuable time.

However, the previous stools used at Walmart by workers were extremely heavy, clunky and big. People no longer wanted to carry the stool around with them, and therefore, items were not being packed to maximum capacity, since people were not using a stool. This was costing a loss of several million dollars to the retailer chain, whose sheer scale and magnitude makes even the smallest mistakes have massive consequences.

The latest version of this stepping stool is much lighter and easier to carry around. This has allowed Walmart to get better in packing trailers to maximum capacity. This would allow for saving the company over millions every year. Walmart has previously stated that it would save around $200 million by changing light bulbs installed in its parking lots & stores. It had also saved over $20 million, using different floor wax. This is in line with these adjustments. Walmart provides extremely low prices to all its customers, which is its tagline. This is only possible by minimizing costs.