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UK environment laws under threat in ‘deregulatory free-for-all’
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:22:34 GMT

Campaigners say revoking of post-Brexit protections amounts to legislative vandalism

Hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protections and the use of pesticides are lined up for removal from UK law under a government bill.

Environmentalists accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt the decline of nature by 2030. They say the revoking of 570 environmental laws that were rolled over from EU law after Brexit amounts to a deregulatory free-for-all leaving the environment unprotected.

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Match ID: 0 Score: 40.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 40.00 air pollution

Climate Change is NSF Engineering Alliance’s Top Research Priority
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Since its launch in April 2021, the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance has convened a diverse set of experts to explore three areas in which fundamental research could have the most impact: climate change; the nexus of biology and engineering; and securing critical infrastructure against hackers.

To identify priorities for each theme, ERVA—an initiative funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation—holds what are termed visioning events, wherein IEEE members and hundreds of other experts from academia, industry, and nonprofits can conceptualize bold ideas. The results are distilled into reports that identify actionable priorities for engineering research pursuit. Reports from recent visioning events are slated to be released to the public in the next few months.


IEEE is one of more than 20 professional engineering societies that have joined ERVA as affiliate partners.

Research energy storage and greenhouse gas capture solutions

Identifying technologies to address the climate crisis was ERVA’s first theme. The theme was based on results of a survey ERVA conducted last year of the engineering community about what the research priorities should be.

“The resounding answer from the 500 respondents was climate change,” says Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, EVRA’s principal investigator. She is a vice president for knowledge enterprise at Ohio State University, in Columbus.

During the virtual visioning event in December, experts explored solar and renewable energy, carbon sequestration, water management, and geoengineering. The climate change task force released its report last month.

These are some of the research areas ERVA said should be pursued:

  • Energy storage, transmission, and critical materials. The materials include those that are nanoengineered, ones that could be used for nontraditional energy storage, and those that can extract additional energy from heat cycles.
  • Greenhouse gas capture and elimination. Research priorities included capturing and eliminating methane and nitrous oxide released in agriculture operations.
  • Resilient, energy-efficient, and healthful infrastructure. One identified priority was research to develop low-cost coatings for buildings and roads to reduce heat effects and increase self-cooling.
  • Water, ecosystem, and geoengineering assessments. The report identifies research in creating sensing, measuring, and AI models to analyze the flow of water to ensure its availability during droughts and other disruptive events caused or worsened by climate change.

“The groundwork ERVA has laid out in this report creates a blueprint for funders to invest in,” Grejner-Brzezinska says, “and catalyzes engineering research for a more secure and sustainable world. As agencies and research organizations enact legislation to reduce carbon emissions and bolster clean-energy technologies, engineering is poised to lead with research and development.”

IEEE is developing a strategy to guide the organization’s response to the global threat.

Use biology and engineering to interrupt the transfer of viruses

A virtual visioning event on Leveraging Biology to Power Engineering Impact was held in March. The hope, as explained on the event’s website, is to transform research where biology and engineering intersect: health care and medicine, agriculture, and high tech.

“As agencies and research organizations enact legislation to reduce carbon emissions and bolster clean-energy technologies, engineering is poised to lead with research and development.”

The experts considered research directions in three areas: Use biology to inspire engineers to develop new components, adapt and adopt biological constructs beyond their original function, and create engineering systems and components that improve on biology. An example would be to interrupt the transfer of viruses from one species to another so as to reduce the spread of diseases.

The task force’s report on which research areas to pursue is scheduled to be released next month, according to Grejner-Brzezinska.

Protect infrastructure from hackers

One of today’s main engineering challenges, according to ERVA, is the protection of infrastructure against hackers and other threats. At the in-person visioning event held last month at MIT on the Engineering R&D Solutions for Unhackable Infrastructure theme, researchers discussed gaps in security technologies and looked at how to design trustworthy systems and how to build resilience into interdependent infrastructures.

ERVA describes unhackable as the ability to ensure safety, security, and trust in essential systems and services that society relies on.

The task force examined research themes related to physical infrastructure such as assets and hardware; software and algorithms; and data and communication networks. It also considered new security methods for users, operators, and security administrators to thwart cyberattacks.

Grejner-Brzezinska says the task force’s report will be released in mid-December.

Sustainable transportation networks

Planning has begun for the next visioning event, Sustainable Transportation Networks, to be held virtually on 2 and 3 November. The session is to explore innovative and sustainable transportation modes and the infrastructure networks needed to support them. Some of the areas to be discussed are green construction; longitudinal impact studies; interconnected transportation modes such as rail, marine, and air transport; and transportation equity.

Become an ERVA supporter

ERVA will convene four visioning events each year on broad engineering research themes that have the potential to solve societal challenges, Grejner-Brzezinska says. IEEE members who are experts in the fields can get involved by joining the ERVA Champions, now more than 900 strong. They are among the first to learn about upcoming visioning sessions and about openings to serve on volunteer groups such as thematic task forces, advisory boards, and standing councils. Members can sign up on the ERVA website.

“Becoming a champion is an opportunity to break out of your silos of disciplines and really come together with others in the engineering research community,” Grejner-Brzezinska says. “You can do what engineers do best: solve problems.”


Match ID: 1 Score: 25.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 3 days
qualifiers: 12.86 climate change, 12.86 carbon

Interview: New UN climate chief takes the fight personally
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:43:02 EDT
The United Nations official now in charge of the fight to curb climate change has a personal stake in the battle to reduce emissions
Match ID: 2 Score: 15.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

This dash for growth represents the death of green Toryism
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:00:08 GMT

Boris Johnson was far more eco-conscious than recent Conservative predecessors. But this mini-budget is a reversion to type

The dash for growth by Kwasi Kwarteng means unshackling City bankers and property developers from the taxes and regulations that prevent them from paving over what’s left of Britain’s green and pleasant land.

The humble concrete mixer will be elevated to exalted status. There will be more executive homes built on greenfield sites. More distribution sheds dotted along busy A-roads. And more urban renewal of the kind that involves tearing down buildings in a plume of dust and carbon emissions to replace them with something not much better, at least not in environmental terms.

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Match ID: 3 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Philadelphia’s Diatom Archive Is a Way, Way, Wayback Machine
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000
A cache of phytoplankton at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is helping researchers reconstruct historical coastlines.
Match ID: 4 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions - Oxford study
2022-09-24T08:31:56+00:00
Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions - Oxford study submitted by /u/editorijsmi
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 5 Score: 15.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Mercedes’ F1 team cut its freight emissions by 89% with biofuel switch
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:47:08 +0000
16 trucks used biofuels to haul between the final three European races this year.
Match ID: 6 Score: 15.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Yeti CFO Paul Carbone resigning effective Oct. 28, shares dip 3.5% premarket
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:06:08 GMT

Yeti Holdings Inc. said Friday that Chief Financial Officer Paul Carbone is resigning effective Oct. 28, to pursue a business opportunity that will allow him to be closer to family in Boston. The provider of outdoor products such as coolers and drinkware and backpacks has commenced a search for a replacement. Shares were down 3.5% premarket and have fallen 65% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 21%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 7 Score: 15.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Mini-budget fell far short of promoting low-carbon future for UK
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:00:08 GMT

While not devoid of green measures, Kwarteng’s announcement was more notable for what it did not include

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has announced that the effective ban on onshore wind farms is to be lifted, and the poorest households will regain access to insulation and energy efficiency measures.

Polls show that onshore wind is popular, with more than 70% of people supporting it. Jess Ralston, a senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The ban on onshore wind has been a major anomaly in British energy policy given it’s both cheap and popular with the public. So a decision to lift the ban suggests [Kwarteng] has listened to the experts and understands building more British renewables reduces our reliance on costly gas and so brings down bills.”

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Match ID: 8 Score: 15.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 carbon

Climate change risk to coastal castles - English Heritage
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 00:04:19 GMT
Rising sea levels are threatening ancient castles and forts at an accelerating rate, says English Heritage.
Match ID: 9 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Climate change: Spike in Amazon emissions linked to law enforcement
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 23:00:23 GMT
Scientists say a huge increase in deforestation in the Amazon is linked to lax law enforcement.
Match ID: 10 Score: 15.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 1 day
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Lawns Are Dumb. But Ripping Them Out May Come With a Catch
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 12:00:00 +0000
Meticulous turf is environmentally terrible. Yet grass does have one charm: It “sweats,” helping cool the local area.
Match ID: 11 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

Europe’s Heat Waves Offer a Grim Vision of the Future
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 11:00:00 +0000
Extreme temperatures are the direct result of climate change, which means more intense heat events, wildfires, and droughts to come.
Match ID: 12 Score: 15.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 15.00 climate change

UN chief: 'Tax fossil fuel profits for climate damage'
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 13:30:00 GMT
Tax fossil fuel companies' profits to pay for the damage done by climate change, says UN Secretary General.
Match ID: 13 Score: 10.71 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 climate change

We Can Now Train Big Neural Networks on Small Devices
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 13:02:00 +0000


The gadgets around us are constantly learning about our lives. Smartwatches pick up on our vital signs to track our health. Home speakers listen to our conversations to recognize our voices. Smartphones play grammarian, watching what we write in order to fix our idiosyncratic typos. We appreciate these conveniences, but the information we share with our gadgets isn’t always kept between us and our electronic minders. Machine learning can require heavy hardware, so “edge” devices like phones often send raw data to central servers, which then return trained algorithms. Some people would like that training to happen locally. A new AI training method expands the training capabilities of smaller devices, potentially helping to preserve privacy.

The most powerful machine-learning systems use neural networks, complex functions filled with tunable parameters. During training, a network receives an input (such as a set of pixels), generates an output (such as the label “cat”), compares its output with the correct answer, and adjusts its parameters to do better next time. To know how to tune each of those internal knobs, the network needs to remember the effect of each one, but they regularly number in the millions or even billions. That requires a lot of memory. Training a neural network can require hundreds of times the memory called upon when merely using one (also called “inference”). In the latter case, the memory is allowed to forget what each layer of the network did as soon as it passes information to the next layer.


To reduce the memory demanded during the training phase, researchers have employed a few tricks. In one, called paging or offloading, the machine moves those activations from short-term memory to a slower but more abundant type of memory such as flash or an SD card, then brings it back when needed. In another, called rematerialization, the machine deletes the activations, then computes them again later. Previously, memory-reduction systems used one of those two tricks or, says Shishir Patil, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and the lead author of the paper describing the innovation, they were combined using “heuristics” that are “suboptimal,” often requiring a lot of energy. The innovation reported by Patil and his collaborators formalizes the combination of paging and rematerialization.

“Taking these two techniques, combining them well into this optimization problem, and then solving it—that’s really nice,” says Jiasi Chen, a computer scientist at the University of California, Riverside, who works on edge computing but was not involved in the work.

In July, Patil presented his system, called POET (private optimal energy training), at the International Conference on Machine Learning, in Baltimore. He first gives POET a device’s technical details and information about the architecture of a neural network he wants it to train. He specifies a memory budget and a time budget. He then asks it to create a training process that minimizes energy usage. The process might decide to page certain activations that would be inefficient to recompute but rematerialize others that are simple to redo but require a lot of memory to store.

One of the keys to the breakthrough was to define the problem as a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) puzzle, a set of constraints and relationships between variables. For each device and network architecture, POET plugs its variables into Patil’s hand-crafted MILP program, then finds the optimal solution. “A main challenge is actually formulating that problem in a nice way so that you can input it into a solver,” Chen says. “So, you capture all of the realistic system dynamics, like energy, latency, and memory.”

The team tested POET on four different processors, whose RAM ranged from 32 KB to 8 GB. On each, the researchers trained three different neural network architectures: two types popular in image recognition (VGG16 and ResNet-18), plus a popular language-processing network (BERT). In many of the tests, the system could reduce memory usage by about 80 percent, without a big bump in energy use. Comparable methods couldn’t do both at the same time. According to Patil, the study showed that BERT can now be trained on the smallest devices, which was previously impossible.

“When we started off, POET was mostly a cute idea,” Patil says. Now, several companies have reached out about using it, and at least one large company has tried it in its smart speaker. One thing they like, Patil says, is that POET doesn’t reduce network precision by “quantizing,” or abbreviating, activations to save memory. So the teams that design networks don’t have to coordinate with teams that implement them in order to negotiate trade-offs between precision and memory.

Patil notes other reasons to use POET besides privacy concerns. Some devices need to train networks locally because they have low or no Internet connection. These include devices used on farms, in submarines, or in space. Other setups can benefit from the innovation because data transmission requires too much energy. POET could also make large devices—Internet servers—more memory efficient and energy efficient. But as for keeping data private, Patil says, “I guess this is very timely, right?”


Match ID: 14 Score: 10.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 10.71 carbon

Satellite Imagery for Everyone
Sat, 19 Feb 2022 16:00:00 +0000


Every day, satellites circling overhead capture trillions of pixels of high-resolution imagery of the surface below. In the past, this kind of information was mostly reserved for specialists in government or the military. But these days, almost anyone can use it.

That’s because the cost of sending payloads, including imaging satellites, into orbit has dropped drastically. High-resolution satellite images, which used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, now can be had for the price of a cup of coffee.

What’s more, with the recent advances in artificial intelligence, companies can more easily extract the information they need from huge digital data sets, including ones composed of satellite images. Using such images to make business decisions on the fly might seem like science fiction, but it is already happening within some industries.


This image shows are variety of blue and green hues, interwoven in a geometrically intriguing way.

These underwater sand dunes adorn the seafloor between Andros Island and the Exuma islands in the Bahamas. The turquoise to the right reflects a shallow carbonate bank, while the dark blue to the left marks the edge of a local deep called Tongue of the Ocean. This image was captured in April 2020 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory


Here’s a brief overview of how you, too, can access this kind of information and use it to your advantage. But before you’ll be able to do that effectively, you need to learn a little about how modern satellite imagery works.

The orbits of Earth-observation satellites generally fall into one of two categories: GEO and LEO. The former is shorthand for geosynchronous equatorial orbit. GEO satellites are positioned roughly 36,000 kilometers above the equator, where they circle in sync with Earth’s rotation. Viewed from the ground, these satellites appear to be stationary, in the sense that their bearing and elevation remain constant. That’s why GEO is said to be a geostationary orbit.

Such orbits are, of course, great for communications relays—it’s what allows people to mount satellite-TV dishes on their houses in a fixed orientation. But GEO satellites are also appropriate when you want to monitor some region of Earth by capturing images over time. Because the satellites are so high up, the resolution of that imagery is quite coarse, however. So these orbits are primarily used for observation satellites designed to track changing weather conditions over broad areas.

Being stationary with respect to Earth means that GEO satellites are always within range of a downlink station, so they can send data back to Earth in minutes. This allows them to alert people to changes in weather patterns almost in real time. Most of this kind of data is made available for free by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


This black-and-white image shows a narrow waterway blocked by a large ship. The resolution of the image is sufficient to make out individual shipping containers on its deck, as well as the tugboats arrayed around it.

In March 2021, the container ship Ever Given ran aground, blocking the Suez Canal for six days. This satellite image of the scene, obtained using synthetic-aperture radar, shows the kind resolution that is possible with this technology.

Capella Space


The other option is LEO, which stands for low Earth orbit. Satellites placed in LEO are much closer to the ground, which allows them to obtain higher-resolution images. And the lower you can go, the better the resolution you can get. The company Planet, for example, increased the resolution of its recently completed satellite constellation, SkySat, from 72 centimeters per pixel to just 50 cm—an incredible feat—by lowering the orbits its satellites follow from 500 to 450 km and improving the image processing.

The best commercially available spatial resolution for optical imagery is 25 cm, which means that one pixel represents a 25-by-25-cm area on the ground—roughly the size of your laptop. A handful of companies capture data with 25-cm to 1-meter resolution, which is considered high to very high resolution in this industry. Some of these companies also offer data from 1- to 5-meter resolution, considered medium to high resolution. Finally, several government programs have made optical data available at 10-, 15-, 30-, and 250-meter resolutions for free with open data programs. These include NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat, NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), and ESA Copernicus. This imagery is considered low resolution.

Because the satellites that provide the highest-resolution images are in the lowest orbits, they sense less area at once. To cover the entire planet, a satellite can be placed in a polar orbit, which takes it from pole to pole. As it travels, Earth rotates under it, so on its next pass, it will be above a different part of Earth.

Many of these satellites don’t pass directly over the poles, though. Instead, they are placed in a near-polar orbit that has been specially designed to take advantage of a subtle bit of physics. You see, the spinning Earth bulges outward slightly at the equator. That extra mass causes the orbits of satellites that are not in polar orbits to shift or (technically speaking) to precess. Satellite operators often take advantage of this phenomenon to put a satellite in what’s called a sun-synchronous orbit. Such orbits allow the repeated passes of the satellite over a given spot to take place at the same time of day. Not having the pattern of shadows shift between passes helps the people using these images to detect changes.




It usually takes 24 hours for a satellite in polar orbit to survey the entire surface of Earth. To image the whole world more frequently, satellite companies use multiple satellites, all equipped with the same sensor and following different orbits. In this way, these companies can provide more frequently updated images of a given location. For example, Maxar’s Worldview Legion constellation, launching later this year, includes six satellites.

After a satellite captures some number of images, all that data needs to be sent down to Earth and processed. The time required for that varies.

DigitalGlobe (which Maxar acquired in 2017) recently announced that it had managed to send data from a satellite down to a ground station and then store it in the cloud in less than a minute. That was possible because the image sent back was of the parking lot of the ground station, so the satellite didn’t have to travel between the collection point and where it had to be to do the data “dumping,” as this process is called.

In general, Earth-observation satellites in LEO don’t capture imagery all the time—they do that only when they are above an area of special interest. That’s because these satellites are limited to how much data they can send at one time. Typically, they can transmit data for only 10 minutes or so before they get out of range of a ground station. And they cannot record more data than they’ll have time to dump.

Currently, ground stations are located mostly near the poles, the most visited areas in polar orbits. But we can soon expect distances to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world. As it turns out, hosting the terabytes of satellite data that are collected daily is big business for these companies, which sell their cloud services (Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure) to satellite operators.

For now, if you are looking for imagery of an area far from a ground station, expect a significant delay—maybe hours—between capture and transmission of the data. The data will then have to be processed, which adds yet more time. The fastest providers currently make their data available within 48 hours of capture, but not all can manage that. While it is possible, under ideal weather conditions, for a commercial entity to request a new capture and get the data it needs delivered the same week, such quick turnaround times are still considered cutting edge.


The best commercially available spatial resolution is 25 centimeters for optical imagery, which means that one pixel represents something roughly the size of your laptop.


I’ve been using the word “imagery,” but it’s important to note that satellites do not capture images the same way ordinary cameras do. The optical sensors in satellites are calibrated to measure reflectance over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. This could mean they record how much red, green, and blue light is reflected from different parts of the ground. The satellite operator will then apply a variety of adjustments to correct colors, combine adjacent images, and account for parallax, forming what’s called a true-color composite image, which looks pretty much like what you would expect to get from a good camera floating high in the sky and pointed directly down.

Imaging satellites can also capture data outside of the visible-light spectrum. The near-infrared band is widely used in agriculture, for example, because these images help farmers gauge the health of their crops. This band can also be used to detect soil moisture and a variety of other ground features that would otherwise be hard to determine.

Longer-wavelength “thermal” IR does a good job of penetrating smoke and picking up heat sources, making it useful for wildfire monitoring. And synthetic-aperture radar satellites, which I discuss in greater detail below, are becoming more common because the images they produce aren’t affected by clouds and don’t require the sun for illumination.

You might wonder whether aerial imagery, say, from a drone, wouldn’t work at least as well as satellite data. Sometimes it can. But for many situations, using satellites is the better strategy. Satellites can capture imagery over areas that would be difficult to access otherwise because of their remoteness, for example. Or there could be other sorts of accessibility issues: The area of interest could be in a conflict zone, on private land, or in another place that planes or drones cannot overfly.

So with satellites, organizations can easily monitor the changes taking place at various far-flung locations. Satellite imagery allows pipeline operators, for instance, to quickly identify incursions into their right-of-way zones. The company can then take steps to prevent a disastrous incident, such as someone puncturing a gas pipeline while construction is taking place nearby.


\u200bThis satellite image shows a snow-covered area. A tongue of darker material is draped over the side of a slope, impinging on a nearby developed area with buildings.

This SkySat image shows the effect of a devastating landslide that took place on 30 December 2020. Debris from that landslide destroyed buildings and killed 10 people in the Norwegian village of Ask.

SkySat/Planet



The ability to compare archived imagery with recently acquired data has helped a variety of industries. For example, insurance companies sometimes use satellite data to detect fraudulent claims (“Looks like your house had a damaged roof when you bought it…”). And financial-investment firms use satellite imagery to evaluate such things as retailers’ future profits based on parking-lot fullness or to predict crop prices before farmers report their yields for the season.

Satellite imagery provides a particularly useful way to find or monitor the location of undisclosed features or activities. Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama, for example, uses satellite imagery to locate archaeological sites of interest. 52Impact, a consulting company in the Netherlands, identified undisclosed waste dump sites by training an algorithm to recognize their telltale spectral signature. Satellite imagery has also helped identify illegal fishing activities, fight human trafficking, monitor oil spills, get accurate reporting on COVID-19 deaths, and even investigate Uyghur internment camps in China—all situations where the primary actors couldn’t be trusted to accurately report what’s going on.

Despite these many successes, investigative reporters and nongovernmental organizations aren’t yet using satellite data regularly, perhaps because even the small cost of the imagery is a deterrent. Thankfully, some kinds of low-resolution satellite data can be had for free.

The first place to look for free satellite imagery is the Copernicus Open Access Hub and EarthExplorer. Both offer free access to a wide range of open data. The imagery is lower resolution than what you can purchase, but if the limited resolution meets your needs, why spend money?

If you require medium- or high-resolution data, you might be able to buy it directly from the relevant satellite operator. This field recently went through a period of mergers and acquisitions, leaving only a handful of providers, the big three in the West being Maxar and Planet in the United States and Airbus in Germany. There are also a few large Asian providers, such as SI Imaging Services in South Korea and Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology in Singapore. Most providers have a commercial branch, but they primarily target government buyers. And they often require large minimum purchases, which is unhelpful to companies looking to monitor hundreds of locations or fewer.

