SpaceX CEO and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is dreaming big as usual: his newly unveiled long-term plan is to colonize Mars, among other planets.
The first phase: launch an upgraded, unpiloted Dragon spacecraft toward Mars in 2018, with the aim of obtaining flight experience, while developing advanced boosters, spacecraft, and subsystems necessary for what Musk calls his "Interplanetary Transport System".
A later phase: building a 400 foot tall rocket to send large crew capsules into low-Earth orbit. The capsules are to be fueled for a trip to Mars by the same rocket, which will also carry unpiloted propellant tankers. One of the principles behind the mission structure is to make the trips much more affordable: $200,000 per ticket versus the previous standing $10 billion.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA, launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and to this day it stays a vital research tool for astronomy. Hubble is meritorious for some major discoveries and photographs that have shown us the beauties of the universe.
Today, NASA announced that Hubble has imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. It appears that the icy moon erupts with high altitude vapor plumes. Scientists estimate that the plumes rise about 200 kilometers before falling back onto Europa's surface.
The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa's ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.
The world's largest telescope had begun operating in China and it should help humanity search for alien life. The 500m Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is located in the Dawodang depression, a natural basin in Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, southwest China. It consists of a fixed 500m dish constructed in a natural depression in the landscape.
It is the world's largest single-dish radio telescope (Arecibo Observatory held that title for 53 years) and the second largest radio telescope (after the Russian RATAN-600, which has a sparsely filled aperture). The final cost of the FAST telescope was $180 million and it took five years to build it. Its primary goal is to search for alien life but it will also be developed as a tourist attraction. Currently there are 71 people working for the FAST project.
The facility was opened at a ceremony on Sunday but it will take up to three years to calibrate the instrument so it can become fully operational. FAST will help us 'listen' to the universe and it will be able to detect radio waves from space. Scientists hope the FAST will play a key role in the discovery of alien life.
It won't be long from now that China's first space station, Tiangong-1, will plunge from space and back into the Earth in the second half of 2017 - where keen-eyed viewers will be looking for that 'Made in China' sticker.
Senior officials have confirmed the news, with Tiangong-1's re-entry and uncertainty about falling debris worrying because China is providing a broad timeline for the events. Speculation has started that China has possibly lost communication to Tiangong-1, the result of a possibly damaged module, meaning it's no longer capable of controlling its descent.
Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist, told The Guardian that parts of the debris could be as large as 100kg/220lbs, adding: "Not knowing when it's going to come down translates as not knowing where its going to come down". If a large piece were to fall into a house, building, or crowded place - it could cause a fair amount of damage, and even worse - people could be hurt, or killed.
If you're a truck or taxi driver, an Uber driver or work in customer service, your days of employment could be numbered - with robots taking out 6% of these jobs in the US by 2021 according to a new report from market research firm Forrester.
The intelligent agents will be powered by artificial intelligence technology, where they will be capable of understanding human behavior, and then making decisions, for you. We're already dabbling in it now with AI-based services like Google Now, Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and more - which for the moment mostly simple, but they will get much more advanced in the coming decade.
Once this breakthrough happens, the world of AI assistants, self-driving cars and computer hardware that can think for you, the changes to the world will be enormous. The Guardian reports that it's "not so good if you're an employee working in a simple-to-automate field". This is reiterated by Forrester's report by Brian Hopkins, who said: "By 2021 a disruptive tidal wave will begin. Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service and consumer services".
What kind of world could we expect with robots doing so much for us? Forrester explains a possible future: "The doorbell rings, and it's the delivery of a new pair of running shoes, in the right style, color and size, just as you needed to replace your old ones. And here's the kicker: you didn't order them. Your intelligent agent did".
I really think the marketing behind Terminator: Genisys could've used this to better effect, but Kate Mara's upcoming movie, Morgan, has a new trailer released that was made by AI. Yes, you read that right - an artificial intelligence made the trailer you're about to watch.