Expect the distance to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world.

Fortunately, approaching a satellite operator isn’t the only option. In the past five years, a cottage industry of consultants and local resellers with exclusive deals to service a certain market has sprung up. Aggregators and resellers spend years negotiating contracts with multiple providers so they can offer customers access to data sets at more attractive prices, sometimes for as little as a few dollars per image. Some companies providing geographic information systems—including Esri, L3Harris, and Safe Software—have also negotiated reselling agreements with satellite-image providers.

Traditional resellers are middlemen who will connect you with a salesperson to discuss your needs, obtain quotes from providers on your behalf, and negotiate pricing and priority schedules for image capture and sometimes also for the processing of the data. This is the case for Apollo Mapping, European Space Imaging, Geocento, LandInfo, Satellite Imaging Corp., and many more. The more innovative resellers will give you access to digital platforms where you can check whether an image you need is available from a certain archive and then order it. Examples include LandViewer from EOS and Image Hunter from Apollo Mapping.

More recently, a new crop of aggregators began offering customers the ability to programmatically access Earth-observation data sets. These companies work best for people looking to integrate such data into their own applications or workflows. These include the company I work for, SkyWatch, which provides such a service, called EarthCache. Other examples are UP42 from Airbus and Sentinel Hub from Sinergise.

While you will still need to talk with a sales rep to activate your account—most often to verify you will use the data in ways that fits the company’s terms of service and licensing agreements—once you’ve been granted access to their applications, you will be able to programmatically order archive data from one or multiple providers. SkyWatch is, however, the only aggregator allowing users to programmatically request future data to be collected (“tasking a satellite”).

While satellite imagery is fantastically abundant and easy to access today, two changes are afoot that will expand further what you can do with satellite data: faster revisits and greater use of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR).

This image shows a sprawling compound of dozens of large buildings located in a desert area.

This image shows a race-track shaped structure with a tall chimney in the middle, built in an area where the ground is a distinctly reddish hue. Satellite images have helped to reveal China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority. About a million Uyghurs (and other ethnic minorities) have been interned in prisons or camps like the one shown here [top], which lies to the east of the city of Ürümqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Another satellite image [bottom] shows the characteristic oval shape of a fixed-chimney Bull’s trench kiln, a type widely used for manufacturing bricks in southern Asia. This one is located in Pakistan’s Punjab province. This design poses environmental concerns because of the sooty air pollution it generates, and such kilns have also been associated with human-rights abuses.Top: CNES/Airbus/Google Earth; Bottom: Maxar Technologies/Google Earth

The first of these developments is not surprising. As more Earth-observation satellites are put into orbit, more images will be taken, more often. So how frequently a given area is imaged by a satellite will increase. Right now, that’s typically two or three times a week. Expect the revisit rate soon to become several times a day. This won’t entirely address the challenge of clouds obscuring what you want to view, but it will help.

The second development is more subtle. Data from the two satellites of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 SAR mission, available at no cost, has enabled companies to dabble in SAR over the last few years.

With SAR, the satellite beams radio waves down and measures the return signals bouncing off the surface. It does that continually, and clever processing is used to turn that data into images. The use of radio allows these satellites to see through clouds and to collect measurements day and night. Depending on the radar band that’s employed, SAR imagery can be used to judge material properties, moisture content, precise movements, and elevation.

As more companies get familiar with such data sets, there will no doubt be a growing demand for satellite SAR imagery, which has been widely used by the military since the 1970s. But it’s just now starting to appear in commercial products. You can expect those offerings to grow dramatically, though.

Indeed, a large portion of the money being invested in this industry is currently going to fund large SAR constellations, including those of Capella Space, Iceye, Synspective, XpressSAR, and others. The market is going to get crowded fast, which is great news for customers. It means they will be able to obtain high-resolution SAR images of the place they’re interested in, taken every hour (or less), day or night, cloudy or clear.

People will no doubt figure out wonderful new ways to employ this information, so the more folks who have access to it, the better. This is something my colleagues at SkyWatch and I deeply believe, and it’s why we’ve made it our mission to help democratize access to satellite imagery.

One day in the not-so-distant future, Earth-observation satellite data might become as ubiquitous as GPS, another satellite technology first used only by the military. Imagine, for example, being able to take out your phone and say something like, “Show me this morning’s soil-moisture map for Grover’s Corners High; I want to see whether the baseball fields are still soggy.”

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “A Boom with a View.”

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Maxar's Worldview Legion constellation launched last year.


Match ID: 15 Score: 7.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 217 days
qualifiers: 5.71 air pollution, 2.14 carbon

Solar-to-Jet-Fuel System Readies for Takeoff
Wed, 03 Aug 2022 17:00:00 +0000


As climate change edges from crisis to emergency, the aviation sector looks set to miss its 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. In the five years preceding the pandemic, the top four U.S. airlines—American, Delta, Southwest, and United—saw a 15 percent increase in the use of jet fuel. Despite continual improvements in engine efficiencies, that number is projected to keep rising.

A glimmer of hope, however, comes from solar fuels. For the first time, scientists and engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have reported a successful demonstration of an integrated fuel-production plant for solar kerosene. Using concentrated solar energy, they were able to produce kerosene from water vapor and carbon dioxide directly from air. Fuel thus produced is a drop-in alternative to fossil-derived fuels and can be used with existing storage and distribution infrastructures, and engines.

Fuels derived from synthesis gas (or syngas)—an intermediate product that is a specific mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen—is a known alternative to conventional, fossil-derived fuels. Syngas is produced by Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, in which chemical reactions convert carbon monoxide and water vapor into hydrocarbons. The team of researchers at ETH found that a solar-driven thermochemical method to split water and carbon dioxide using a metal oxide redox cycle can produce renewable syngas. They demonstrated the process in a rooftop solar refinery at the ETH Machine Laboratory in 2019.

Close-up of a spongy looking material Reticulated porous structure made of ceria used in the solar reactor to thermochemically split CO2 and H2O and produce syngas, a specific mixture of H2 and CO.ETH Zurich

The current pilot-scale solar tower plant was set up at the IMDEA Energy Institute in Spain. It scales up the solar reactor of the 2019 experiment by a factor of 10, says Aldo Steinfeld, an engineering professor at ETH who led the study. The fuel plant brings together three subsystems—the solar tower concentrating facility, solar reactor, and gas-to-liquid unit.

First, a heliostat field made of mirrors that rotate to follow the sun concentrates solar irradiation into a reactor mounted on top of the tower. The reactor is a cavity receiver lined with reticulated porous ceramic structures made of ceria (or cerium(IV) oxide). Within the reactor, the concentrated sunlight creates a high-temperature environment of about 1,500 °C which is hot enough to split captured carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere to produce syngas. Finally, the syngas is processed to kerosene in the gas-to-liquid unit. A centralized control room operates the whole system.

Fuel produced using this method closes the fuel carbon cycle as it only produces as much carbon dioxide as has gone into its manufacture. “The present pilot fuel plant is still a demonstration facility for research purposes,” says Steinfeld, “but it is a fully integrated plant and uses a solar-tower configuration at a scale that is relevant for industrial implementation.”

“The solar reactor produced syngas with selectivity, purity, and quality suitable for FT synthesis,” the authors noted in their paper. They also reported good material stability for multiple consecutive cycles. They observed a value of 4.1 percent solar-to-syngas energy efficiency, which Steinfeld says is a record value for thermochemical fuel production, even though better efficiencies are required to make the technology economically competitive.

Schematic of the solar tower fuel plant.  A heliostat field concentrates solar radiation onto a solar reactor mounted on top of the solar tower. The solar reactor cosplits water and carbon dioxide and produces a mixture of molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which in turn is processed to drop-in fuels such as kerosene.ETH Zurich

“The measured value of energy conversion efficiency was obtained without any implementation of heat recovery,” he says. The heat rejected during the redox cycle of the reactor accounted for more than 50 percent of the solar-energy input. “This fraction can be partially recovered via thermocline heat storage. Thermodynamic analyses indicate that sensible heat recovery could potentially boost the energy efficiency to values exceeding 20 percent.”

To do so, more work is needed to optimize the ceramic structures lining the reactor, something the ETH team is actively working on, by looking at 3D-printed structures for improved volumetric radiative absorption. “In addition, alternative material compositions, that is, perovskites or aluminates, may yield improved redox capacity, and consequently higher specific fuel output per mass of redox material,” Steinfeld adds.

The next challenge for the researchers, he says, is the scale-up of their technology for higher solar-radiative power inputs, possibly using an array of solar cavity-receiver modules on top of the solar tower.

To bring solar kerosene into the market, Steinfeld envisages a quota-based system. “Airlines and airports would be required to have a minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels in the total volume of jet fuel that they put in their aircraft,” he says. This is possible as solar kerosene can be mixed with fossil-based kerosene. This would start out small, as little as 1 or 2 percent, which would raise the total fuel costs at first, though minimally—adding “only a few euros to the cost of a typical flight,” as Steinfeld puts it

Meanwhile, rising quotas would lead to investment, and to falling costs, eventually replacing fossil-derived kerosene with solar kerosene. “By the time solar jet fuel reaches 10 to 15 percent of the total jet-fuel volume, we ought to see the costs for solar kerosene nearing those of fossil-derived kerosene,” he adds.

However, we may not have to wait too long for flights to operate solely on solar fuel. A commercial spin-off of Steinfeld’s laboratory, Synhelion, is working on commissioning the first industrial-scale solar fuel plant in 2023. The company has also collaborated with the airline SWISS to conduct a flight solely using its solar kerosene.


Match ID: 16 Score: 4.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 52 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change, 2.14 carbon

Climate change: Pakistan floods 'likely' made worse by warming
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 22:41:45 GMT
Emissions from human activities played a role in the recent floods that have brought devastation to Pakistan.
Match ID: 17 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 8 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Ensuring Underwater Robots Survive in Hot Tropical Waters
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 15:00:00 +0000


The hot, humid environment of tropical marine areas such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can wreak havoc on the marine autonomous systems. Underwater and surface MAS are used for marine monitoring, locating objects such as mines on the seafloor, and rescuing swimmers.

“Tropical conditions can cause systems to overheat or prevent high-density lithium batteries from recharging,” says Melanie Olsen, who is a project director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) ReefWorks, a technology testing and evaluation facility in northern Australia. “And the microbial and small creatures that thrive in these tropical environments grow rapidly on underwater surfaces and degrade the sensor performance and the hydrodynamics of the robotics and autonomous systems.”


Developing technology that can stand up to these conditions is part of Olsen’s job, as is supporting ReefWorks’ broader mission of helping others move their autonomous systems out of the lab. It’s essential to test these systems and collect compliance evidence to demonstrate they meet regulatory requirements and can be certified for operations, says Olsen, an IEEE senior member. But there are very few places to test marine robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial-intelligence (RAS-AI) technologies, which hampers the growth of the industry, Olsen says. “It’s difficult for RAS-AI vendors to progress from a prototype to a commercial product because the pathway to a certified system is complex.”

That’s why AIMS established ReefWorks. The facility is used to test crewed and uncrewed tropical and marine vessels as well as robots, sensors, and other innovations. “We are Australia’s—and possibly the world’s—first such testing facility in the tropics,” Olsen says. Examples of underwater and surface MAS include the ReefScan CoralAUV, which is used for marine monitoring, and the Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel, a surface vessel used for marine monitoring, locating mines and other objects on the seafloor, and rescuing swimmers.

AIMS has been testing equipment for over a decade, but this part of AIMS’s facilities opened to the public in December 2021. ReefWorks supports the entire development cycle, from digital-model validation and developmental testing to product and operational-level testing, Olsen says. Physical tests can be done at AIMS’s three marine field ranges, which offer different testing conditions. ReefWorks also has land-based facilities, plus the National Sea Simulator sensor test tank, and drone corridors between the at-sea ranges for verifying the performance of long-range marine autonomous systems.

“Our overall objective is to establish a sustainable marine autonomous systems [MAS] sector in Australia,” she says.

One of the ways ReefWorks helps its users make the most of their time on test ranges is to offer “digital twins” and virtual worlds. A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world object, machine, or system that can be used to assess how the real-world counterpart is performing.

“Each of our test ranges is developing a digital twin,” Olsen says. “Developers will be able to conduct a test mission on the virtual range so when they get here, they can replay missions with real-time collected data, and validate their MAS digital-model performance.”

Olsen leads a team of five people and is currently recruiting another five. She expects the staff to triple in size in a few years as ReefWorks becomes more established in the region.

An IEEE senior member, Olsen is active with the IEEE Northern Australia Section. She served as the section chair in 2020 and 2021, during which time the section achieved the Region 10 Outstanding Small Section Award.

Integrating embedded AI and IOT edge computing

Before joining AIMS, Olsen spent a decade in Australia’s Department of Defence (DOD) as a lead engineer working on future technologies and maritime electronic-warfare systems.

Olsen grew up in a farming family and wasn’t really exposed to computers or engineers until an EE lecturer from James Cook University, in Australia, came to her rural high school to give a presentation. He brought along a remote-controlled quadrotor helicopter—a decade before quadcopters were commonplace.

The lecture led Olsen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical, electronics, and computer systems, also from James Cook University, in Townsville. She went on to earn a master’s degree in systems engineering from Australia’s University of New South Wales, in Canberra. In 2016, Olsen took a job at AIMS as an engineering team leader in technology development.

“I’m very passionate about new technologies and seeing them integrated in the field,” she says. “During my decade at the [Australian] DOD, I grew my skills in systems engineering to solve more complex technology-integration challenges. AIMS offered me an opportunity to apply these skills to the challenges facing the tropical marine environment.”

“We are Australia’s—and possibly the world’s—first such testing facility in the tropics.”

There are many similarities between what Olsen had been doing at DOD and her role at ReefWorks. “My work at both DOD and AIMS requires an understanding of how electronic subsystems work, determining what’s viable for the use case, understanding the importance of modeling and simulation, and being able to communicate engineering terminology to an interdisciplinary team,” she says. “Both roles are all about engineering problem-solving.”

Olsen is currently working on integrating embedded AI and Internet of Things edge computing into AIMS infrastructure. “Artificial intelligence is used to increase a marine autonomous system’s capabilities,” she says. “For example, AI is used to train a MAS to navigate and avoid colliding with coral reefs, other vessels, or other objects or to allow the MAS to identify specific marine species, reef areas suitable for reseeding, and marine mines.”

IoT edge computing is used to process data closer to its point of origin. “This has the potential to speed up the decision process for vessels and operators while minimizing the communications and data bandwidth needed, which are key limitations when operating in marine northern Australia,” Olsen says.

Since GPS doesn’t work underwater, another of her team’s projects is looking for additional ways to conduct accurate geospatial positioning and control for missions that don’t require marine autonomous systems to come to the surface.

“We’re only just starting to get a feel for what marine autonomous systems can do—not just for our tropical marine waters but in general,” she says. “There are grand challenges no one can solve right now, like dealing with ocean pollution and the impacts of climate change.”

Robotics engineers needed

There’s nowhere near enough robotics engineers in the world, Olsen says. She recommends that engineering students take courses that include group projects.

“Group projects help you grow your ability to solve problems outside your knowledge or expertise,” she says. “They teach you how to work as an interdisciplinary team, who to ask for help, and where to find it.”

This article appears in the October 2022 print issue as “Melanie Olsen.”


Match ID: 18 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

MOXIE Shows How to Make Oxygen on Mars
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 15:27:59 +0000


Planning for the return journey is an integral part of the preparations for a crewed Mars mission. Astronauts will require a total mass of about 50 tonnes of rocket propellent for the ascent vehicle that will lift them off the planet’s surface, including 31 tonnes of oxygen approximately. The less popular option is for crewed missions to carry the required oxygen themselves. But scientists are optimistic that it could instead be produced from the carbon dioxide–rich Martian atmosphere itself, using a system called MOXIE.

The Mars Oxygen ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) Experiment is an 18-kilogram unit housed within the Perseverance rover on Mars. The unit is “the size of a toaster,” adds Jeffrey Hoffman, professor of aerospace engineering at MIT. Its job is to electrochemically break down carbon dioxide collected from the Martian atmosphere into oxygen and carbon monoxide. It also tests the purity of the oxygen.

Between February 2021, when it arrived on Mars aboard the Perseverance, and the end of the year, MOXIE has had several successful test runs. According to a review of the system by Hoffman and colleagues, published in Science Advances, it has demonstrated its ability to produce oxygen during both night and day, when temperatures can vary by over 100 ºC. The generation and purity rates of oxygen also meet requirements to produce rocket propellent and for breathing. The authors assert that a scaled-up version of MOXIE could produce the required oxygen for lift-off as well as for the astronauts to breathe.

Next question: How to power any oxygen-producing factories that NASA can land on Mars? Perhaps via NASA’s Kilopower fission reactors?

MOXIE is a first step toward a much larger and more complex system to support the human exploration of Mars. The researchers estimate a required generation rate of 2 to 3 kilograms per hour, compared with the current MOXIE rate of 6 to 8 grams per hour, to produce enough oxygen for lift-off for a crew arriving 26 months later. “So we’re talking about a system that’s a couple of hundred times bigger than MOXIE,” Hoffman says.

They calculate this rate accounting for eight months to get to Mars, followed by some time to set up the system. “We figure you'd probably have maybe 14 months to make all the oxygen.” Further, he says, the produced oxygen would have to be liquefied to be used a rocket propellant, something the current version of MOXIE doesn’t do.

MOXIE also currently faces several design constraints because, says Hoffman, a former astronaut, “our only ride to Mars was inside the Perseverance rover.” This limited the amount of power available to operate the unit, the amount of heat they could produce, the volume and the mass.

“MOXIE does not work nearly as efficiently as a stand-alone system that was specifically designed would,” says Hoffman. Most of the time, it’s turned off. “Every time we want to make oxygen, we have to heat it up to 800 ºC, so most of the energy goes into heating it up and running the compressor, whereas in a well-designed stand-alone system, most of the energy will go into the actual electrolysis, into actually producing the oxygen.”

However, there are still many kinks to iron out for the scaling-up process. To begin with, any oxygen-producing system will need lots of power. Hoffman thinks nuclear power is the most likely option, maybe NASA’s Kilopower fission reactors. The setup and the cabling would certainly be challenging, he says. “You’re going to have to launch to all of these nuclear reactors, and of course, they’re not going to be in exactly the same place as the [other] units,” he says. "So, robotically, you’re going to have to connect to the electrical cables to bring power to the oxygen-producing unit.”

Then there is the solid oxide electrolysis units, which Hoffman points out are carefully machined systems. Fortunately, the company that makes them, OxEon, has already designed, built, and tested a full-scale unit, a hundred times bigger than the one on MOXIE. “Several of those units would be required to produce oxygen at the quantities that we need,” Hoffman says.

He also adds that at present, there is no redundancy built into MOXIE. If any part fails, the whole system dies. “If you’re counting on a system to produce oxygen for rocket propellant and for breathing, you need very high reliability, which means you’re going to need quite a few redundant units.”

Moreover, the system has to be pretty much autonomous, Hoffman says. “It has to be able to monitor itself, run itself.” For testing purposes, every time MOXIE is powered up, there is plenty of time to plan. A full-scale MOXIE system, though, would have to run continuously, and for that it has to be able to adjust automatically to changes in the Mars atmosphere, which can vary by a factor of two over a year, and between nighttime and daytime temperature differences.


Match ID: 19 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 16 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

How Pakistan floods are linked to climate change
Fri, 02 Sep 2022 13:42:00 GMT
Pakistan's geography - and its immense glaciers - make it vulnerable to climate change.
Match ID: 20 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 22 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Climate change: 'Staggering' rate of global tree losses from fires
Wed, 17 Aug 2022 09:00:36 GMT
A report says around 16 football pitches of trees per minute were lost to wildfires in 2021.
Match ID: 21 Score: 2.14 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 38 days
qualifiers: 2.14 climate change

Inside the Universe Machine: The Webb Space Telescope’s Staggering Vision
Wed, 06 Jul 2022 13:00:00 +0000


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

“Build something that will absolutely, positively work.” This was the mandate from NASA for designing and building the James Webb Space Telescope—at 6.5 meters wide the largest space telescope in history. Last December, JWST launched famously and successfully to its observing station out beyond the moon. And now according to NASA, as soon as next week, the JWST will at long last begin releasing scientific images and data.

Mark Kahan, on JWST’s product integrity team, recalls NASA’s engineering challenge as a call to arms for a worldwide team of thousands that set out to create one of the most ambitious scientific instruments in human history. Kahan—chief electro-optical systems engineer at Mountain View, Calif.–based Synopsys—and many others in JWST’s “pit crew” (as he calls the team) drew hard lessons from three decades ago, having helped repair another world-class space telescope with a debilitating case of flawed optics. Of course the Hubble Space Telescope is in low Earth orbit, and so a special space-shuttle mission to install corrective optics ( as happened in 1993) was entirely possible.

Not so with the JWST.

The meticulous care NASA demanded of JWST’s designers is all the more a necessity because Webb is well out of reach of repair crews. Its mission is to study the infrared universe, and that requires shielding the telescope and its sensors from both the heat of sunlight and the infrared glow of Earth. A good place to do that without getting too far from Earth is an empty patch of interplanetary space 1.5 million kilometers away (well beyond the moon’s orbit) near a spot physicists call the second Lagrange point, or L2.

The pit crew’s job was “down at the detail level, error checking every critical aspect of the optical design,” says Kahan. Having learned the hard way from Hubble, the crew insisted that every measurement on Webb’s optics be made in at least two different ways that could be checked and cross-checked. Diagnostics were built into the process, Kahan says, so that “you could look at them to see what to kick” to resolve any discrepancies. Their work had to be done on the ground, but their tests had to assess how the telescope would work in deep space at cryogenic temperatures.

Three New Technologies for the Main Mirror

Superficially, Webb follows the design of all large reflecting telescopes. A big mirror collects light from stars, galaxies, nebulae, planets, comets, and other astronomical objects—and then focuses those photons onto a smaller secondary mirror that sends it to a third mirror that then ultimately directs the light to instruments that record images and spectra.

Webb’s 6.5-meter primary mirror is the first segmented mirror to be launched into space. All the optics had to be made on the ground at room temperature but were deployed in space and operated at 30 to 55 degrees above absolute zero. “We had to develop three new technologies” to make it work, says Lee D. Feinberg of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the optical telescope element manager for Webb for the past 20 years.

The longest wavelengths that Hubble has to contend with were 2.5 micrometers, whereas Webb is built to observe infrared light that stretches to 28 μm in wavelength. Compared with Hubble, whose primary mirror is a circle of an area 4.5 square meters, “[Webb’s primary mirror] had to be 25 square meters,” says Feinberg. Webb also “needed segmented mirrors that were lightweight, and its mass was a huge consideration,” he adds. No single-component mirror that could provide the required resolution would have fit on the Ariane 5 rocket that launched JWST. That meant the mirror would have to be made in pieces, assembled, folded, secured to withstand the stress of launch, then unfolded and deployed in space to create a surface that was within tens of nanometers of the shape specified by the designers.

Images of the James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope to scale, compared to a human figure, who is dwarfed by their size The James Webb Space Telescope [left] and the Hubble Space Telescope side by side—with Hubble’s 2.4-meter-diameter mirror versus Webb’s array of hexagonal mirrors making a 6.5-meter-diameter light-collecting area. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA and the U.S. Air Force, which has its own interests in large lightweight space mirrors for surveillance and focusing laser energy, teamed up to develop the technology. The two agencies narrowed eight submitted proposals down to two approaches for building JWST’s mirrors: one based on low-expansion glass made of a mixture of silicon and titanium dioxides similar to that used in Hubble and the other the light but highly toxic metal beryllium. The most crucial issue came down to how well the materials could withstand temperature changes from room temperature on the ground to around 50 K in space. Beryllium won because it could fully release stress after cooling without changing its shape, and it’s not vulnerable to the cracking that can occur in glass. The final beryllium mirror was a 6.5-meter array of 18 hexagonal beryllium mirrors, each weighing about 20 kilograms. The weight per unit area of JWST’s mirror was only 10 percent of that in Hubble. A 100-nanometer layer of pure gold makes the surface reflect 98 percent of incident light from JWST’s main observing band of 0.6 to 28.5 μm. “Pure silver has slightly higher reflectivity than pure gold, but gold is more robust,” says Feinberg. A thin layer of amorphous silica protects the metal film from surface damage.

In addition, a wavefront-sensing control system keeps mirror segment surfaces aligned to within tens of nanometers. Built on the ground, the system is expected to keep mirror alignment stabilized throughout the telescope’s operational life. A backplane kept at a temperature of 35 K holds all 2.4 tonnes of the telescope and instruments rock-steady to within 32 nm while maintaining them at cryogenic temperatures during observations.

Metal superstructure of cages and supports stands on a giant platform in a warehouse-sized clean-room. A man in a cleanroom suit watches the operations. The JWST backplane, the “spine” that supports the entire hexagonal mirror structure and carries more than 2,400 kg of hardware, is readied for assembly to the rest of the telescope. NASA/Chris Gunn

Hubble’s amazing, long-exposure images of distant galaxies are possible through the use of gyroscopes and reaction wheels. The gyroscopes are used to sense unwanted rotations, and reaction wheels are used to counteract them.

But the gyroscopes used on Hubble have had a bad track record and have had to be replaced repeatedly. Only three of Hubble’s six gyros remain operational today, and NASA has devised plans for operating with one or two gyros at reduced capability. Hubble also includes reaction wheels and magnetic torquers, used to maintain its orientation when needed or to point at different parts of the sky.

Webb uses reaction wheels similarly to turn across the sky, but instead of using mechanical gyros to sense direction, it uses hemispherical resonator gyroscopes, which have no moving parts. Webb also has a small fine-steering mirror in the optical path, which can tilt over an angle of just 5 arc seconds. Those very fine adjustments of the light path into the instruments keep the telescope on target. “It’s a really wonderful way to go,” says Feinberg, adding that it compensates for small amounts of jitter without having to move the whole 6-tonne observatory.

Instruments

Other optics distribute light from the fine-steering mirror among four instruments, two of which can observe simultaneously. Three instruments have sensors that observe wavelengths of 0.6 to 5 μm, which astronomers call the near-infrared. The fourth, called the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), observes what astronomers call the mid-infrared spectrum, from 5 to 28.5 μm. Different instruments are needed because sensors and optics have limited wavelength ranges. (Optical engineers may blanch slightly at astronomers’ definitions of what constitutes the near- and mid-infrared wavelength ranges. These two groups simply have differing conventions for labeling the various regimes of the infrared spectrum.)

Mid-infrared wavelengths are crucial for observing young stars and planetary systems and the earliest galaxies, but they also pose some of the biggest engineering challenges. Namely, everything on Earth and planets out to Jupiter glow in the mid-infrared. So for JWST to observe distant astronomical objects, it must avoid recording extraneous mid-infrared noise from all the various sources inside the solar system. “I have spent my whole career building instruments for wavelengths of 5 μm and longer,” says MIRI instrument scientist Alistair Glasse of the Royal Observatory, in Edinburgh. “We’re always struggling against thermal background.”

Mountaintop telescopes can see the near-infrared, but observing the mid-infrared sky requires telescopes in space. However, the thermal radiation from Earth and its atmosphere can cloud their view, and so can the telescopes themselves unless they are cooled far below room temperature. An ample supply of liquid helium and an orbit far from Earth allowed the Spitzer Space Telescope’s primary observing mission to last for five years, but once the last of the cryogenic fluid evaporated in 2009, its observations were limited to wavelengths shorter than 5 μm.

Webb has an elaborate solar shield to block sunlight, and an orbit 1.5 million km from Earth that can keep the telescope to below 55 K, but that’s not good enough for low-noise observations at wavelengths longer than 5 μm. The near-infrared instruments operate at 40 K to minimize thermal noise. But for observations out to 28.5 μm, MIRI uses a specially developed closed-cycle, helium cryocooler to keep MIRI cooled below 7 K. “We want to have sensitivity limited by the shot noise of astronomical sources,” says Glasse. (Shot noise occurs when optical or electrical signals are so feeble that each photon or electron constitutes a detectable peak.) That will make MIRI 1,000 times as sensitive in the mid-infrared as Spitzer.

Another challenge is the limited transparency of optical materials in the mid-infrared. “We use reflective optics wherever possible,” says Glasse, but they also pose problems, he adds. “Thermal contraction is a big deal,” he says, because the instrument was made at room temperature but is used at 7 K. To keep thermal changes uniform throughout MIRI, they made the whole structure of gold-coated aluminum lest other metals cause warping.

Detectors are another problem. Webb’s near-infrared sensors use mercury cadmium telluride photodetectors with a resolution of 2,048 x 2,048 pixels. This resolution is widely used at wavelengths below 5 μm, but sensing at MIRI’s longer wavelengths required exotic detectors that are limited to offering only 1,024 x 1,024 pixels.

Glasse says commissioning “has gone incredibly well.” Although some stray light has been detected, he says, “we are fully expecting to meet all our science goals.”

NIRCam Aligns the Whole Telescope

The near-infrared detectors and optical materials used for observing at wavelengths shorter than 5 μm are much more mature than those for the mid-infrared, so the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) does double duty by both recording images and aligning all the optics in the whole telescope. That alignment was the trickiest part of building the instrument, says NIRCam principal investigator Marcia Rieke of the University of Arizona.

Alignment means getting all the light collected by the primary mirror to get to the right place in the final image. That’s crucial for Webb, because it has 18 separate segments that have to overlay their images perfectly in the final image, and because all those segments were built on the ground at room temperature but operate at cryogenic temperatures in space at zero gravity. When NASA recorded a test image of a single star after Webb first opened its primary mirror, it showed 18 separate bright spots, one from each segment. When alignment was completed on 11 March, the image from NIRcam showed a single star with six spikes caused by diffraction.

Image of a star with six-pointed spikes caused by diffraction Even when performing instrumental calibration tasks, JWST couldn’t help but showcase its stunning sensitivity to the infrared sky. The central star is what telescope technicians used to align JWST’s mirrors. But notice the distant galaxies and stars that photobombed the image too!NASA/STScI

Building a separate alignment system would have added to both the weight and cost of Webb, Rieke realized, and in the original 1995 plan for the telescope she proposed designing NIRCam so it could align the telescope optics once it was up in space as well as record images. “The only real compromise was that it required NIRCam to have exquisite image quality,” says Rieke, wryly. From a scientific point, she adds, using the instrument to align the telescope optics “is great because you know you’re going to have good image quality and it’s going to be aligned with you.” Alignment might be just a tiny bit off for other instruments. In the end, it took a team at Lockheed Martin to develop the computational tools to account for all the elements of thermal expansion.

Escalating costs and delays had troubled Webb for years. But for Feinberg, “commissioning has been a magical five months.” It began with the sight of sunlight hitting the mirrors. The segmented mirror deployed smoothly, and after the near-infrared cameras cooled, the mirrors focused one star into 18 spots, then aligned them to put the spots on top of each other. “Everything had to work to get it to [focus] that well,” he says. It’s been an intense time, but for Feinberg, a veteran of the Hubble repair mission, commissioning Webb was “a piece of cake.”

NASA announced that between May 23rd and 25th, one segment of the primary mirror had been dinged by a micrometeorite bigger than the agency had expected when it analyzed the potential results of such impacts. “Things do degrade over time,” Feinberg said. But he added that Webb had been engineered to minimize damage, and NASA said the event had not affected Webb’s operation schedule.

Corrections 26-28 July 2022: The story was updated a) to reflect the fact that the Lagrange point L2 where Webb now orbits is not that of the "Earth-moon system" (as the story had originally reported) but rather the Earth-sun system
and b) to correct misstatements in the original posting about Webb's hardware for controlling its orientation.

Corrections 12 Aug. 2022: Alistair Glasse's name was incorrectly spelled in a previous version of this story, as was NIRCam (which we'd spelled as NIRcam); Webb's tertiary mirror (we'd originally reported only its primary and secondary mirrors) was also called out in this version.

This article appears in the September 2022 print issue as “Inside the Universe Machine.”


Match ID: 22 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 80 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

NASA to Industry: Let’s Develop Flight Tech to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Wed, 29 Jun 2022 14:25 EDT
NASA announced Wednesday the agency is seeking partners to develop technologies needed to shape a new generation of lower-emission, single-aisle airliners that passengers could see in airports in the 2030s.
Match ID: 23 Score: 2.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 86 days
qualifiers: 2.14 carbon

U.N. Kills Any Plans to Use Mercury as a Rocket Propellant
Tue, 19 Apr 2022 18:00:01 +0000


A recent United Nations provision has banned the use of mercury in spacecraft propellant. Although no private company has actually used mercury propellant in a launched spacecraft, the possibility was alarming enough—and the dangers extreme enough—that the ban was enacted just a few years after one U.S.-based startup began toying with the idea. Had the company gone through with its intention to sell mercury propellant thrusters to some of the companies building massive satellite constellations over the coming decade, it would have resulted in Earth’s upper atmosphere being laced with mercury.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. It’s also bio-accumulative, which means it’s absorbed by the body at a faster rate than the body can remove it. The most common way to get mercury poisoning is through eating contaminated seafood. “It’s pretty nasty,” says Michael Bender, the international coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG). “Which is why this is one of the very few instances where the governments of the world came together pretty much unanimously and ratified a treaty.”

Bender is referring to the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, a U.N. treaty named for a city in Japan whose residents suffered from mercury poisoning from a nearby chemical factory for decades. Because mercury pollutants easily find their way into the oceans and the atmosphere, it’s virtually impossible for one country to prevent mercury poisoning within its borders. “Mercury—it’s an intercontinental pollutant,” Bender says. “So it required a global treaty.”

Today, the only remaining permitted uses for mercury are in fluorescent lighting and dental amalgams, and even those are being phased out. Mercury is otherwise found as a by-product of other processes, such as the burning of coal. But then a company hit on the idea to use it as a spacecraft propellant.

In 2018, an employee at Apollo Fusion approached the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nonprofit that investigates environmental misconduct in the United States. The employee—who has remained anonymous—alleged that the Mountain View, Calif.–based space startup was planning to build and sell thrusters that used mercury propellant to multiple companies building low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations.

Four industry insiders ultimately confirmed that Apollo Fusion was building thrusters that utilized mercury propellant. Apollo Fusion, which was acquired by rocket manufacturing startup Astra in June 2021, insisted that the composition of its propellant mixture should be considered confidential information. The company withdrew its plans for a mercury propellant in April 2021. Astra declined to respond to a request for comment for this story.

Apollo Fusion wasn’t the first to consider using mercury as a propellant. NASA originally tested it in the 1960s and 1970s with two Space Electric Propulsion Tests (SERT), one of which was sent into orbit in 1970. Although the tests demonstrated mercury’s effectiveness as a propellant, the same concerns over the element’s toxicity that have seen it banned in many other industries halted its use by the space agency as well.

“I think it just sort of fell off a lot of folks’ radars,” says Kevin Bell, the staff counsel for PEER. “And then somebody just resurrected the research on it and said, ‘Hey, other than the environmental impact, this was a pretty good idea.’ It would give you a competitive advantage in what I imagine is a pretty tight, competitive market.”

That’s presumably why Apollo Fusion was keen on using it in their thrusters. Apollo Fusion as a startup emerged more or less simultaneously with the rise of massive LEO constellations that use hundreds or thousands of satellites in orbits below 2,000 kilometers to provide continual low-latency coverage. Finding a slightly cheaper, more efficient propellant for one large geostationary satellite doesn’t move the needle much. But doing the same for thousands of satellites that need to be replaced every several years? That’s a much more noticeable discount.

Were it not for mercury’s extreme toxicity, it would actually make an extremely attractive propellant. Apollo Fusion wanted to use a type of ion thruster called a Hall-effect thruster. Ion thrusters strip electrons from the atoms that make up a liquid or gaseous propellant, and then an electric field pushes the resultant ions away from the spacecraft, generating a modest thrust in the opposite direction. The physics of rocket engines means that the performance of these engines increases with the mass of the ion that you can accelerate.

Mercury is heavier than either xenon or krypton, the most commonly used propellants, meaning more thrust per expelled ion. It’s also liquid at room temperature, making it efficient to store and use. And it’s cheap—there’s not a lot of competition with anyone looking to buy mercury.

Bender says that ZMWG, alongside PEER, caught wind of Apollo Fusion marketing its mercury-based thrusters to at least three companies deploying LEO constellations—One Web, Planet Labs, and SpaceX. Planet Labs, an Earth-imaging company, has at least 200 CubeSats in low Earth orbit. One Web and SpaceX, both wireless-communication providers, have many more. One Web plans to have nearly 650 satellites in orbit by the end of 2022. SpaceX already has nearly 1,500 active satellites aloft in its Starlink constellation, with an eye toward deploying as many as 30,000 satellites before its constellation is complete. Other constellations, like Amazon’s Kuiper constellation, are also planning to deploy thousands of satellites.

In 2019, a group of researchers in Italy and the United States estimated how much of the mercury used in spacecraft propellant might find its way back into Earth’s atmosphere. They figured that a hypothetical LEO constellation of 2,000 satellites, each carrying 100 kilograms of propellant, would emit 20 tonnes of mercury every year over the course of a 10-year life span. Three quarters of that mercury, the researchers suggested, would eventually wind up in the oceans.

That amounts to 1 percent of global mercury emissions from a constellation only a fraction of the size of the one planned by SpaceX alone. And if multiple constellations adopted the technology, they would represent a significant percentage of global mercury emissions—especially, the researchers warned, as other uses of mercury are phased out as planned in the years ahead.

Fortunately, it’s unlikely that any mercury propellant thrusters will even get off the ground. Prior to the fourth meeting of the Minamata Convention, Canada, the European Union, and Norway highlighted the dangers of mercury propellant, alongside ZMWG. The provision to ban mercury usage in satellites was passed on 26 March 2022.

The question now is enforcement. “Obviously, there aren’t any U.N. peacekeepers going into space to shoot down” mercury-based satellites, says Bell. But the 137 countries, including the United States, who are party to the convention have pledged to adhere to its provisions—including the propellant ban.

The United States is notable in that list because as Bender explains, it did not ratify the Minamata Convention via the U.S. Senate but instead deposited with the U.N. an instrument of acceptance. In a 7 November 2013 statement (about one month after the original Minamata Convention was adopted), the U.S. State Department said the country would be able to fulfill its obligations “under existing legislative and regulatory authority.”

Bender says the difference is “weedy” but that this appears to mean that the U.S. government has agreed to adhere to the Minamata Convention’s provisions because it already has similar laws on the books. Except there is still no existing U.S. law or regulation banning mercury propellant. For Bender, that creates some uncertainty around compliance when the provision goes into force in 2025.

Still, with a U.S. company being the first startup to toy with mercury propellant, it might be ideal to have a stronger U.S. ratification of the Minamata Convention before another company hits on the same idea. “There will always be market incentives to cut corners and do something more dangerously,” Bell says.

Update 19 April 2022: In an email, a spokesperson for Astra stated that the company's propulsion system, the Astra Spacecraft Engine, does not use mercury. The spokesperson also stated that Astra has no plans to use mercury propellant and that the company does not have anything in orbit that uses mercury.

Updated 20 April 2022 to clarify that Apollo Fusion was building thrusters that used mercury, not that they had actually used them.


Match ID: 24 Score: 2.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 158 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

Ahrefs vs SEMrush: Which SEO Tool Should You Use?
Tue, 01 Mar 2022 12:16:00 +0000
semrush vs ahrefs


SEMrush and Ahrefs are among the most popular tools in the SEO industry. Both companies have been in business for years and have thousands of customers per month.

If you're a professional SEO or trying to do digital marketing on your own, at some point you'll likely consider using a tool to help with your efforts. Ahrefs and SEMrush are two names that will likely appear on your shortlist.

In this guide, I'm going to help you learn more about these SEO tools and how to choose the one that's best for your purposes.

What is SEMrush?

semrush

SEMrush is a popular SEO tool with a wide range of features—it's the leading competitor research service for online marketers. SEMrush's SEO Keyword Magic tool offers over 20 billion Google-approved keywords, which are constantly updated and it's the largest keyword database.

The program was developed in 2007 as SeoQuake is a small Firefox extension

Features

  • Most accurate keyword data: Accurate keyword search volume data is crucial for SEO and PPC campaigns by allowing you to identify what keywords are most likely to bring in big sales from ad clicks. SEMrush constantly updates its databases and provides the most accurate data.
  • Largest Keyword database: SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool now features 20-billion keywords, providing marketers and SEO professionals the largest database of keywords.

  • All SEMrush users receive daily ranking data, mobile volume information, and the option to buy additional keywords by default with no additional payment or add-ons needed
  • Most accurate position tracking tool: This tool provides all subscribers with basic tracking capabilities, making it suitable for SEO professionals. Plus, the Position Tracking tool provides local-level data to everyone who uses the tool.
  • SEO Data Management: SEMrush makes managing your online data easy by allowing you to create visually appealing custom PDF reports, including Branded and White Label reports, report scheduling, and integration with GA, GMB, and GSC.
  • Toxic link monitoring and penalty recovery: With SEMrush, you can make a detailed analysis of toxic backlinks, toxic scores, toxic markers, and outreach to those sites.
  • Content Optimization and Creation Tools: SEMrush offers content optimization and creation tools that let you create SEO-friendly content. Some features include the SEO Writing Assistant, On-Page SEO Check, er/SEO Content Template, Content Audit, Post Tracking, Brand Monitoring.

Ahrefs

ahrefs


Ahrefs is a leading SEO platform that offers a set of tools to grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and monitor your niche. The company was founded in 2010, and it has become a popular choice among SEO tools. Ahrefs has a keyword index of over 10.3 billion keywords and offers accurate and extensive backlink data updated every 15-30 minutes and it is the world's most extensive backlink index database.

Features

  • Backlink alerts data and new keywords: Get an alert when your site is linked to or discussed in blogs, forums, comments, or when new keywords are added to a blog posting about you.
  • Intuitive interface: The intuitive design of the widget helps you see the overall health of your website and search engine ranking at a glance.
  • Site Explorer: The Site Explorer will give you an in-depth look at your site's search traffic.
  • Domain Comparison
  • Reports with charts and graphs
  • JavaScript rendering and a site audit can identify SEO issues.
  • A question explorer that provides well-crafted topic suggestions

Direct Comparisons: Ahrefs vs SEMrush

Now that you know a little more about each tool, let's take a look at how they compare. I'll analyze each tool to see how they differ in interfaces, keyword research resources, rank tracking, and competitor analysis.

User Interface

Ahrefs and SEMrush both offer comprehensive information and quick metrics regarding your website's SEO performance. However, Ahrefs takes a bit more of a hands-on approach to getting your account fully set up, whereas SEMrush's simpler dashboard can give you access to the data you need quickly.

In this section, we provide a brief overview of the elements found on each dashboard and highlight the ease with which you can complete tasks.

AHREFS

ahrefs interface


The Ahrefs dashboard is less cluttered than that of SEMrush, and its primary menu is at the very top of the page, with a search bar designed only for entering URLs.

Additional features of the Ahrefs platform include:

  • You can see analytics from the dashboard, including search engine rankings to domain ratings, referring domains, and backlink
  • Jumping from one tool to another is easy. You can use the Keyword Explorer to find a keyword to target and then directly track your ranking with one click.
  • The website offers a tooltip helper tool that allows you to hover your mouse over something that isn't clear and get an in-depth explanation.

SEMRUSH

semrush domain overview


When you log into the SEMrush Tool, you will find four main modules. These include information about your domains, organic keyword analysis, ad keyword, and site traffic.

You'll also find some other options like

  • A search bar allows you to enter a domain, keyword, or anything else you wish to explore.
  • A menu on the left side of the page provides quick links to relevant information, including marketing insights, projects, keyword analytics, and more.
  • The customer support resources located directly within the dashboard can be used to communicate with the support team or to learn about other resources such as webinars and blogs.
  • Detailed descriptions of every resource offered. This detail is beneficial for new marketers, who are just starting.

WHO WINS?

Both Ahrefs and SEMrush have user-friendly dashboards, but Ahrefs is less cluttered and easier to navigate. On the other hand, SEMrush offers dozens of extra tools, including access to customer support resources.

When deciding on which dashboard to use, consider what you value in the user interface, and test out both.