Morgan is a story of a corporate risk management consultant who has to decide whether to end the 'life' of an AI being, with the studio apporoaching IBM to see if they could use Watson to make the scariest promotional video it could. IBM's team then allowed Watson to create a trailer to Morgan after watching the footage, using its computer-powered logic, algorithms and math to make the trailer.
The IBM research time had Watson analyze 100 classic horror movies, closely looking at each scene for consistencies and triggers that lead to the scarier parts of the movies. There was a visual analysis of what was happening on screen, and a separate audio analysis of what was being said, or the reaction sounds actors made.
Watson analyzed all of the films, which it used to craft the trailer to Morgan, with the AI using moments from the movie that the human editors hadn't used. The team will investigate how AI defines fear from the work Watson put into the trailer, going into the future.
As for Morgan, it's out today - September 2.
The world continues marching towards the warm embrace of machines in the formation of Skynet, so it should come as no surprise that a new Defense Department report says the United States need to take "immediate action" to increase the development of its AI war technology.
The US military is behind in AI research and autonomous technology when compared against academic and private research, reports Engadget, which also adds that the US has been primarily focused on launching heavy, physical attacks like previous wars, that it has left itself behind the AI and autonomous technology race. Well, that needs to stop - and we can be sure that over the coming years US taxpayers' money will be spent on it, in a big way.
In the report, the Defense Department said that the Pentagon needs to gather intelligence on other nations' AI capabilities, and work on "counter-autonomy" solutions. So in other words, the bully didn't do his homework or bring lunch money, so he's going to cheat off your test and steal your lunch money and claim victory.
SpaceX has confirmed it has sent its next-generation rocket engine, codenamed Raptor, in for testing at a facility in Texas.
The new Raptor engine could be up to 3x as powerful as the current Merlin engines that power SpaceX's Falcon 9 and upcoming Falcon Heavy rockets, but details on the next-gen Raptor engine are thin right now. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell made the announcement of the testing of Raptor at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah.
SpaceX founder and real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, has said that Raptor could have a thrust of around 500,000 pounds, which puts it in the same category as the main engine on a space shuttle. But unlike the shuttle, which uses three main engines and two booster rockets, the future Mars Colonial Transporter would be powered by nine Raptor engines, giving it plenty of power.
SpaceX could have an unmanned vehicle on Mars by 2018, with humans set to land on the planet by 2024. We live in an incredibly exciting time, don't we?
150 oceanographers are on board for a 14-year long project that will map the Earth's unknown ocean floor. The plan is to use sonar-equipped ships, unmanned submarines, and other vessels to create a Google Maps-style guide to the mountains, valleys, and volcanoes deep below sea level.
The project will be overseen by the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (which has the backing of the UN), and will see Google helping.
A primary goal of the project is to help submarine captains avoid crashes; the USS San Francisco struck an underwater mountain 525 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean in 2005, killing one crew member and injuring 97 others.
Google is getting all six degrees of separation with parent company Alphabet, and its life sciences company Verily - yeah, see - has announced it entered a new joint venture with GSK, one of the pharmaceutical powerhouses, called Galvani Bioelectronics.
Galvani Bioelectronics will be working on experimental medicine that uses will use electric signals and much smaller devices, in comparison to the current system of chemical drugs in order to treat chronic diseases. Verily, owned by Google along with GSK said they would invest over $700 million across 7 years, with GSK owning a 55% equity in the newly formed Galvani Bioelectronics. GSK is already familiar with bioelectronics, as it began work in the exciting new field back in 2012.
Verily has been working with much smaller medical devices, such as smart contact lens right after Google's X research labs formed. Verily has worked with another large part of big pharma, with a joint venture into medical robots with Johnson and Johnson. There have been reports from biotech insiders and former staff that have not agreed with Verily for working on too many 'far-fetched health care projects without focus", reports Recode.
Google co-founder and Alphabet executive Sergey Brin has said that Verily is profitable on a cash basis, which doesn't matter because Google can afford to lose hunderds of billions in this market and probably come out on top if it really put its foot the floor with R&D.