Rank Tracking

If you're looking to track your website's search engine ranking, rank tracking features can help. You can also use them to monitor your competitors.

Let's take a look at Ahrefs vs. SEMrush to see which tool does a better job.

Ahrefs

ahrefs rank tracking


The Ahrefs Rank Tracker is simpler to use. Just type in the domain name and keywords you want to analyze, and it spits out a report showing you the search engine results page (SERP) ranking for each keyword you enter.

Rank Tracker looks at the ranking performance of keywords and compares them with the top rankings for those keywords. Ahrefs also offers:

You'll see metrics that help you understand your visibility, traffic, average position, and keyword difficulty.

It gives you an idea of whether a keyword would be profitable to target or not.

SEMRUSH

semrush position tracking


SEMRush offers a tool called Position Tracking. This tool is a project tool—you must set it up as a new project. Below are a few of the most popular features of the SEMrush Position Tracking tool:

All subscribers are given regular data updates and mobile search rankings upon subscribing

The platform provides opportunities to track several SERP features, including Local tracking.

Intuitive reports allow you to track statistics for the pages on your website, as well as the keywords used in those pages.

Identify pages that may be competing with each other using the Cannibalization report.

WHO WINS?

Ahrefs is a more user-friendly option. It takes seconds to enter a domain name and keywords. From there, you can quickly decide whether to proceed with that keyword or figure out how to rank better for other keywords.

SEMrush allows you to check your mobile rankings and ranking updates daily, which is something Ahrefs does not offer. SEMrush also offers social media rankings, a tool you won't find within the Ahrefs platform. Both are good which one do you like let me know in the comment.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is closely related to rank tracking, but it's used for deciding which keywords you plan on using for future content rather than those you use now.

When it comes to SEO, keyword research is the most important thing to consider when comparing the two platforms.

AHREFS



The Ahrefs Keyword Explorer provides you with thousands of keyword ideas and filters search results based on the chosen search engine.

Ahrefs supports several features, including:

  • It can search multiple keywords in a single search and analyze them together. At SEMrush, you also have this feature in Keyword Overview.
  • Ahrefs has a variety of keywords for different search engines, including Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and other search engines.
  • When you click on a keyword, you can see its search volume and keyword difficulty, but also other keywords related to it, which you didn't use.

SEMRUSH



SEMrush's Keyword Magic Tool has over 20 billion keywords for Google. You can type in any keyword you want, and a list of suggested keywords will appear.

The Keyword Magic Tool also lets you to:

  • Show performance metrics by keyword
  • Search results are based on both broad and exact keyword matches.
  • Show data like search volume, trends, keyword difficulty, and CPC.
  • Show the first 100 Google search results for any keyword.
  • Identify SERP Features and Questions related to each keyword
  • SEMrush has released a new Keyword Gap Tool that uncovers potentially useful keyword opportunities for you, including both paid and organic keywords.

WHO WINS?

Both of these tools offer keyword research features and allow users to break down complicated tasks into something that can be understood by beginners and advanced users alike.

If you're interested in keyword suggestions, SEMrush appears to have more keyword suggestions than Ahrefs does. It also continues to add new features, like the Keyword Gap tool and SERP Questions recommendations.

Competitor Analysis

Both platforms offer competitor analysis tools, eliminating the need to come up with keywords off the top of your head. Each tool is useful for finding keywords that will be useful for your competition so you know they will be valuable to you.

AHREFS



Ahrefs' domain comparison tool lets you compare up to five websites (your website and four competitors) side-by-side.it also shows you how your site is ranked against others with metrics such as backlinks, domain ratings, and more.

Use the Competing Domains section to see a list of your most direct competitors, and explore how many keywords matches your competitors have.

To find more information about your competitor, you can look at the Site Explorer and Content Explorer tools and type in their URL instead of yours.

SEMRUSH



SEMrush provides a variety of insights into your competitors' marketing tactics. The platform enables you to research your competitors effectively. It also offers several resources for competitor analysis including:

Traffic Analytics helps you identify where your audience comes from, how they engage with your site, what devices visitors use to view your site, and how your audiences overlap with other websites.

SEMrush's Organic Research examines your website's major competitors and shows their organic search rankings, keywords they are ranking for, and even if they are ranking for any (SERP) features and more.

The Market Explorer search field allows you to type in a domain and lists websites or articles similar to what you entered. Market Explorer also allows users to perform in-depth data analytics on These companies and markets.

WHO WINS?

SEMrush wins here because it has more tools dedicated to competitor analysis than Ahrefs. However, Ahrefs offers a lot of functionality in this area, too. It takes a combination of both tools to gain an advantage over your competition.

Pricing

Ahrefs

  • Lite Monthly: $99/month
  • Standard Monthly: $179/month
  • Annually Lite: $990/year
  • Annually Standard: $1790/year

SEMRUSH

  • Pro Plan: $119.95/month
  • Guru Plan:$229.95/month
  • Business Plan: $449.95/month

Which SEO tool should you choose for digital marketing?

When it comes to keyword data research, you will become confused about which one to choose.

Consider choosing Ahrefs if you

  • Like friendly and clean interface
  • Searching for simple keyword suggestions

  • Want to get more keywords for different search engines like Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu, and more

 

Consider SEMrush if you:

  • Want more marketing and SEO features
  • Need competitor analysis tool
  • Need to keep your backlinks profile clean
  • Looking for more keyword suggestions for Google

Both tools are great. Choose the one which meets your requirements and if you have any experience using either Ahrefs or SEMrush let me know in the comment section which works well for you.

 

 


Match ID: 25 Score: 2.14 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 207 days
qualifiers: 2.14 toxic

Filter efficiency 96.615 (26 matches/768 results)


********** UNIVERSITY **********
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Forget Oxbridge: St Andrews knocks top universities off perch
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 07:00:07 GMT

Latest Guardian University Guide shows leading trio are in league of their own for undergraduate courses

Oxbridge is being replaced at the apex of UK universities by “Stoxbridge” after St Andrews overtook Oxford and Cambridge at the top of the latest Guardian University Guide.

It is the first time the Fife university has been ranked highest in the Guardian’s annual guide to undergraduate courses, pushing Oxford into second and Cambridge into third.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 0 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 rankings

The Guardian University Guide 2023 – the rankings
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 06:59:07 GMT

Find a course at one of the top universities in the country. Our league tables rank them all subject by subject, as well as by student satisfaction, staff numbers, spending and career prospects

Continue reading...
Match ID: 1 Score: 30.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 30.00 rankings

Video Friday: Loona
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 18:19:52 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!


Another robotic pet on Kickstarter, another bunting of red flags.

Let's see, we've got: "she's so playful and affectionate you'll forget she's a robot." "Everything you can dream of in a best friend and more." "Get ready to fall in love!" And that's literally like the first couple of tiles on the Kickstarter post. Look, the hardware seems fine, and there is a lot of expressiveness going on, I just wish they didn't set you up for an inevitable disappointment when after a couple of weeks it becomes apparent that yes, this is just a robotic toy, and will never be your best friend (or more).

Loona is currently on Kickstarter for about USD $300.

[ Kickstarter ]

Inspired by the flexibility and resilience of dragonfly wings, we propose a novel design for a biomimetic drone propeller called Tombo propeller. Here, we report on the design and fabrication process of this biomimetic propeller that can accommodate collisions and recover quickly, while maintaining sufficient thrust force to hover and fly.

[ JAIST ]

Thanks Van!

Meet Tom, a software engineer at Boston Dynamics, as he shares insights on programming and testing the practical—and impractical—applications of robotics. Whether Spot is conducting inspections or playing an instrument, learn how we go from code on a computer to actions in the real world.

Yeah, but where do I get that awesome shirt?!

[ Boston Dynamics ]

This Ameca demo couples automated speech recognition with GPT 3 —a large language model that generates meaningful answers—the output is fed to an online TTS service which generates the voice and visemes for lip sync timing. The team at Engineered Arts Ltd. pose the questions.

"Meaningful answers."

[ Engineered Arts ]

The ANT project develops a navigation and motion control system for future walking systems for planetary exploration. After successful testing on ramps and rubble fields, the challenge of climbing rough inclines such as craters is being tackled.

[ DFKI ]

Look, if you’re going to crate-train Spot, at least put some blankets and stuffed animals in there or something.

[ Energy Robotics ]

With multitrade layout, all trades’ layouts are set down with a single pass over the floor by Dusty's FieldPrinter system. Trades experience unparalleled clarity and communication with each other, because they can see each others’ installation plans and immediately identify and resolve conflicts. Instead of fighting over the floor and pointing fingers, they start to solve problems together.

[ Dusty Robotics ]

We present QUaRTM—a novel quadcopter design capable of tilting the propellers into the forward flight direction, which reduces the drag area and therefore allows for faster, more agile, and more efficient flight.

[ HiPeRLab ]

Is there an option in the iRobot app to turn my Roomba into a cake? Because I want cake.

[ iRobot ]

Looks like SoftBank is getting into high-density robotic logistics.

[ Impress ]

GITAI S2 ground test for space debris removal. During this demonstration, a tool changer was also tested to perform several different tasks at OSAM.

[ GITAI ]

Recent advances allow for the automation of food preparation in high-throughput environments, yet the successful deployment of these robots requires the planning and execution of quick, robust, and ultimately collision-free behaviors. In this work, we showcase a novel framework for modifying previously generated trajectories of robotic manipulators in highly detailed and dynamic collision environments.

[ Paper ]

The LCT Hospital in South Korea uses “Dr. LCT” for robotic-based orthopedic knee procedures. The system is based on the KUKA LBR Med robotic platform, which is ideally suited for orthopedic surgery with its seven axes, software developed specifically for medical technology, and appropriate safety measures.

[ Kuka ]

A year in review. Compilation of 2022 video highlights of the Game Changing Development (GCD) Program. The Game Changing Development Program is a part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The program advances space technologies that may lead to entirely new approaches for the agency’s future space missions and provide solutions to significant national needs.

[ NASA ]

Naomi Wu reviews a Diablo mobile robot (with some really cool customizations of her own), sending it out to run errands in Shenzhen during lockdown.

[ Naomi Wu ]

Roundtable discussion on how teaching automation in schools, colleges, and universities can help shape the workers of tomorrow. ABB Robotics has put together a panel of experts in this field to discuss the challenges and opportunities.

[ ABB ]

On 8 September 2022, Mario Santillo of Ford talked to robotics students as the first speaker in the Undergraduate Robotics Pathways & Careers Speaker Series, which aims to answer the question “What can I do with a robotics degree?”

[ Michigan Robotics ]


Match ID: 2 Score: 2.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 2.86 school

Filter efficiency 99.609 (3 matches/768 results)


********** SPACE **********
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NASA’s DART Mission Aims to Save the World
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:52:53 +0000


Armageddon ruined everything. Armageddon—the 1998 movie, not the mythical battlefield—told the story of an asteroid headed straight for Earth, and a bunch of swaggering roughnecks sent in space shuttles to blow it up with a nuclear weapon.

Armageddon is big and noisy and stupid and shameless, and it’s going to be huge at the box office,” wrote Jay Carr of the Boston Globe.

Carr was right—the film was the year’s second biggest hit (after Titanic)—and ever since, scientists have had to explain, patiently, that cluttering space with radioactive debris may not be the best way to protect ourselves. NASA is now trying a slightly less dramatic approach with a robotic mission called DART—short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. On Monday at 7:14 p.m. EDT, if all goes well, the little spacecraft will crash into an asteroid called Dimorphos, about 11 million kilometers from Earth. Dimorphos is about 160 meters across, and orbits a 780-meter asteroid, 65803 Didymos. NASA TV plans to cover it live.

DART’s end will be violent, but not blockbuster-movie-violent. Music won’t swell and girlfriends back on Earth won’t swoon. Mission managers hope the spacecraft, with a mass of about 600 kilograms, hitting at 22,000 km/h, will nudge the asteroid slightly in its orbit, just enough to prove that it’s technologically possible in case a future asteroid has Earth in its crosshairs.

“Maybe once a century or so, there’ll be an asteroid sizeable enough that we’d like to certainly know, ahead of time, if it was going to impact,” says Lindley Johnson, who has the title of planetary defense officer at NASA.

“If you just take a hair off the orbital velocity, you’ve changed the orbit of the asteroid so that what would have been impact three or four years down the road is now a complete miss.”

So take that, Hollywood! If DART succeeds, it will show there are better fuels to protect Earth than testosterone.

The risk of a comet or asteroid that wipes out civilization is really very small, but large enough that policymakers take it seriously. NASA, ordered by the U.S. Congress in 2005 to scan the inner solar system for hazards, has found nearly 900 so-called NEOs—near-Earth objects—at least a kilometer across, more than 95 percent of all in that size range that probably exist. It has plotted their orbits far into the future, and none of them stand more than a fraction of a percent chance of hitting Earth in this millennium.

An infographic showing the orientation of Didymos,  Dimorphos, DART, and LICIACube. The DART spacecraft should crash into the asteroid Dimorphos and slow it in its orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos. The LICIACube cubesat will fly in formation to take images of the impact.Johns Hopkins APL/NASA

But there are smaller NEOs, perhaps 140 meters or more in diameter, too small to end civilization but large enough to cause mass destruction if they hit a populated area. There may be 25,000 that come within 50 million km of Earth’s orbit, and NASA estimates telescopes have only found about 40 percent of them. That’s why scientists want to expand the search for them and have good ways to deal with them if necessary. DART is the first test.

NASA takes pains to say this is a low-risk mission. Didymos and Dimorphos never cross Earth’s orbit, and computer simulations show that no matter where or how hard DART hits, it cannot possibly divert either one enough to put Earth in danger. Scientists want to see if DART can alter Dimorphos’s speed by perhaps a few centimeters per second.

The DART spacecraft, a 1-meter cube with two long solar panels, is elegantly simple, equipped with a telescope called DRACO, hydrazine maneuvering thrusters, a xenon-fueled ion engine and a navigation system called SMART Nav. It was launched by a SpaceX rocket in November. About 4 hours and 90,000 km before the hoped-for impact, SMART Nav will take over control of the spacecraft, using optical images from the telescope. Didymos, the larger object, should be a point of light by then; Dimorphos, the intended target, will probably not appear as more than one pixel until about 50 minutes before impact. DART will send one image per second back to Earth, but the spacecraft is autonomous; signals from the ground, 38 light-seconds away, would be useless for steering as the ship races in.

A golden cubesat with a bright light and lines The DART spacecraft separated from its SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, 55 minutes after liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base, in California, 24 November 2021. In this image from the rocket, the spacecraft had not yet unfurled its solar panels.NASA

What’s more, nobody knows the shape or consistency of little Dimorphos. Is it a solid boulder or a loose cluster of rubble? Is it smooth or craggy, round or elongated? “We’re trying to hit the center,” says Evan Smith, the deputy mission systems engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is running DART. “We don’t want to overcorrect for some mountain or crater on one side that’s throwing an odd shadow or something.”

So on final approach, DART will cover 800 km without any steering. Thruster firings could blur the last images of Dimorphos’s surface, which scientists want to study. Impact should be imaged from about 50 km away by an Italian-made minisatellite, called LICIACube, which DART released two weeks ago.

“In the minutes following impact, I know everybody is going be high fiving on the engineering side,” said Tom Statler, DART’s program scientist at NASA, “but I’m going be imagining all the cool stuff that is actually going on on the asteroid, with a crater being dug and ejecta being blasted off.”

There is, of course, a possibility that DART will miss, in which case there should be enough fuel on board to allow engineers to go after a backup target. But an advantage of the Didymos-Dimorphos pair is that it should help in calculating how much effect the impact had. Telescopes on Earth (plus the Hubble and Webb space telescopes) may struggle to measure infinitesimal changes in the orbit of Dimorphos around the sun; it should be easier to see how much its orbit around Didymos is affected. The simplest measurement may be of the changing brightness of the double asteroid, as Dimorphos moves in front of or behind its partner, perhaps more quickly or slowly than it did before impact.

“We are moving an asteroid,” said Statler. “We are changing the motion of a natural celestial body in space. Humanity’s never done that before.”


Match ID: 0 Score: 110.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 1 day
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa, 25.00 mit, 20.00 planets

To Catch a Falling Satellite
Mon, 14 Mar 2022 16:55:14 +0000


It is the fate of many a dead satellite to spend its last years tumbling out of control. A fuel line may burst, or solar wind may surge, or there may be drag from the outer reaches of the atmosphere—and unless a spacecraft has been designed in some way that keeps it naturally stable, chances are good that it will begin to turn end over end.

That’s a problem, because Earth orbit is getting more and more crowded. Engineers would like to corral old pieces of space junk, but they can’t safely reach them, especially if they’re unstable. The European Space Agency says there are about 30,000 “debris objects” now being tracked in Earth orbit—derelict satellites, spent rocket stages, pieces sent flying from collisions in space. There may also be 900,000 smaller bits of orbital debris—everything from loose bolts to flecks of paint to shards of insulation. They may be less than 10 centimeters long, but they can still destroy a healthy satellite if they hit at orbital speeds.

“With more satellites being launched, we might encounter more situations where we have a defunct satellite that’s occupying a valuable orbit,” says Richard Linares, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. He’s part of an American-German project, called TumbleDock/ROAM, researching ways to corral and stabilize tumbling satellites so they can be deorbited or, in some cases, perhaps even refueled or repaired.

Engineers have put up with orbital debris for decades, but Linares says the picture is changing. For one thing, satellite technology is becoming more and more affordable—just look at SpaceX, which has been launching 40 satellites a week so far this year. For another, he says, the economic benefits those satellites offer—high-speed internet, GPS, climate and crop monitoring and other applications—will be threatened if the risk of impacts keeps growing.

“I think in the next few years we’ll have the technology to do something about space debris,” says Linares. “And there are economic drivers that will incentivize companies to do this.”

The TumbleDock/ROAM team has just finished a series of tests in the cabin of the International Space Station, using NASA robots called Astrobees to stand in for a tumbling satellite and a “chaser” spacecraft sent to catch it. The goal: to figure out algorithms so that a chaser can find its target, determine its tumble rates, and calculate the safest and most efficient approach to it.

Astrobee robot experiment aboard the ISS to reach a tumbling target in space. www.youtube.com

“There’s a massive amount of large debris out there,” says Keenan Albee, a Ph.D. student on the team at MIT. “Look at some of them, with large solar panels that are ready to whack you if you don’t do the approach correctly.”

The researchers decided early on that a chase vehicle needs enough autonomy to close in on a disabled satellite on its own. Even the largest satellites are too distant for ground-based tracking stations to track their attitude with any precision. A chaser, perhaps equipped with navigation cameras, lidar, and other sensors, will need to do the job in real time.

“The tumbling motion of a satellite can be quite complex,” says Roberto Lampariello, the principal investigator on the project at the German Aerospace Center, or DLR. “And if you want to be sure you are not going to collide with any appendages while approaching the mating point, having an autonomous method of guidance is, I think, very attractive.”

The Astrobee tests on the space station showed that it can be done, at least in principle. Each Astrobee robot is a cube, about 30 centimeters on a side, with navigation cameras, compressed-air thrusters, and Snapdragon processors much like what you would find in a smartphone. For the latest test, last month, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei set up two Astrobees a couple of meters apart. They then took their commands from Albee on the ground. He started the test runs, with one robot tumbling and the other trying to rendezvous with it. There have been glitches; the Astrobees needed help determining their precise location relative to the station walls. But the results of the tests were promising.

A next step, say the researchers, is to determine how best for a chase spacecraft to grapple its target, which is especially difficult if it’s a piece of debris with no docking mechanism. Other plans over the years have involved big nets or lasers; TumbleDock/ROAM team members say they’re intrigued by grippers that use van der Waals forces between atoms, the kinds that help a gecko cling to a sheer surface.

The larger question is how to turn experiments like these into actual solutions to a growing, if lofty, problem. Low Earth orbit has been crowded enough, for long enough, that satellite makers add shielding to their vehicles and space agencies continuously scan the skies to prevent close calls. No space travelers have been killed, and there have only been a few cases in which satellites were actually pulverized. But the problem has become increasingly expensive and, in some cases, dangerous. SpaceX has launched 2,000 Starlink Internet satellites so far, may launch 30,000 more, and has other companies (like Amazon) racing to keep up. They see profits up there.

MIT’s Linares says that, in fact, is why it’s worth figuring out the space-junk problem. “There’s a reason why those orbits are valuable,” he says. Companies may spend billions to launch new satellites—and don’t want them threatened by old satellites.

“If your company’s benefiting from an orbit band,” he says, “then you’d probably better get someone to clean it up for you.”


Match ID: 1 Score: 95.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 194 days
qualifiers: 71.43 space travel, 10.71 space travel, 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Video Friday: Humans Helping Robots
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 18:05:01 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!


Until robots achieve 100 percent autonomy (HA), humans are going to need to step in from time to time, and Contoro is developing a system for intuitive, remote human intervention.

[ Contoro ]

Thanks, Youngmok!

A one year update of our ongoing project with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and RMUS Canada to investigate the capabilities of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot for autonomous inspection and first response in the power sector. Highlights of the first year of the project, featuring the work of Ph.D. student Christopher Baird, include autonomous elevator riding and autonomous door opening (including proxy card access doors) as part of Autowalks, as well as autonomous firefighting.

[ MARS Lab ]

Teams involved in DARPA’s Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) program have one experiment under their belts and will focus on even more difficult off-road landscapes at Camp Roberts, California, September 15–27. The program aims to give driverless combat vehicles off-road autonomy while traveling at speeds that keep pace with those driven by people in realistic situations.

[ DARPA ]

Tool use has long been a hallmark of human intelligence, as well as a practical problem to solve for a vast array of robotic applications. But machines are still wonky at exerting just the right amount of force to control tools that aren’t rigidly attached to their hands. To manipulate said tools more robustly, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), in collaboration with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), have designed a system that can grasp tools and apply the appropriate amount of force for a given task, like squeegeeing up liquid or writing out a word with a pen.

[ MIT ]

Cornell researchers installed electronic “brains” on solar-powered robots that are 100 to 250 micrometers in size, so the tiny bots can walk autonomously without being externally controlled.

[ Cornell ]

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed soft devices containing algae that glow in the dark when experiencing mechanical stress, such as being squished, stretched, twisted or bent. The devices do not require any electronics to light up, making them an ideal choice for building soft robots that explore the deep sea and other dark environments, researchers said.

[ UCSD ]

Thanks, Liezel!

Our robotaxi is built to withstand a range of temperatures to ensure that the vehicle, and most importantly, its riders are never too hot or too cold...no matter the weather. Learn more about our thermal testing in the latest episode of Putting Zoox to the Test.

[ Zoox ]

Thanks, Whitney!

Skydio drones will do an excellent job of keeping you in frame, whatever happens.

[ Skydio ]

With the accelerated urbanization in the world, the development and utilization of the underground space are important for economic and social development and the survival of people’s lives is important for all of us. Zhejiang University Huzhou Research Institute convened a robot team to conduct an underground space unknown environment exploration adventure in Yellow dragon cave. DEEP Robotics participate in this fascinated robot party and try out the underground challenges, also team up with the drone team (air-ground robot) to seek new collaboration.

[ Deep Robotics ]

The title of this video is “Ion Propulsion Drone Proves Its Commercial Viability,” but it seems like quite a leap from a 4.5-minute flight to reaching the 15-minute flight with a significant payload that would be required for last-mile delivery.

[ Undefined Technologies ]

Welcome to this week’s edition of “How much stuff can you cram onto a Husky?”

[ Clearpath ]

In the Nanocopter AI challenge the teams demonstrated the AI they developed for Bitcraze AB’s Crazyflie nanocopters to perform vision-based obstacle avoidance at increasing speeds. The drones flew around in our “Cyberzoo,” avoiding a range of obstacles, from walls to poles and artificial plants. The drones were primarily scored on the distance they covered in the limited time but could gain extra points when flying also through gates.

[ IMAV ]

Watch this drone deliver six eggs to an empty field!

Sorry, I shouldn’t be so snarky, but I’m still not sold on the whole urban drone delivery of groceries thing.

[ Wing ]

Flexiv is pleased to announce the launch of its ROS 2 driver to bring a better robot development experience for customers.

[ Flexiv ]

Northrop Grumman has been pioneering new capabilities in the undersea domain for more than 50 years. Manta Ray, a new unmanned underwater vehicle, taking its name from the massive “winged” fish, will need to be able to operate on long-duration, long-range missions in ocean environments without need for on-site human logistics support—a unique but important mission needed to address the complex nature of undersea warfare.

[ Northrop Grumman ]

Some unique footage from drones that aren’t scared of getting a little wet.

[ Blastr ]

People tend to overtrust sophisticated computing devices, especially those powered by AI. As these systems become more fully interactive with humans during the performance of day-to-day activities, ethical considerations in deploying these systems must be more carefully investigated. In this talk, we will discuss various forms of human overtrust with respect to these intelligent machines and possible ways to mitigate the impact of bias in our interactions with them.

[ Columbia ]

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s success in landing the low-cost Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997 was viewed as proof that spacecraft could be built more often and for far less money—a radical cultural change NASA termed “Faster, Better, Cheaper.” The next challenge taken on by JPL was to fly two missions to Mars for the price of the single Pathfinder mission. Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander both made it to the launchpad, on time and on budget, but were lost upon arrival at Mars, resulting in one of the most difficult periods in the history of JPL. “The Breaking Point” tells the story of the demise of these two missions and the abrupt end of NASA’s “Faster, Better, Cheaper” era.

[ JPL ]


Match ID: 2 Score: 90.00 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 0 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa, 25.00 mit

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/21/2022
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 16:00:09 +0000
68 Soyuz Launch/Dock: 68S successfully launched at 8:54 AM CT this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin launched alongside NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who is participating on his first spaceflight to the Space Station. The trio docked to Mini-Research Module 1 at 12:07 PM CT beginning their six-month Space …
Match ID: 3 Score: 77.14 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 3 days
qualifiers: 55.71 nasa, 21.43 mit

NASA cancels Artemis I launch attempt, but will delay roll back decision
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:35:18 +0000
NASA is buying some time with this decision.
Match ID: 4 Score: 65.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

NASA seems to be in full “send it” mode for the Artemis I mission
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 21:06:42 +0000
Space agency officials seem OK with leaving the rocket out in a tropical storm.
Match ID: 5 Score: 65.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

NASA to Cover Crew Arrival to Launch Site, Flight Readiness Review
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:44 EDT
NASA will host two media briefings Monday, Sept. 26, in preparation for the fifth crew rotation mission with SpaceX as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Match ID: 6 Score: 65.00 source: www.nasa.gov age: 0 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

NASA to Provide Live Coverage of Space Station Crew Activities
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 11:37 EDT
Three cosmonauts living aboard the International Space Station are set to return to Earth Thursday, Sept. 29.
Match ID: 7 Score: 65.00 source: www.nasa.gov age: 1 day
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

Celebrate 'International Observe the Moon Night' with NASA
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 10:00 EDT
The public is invited to participate in NASA’s celebration of "International Observe the Moon Night" on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Match ID: 8 Score: 65.00 source: www.nasa.gov age: 1 day
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

NASA to Provide Media Update on Demonstration Test, Artemis I Mission
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:31 EDT
NASA will hold a media teleconference at 12:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, to discuss the cryogenic demonstration test conducted Wednesday, Sept. 21, ahead of the next Artemis I launch attempt.
Match ID: 9 Score: 65.00 source: www.nasa.gov age: 1 day
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/22/2022
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:00:02 +0000
Payloads: Acoustic Diagnostics: The Acoustic Diagnostic instrument hardware was set up and calibrated, and measurements were recorded. Following this, a questionnaire was filled out on the EveryWear device. The Acoustic Upgraded Diagnostics In-Orbit (Acoustic Diagnostics) investigation tests the hearing of ISS crew members before, during, and after flight. This study assesses the possible adverse effects …
Match ID: 10 Score: 65.00 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 2 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

Artemis: Nasa's Moon rocket completes fuelling test
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 07:25:46 GMT
The Space Launch System edges closer to a maiden flight after concluding a tanking demonstration.
Match ID: 11 Score: 65.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 2 days
qualifiers: 65.00 nasa

NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio, Crewmates Arrive Safely at Space Station
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 09:48 EDT
NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station Wednesday, bringing its number of residents to 10 for the coming week.
Match ID: 12 Score: 55.71 source: www.nasa.gov age: 3 days
qualifiers: 55.71 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/20/2022
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 16:00:37 +0000
Payloads: Astrobee/Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor (SVGS): Following the installation of the SVGS LED targets, the science 3 session was performed. SVGS demonstrates the use of a photogrammetric vision-based technology for guidance, navigation, and control of a small spacecraft. Developed by NASA, the vision-based sensor computes the position and orientation vector of a target relative to …
Match ID: 13 Score: 46.43 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

NASA’s Stakeholder Collaborations Help Inform Moon to Mars Planning
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 09:45 EDT
NASA Releases Revised Moon to Mars Objectives
Match ID: 14 Score: 46.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

Cobertura de la misión Soyuz con tripulación a la estación espacial
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 14:32 EDT
La NASA ofrecerá cobertura en directo el miércoles 21 de septiembre de los principales acontecimientos del lanzamiento y acoplamiento de una misión con un astronauta de la NASA y dos cosmonautas a la Estación Espacial Internacional.
Match ID: 15 Score: 46.43 source: www.nasa.gov age: 4 days
qualifiers: 46.43 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/19/2022
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 16:00:42 +0000
Payloads: Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM): The APM hardware was checked, and the status of the hardware/display was reported to the ground. The crew also inspected the air inlet screen and cleaned as needed. Air quality in crewed spacecraft is important for keeping astronauts healthy and comfortable. Although requirements exist for maximum allowable concentrations of particulate …
Match ID: 16 Score: 37.14 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 5 days
qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

Texas Students to Hear from NASA Astronauts Aboard Space Station
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 11:47 EDT
Houston area students will have an opportunity this week to hear from NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Match ID: 17 Score: 37.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 5 days
qualifiers: 37.14 nasa

Ron DeSantis Chartered Planes From GOP-Allied Donor to Fly Migrants to Martha's Vineyard
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 16:58:45 +0000

Recipients of the firm’s donations include the appropriations chief responsible for funding Florida’s migrant relocation program.

The post Ron DeSantis Chartered Planes From GOP-Allied Donor to Fly Migrants to Martha’s Vineyard appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 18 Score: 34.29 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit, 12.86 aliens

Mozilla reaffirms that Firefox will continue to support current content blockers
2022-09-24T16:57:01+00:00
Mozilla reaffirms that Firefox will continue to support current content blockers submitted by /u/devquest33
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Match ID: 19 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

: Imprisoned for life at 15, freed after 25 years and now in law school. Mercy for children who commit crimes benefits society and the economy.
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 16:35:00 GMT
The United States is the only country in the world known to sentence children to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Match ID: 20 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Adobe can’t Photoshop out the fact its $20bn Figma deal is a naked land grab | The software giant paying vastly over the odds for a small but strategically threatening company should alarm US regulators
2022-09-24T16:19:18+00:00
Adobe can’t Photoshop out the fact its $20bn Figma deal is a naked land grab | The software giant paying vastly over the odds for a small but strategically threatening company should alarm US regulators submitted by /u/Hrmbee
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Match ID: 21 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Camera system trialled to catch drivers using mobile phones - BBC News
2022-09-24T16:04:55+00:00
Camera system trialled to catch drivers using mobile phones - BBC News submitted by /u/MrNokiaUser
[link] [comments]

Match ID: 22 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Dmitry Bulgakov: Putin fires deputy defence chief amid supply failures
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:44:21 GMT
Analysts have cited supply chains as a reason why Russia's invasion of Ukraine has faltered.
Match ID: 23 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Adobe can’t Photoshop out the fact its $20bn purchase of Figma is a land grab | John Naughtom
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 15:00:07 GMT

The software giant paying vastly over the odds for a small but strategically threatening company should alarm US regulators

The big tech news in a slow week was that the software giant Adobe is planning to pay the unconscionable sum of $20bn (£18bn) to acquire a small company called Figma. Why is this news? Well, first of all, there’s the price – way above any rational valuation of Figma. Second, there’s the question that we have finally learned to ask about tech mergers and acquisitions: is there a competition or antitrust issue here somewhere?

We’ll come to the price later, but at first sight, the answer to the second question would seem to be no: the two companies are not direct competitors. Adobe dominates the market in software for creating and publishing digital and printed material – graphics, photography, illustration, animation, multimedia/video, motion pictures and print. If you’ve ever used Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Reader or opened a pdf (portable document format), then you’ve used an Adobe product.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 24 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Intel's Core i9-13900K tops the single thread performance charts
2022-09-24T14:48:27+00:00
Intel's Core i9-13900K tops the single thread performance charts submitted by /u/Sorin61
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Match ID: 25 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Florida asks Supreme Court to be the final referee in its fight with Big Tech
2022-09-24T13:58:35+00:00
Florida asks Supreme Court to be the final referee in its fight with Big Tech submitted by /u/bobbyw24
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Match ID: 26 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Governo do Paraná admite disparo em massa de SMS golpista e culpa empresa terceirizada
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:51:40 +0000

Mensagem que pede invasão ao Supremo Tribunal Federal e ao Congresso partiu de número usado por prestadores de serviços públicos.

The post Governo do Paraná admite disparo em massa de SMS golpista e culpa empresa terceirizada appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 27 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Mark Zuckerberg: The Metaverse will unfold in 3 steps, and one is happening ‘sooner than I thought’
2022-09-24T13:04:11+00:00
Mark Zuckerberg: The Metaverse will unfold in 3 steps, and one is happening ‘sooner than I thought’ submitted by /u/BiscuitOfGinger
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Match ID: 28 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

US anti-abortion extremists are already waging war on IVF | Arwa Mahdawi
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:00:06 GMT

Republicans have made it very clear that they aren’t going to stop at abortion: they’re coming for birth control and fertility treatments

Going through fertility treatment isn’t fun at the best of times: it’s expensive, invasive and emotionally exhausting. Ever since Roe v Wade was overturned earlier this year, however, getting fertility treatments in the US has become exponentially more stressful; the end of Roe triggered a spate of new personhood bills in Republican states which define a fertilized egg or embryo as a legal human entity. If you know anything about in vitro fertilization (IVF), which I’m not sure any of the men drafting these personhood bills do, you’ll immediately know that makes IVF hugely complex. Numerous embryos are usually created during the IVF process as not all will be genetically viable. Unviable embryos, along with embryos that aren’t donated or frozen for later use, will be disposed. If these collections of cells are considered people then, according to the personhood laws, you’ve committed a crime by disposing of them.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 29 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

‘European rail operators given until year-end to present ticketing system, otherwise EU will mandate it’
2022-09-24T11:59:37+00:00
‘European rail operators given until year-end to present ticketing system, otherwise EU will mandate it’ submitted by /u/Zhukov-74
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Match ID: 30 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Can we all take a moment to honor the CDs 40th bday? While I may be a vinyl head now.. I’ll always remember my CD collection!!!
2022-09-24T11:47:15+00:00
Can we all take a moment to honor the CDs 40th bday? While I may be a vinyl head now.. I’ll always remember my CD collection!!! submitted by /u/Supremealexander
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Match ID: 31 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Mark Zuckerberg has been sent a formal request to appear before MPs and answer questions regarding a growing scandal about user data
2022-09-24T11:40:03+00:00
Mark Zuckerberg has been sent a formal request to appear before MPs and answer questions regarding a growing scandal about user data submitted by /u/Delinosh
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Match ID: 32 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Is net finally closing on US priest who allegedly abused ‘countless’ children?
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 11:00:03 GMT

FBI agents have questioned Lawrence Hecker, 91, who worked as a Catholic priest in New Orleans until 2002 despite the archdiocese being aware of molestation accusation since 1988

In arguably the clearest sign yet that he is under active criminal investigation, a retired Catholic priest from New Orleans who has been publicly accused of molesting “countless” children but never charged has acknowledged that the FBI recently questioned him.

Lawrence Hecker, 91, declined to elaborate on exactly when FBI agents met with him or what they asked him as they reportedly lead an investigation into whether clerics serving a Louisiana region that is home to nearly half a million Catholics took children across state lines to abuse them. But, in a brief conversation with the Guardian, Hecker admitted that FBI agents had spoken with him.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 33 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright Conduct a MasterClass on the Banal Horror of U.S. Foreign Policy
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 11:00:54 +0000

Watching the 3.5 hour video is like being forced to eat gallons of stale banana pudding. Also, the pudding contains a small amount of botulism.

The post Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright Conduct a MasterClass on the Banal Horror of U.S. Foreign Policy appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 34 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Zadie Smith on discovering the secret history of Black England: ‘Into my ignorance poured these remarkable facts’
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 10:00:01 GMT

When the novelist first read Gretchen Gerzina’s 1995 book Black England, she discovered the complex and unexpected lives of black people in England before the abolition of slavery. Two decades on, the stories still have the power to astonish

I can say precisely where and when I first read Black England because I made a note of it on the flyleaf: Zadie Smith NW2 ’99.
I was in the habit back then of using the books I bought as a record of the places and times of my life. Can’t remember what I hoped to gain by it – but I am grateful now to recall that I must have been back in my mum’s flat in Willesden Green, north-west London, and finishing my first novel. And if I was doing that, I must have bought Black England in Willesden Bookshop (now defunct) with a song in my heart. In order to write White Teeth, I was having to try to convince myself day after day, in what felt like a vacuum, that such an entity as “Black England” or “Black and Brown England” actually existed – and was worth writing a comic novel about. It’s incredible to think of now, but by 1999 I’d gone through 15 years of formal education, including a three-year English degree, without ever being given a book to study that made any reference whatsoever to the presence of individuals like me in the country in which I was born. Not a novel, not a history book. Nothing. Anything I read in that direction I had to either find myself, or rely on my enterprising mother to find. It was usually easier for both of us to work by analogy, and read things about our American diaspora cousins. So we generally did that. But here it was: Black England! And not a novel! History!

Into my perfect ignorance poured all these remarkable facts. Some were just delicious because I could hardly believe they were true: “By 1596 there were so many black people in England that Queen Elizabeth I issued an edict demanding that they leave.”

Continue reading...
Match ID: 35 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Só falta a terceira via, essa invenção da imprensa, embarcar no voto útil
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 09:00:11 +0000

Ciro e Tebet estão mais preocupados com suas carreiras políticas do que com a preservação da democracia. Mas ainda podem desistir.

The post Só falta a terceira via, essa invenção da imprensa, embarcar no voto útil appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 36 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions - Oxford study
2022-09-24T08:31:56+00:00
Decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions - Oxford study submitted by /u/editorijsmi
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Match ID: 37 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Indian Govt proposes law to intercept encrypted messages on WhatsApp, Signal
2022-09-24T07:46:29+00:00
Indian Govt proposes law to intercept encrypted messages on WhatsApp, Signal submitted by /u/A-Delonix-Regia
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Match ID: 38 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

TikTok Is Bleeding U.S. Execs Because China Is Still Calling The Shots, Ex-Employees Say
2022-09-24T06:27:08+00:00
TikTok Is Bleeding U.S. Execs Because China Is Still Calling The Shots, Ex-Employees Say submitted by /u/128e
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Match ID: 39 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

The biggest new feature on the iPhone 14 Pro — the 'Dynamic Island' — is now available for Android phones too, thanks to a copycat app
2022-09-24T06:02:10+00:00
The biggest new feature on the iPhone 14 Pro — the 'Dynamic Island' — is now available for Android phones too, thanks to a copycat app submitted by /u/Sorin61
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Match ID: 40 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Iran protests: US to ease internet curbs for Iranians
2022-09-24T05:19:58+00:00
Iran protests: US to ease internet curbs for Iranians submitted by /u/Iam_0k_Btw
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Match ID: 41 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Belgium To Shut Nuclear Reactor On Friday Amid Energy Crunch
2022-09-24T04:02:22+00:00
Belgium To Shut Nuclear Reactor On Friday Amid Energy Crunch submitted by /u/hzj5790
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Match ID: 42 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

100TB cartridges set to rival tapes, hard drives, DNA for data archiving domination
2022-09-24T03:54:28+00:00
100TB cartridges set to rival tapes, hard drives, DNA for data archiving domination submitted by /u/Vailhem
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Match ID: 43 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Would more UK gas actually bring down prices?
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 03:15:16 GMT
The government is committed to extracting more oil and gas in the North Sea.
Match ID: 44 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Trump lawyers argue to limit White House aides’ testimony to Jan. 6 grand jury
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:00:47 EDT
The legal dispute could impact the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation.
Match ID: 45 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Mozilla claims Apple, Google and Microsoft force users to use default web browsers
2022-09-24T02:02:18+00:00
Mozilla claims Apple, Google and Microsoft force users to use default web browsers submitted by /u/throwaway_ghast
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Match ID: 46 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Tech stocks just had their worst two-week stretch since the start of the pandemic
2022-09-24T01:58:53+00:00
Tech stocks just had their worst two-week stretch since the start of the pandemic submitted by /u/Additional-Two-7312
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Match ID: 47 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Russia-Ukraine war latest: what we know on day 213 of the invasion
Sat, 24 Sep 2022 01:01:08 GMT

UN says Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine; Finland bars Russian tourists amid long queues to cross border after Putin’s military mobilisation

Continue reading...
Match ID: 48 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Post Politics Now: Hoyer, McCarthy make dueling pitches in Pittsburgh area
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 20:19:25 EDT
In Washington, President Biden is attending a Democratic National Committee fundraiser and hosting a concert at the White House by Elton John.
Match ID: 49 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

America’s False Idols | Today’s tech billionaires think they’re self-made geniuses who deserve veneration. But we don’t have to believe that
2022-09-23T18:54:34+00:00
America’s False Idols | Today’s tech billionaires think they’re self-made geniuses who deserve veneration. But we don’t have to believe that submitted by /u/Hrmbee
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Match ID: 50 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 0 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Starlink is getting a lot slower as more people use it, speed tests show
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 17:57:20 +0000
Starlink capacity limits hit users—SpaceX says more satellites will make it faster.
Match ID: 51 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Google will start assimilating Fitbit accounts next year
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 17:23:56 +0000
At first it's optional, but Fitbit accounts will be shut down in 2025.
Match ID: 52 Score: 25.00 source: arstechnica.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Oklahoma Lawmaker Calls for Investigation of Prosecutors Who Convicted Richard Glossip
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 17:20:04 +0000

Richard Glossip faces a December execution date as Oklahoma lawmakers call attention to new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in his case.

The post Oklahoma Lawmaker Calls for Investigation of Prosecutors Who Convicted Richard Glossip appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 53 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Fracking could shake the Conservative vote | Letter
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:26:05 GMT

Tremors above magnitude 3 could be destructive – not least to the Tory party if people’s houses start crumbling, writes David Nowell

Having been taught seismology by Prof Peter Styles, who developed a traffic-light monitoring system in the 1980s that dramatically reduced the impact of coal mining under Swansea for local residents, I believe Jacob Rees-Mogg has a risible scientific understanding about shale gas extraction (Tory MPs angrily challenge Rees-Mogg’s fracking revival plan, 22 September). Vibrations from quarries and building sites tend not to be widespread, compared to shaking generated a few kilometres beneath an area.

The current 0·5 magnitude limit was set so tremors should not rise above 2·5, “because of the increased risk of larger magnitude events”, according to a recent British Geological Survey report. Proposing a higher limit would be reckless, as any anthropogenic tremors above 3 could prove to be destructive – not least to the Tory vote, if people’s houses start crumbling.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 54 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Respect for the war resisters in Russia | Brief letters
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:24:39 GMT

Putin’s military draft | Banking on bonuses | Rich pickings on tax | Six-pack of PMs | News for Zoe

I am disappointed that your report uses the derogatory term “draft dodgers” to describe those Russians who are taking action to avoid being forced to fight in an appalling war (‘I’d rather leave than fight’: Russians react to Putin’s draft, 21 September). They are taking this action often at great cost to themselves, risking imprisonment or exile. More respectful terms might be “war resisters” or “conscientious objectors”.
Chris Booth
Edinburgh

• Amazing how bankers need access to limitless bonuses to attract and motivate them whereas the care sector, drastically short of staff, can go whistle for a pay rise.
Howard Pilott
Lewes, East Sussex

Continue reading...
Match ID: 55 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

UPDATE: Netflix says principal accounting officer Ken Barker is resigning effective Oct. 7 after less than four months
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 16:02:39 GMT

Netflix Inc. said Friday its principal accounting officer Ken Barker has submitted his resignation effective Oct. 7, meaning he is leaving his role less than four months after taking it up. Barker, 55, joined the company on June 27 from Electronic Arts Inc. , where he was senior vice president finance. In a regulatory filing, the streaming giant said the move is a personal decision and is "not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company's financials, operations, policies, or practices." It named Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann as principal accounting officer while it conducts a search for a replacement for Barker. Shares were down 2.3% Friday and have fallen 62% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 21%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 56 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

TRE manda Facebook apagar comentários racistas contra candidato indígena no Paraná
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:35:35 +0000

Indígena da etnia Kaingang, Kretã é candidato a deputado estadual e fazia live na rede social quando foi atacado.

The post TRE manda Facebook apagar comentários racistas contra candidato indígena no Paraná appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 57 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

FedEx announces largest general rate increase in its history
2022-09-23T14:58:59+00:00
FedEx announces largest general rate increase in its history submitted by /u/geoxol
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Match ID: 58 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Google CEO Pichai tells employees not to 'equate fun with money' in heated all-hands meeting
2022-09-23T13:33:52+00:00
Google CEO Pichai tells employees not to 'equate fun with money' in heated all-hands meeting submitted by /u/hzj5790
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Match ID: 59 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Spectrum's stock is down after FDA committee voted against cancer drug
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:45:10 GMT

Shares of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. were down 22.0% in premarket trading on Friday, the day after a Food and Drug Administration committee voted 9-4 that the benefits of the company's experimental lung-cancer drug do not outweigh the risks. The FDA is not required to follow the committee's advice when deciding when to approve a new drug but often does. The regulator is expected to make its decision on or before Nov. 24. Spectrum on Friday also announced a five-year debt financing plan with SLR Capital Partners for up to $65 million. The company said the deal, along with its existing cash balance, will support the commercial launch of Roldvedon, a treatment for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia that received FDA approval this month, and fund operations through 2024. Spectrum's stock is down 49.2% this year, while the broader S&P 500 has declined 20.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 60 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Election reform, police funding and Democrats’ other priorities before the midterms
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:30:00 EDT
Democrats know their time in power could be limited to the next few months. Here's what they're trying to do before it runs out.
Match ID: 61 Score: 25.00 source: www.washingtonpost.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Mini-budget fell far short of promoting low-carbon future for UK
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 12:00:08 GMT

While not devoid of green measures, Kwarteng’s announcement was more notable for what it did not include

The chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has announced that the effective ban on onshore wind farms is to be lifted, and the poorest households will regain access to insulation and energy efficiency measures.

Polls show that onshore wind is popular, with more than 70% of people supporting it. Jess Ralston, a senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “The ban on onshore wind has been a major anomaly in British energy policy given it’s both cheap and popular with the public. So a decision to lift the ban suggests [Kwarteng] has listened to the experts and understands building more British renewables reduces our reliance on costly gas and so brings down bills.”

Continue reading...
Match ID: 62 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Leaking Screen Information on Zoom Calls through Reflections in Eyeglasses
2022-09-23T11:43:46Z

Okay, it’s an obscure threat. But people are researching it:

Our models and experimental results in a controlled lab setting show it is possible to reconstruct and recognize with over 75 percent accuracy on-screen texts that have heights as small as 10 mm with a 720p webcam.” That corresponds to 28 pt, a font size commonly used for headings and small headlines.

[…]

Being able to read reflected headline-size text isn’t quite the privacy and security problem of being able to read smaller 9 to 12 pt fonts. But this technique is expected to provide access to smaller font sizes as high-resolution webcams become more common...


Match ID: 63 Score: 25.00 source: www.schneier.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

UK environment laws under threat in ‘deregulatory free-for-all’
Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:22:34 GMT

Campaigners say revoking of post-Brexit protections amounts to legislative vandalism

Hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protections and the use of pesticides are lined up for removal from UK law under a government bill.

Environmentalists accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt the decline of nature by 2030. They say the revoking of 570 environmental laws that were rolled over from EU law after Brexit amounts to a deregulatory free-for-all leaving the environment unprotected.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 64 Score: 25.00 source: www.theguardian.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Meta Sued for Skirting Apple Privacy Rules to Snoop on Users
2022-09-23T07:02:29+00:00
Meta Sued for Skirting Apple Privacy Rules to Snoop on Users submitted by /u/use_vpn_orlozeacount
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Match ID: 65 Score: 25.00 source: www.reddit.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

PPRT: 'Você não está fazendo política se não repensa o sistema carcerário e a guerra às drogas', diz Ebony
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 21:00:11 +0000

No terceiro episódio do PPRT, Ebony fala sobre a chegada do discurso bolsonarista na favela e a necessidade de representatividade política.

The post PPRT: ‘Você não está fazendo política se não repensa o sistema carcerário e a guerra às drogas’, diz Ebony appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 66 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Yellen says inflation will come down next year
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 19:07:02 GMT

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said she believes high U.S. inflation will come down "certainly next year," but noted risks to the outlook including the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. Speaking at an event sponsored by the Atlantic, Yellen said the Federal Reserve is "clearly committed to bringing inflation down." The Fed on Wednesday delivered its third consecutive super-sized increase in interest rates and signaled more big hikes before the end of the year, as it stepped up its fight against inflation.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 67 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Norm Coleman Oversees GOP Congressional War Chest, Then Lobbies on Saudi Arabia’s Behalf
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 19:05:43 +0000

The former senator also oversees a dark-money group that pours funds into the Republican super PAC.

The post Norm Coleman Oversees GOP Congressional War Chest, Then Lobbies on Saudi Arabia’s Behalf appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 68 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Entidade acusa Jota de censurar artigo crítico à indústria farmacêutica
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 18:59:43 +0000

Site jurídico publicou uma série de artigos patrocinados por farmacêuticas defendendo a extensão de patentes, mas apagou uma crítica a eles.

The post Entidade acusa Jota de censurar artigo crítico à indústria farmacêutica appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 69 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 1 day
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Gold futures settle higher for a second session
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 17:43:44 GMT

Gold futures climbed on Thursday, with the haven precious metal finding support for a second straight session after Russia raised its war efforts in Ukraine, ordering a partial mobilization of reservists into service. Still, strength in the U.S. dollar following the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to hike interest rates by 75 basis points helped to limit gold's gains, analysts said. December gold rose $5.40, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,681.10 an ounce on Comex.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


Match ID: 70 Score: 25.00 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Fact Check: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Said Progressives Must Oppose Israeli Apartheid
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:42:08 +0000

Recent claims that Tlaib insisted progressives must reject Israel’s right to exist have been examined and found to be misinformation.

The post Fact Check: Rep. Rashida Tlaib Said Progressives Must Oppose Israeli Apartheid appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 71 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Nation Stunned to Learn Trump May Have Committed Fraud
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 16:09:06 +0000
Americans expressed shock and incredulity that one of America’s most successful and respected businessmen might have violated his own high ethical standards.
Match ID: 72 Score: 25.00 source: www.newyorker.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

There’s New Proof Crispr Can Edit Genes Inside Human Bodies
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 13:00:00 +0000
The technique had largely been limited to editing patients’ cells in the lab. New research shows promise for treating diseases more directly.
Match ID: 73 Score: 25.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Fracking ban lifted, government announces
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 12:58:12 GMT
Scientific review into fracking concludes there is still a limited understanding of impacts.
Match ID: 74 Score: 25.00 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Europe’s Heat Waves Offer a Grim Vision of the Future
Thu, 22 Sep 2022 11:00:00 +0000
Extreme temperatures are the direct result of climate change, which means more intense heat events, wildfires, and droughts to come.
Match ID: 75 Score: 25.00 source: www.wired.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

Facebook Report Concludes Company Censorship Violated Palestinian Human Rights
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 22:45:05 +0000

The report, due out tomorrow, said Facebook and Instagram showed bias against Palestinians during a brutal Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip last May.

The post Facebook Report Concludes Company Censorship Violated Palestinian Human Rights appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 76 Score: 25.00 source: theintercept.com age: 2 days
qualifiers: 25.00 mit

IAC 2022: ESA DG and astronauts meet the press
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0200
Video: 01:00:00

ESA astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Luca Parmitano, Alexander Gerst, and Matthias Maurer, together with the ESA Director General answered questions from journalists at the IAC in Paris. Andreas Mogensen joined remotely and Samantha Cristoforetti connected directly from the the International Space Station.


Match ID: 77 Score: 21.43 source: www.esa.int age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

Automatic Cheating Detection in Human Racing
2022-09-21T11:35:38Z

This is a fascinating glimpse of the future of automatic cheating detection in sports:

Maybe you heard about the truly insane false-start controversy in track and field? Devon Allen—a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles—was disqualified from the 110-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships a few weeks ago for a false start.

Here’s the problem: You can’t see the false start. Nobody can see the false start. By sight, Allen most definitely does not leave before the gun.

But here’s the thing: World Athletics has determined that it is not possible for someone to push off the block within a tenth of a second of the gun without false starting. They have science that shows it is beyond human capabilities to react that fast. Of course there are those (I’m among them) who would tell you that’s nonsense, that’s pseudoscience, there’s no way that they can limit human capabilities like that. There is science that shows it is humanly impossible to hit a fastball. There was once science that showed human beings could not run a four-minute mile...


Match ID: 78 Score: 21.43 source: www.schneier.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

The Joy and Dread of AI Image Generators Without Limits
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:00:00 +0000
Artists are free to create fantasies or nightmares with unrestricted image generator Stable Diffusion, but some fear a flood of AI-made horrors.
Match ID: 79 Score: 21.43 source: www.wired.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

Candidatas chegam na reta final das eleições com muita força de vontade e nenhum dinheiro
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 10:05:42 +0000

Candidaturas femininas são largadas na beira da estrada pelos partidos políticos – e terminam as campanhas endividadas.

The post Candidatas chegam na reta final das eleições com muita força de vontade e nenhum dinheiro appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 80 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

No Way Home, Episode Four: Getting Out Alive
Wed, 21 Sep 2022 10:00:37 +0000

After a year in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, one family gets an unexpected chance to leave.

The post No Way Home, Episode Four: Getting Out Alive appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 81 Score: 21.43 source: theintercept.com age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

Climate Change is NSF Engineering Alliance’s Top Research Priority
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 20:00:00 +0000


Since its launch in April 2021, the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance has convened a diverse set of experts to explore three areas in which fundamental research could have the most impact: climate change; the nexus of biology and engineering; and securing critical infrastructure against hackers.

To identify priorities for each theme, ERVA—an initiative funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation—holds what are termed visioning events, wherein IEEE members and hundreds of other experts from academia, industry, and nonprofits can conceptualize bold ideas. The results are distilled into reports that identify actionable priorities for engineering research pursuit. Reports from recent visioning events are slated to be released to the public in the next few months.


IEEE is one of more than 20 professional engineering societies that have joined ERVA as affiliate partners.

Research energy storage and greenhouse gas capture solutions

Identifying technologies to address the climate crisis was ERVA’s first theme. The theme was based on results of a survey ERVA conducted last year of the engineering community about what the research priorities should be.

“The resounding answer from the 500 respondents was climate change,” says Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, EVRA’s principal investigator. She is a vice president for knowledge enterprise at Ohio State University, in Columbus.

During the virtual visioning event in December, experts explored solar and renewable energy, carbon sequestration, water management, and geoengineering. The climate change task force released its report last month.

These are some of the research areas ERVA said should be pursued:

  • Energy storage, transmission, and critical materials. The materials include those that are nanoengineered, ones that could be used for nontraditional energy storage, and those that can extract additional energy from heat cycles.
  • Greenhouse gas capture and elimination. Research priorities included capturing and eliminating methane and nitrous oxide released in agriculture operations.
  • Resilient, energy-efficient, and healthful infrastructure. One identified priority was research to develop low-cost coatings for buildings and roads to reduce heat effects and increase self-cooling.
  • Water, ecosystem, and geoengineering assessments. The report identifies research in creating sensing, measuring, and AI models to analyze the flow of water to ensure its availability during droughts and other disruptive events caused or worsened by climate change.

“The groundwork ERVA has laid out in this report creates a blueprint for funders to invest in,” Grejner-Brzezinska says, “and catalyzes engineering research for a more secure and sustainable world. As agencies and research organizations enact legislation to reduce carbon emissions and bolster clean-energy technologies, engineering is poised to lead with research and development.”

IEEE is developing a strategy to guide the organization’s response to the global threat.

Use biology and engineering to interrupt the transfer of viruses

A virtual visioning event on Leveraging Biology to Power Engineering Impact was held in March. The hope, as explained on the event’s website, is to transform research where biology and engineering intersect: health care and medicine, agriculture, and high tech.

“As agencies and research organizations enact legislation to reduce carbon emissions and bolster clean-energy technologies, engineering is poised to lead with research and development.”

The experts considered research directions in three areas: Use biology to inspire engineers to develop new components, adapt and adopt biological constructs beyond their original function, and create engineering systems and components that improve on biology. An example would be to interrupt the transfer of viruses from one species to another so as to reduce the spread of diseases.

The task force’s report on which research areas to pursue is scheduled to be released next month, according to Grejner-Brzezinska.

Protect infrastructure from hackers

One of today’s main engineering challenges, according to ERVA, is the protection of infrastructure against hackers and other threats. At the in-person visioning event held last month at MIT on the Engineering R&D Solutions for Unhackable Infrastructure theme, researchers discussed gaps in security technologies and looked at how to design trustworthy systems and how to build resilience into interdependent infrastructures.

ERVA describes unhackable as the ability to ensure safety, security, and trust in essential systems and services that society relies on.

The task force examined research themes related to physical infrastructure such as assets and hardware; software and algorithms; and data and communication networks. It also considered new security methods for users, operators, and security administrators to thwart cyberattacks.

Grejner-Brzezinska says the task force’s report will be released in mid-December.

Sustainable transportation networks

Planning has begun for the next visioning event, Sustainable Transportation Networks, to be held virtually on 2 and 3 November. The session is to explore innovative and sustainable transportation modes and the infrastructure networks needed to support them. Some of the areas to be discussed are green construction; longitudinal impact studies; interconnected transportation modes such as rail, marine, and air transport; and transportation equity.

Become an ERVA supporter

ERVA will convene four visioning events each year on broad engineering research themes that have the potential to solve societal challenges, Grejner-Brzezinska says. IEEE members who are experts in the fields can get involved by joining the ERVA Champions, now more than 900 strong. They are among the first to learn about upcoming visioning sessions and about openings to serve on volunteer groups such as thematic task forces, advisory boards, and standing councils. Members can sign up on the ERVA website.

“Becoming a champion is an opportunity to break out of your silos of disciplines and really come together with others in the engineering research community,” Grejner-Brzezinska says. “You can do what engineers do best: solve problems.”


Match ID: 82 Score: 21.43 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 3 days
qualifiers: 21.43 mit

NASA Pursues Astronaut Lunar Landers for Future Artemis Moon Missions
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 15:03 EDT
NASA is seeking proposals for sustainable lunar lander development and demonstration as the agency works toward a regular cadence of Moon landings.
Match ID: 83 Score: 18.57 source: www.nasa.gov age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa

NASA to Televise Artemis I Demonstration Test, Host Media Call
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 14:56 EDT
NASA will provide live coverage with commentary of the upcoming Artemis I cryogenic demonstration test beginning at 7:15 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Match ID: 84 Score: 18.57 source: www.nasa.gov age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa

NASA Sets TV Coverage for Crewed Soyuz Mission to Space Station
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 14:30 EDT
NASA will provide live coverage of key events as a NASA astronaut and two cosmonauts launch and dock to the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Match ID: 85 Score: 18.57 source: www.nasa.gov age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa

Video Friday: Loona
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 18:19:52 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!


Another robotic pet on Kickstarter, another bunting of red flags.

Let's see, we've got: "she's so playful and affectionate you'll forget she's a robot." "Everything you can dream of in a best friend and more." "Get ready to fall in love!" And that's literally like the first couple of tiles on the Kickstarter post. Look, the hardware seems fine, and there is a lot of expressiveness going on, I just wish they didn't set you up for an inevitable disappointment when after a couple of weeks it becomes apparent that yes, this is just a robotic toy, and will never be your best friend (or more).

Loona is currently on Kickstarter for about USD $300.

[ Kickstarter ]

Inspired by the flexibility and resilience of dragonfly wings, we propose a novel design for a biomimetic drone propeller called Tombo propeller. Here, we report on the design and fabrication process of this biomimetic propeller that can accommodate collisions and recover quickly, while maintaining sufficient thrust force to hover and fly.

[ JAIST ]

Thanks Van!

Meet Tom, a software engineer at Boston Dynamics, as he shares insights on programming and testing the practical—and impractical—applications of robotics. Whether Spot is conducting inspections or playing an instrument, learn how we go from code on a computer to actions in the real world.

Yeah, but where do I get that awesome shirt?!

[ Boston Dynamics ]

This Ameca demo couples automated speech recognition with GPT 3 —a large language model that generates meaningful answers—the output is fed to an online TTS service which generates the voice and visemes for lip sync timing. The team at Engineered Arts Ltd. pose the questions.

"Meaningful answers."

[ Engineered Arts ]

The ANT project develops a navigation and motion control system for future walking systems for planetary exploration. After successful testing on ramps and rubble fields, the challenge of climbing rough inclines such as craters is being tackled.

[ DFKI ]

Look, if you’re going to crate-train Spot, at least put some blankets and stuffed animals in there or something.

[ Energy Robotics ]

With multitrade layout, all trades’ layouts are set down with a single pass over the floor by Dusty's FieldPrinter system. Trades experience unparalleled clarity and communication with each other, because they can see each others’ installation plans and immediately identify and resolve conflicts. Instead of fighting over the floor and pointing fingers, they start to solve problems together.

[ Dusty Robotics ]

We present QUaRTM—a novel quadcopter design capable of tilting the propellers into the forward flight direction, which reduces the drag area and therefore allows for faster, more agile, and more efficient flight.

[ HiPeRLab ]

Is there an option in the iRobot app to turn my Roomba into a cake? Because I want cake.

[ iRobot ]

Looks like SoftBank is getting into high-density robotic logistics.

[ Impress ]

GITAI S2 ground test for space debris removal. During this demonstration, a tool changer was also tested to perform several different tasks at OSAM.

[ GITAI ]

Recent advances allow for the automation of food preparation in high-throughput environments, yet the successful deployment of these robots requires the planning and execution of quick, robust, and ultimately collision-free behaviors. In this work, we showcase a novel framework for modifying previously generated trajectories of robotic manipulators in highly detailed and dynamic collision environments.

[ Paper ]

The LCT Hospital in South Korea uses “Dr. LCT” for robotic-based orthopedic knee procedures. The system is based on the KUKA LBR Med robotic platform, which is ideally suited for orthopedic surgery with its seven axes, software developed specifically for medical technology, and appropriate safety measures.

[ Kuka ]

A year in review. Compilation of 2022 video highlights of the Game Changing Development (GCD) Program. The Game Changing Development Program is a part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The program advances space technologies that may lead to entirely new approaches for the agency’s future space missions and provide solutions to significant national needs.

[ NASA ]

Naomi Wu reviews a Diablo mobile robot (with some really cool customizations of her own), sending it out to run errands in Shenzhen during lockdown.

[ Naomi Wu ]

Roundtable discussion on how teaching automation in schools, colleges, and universities can help shape the workers of tomorrow. ABB Robotics has put together a panel of experts in this field to discuss the challenges and opportunities.

[ ABB ]

On 8 September 2022, Mario Santillo of Ford talked to robotics students as the first speaker in the Undergraduate Robotics Pathways & Careers Speaker Series, which aims to answer the question “What can I do with a robotics degree?”

[ Michigan Robotics ]


Match ID: 86 Score: 18.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 7 days
qualifiers: 18.57 nasa

Israeli Forces Deliberately Killed Palestinian American Journalist, Report Shows
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 17:11:53 +0000

A new forensic analysis proves that an Israeli sniper could see that Shireen Abu Akleh was a journalist before firing the bullet that killed her.

The post Israeli Forces Deliberately Killed Palestinian American Journalist, Report Shows appeared first on The Intercept.


Match ID: 87 Score: 17.86 source: theintercept.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

California’s Proposed Law Could Change the Internet
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 16:00:00 +0000


Today, for better or worse, the Internet is a rather free range for children. Websites ask their users’ ages, sure. But virtually anyone who came of age around the rise of the Internet can probably relate a time or 20 when they gave a false birthdate.

A California law now in the works might bring that world to a crashing halt.

AB 2273, or the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, promises to make the Internet safer for children—in part by tightening age verification. Its opponents instead believe that, in the process, AB 2273 could completely decimate the existing Internet as we know it.


AB 2273 isn’t final just yet. To become California law, a bill has to pass both houses of the state legislature—the Assembly and the Senate—and then attain the signature of the governor. AB 2273 passed the Assembly on 29 August, and the Senate the next day, posting it to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. As of this writing, Newsom has yet to sign the bill. There’s little indication whether he will.

Suppose he does sign. Then, beginning on 1 July 2024, any website or app that “conducts business in California” and “provides an online service, product, or feature likely to be accessed by children” would need to follow yet-to-be-crafted code.

California wouldn’t be the first jurisdiction to tighten age-related design standards for websites. AB 2273 explicitly cites an existing law in the United Kingdom, which expects websites to comply with a bespoke age-appropriate design code. (In fact, both bills share a backer, one Baroness Beeban Kidron, a campaigner for children’s rights online.)

That U.K. law has already made ripples. YouTube disabled its autoplay feature for users under 18. Instagram started preventing adults from messaging under-18s who don’t follow them. TikTok stopped sending under-18s push notifications after a certain point each evening.

But according to Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University and one of the bill’s harshest critics, in a U.S. regulatory environment that’s generally even less friendly to businesses, California’s code is likely to be stricter. “Any ‘lessons learned’ in the U.K. do not extend to the U.S. because the law literally cannot be implemented in the same way,” he says.

What does California’s AB 2273 require tech companies to do?

Though California’s code doesn’t yet exist, AB 2273 lays out a few requirements. For one, websites must report their data-management practices to a California government agency. Also, websites can’t collect or sell data on children (including geolocation) that isn’t absolutely necessary for children to use the website. And websites must tell a child when a parent or guardian is tracking their activity on that site.

Where AB 2273 becomes more than a little controversial is the requirement that, to determine which users ought to experience what, websites must “estimate the age of child users with a reasonable level of certainty.”

“Assuming businesses do not want to intentionally degrade their value proposition to adults, then they have no alternative other than to authenticate the age of all of their customers and then segregate adults from children, with different offerings for each,” says Goldman.

How a website will “estimate the age of child users” isn’t clear, and according to Techdirt, it might vary by website. A child entering a “high-risk” website, then, might need to submit an ID document for age verification. That failing, a child might literally have to scan their face. Not only is face recognition a technology whose reliability is questionable, mandating it could make websites inaccessible to people without a functioning camera.

And although the law champions privacy, it’s not clear that authentication along those lines could even be done in a privacy-conscious manner. Goldman says that websites might rely on insecure third-party services.

If AB 2273 passes, then its effects could spread well beyond the state’s borders. Websites will be left with two options: geolocating users in California (perhaps blocking them completely, potentially risking revenue), or applying the rules to all their users. Many websites will just find it easier to do the latter.

Then around the world, users might have to face the same age-authentication gauntlet that Californians would. And, according to Goldman, other jurisdictions might take after California in drafting their own laws.

Some of AB 2273’s sponsors and defenders see the bill as a necessary measure in a world where children are vulnerable to dangers like manipulative websites, invasive apps, and social-media addiction.

But from many corners, the reaction has been less than positive. AB 2273 has garnered a wide range of opponents, including privacy advocates and big tech. Santa Clara’s Goldman likens the law to a neutron bomb. “It will depopulate the Internet and turn many services into ghost towns,” he says.

Of course, this is all still hypothetical. For now, the bill awaits Governor Newsom’s signature. Even if that happens, AB 2273 is hardly immune to lawsuits. NetChoice—an advocacy group that has helped take other laws passed in Florida and Texas to court—has already come out against the bill.
Match ID: 88 Score: 17.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Credit Card Fraud That Bypasses 2FA
2022-09-20T11:29:41Z

Someone in the UK is stealing smartphones and credit cards from people who have stored them in gym lockers, and is using the two items in combination to commit fraud:

Phones, of course, can be made inaccessible with the use of passwords and face or fingerprint unlocking. And bank cards can be stopped.

But the thief has a method which circumnavigates those basic safety protocols.

Once they have the phone and the card, they register the card on the relevant bank’s app on their own phone or computer. Since it is the first time that card will have been used on the new device, a one-off security passcode is demanded...


Match ID: 89 Score: 17.86 source: www.schneier.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

Ukraine war to take centre stage at UN as west and Russia vie for support
Tue, 20 Sep 2022 05:00:03 GMT

General assembly is expected to see fresh tussles over future of Ukraine, as well as famine and climate crisis threats in global south

The UN general assembly summit this week will be dominated by a struggle – between the US and its allies on one side and Russia on the other – for global support over the fate of Ukraine, as the global south fights to stop the conflict from overshadowing the existential threats of famine and the climate crisis.

With a return to fully in-person general debate, presidents and prime ministers will be converging on New York, many of them direct from London, where the diplomacy got under way on the sidelines of the Queen’s funeral.

Continue reading...
Match ID: 90 Score: 17.86 source: www.theguardian.com age: 4 days
qualifiers: 17.86 mit

NASA’s Artemis I Revives the Moonshot
Sun, 28 Aug 2022 13:00:00 +0000



Update 5 Sept.: For now, NASA’s giant Artemis I remains on the ground after two launch attempts scrubbed by a hydrogen leak and a balky engine sensor. Mission managers say Artemis will fly when everything's ready—but haven't yet specified whether that might be in late September or in mid-October.

“When you look at the rocket, it looks almost retro,” said Bill Nelson, the administrator of NASA. “Looks like we’re looking back toward the Saturn V. But it’s a totally different, new, highly sophisticated—more sophisticated—rocket, and spacecraft.”

Artemis, powered by the Space Launch System rocket, is America’s first attempt to send astronauts to the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, and technology has taken giant leaps since then. On Artemis I, the first test flight, mission managers say they are taking the SLS, with its uncrewed Orion spacecraft up top, and “stressing it beyond what it is designed for”—the better to ensure safe flights when astronauts make their first landings, currently targeted to begin with Artemis III in 2025.

But Nelson is right: The rocket is retro in many ways, borrowing heavily from the space shuttles America flew for 30 years, and from the Apollo-Saturn V.

Much of Artemis’s hardware is refurbished: Its four main engines, and parts of its two strap-on boosters, all flew before on shuttle missions. The rocket’s apricot color comes from spray-on insulation much like the foam on the shuttle’s external tank. And the large maneuvering engine in Orion’s service module is actually 40 years old—used on 19 space shuttle flights between 1984 and 1992.

“I have a name for missions that use too much new technology—failures.”
—John Casani, NASA

Perhaps more important, the project inherits basic engineering from half a century of spaceflight. Just look at Orion’s crew capsule—a truncated cone, somewhat larger than the Apollo Command Module but conceptually very similar.

Old, of course, does not mean bad. NASA says there is no need to reinvent things engineers got right the first time.

“There are certain fundamental aspects of deep-space exploration that are really independent of money,” says Jim Geffre, Orion vehicle-integration manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The laws of physics haven’t changed since the 1960s. And capsule shapes happen to be really good for coming back into the atmosphere at Mach 32.”

Roger Launius, who served as NASA’s chief historian from 1990 to 2002 and as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution from then until 2017, tells of a conversation he had with John Casani, a veteran NASA engineer who managed the Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini probes to the outer planets.

“I have a name for missions that use too much new technology,” he recalls Casani saying. “Failures.”

The Artemis I flight is slated for about six weeks. (Apollo 11 lasted eight days.) The ship roughly follows Apollo’s path to the moon’s vicinity, but then puts itself in what NASA calls a distant retrograde orbit. It swoops within 110 kilometers of the lunar surface for a gravity assist, then heads 64,000 km out—taking more than a month but using less fuel than it would in closer orbits. Finally, it comes home, reentering the Earth’s atmosphere at 11 km per second, slowing itself with a heatshield and parachutes, and splashing down in the Pacific not far from San Diego.

If all four, quadruply redundant flight computer modules fail, there is a fifth, entirely separate computer onboard, running different code to get the spacecraft home.

“That extra time in space,” says Geffre, “allows us to operate the systems, give more time in deep space, and all those things that stress it, like radiation and micrometeoroids, thermal environments.”

There are, of course, newer technologies on board. Orion is controlled by two vehicle-management computers, each composed of two flight computer modules (FCMs) to handle guidance, navigation, propulsion, communications, and other systems. The flight control system, Geffre points out, is quad-redundant; if at any point one of the four FCMs disagrees with the others, it will take itself offline and, in a 22-second process, reset itself to make sure its outputs are consistent with the others’. If all four FCMs fail, there is a fifth, entirely separate computer running different code to get the spacecraft home.

Guidance and navigation, too, have advanced since the sextant used on Apollo. Orion uses a star tracker to determine its attitude, imaging stars and comparing them to an onboard database. And an optical navigation camera shoots Earth and the moon so that guidance software can determine their distance and position and keep the spacecraft on course. NASA says it’s there as backup, able to get Orion to a safe splashdown even if all communication with Earth has been lost.

But even those systems aren’t entirely new. Geffre points out that the guidance system’s architecture is derived from the Boeing 787. Computing power in deep space is limited by cosmic radiation, which can corrupt the output of microprocessors beyond the protection of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field.

Beyond that is the inevitable issue of cost. Artemis is a giant project, years behind schedule, started long before NASA began to buy other launches from companies like SpaceX and Rocket Lab. NASA’s inspector general, Paul Martin, testified to Congress in March that the first four Artemis missions would cost US $4.1 billion each—“a price tag that strikes us as unsustainable.”

Launius, for one, rejects the argument that government is inherently wasteful. “Yes, NASA’s had problems in managing programs in the past. Who hasn’t?” he says. He points out that Blue Origin and SpaceX have had plenty of setbacks of their own—they’re just not obliged to be public about them. “I could go on and on. It’s not a government thing per se and it’s not a NASA thing per se.”

So why return to the moon with—please forgive the pun—such a retro rocket? Partly, say those who watch Artemis closely, because it’s become too big to fail, with so much American money and brainpower invested in it. Partly because it turns NASA’s astronauts outward again, exploring instead of maintaining a space station. Partly because new perspectives could come of it. And partly because China and Russia have ambitions in space that threaten America’s.

“Apollo was a demonstration of technological verisimilitude—to the whole world,” says Launius. “And the whole world knew then, as they know today, that the future belongs to the civilization that can master science and technology.”

Update 7 Sept.: Artemis I has been on launchpad 39B, not 39A as previously reported, at Kennedy Space Center.


Match ID: 91 Score: 15.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 27 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

Inside the Universe Machine: The Webb Space Telescope’s Staggering Vision
Wed, 06 Jul 2022 13:00:00 +0000


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

“Build something that will absolutely, positively work.” This was the mandate from NASA for designing and building the James Webb Space Telescope—at 6.5 meters wide the largest space telescope in history. Last December, JWST launched famously and successfully to its observing station out beyond the moon. And now according to NASA, as soon as next week, the JWST will at long last begin releasing scientific images and data.

Mark Kahan, on JWST’s product integrity team, recalls NASA’s engineering challenge as a call to arms for a worldwide team of thousands that set out to create one of the most ambitious scientific instruments in human history. Kahan—chief electro-optical systems engineer at Mountain View, Calif.–based Synopsys—and many others in JWST’s “pit crew” (as he calls the team) drew hard lessons from three decades ago, having helped repair another world-class space telescope with a debilitating case of flawed optics. Of course the Hubble Space Telescope is in low Earth orbit, and so a special space-shuttle mission to install corrective optics ( as happened in 1993) was entirely possible.

Not so with the JWST.

The meticulous care NASA demanded of JWST’s designers is all the more a necessity because Webb is well out of reach of repair crews. Its mission is to study the infrared universe, and that requires shielding the telescope and its sensors from both the heat of sunlight and the infrared glow of Earth. A good place to do that without getting too far from Earth is an empty patch of interplanetary space 1.5 million kilometers away (well beyond the moon’s orbit) near a spot physicists call the second Lagrange point, or L2.

The pit crew’s job was “down at the detail level, error checking every critical aspect of the optical design,” says Kahan. Having learned the hard way from Hubble, the crew insisted that every measurement on Webb’s optics be made in at least two different ways that could be checked and cross-checked. Diagnostics were built into the process, Kahan says, so that “you could look at them to see what to kick” to resolve any discrepancies. Their work had to be done on the ground, but their tests had to assess how the telescope would work in deep space at cryogenic temperatures.

Three New Technologies for the Main Mirror

Superficially, Webb follows the design of all large reflecting telescopes. A big mirror collects light from stars, galaxies, nebulae, planets, comets, and other astronomical objects—and then focuses those photons onto a smaller secondary mirror that sends it to a third mirror that then ultimately directs the light to instruments that record images and spectra.

Webb’s 6.5-meter primary mirror is the first segmented mirror to be launched into space. All the optics had to be made on the ground at room temperature but were deployed in space and operated at 30 to 55 degrees above absolute zero. “We had to develop three new technologies” to make it work, says Lee D. Feinberg of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the optical telescope element manager for Webb for the past 20 years.

The longest wavelengths that Hubble has to contend with were 2.5 micrometers, whereas Webb is built to observe infrared light that stretches to 28 μm in wavelength. Compared with Hubble, whose primary mirror is a circle of an area 4.5 square meters, “[Webb’s primary mirror] had to be 25 square meters,” says Feinberg. Webb also “needed segmented mirrors that were lightweight, and its mass was a huge consideration,” he adds. No single-component mirror that could provide the required resolution would have fit on the Ariane 5 rocket that launched JWST. That meant the mirror would have to be made in pieces, assembled, folded, secured to withstand the stress of launch, then unfolded and deployed in space to create a surface that was within tens of nanometers of the shape specified by the designers.

Images of the James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope to scale, compared to a human figure, who is dwarfed by their size The James Webb Space Telescope [left] and the Hubble Space Telescope side by side—with Hubble’s 2.4-meter-diameter mirror versus Webb’s array of hexagonal mirrors making a 6.5-meter-diameter light-collecting area. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA and the U.S. Air Force, which has its own interests in large lightweight space mirrors for surveillance and focusing laser energy, teamed up to develop the technology. The two agencies narrowed eight submitted proposals down to two approaches for building JWST’s mirrors: one based on low-expansion glass made of a mixture of silicon and titanium dioxides similar to that used in Hubble and the other the light but highly toxic metal beryllium. The most crucial issue came down to how well the materials could withstand temperature changes from room temperature on the ground to around 50 K in space. Beryllium won because it could fully release stress after cooling without changing its shape, and it’s not vulnerable to the cracking that can occur in glass. The final beryllium mirror was a 6.5-meter array of 18 hexagonal beryllium mirrors, each weighing about 20 kilograms. The weight per unit area of JWST’s mirror was only 10 percent of that in Hubble. A 100-nanometer layer of pure gold makes the surface reflect 98 percent of incident light from JWST’s main observing band of 0.6 to 28.5 μm. “Pure silver has slightly higher reflectivity than pure gold, but gold is more robust,” says Feinberg. A thin layer of amorphous silica protects the metal film from surface damage.

In addition, a wavefront-sensing control system keeps mirror segment surfaces aligned to within tens of nanometers. Built on the ground, the system is expected to keep mirror alignment stabilized throughout the telescope’s operational life. A backplane kept at a temperature of 35 K holds all 2.4 tonnes of the telescope and instruments rock-steady to within 32 nm while maintaining them at cryogenic temperatures during observations.

Metal superstructure of cages and supports stands on a giant platform in a warehouse-sized clean-room. A man in a cleanroom suit watches the operations. The JWST backplane, the “spine” that supports the entire hexagonal mirror structure and carries more than 2,400 kg of hardware, is readied for assembly to the rest of the telescope. NASA/Chris Gunn

Hubble’s amazing, long-exposure images of distant galaxies are possible through the use of gyroscopes and reaction wheels. The gyroscopes are used to sense unwanted rotations, and reaction wheels are used to counteract them.

But the gyroscopes used on Hubble have had a bad track record and have had to be replaced repeatedly. Only three of Hubble’s six gyros remain operational today, and NASA has devised plans for operating with one or two gyros at reduced capability. Hubble also includes reaction wheels and magnetic torquers, used to maintain its orientation when needed or to point at different parts of the sky.

Webb uses reaction wheels similarly to turn across the sky, but instead of using mechanical gyros to sense direction, it uses hemispherical resonator gyroscopes, which have no moving parts. Webb also has a small fine-steering mirror in the optical path, which can tilt over an angle of just 5 arc seconds. Those very fine adjustments of the light path into the instruments keep the telescope on target. “It’s a really wonderful way to go,” says Feinberg, adding that it compensates for small amounts of jitter without having to move the whole 6-tonne observatory.

Instruments

Other optics distribute light from the fine-steering mirror among four instruments, two of which can observe simultaneously. Three instruments have sensors that observe wavelengths of 0.6 to 5 μm, which astronomers call the near-infrared. The fourth, called the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), observes what astronomers call the mid-infrared spectrum, from 5 to 28.5 μm. Different instruments are needed because sensors and optics have limited wavelength ranges. (Optical engineers may blanch slightly at astronomers’ definitions of what constitutes the near- and mid-infrared wavelength ranges. These two groups simply have differing conventions for labeling the various regimes of the infrared spectrum.)

Mid-infrared wavelengths are crucial for observing young stars and planetary systems and the earliest galaxies, but they also pose some of the biggest engineering challenges. Namely, everything on Earth and planets out to Jupiter glow in the mid-infrared. So for JWST to observe distant astronomical objects, it must avoid recording extraneous mid-infrared noise from all the various sources inside the solar system. “I have spent my whole career building instruments for wavelengths of 5 μm and longer,” says MIRI instrument scientist Alistair Glasse of the Royal Observatory, in Edinburgh. “We’re always struggling against thermal background.”

Mountaintop telescopes can see the near-infrared, but observing the mid-infrared sky requires telescopes in space. However, the thermal radiation from Earth and its atmosphere can cloud their view, and so can the telescopes themselves unless they are cooled far below room temperature. An ample supply of liquid helium and an orbit far from Earth allowed the Spitzer Space Telescope’s primary observing mission to last for five years, but once the last of the cryogenic fluid evaporated in 2009, its observations were limited to wavelengths shorter than 5 μm.

Webb has an elaborate solar shield to block sunlight, and an orbit 1.5 million km from Earth that can keep the telescope to below 55 K, but that’s not good enough for low-noise observations at wavelengths longer than 5 μm. The near-infrared instruments operate at 40 K to minimize thermal noise. But for observations out to 28.5 μm, MIRI uses a specially developed closed-cycle, helium cryocooler to keep MIRI cooled below 7 K. “We want to have sensitivity limited by the shot noise of astronomical sources,” says Glasse. (Shot noise occurs when optical or electrical signals are so feeble that each photon or electron constitutes a detectable peak.) That will make MIRI 1,000 times as sensitive in the mid-infrared as Spitzer.

Another challenge is the limited transparency of optical materials in the mid-infrared. “We use reflective optics wherever possible,” says Glasse, but they also pose problems, he adds. “Thermal contraction is a big deal,” he says, because the instrument was made at room temperature but is used at 7 K. To keep thermal changes uniform throughout MIRI, they made the whole structure of gold-coated aluminum lest other metals cause warping.

Detectors are another problem. Webb’s near-infrared sensors use mercury cadmium telluride photodetectors with a resolution of 2,048 x 2,048 pixels. This resolution is widely used at wavelengths below 5 μm, but sensing at MIRI’s longer wavelengths required exotic detectors that are limited to offering only 1,024 x 1,024 pixels.

Glasse says commissioning “has gone incredibly well.” Although some stray light has been detected, he says, “we are fully expecting to meet all our science goals.”

NIRCam Aligns the Whole Telescope

The near-infrared detectors and optical materials used for observing at wavelengths shorter than 5 μm are much more mature than those for the mid-infrared, so the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) does double duty by both recording images and aligning all the optics in the whole telescope. That alignment was the trickiest part of building the instrument, says NIRCam principal investigator Marcia Rieke of the University of Arizona.

Alignment means getting all the light collected by the primary mirror to get to the right place in the final image. That’s crucial for Webb, because it has 18 separate segments that have to overlay their images perfectly in the final image, and because all those segments were built on the ground at room temperature but operate at cryogenic temperatures in space at zero gravity. When NASA recorded a test image of a single star after Webb first opened its primary mirror, it showed 18 separate bright spots, one from each segment. When alignment was completed on 11 March, the image from NIRcam showed a single star with six spikes caused by diffraction.

Image of a star with six-pointed spikes caused by diffraction Even when performing instrumental calibration tasks, JWST couldn’t help but showcase its stunning sensitivity to the infrared sky. The central star is what telescope technicians used to align JWST’s mirrors. But notice the distant galaxies and stars that photobombed the image too!NASA/STScI

Building a separate alignment system would have added to both the weight and cost of Webb, Rieke realized, and in the original 1995 plan for the telescope she proposed designing NIRCam so it could align the telescope optics once it was up in space as well as record images. “The only real compromise was that it required NIRCam to have exquisite image quality,” says Rieke, wryly. From a scientific point, she adds, using the instrument to align the telescope optics “is great because you know you’re going to have good image quality and it’s going to be aligned with you.” Alignment might be just a tiny bit off for other instruments. In the end, it took a team at Lockheed Martin to develop the computational tools to account for all the elements of thermal expansion.

Escalating costs and delays had troubled Webb for years. But for Feinberg, “commissioning has been a magical five months.” It began with the sight of sunlight hitting the mirrors. The segmented mirror deployed smoothly, and after the near-infrared cameras cooled, the mirrors focused one star into 18 spots, then aligned them to put the spots on top of each other. “Everything had to work to get it to [focus] that well,” he says. It’s been an intense time, but for Feinberg, a veteran of the Hubble repair mission, commissioning Webb was “a piece of cake.”

NASA announced that between May 23rd and 25th, one segment of the primary mirror had been dinged by a micrometeorite bigger than the agency had expected when it analyzed the potential results of such impacts. “Things do degrade over time,” Feinberg said. But he added that Webb had been engineered to minimize damage, and NASA said the event had not affected Webb’s operation schedule.

Corrections 26-28 July 2022: The story was updated a) to reflect the fact that the Lagrange point L2 where Webb now orbits is not that of the "Earth-moon system" (as the story had originally reported) but rather the Earth-sun system
and b) to correct misstatements in the original posting about Webb's hardware for controlling its orientation.

Corrections 12 Aug. 2022: Alistair Glasse's name was incorrectly spelled in a previous version of this story, as was NIRCam (which we'd spelled as NIRcam); Webb's tertiary mirror (we'd originally reported only its primary and secondary mirrors) was also called out in this version.

This article appears in the September 2022 print issue as “Inside the Universe Machine.”


Match ID: 92 Score: 15.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 80 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

U.N. Kills Any Plans to Use Mercury as a Rocket Propellant
Tue, 19 Apr 2022 18:00:01 +0000


A recent United Nations provision has banned the use of mercury in spacecraft propellant. Although no private company has actually used mercury propellant in a launched spacecraft, the possibility was alarming enough—and the dangers extreme enough—that the ban was enacted just a few years after one U.S.-based startup began toying with the idea. Had the company gone through with its intention to sell mercury propellant thrusters to some of the companies building massive satellite constellations over the coming decade, it would have resulted in Earth’s upper atmosphere being laced with mercury.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. It’s also bio-accumulative, which means it’s absorbed by the body at a faster rate than the body can remove it. The most common way to get mercury poisoning is through eating contaminated seafood. “It’s pretty nasty,” says Michael Bender, the international coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG). “Which is why this is one of the very few instances where the governments of the world came together pretty much unanimously and ratified a treaty.”

Bender is referring to the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, a U.N. treaty named for a city in Japan whose residents suffered from mercury poisoning from a nearby chemical factory for decades. Because mercury pollutants easily find their way into the oceans and the atmosphere, it’s virtually impossible for one country to prevent mercury poisoning within its borders. “Mercury—it’s an intercontinental pollutant,” Bender says. “So it required a global treaty.”

Today, the only remaining permitted uses for mercury are in fluorescent lighting and dental amalgams, and even those are being phased out. Mercury is otherwise found as a by-product of other processes, such as the burning of coal. But then a company hit on the idea to use it as a spacecraft propellant.

In 2018, an employee at Apollo Fusion approached the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nonprofit that investigates environmental misconduct in the United States. The employee—who has remained anonymous—alleged that the Mountain View, Calif.–based space startup was planning to build and sell thrusters that used mercury propellant to multiple companies building low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations.

Four industry insiders ultimately confirmed that Apollo Fusion was building thrusters that utilized mercury propellant. Apollo Fusion, which was acquired by rocket manufacturing startup Astra in June 2021, insisted that the composition of its propellant mixture should be considered confidential information. The company withdrew its plans for a mercury propellant in April 2021. Astra declined to respond to a request for comment for this story.

Apollo Fusion wasn’t the first to consider using mercury as a propellant. NASA originally tested it in the 1960s and 1970s with two Space Electric Propulsion Tests (SERT), one of which was sent into orbit in 1970. Although the tests demonstrated mercury’s effectiveness as a propellant, the same concerns over the element’s toxicity that have seen it banned in many other industries halted its use by the space agency as well.

“I think it just sort of fell off a lot of folks’ radars,” says Kevin Bell, the staff counsel for PEER. “And then somebody just resurrected the research on it and said, ‘Hey, other than the environmental impact, this was a pretty good idea.’ It would give you a competitive advantage in what I imagine is a pretty tight, competitive market.”

That’s presumably why Apollo Fusion was keen on using it in their thrusters. Apollo Fusion as a startup emerged more or less simultaneously with the rise of massive LEO constellations that use hundreds or thousands of satellites in orbits below 2,000 kilometers to provide continual low-latency coverage. Finding a slightly cheaper, more efficient propellant for one large geostationary satellite doesn’t move the needle much. But doing the same for thousands of satellites that need to be replaced every several years? That’s a much more noticeable discount.

Were it not for mercury’s extreme toxicity, it would actually make an extremely attractive propellant. Apollo Fusion wanted to use a type of ion thruster called a Hall-effect thruster. Ion thrusters strip electrons from the atoms that make up a liquid or gaseous propellant, and then an electric field pushes the resultant ions away from the spacecraft, generating a modest thrust in the opposite direction. The physics of rocket engines means that the performance of these engines increases with the mass of the ion that you can accelerate.

Mercury is heavier than either xenon or krypton, the most commonly used propellants, meaning more thrust per expelled ion. It’s also liquid at room temperature, making it efficient to store and use. And it’s cheap—there’s not a lot of competition with anyone looking to buy mercury.

Bender says that ZMWG, alongside PEER, caught wind of Apollo Fusion marketing its mercury-based thrusters to at least three companies deploying LEO constellations—One Web, Planet Labs, and SpaceX. Planet Labs, an Earth-imaging company, has at least 200 CubeSats in low Earth orbit. One Web and SpaceX, both wireless-communication providers, have many more. One Web plans to have nearly 650 satellites in orbit by the end of 2022. SpaceX already has nearly 1,500 active satellites aloft in its Starlink constellation, with an eye toward deploying as many as 30,000 satellites before its constellation is complete. Other constellations, like Amazon’s Kuiper constellation, are also planning to deploy thousands of satellites.

In 2019, a group of researchers in Italy and the United States estimated how much of the mercury used in spacecraft propellant might find its way back into Earth’s atmosphere. They figured that a hypothetical LEO constellation of 2,000 satellites, each carrying 100 kilograms of propellant, would emit 20 tonnes of mercury every year over the course of a 10-year life span. Three quarters of that mercury, the researchers suggested, would eventually wind up in the oceans.

That amounts to 1 percent of global mercury emissions from a constellation only a fraction of the size of the one planned by SpaceX alone. And if multiple constellations adopted the technology, they would represent a significant percentage of global mercury emissions—especially, the researchers warned, as other uses of mercury are phased out as planned in the years ahead.

Fortunately, it’s unlikely that any mercury propellant thrusters will even get off the ground. Prior to the fourth meeting of the Minamata Convention, Canada, the European Union, and Norway highlighted the dangers of mercury propellant, alongside ZMWG. The provision to ban mercury usage in satellites was passed on 26 March 2022.

The question now is enforcement. “Obviously, there aren’t any U.N. peacekeepers going into space to shoot down” mercury-based satellites, says Bell. But the 137 countries, including the United States, who are party to the convention have pledged to adhere to its provisions—including the propellant ban.

The United States is notable in that list because as Bender explains, it did not ratify the Minamata Convention via the U.S. Senate but instead deposited with the U.N. an instrument of acceptance. In a 7 November 2013 statement (about one month after the original Minamata Convention was adopted), the U.S. State Department said the country would be able to fulfill its obligations “under existing legislative and regulatory authority.”

Bender says the difference is “weedy” but that this appears to mean that the U.S. government has agreed to adhere to the Minamata Convention’s provisions because it already has similar laws on the books. Except there is still no existing U.S. law or regulation banning mercury propellant. For Bender, that creates some uncertainty around compliance when the provision goes into force in 2025.

Still, with a U.S. company being the first startup to toy with mercury propellant, it might be ideal to have a stronger U.S. ratification of the Minamata Convention before another company hits on the same idea. “There will always be market incentives to cut corners and do something more dangerously,” Bell says.

Update 19 April 2022: In an email, a spokesperson for Astra stated that the company's propulsion system, the Astra Spacecraft Engine, does not use mercury. The spokesperson also stated that Astra has no plans to use mercury propellant and that the company does not have anything in orbit that uses mercury.

Updated 20 April 2022 to clarify that Apollo Fusion was building thrusters that used mercury, not that they had actually used them.


Match ID: 93 Score: 15.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 158 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

Meet the Lunar Gateway’s Robot Caretakers
Thu, 07 Apr 2022 18:40:09 +0000


An integral part of NASA’s plan to return astronauts to the moon this decade is the Lunar Gateway, a space station that will be humanity’s first permanent outpost outside of low Earth orbit. Gateway, a partnership between NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is intended to support operations on the lunar surface while also serving as a staging point for exploration to Mars.

Gateway will be significantly smaller than the International Space Station (ISS), initially consisting of just two modules with additional modules to be added over time. The first pieces of the station to reach lunar orbit will be the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) attached to the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), scheduled to launch together on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in November 2024. The relatively small size of Gateway is possible because the station won’t be crewed most of the time—astronauts may pass through for a few weeks, but the expectation is that Gateway will spend about 11 months out of the year without anyone on board.


This presents some unique challenges for Gateway. On the ISS, astronauts spend a substantial amount of time on station upkeep, but Gateway will have to keep itself functional for extended periods without any direct human assistance.

“The things that the crew does on the International Space Station will need to be handled by Gateway on its own,” explains Julia Badger, Gateway autonomy system manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “There’s also a big difference in the operational paradigm. Right now, ISS has a mission control that’s full time. With Gateway, we’re eventually expecting to have just 8 hours a week of ground operations.” The hundreds of commands that the ISS receives every day to keep it running will still be necessary on Gateway—they’ll just have to come from Gateway itself, rather than from humans back on Earth.

“It’s a new way of thinking compared to ISS. If something breaks on Gateway, we either have to be able to live with it for a certain amount of time, or we’ve got to have the ability to remotely or autonomously fix it.” —Julia Badger, NASA JSC

To make this happen, NASA is developing a vehicle system manager, or VSM, that will act like the omnipresent computer system found on virtually every science-fiction starship. The VSM will autonomously manage all of Gateway’s functionality, taking care of any problems that come up, to the extent that they can be managed with clever software and occasional input from a distant human. “It’s a new way of thinking compared to ISS,” explains Badger. “If something breaks on Gateway, we either have to be able to live with it for a certain amount of time, or we’ve got to have the ability to remotely or autonomously fix it.”

While Gateway itself can be thought of as a robot of sorts, there’s a limited amount that can be reasonably and efficiently done through dedicated automated systems, and NASA had to find a compromise between redundancy and both complexity and mass. For example, there was some discussion about whether Gateway’s hatches should open and close on their own, and NASA ultimately decided to leave the hatches manually operated. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Gateway won’t be able to open its hatches without human assistance; it just means that there will be a need for robotic hands rather than human ones.

“I hope eventually we have robots up there that can open the hatches,” Badger tells us. She explains that Gateway is being designed with potential intravehicular robots (IVRs) in mind, including things like adding visual markers to important locations, placing convenient charging ports around the station interior, and designing the hatches such that the force required to open them is compatible with the capabilities of robotic limbs. Parts of Gateway’s systems may be modular as well, able to be removed and replaced by robots if necessary. “What we’re trying to do,” Badger says, “is make smart choices about Gateway’s design that don’t add a lot of mass but that will make it easier for a robot to work within the station.”

A human-sized white humanoid robot with a golden helmet and visor, in front of a task board on the International Space Station Robonaut at its test station in front of a manipulation task board on the ISS.JSC/NASA

NASA already has a substantial amount of experience with IVR. Robonaut 2, a full-size humanoid robot, spent several years on the International Space Station starting in 2011, learning how to perform tasks that would otherwise have to be done by human astronauts. More recently, a trio of cubical, toaster-size, free-flying robots called Astrobees have taken up residence on the ISS, where they’ve been experimenting with autonomous sensing and navigation. A NASA project called ISAAC (Integrated System for Autonomous and Adaptive Caretaking) is currently exploring how robots like Astrobee could be used for a variety of tasks on Gateway, from monitoring station health to autonomously transferring cargo, although at least in the near term, in Badger’s opinion, “maintenance of Gateway, like using robots that can switch out broken components, is going to be more important than logistics types of tasks.”

Badger believes that a combination of a generalized mobile manipulator like Robonaut 2 and a free flyer like Astrobee make for a good team, and this combination is currently the general concept for Gateway IVR. This is not to say that the intravehicular robots that end up on Gateway will look like the robots that have been working on the ISS, but they’ll be inspired by them, and will leverage all of the experience that NASA has gained with its robots on ISS so far. It might also be useful to have a limited number of specialized robots, Badger says. “For example, if there was a reason to get behind a rack, you may want a snake-type of robot for that.”

A casually dressed astronaut holds a toaster-sized cubical robot on the International Space Station An Astrobee robot (this one is named Bumble) on the ISS.JSC/NASA

While NASA is actively preparing for intravehicular robots on Gateway, such robots do not yet exist, and the agency may not be building these robots itself, instead relying on industry partners to deliver designs that meet NASA’s requirements. At launch, and likely for the first several years at least, Gateway will have to take care of itself without internal robotic assistants. However, one of the goals of Gateway is to operate itself completely autonomously for up to three weeks without any contact with Earth at all, mimicking the three-week solar conjunction between Earth and Mars where the sun blocks any communications between the two planets. “I think that we will get IVR on board,” Badger says. “If we really want Gateway to be able to take care of itself for 21 days, IVR is going to be a very important part of that. And having a robot is absolutely something that I think is going to be necessary as we move on to Mars.”

“Having a robot is absolutely something that I think is going to be necessary as we move on to Mars.” —Julia Badger, NASA JSC

Intravehicular robots are just half of the robotic team that will be necessary to keep Gateway running autonomously long-term. Space stations rely on complex external infrastructure for power, propulsion, thermal control, and much more. Since 2001, the ISS has been home to Canadarm2, a 17.6-meter robotic arm, which is able to move around the station to grasp and manipulate objects while under human control from either inside the station or from the ground.

The Canadian Space Agency, in partnership with space technology company MDA, is developing a new robotic-arm system for Gateway, called Canadarm3, scheduled to launch in 2027. Canadarm3 will include an 8.5-meter-long arm for grappling spacecraft and moving large objects, as well as a smaller, more dexterous robotic arm that can be used for delicate tasks. The smaller arm can even repair the larger arm if necessary. But what really sets Canadarm3 apart from its predecessors is how it’s controlled, according to Daniel Rey, Gateway chief engineer and systems manager at CSA. “One of the very novel things about Canadarm3 is its ability to operate autonomously, without any crew required,” Rey says. This capability relies on a new generation of software and hardware that gives the arm a sense of touch as well as the ability to react to its environment without direct human supervision.

“With Canadarm3, we realize that if we want to get ready for Mars, more autonomy will be required.” —Daniel Rey, CSA

Even though Gateway will be a thousand times farther away from Earth than the ISS, Rey explains that the added distance (about 400,000 kilometers) isn’t what really necessitates Canadarm3’s added autonomy. “Surprisingly, the location of Gateway in its orbit around the moon has a time delay to Earth that is not all that different from the time delay in low Earth orbit when you factor in various ground stations that signals have to pass through,” says Rey. “With Canadarm3, we realize that if we want to get ready for Mars, where that will no longer be the case, more autonomy will be required.”

Canadarm3’s autonomous tasks on Gateway will include external inspection, unloading logistics vehicles, deploying science payloads, and repairing Gateway by swapping damaged components with spares. Rey tells us that there will also be a science logistics airlock, with a moving table that can be used to pass equipment in and out of Gateway. “It’ll be possible to deploy external science, or to bring external systems inside for repair, and for future internal robotic systems to cooperate with Canadarm3. I think that’ll be a really exciting thing to see.”

Even though it’s going to take a couple of extra years for Gateway’s robotic residents to arrive, the station will be operating mostly autonomously (by necessity) as soon as the Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost begin their journey to lunar orbit in November o2024. Several science payloads will be along for the ride, including heliophysics and space weather experiments.

Gateway itself, though, is arguably the most important experiment of all. Its autonomous systems, whether embodied in internal and external robots or not, will be undergoing continual testing, and Gateway will need to prove itself before we’re ready to trust its technology to take us into deep space. In addition to being able to operate for 21 days without communications, one of Gateway’s eventual requirements is to be able to function for up to three years without any crew visits. This is the level of autonomy and reliability that we’ll need to be prepared for our exploration of Mars, and beyond.


Match ID: 94 Score: 15.71 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 169 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit, 2.86 planets

Disentangling the Facts From the Hype of Quantum Computing
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 14:00:00 +0000


This is a guest post in recognition of IEEE Quantum Week 2022. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

Few fields invite as much unbridled hype as quantum computing. Most people’s understanding of quantum physics extends to the fact that it is unpredictable, powerful, and almost existentially strange. A few years ago, I provided IEEE Spectrum an update on the state of quantum computing and looked at both the positive and negative claims across the industry. And just as back in 2019, I remain enthusiastically optimistic today. Even though the hype is real and has outpaced the actual results, much has been accomplished over the past few years.

First, let’s address the hype.

Over the past five years, there has been undeniable hype around quantum computing—hype around approaches, timelines, applications, and more. As far back as 2017, vendors were claiming the commercialization of the technology was just a couple of years away. There was even what I’d call antihype, with some questioning if quantum computers would materialize at all. I hope they end up being wrong.

More recently, companies have shifted their timelines from a few years to a decade, but they continue to release road maps showing commercially viable systems as early as 2029. And these hype-fueled expectations are becoming institutionalized: The Department of Homeland Security even released a road map to protect against the threats of quantum computing, in an effort to help institutions transition to new security systems. This creates an “adopt or you’ll fall behind” mentality for both quantum-computing applications and postquantum cryptography security.

Market research firm Gartner (of the “Hype Cycle” fame) believes quantum computing may have already reached peak hype, or phase two of its five-phase growth model. This means the industry is about to enter a phase called “the trough of disillusionment." According to McKinsey & Company, “fault tolerant quantum computing is expected between 2025 and 2030 based on announced hardware roadmaps for gate-based quantum computing players.” I believe this is not entirely realistic, as we still have a long journey to achieve quantum practicality—the point at which quantum computers can do something unique to change our lives.

In my opinion, quantum practicality is likely still 10 to 15 years away. However, progress toward that goal is not just steady; it’s accelerating. That’s the same thing we saw with Moore’s Law and semiconductor evolution: The more we discover, the faster we go. Semiconductor technology has taken decades to progress to its current state, accelerating at each turn. We expect similar advancement with quantum computing.

In fact, we are discovering that what we have learned while engineering transistors at Intel is also helping to speed our quantum-computing development work today. For example, when developing silicon spin qubits, we’re able to leverage existing transistor-manufacturing infrastructure to ensure quality and to speed up fabrication. We’ve started the mass production of qubits on a 300-millimeter silicon wafer in a high-volume fab facility, which allows us to fit an array of more than 10,000 quantum dots on a single wafer. We’re also leveraging our experience with semiconductors to create a cryogenic quantum control chip, called Horse Ridge, which is helping to solve the interconnect challenges associated with quantum computing by eliminating much of the cabling that today crowds the dilution refrigerator. And our experience with testing semiconductors has led to the development of the cryoprober, which enables our team to get testing results from quantum devices in hours instead of the days or weeks it used to take.

Others are likely benefiting from their own prior research and experience, as well. For example, Quantinuum’s recent research showed the entanglement of logical qubits in a fault-tolerant circuit using real-time quantum error correction. While still primitive, it’s an example of the type of progress needed in this critical field. For its part, Google has a new open-source library called Cirq for programming quantum computers. Along with similar libraries from IBM, Intel, and others, Cirq is helping drive development of improved quantum algorithms. And, as a final example, IBM’s 127-qubit processor, called Quantum Eagle, shows steady progress toward upping the qubit count.

A man holds a bumpy gold rectangle in front of a spindly machine. The author shows Intel quantum-computing prototypes.Intel

There are also some key challenges that remain.

  • First, we still need better devices and high-quality qubits. While the very best one- and two-qubit gates meet the needed threshold for fault tolerance, the community has yet to accomplish that on a much larger system.
  • Second, we’ve yet to see anyone propose an interconnect technology for quantum computers that is as elegant as how we wire up microprocessors today. Right now, each qubit requires multiple control wires. This approach is untenable as we strive to create a large-scale quantum computer.
  • Third, we need fast qubit control and feedback loops. Horse Ridge is a precursor for this, because we would expect latency to improve by having the control chip in the fridge and therefore closer to the qubit chip.
  • And finally, error correction. While there have been some recent indications of progress to correction and mitigation, no one has yet run an error-correction algorithm on a large group of qubits.

With new research regularly showing novel approaches and advances, these are challenges we will overcome. For example, many in the industry are looking at how to integrate qubits and the controller on the same die to create quantum system-on-chips (SoCs).

But we’re still quite a way off from having a fault tolerant quantum computer. Over the next 10 years, Intel expects to be competitive (or pull ahead) of others in terms of qubit count and performance, but as I stated before, a system large enough to deliver compelling value won’t be realized for 10 to 15 years, by anyone. The industry needs to continue its evolution of qubit counts and quality improvement. After that, the next milestone should be the production of thousands of quality qubits (still several years away), and then scaling that to millions.

Let’s remember that it took Google 53 qubits to create an application that could accomplish a supercomputer function. If we want to explore new applications that go beyond today’s supercomputers, we’ll need to see system sizes that are orders of magnitude larger.

Quantum computing has come a long way in the past five years, but we still have a long way to go, and investors will need to fund it for the long term. Significant developments are happening in the lab, and they show immense promise for what could be possible in the future. For now, it’s important that we don’t get caught up in the hype but focus on real outcomes.


Correction 21 Sept. 2022: A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that the release of an announced 5,000-qubit quantum computer in 2020 did not happen. It did. Spectrum regrets the error.


Match ID: 95 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 mit

Coding Made AI—Now, How Will AI Unmake Coding?
Mon, 19 Sep 2022 12:00:01 +0000


Are coders doomed? That question has been bouncing around computer-programming communities ever since OpenAI’s large language model, GPT-3, surprised everyone with its ability to create html websites from simple written instructions.

In the months since, rapid-fire advances have led to systems that can write complete, albeit simple, computer programs from natural-language descriptions—spoken or written human language—and automated coding assistants that speed the work of computer programmers. How far will artificial intelligence go in replacing or augmenting the work of human coders?

According to the experts IEEE Spectrum consulted, the bad news is coding as we know it may indeed be doomed. But the good news is computer programming and software development appears poised to remain a very human endeavor for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, AI-powered automated code generation will increasingly speed software development by allowing more code to be written in a shorter time.

Programmers will not always need to learn a programming language. That will open software development to a much broader population.

“I don’t believe AI is anywhere near replacing human developers,” said Vasi Philomin, Amazon’s vice president for AI services, adding that AI tools will free coders from routine tasks, but the creative work of computer programming will remain.

If someone wants to become a developer, say, 10 years down the line, they won’t necessarily need to learn a programming language. Instead, they will need to understand the semantics, concepts, and logical sequences of building a computer program. That will open software development to a much broader population.

When the programming of electronic computers began in the 1940s, programmers wrote in numerical machine code. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that Grace Hopper and her team at the computer company Remington Rand developed FLOW-MATIC, which allowed programmers to use a limited English vocabulary to write programs.

Since then, programming has climbed a ladder of increasingly efficient languages that allow programmers to be more productive.

AI-written code is the cutting edge of a broader movement to allow people to write software without having to code at all. Already, with platforms like Akkio, people can build machine-learning models with simple drag, drop, and button-click features. Users of Microsoft’s Power Platform, which includes a family of low-code products, can generate simple applications by just describing them.

In June, Amazon released CodeWhisperer, a coding assistant for programmers, like GitHub’s Copilot, which was first released in limited preview in June 2021. Both tools are based on large language models (LLMs) that have been trained on massive code repositories. Both offer autocomplete suggestions as a programmer writes code or suggest executable instructions from simple natural-language phrases.

“There needs to be some incremental refinement, some conversation between the human and the machine.”
—Peter Schrammel, Diffblue

A GitHub survey of 2,000 developers found that Copilot cuts in half the time it takes for certain coding tasks and raised overall developer satisfaction in their work.

But to move beyond autocompletion, the problem is teaching the intent to the computer. Software requirements are usually vague, while natural language is notoriously imprecise.

“To resolve all these ambiguities in English written specification, there needs to be some incremental refinement, some conversation between the human and the machine,” said Peter Schrammel, cofounder of Diffblue, which automates the writing of unit tests for Java.

To address these problems, researchers at Microsoft have recently proposed adding a feedback mechanism to LLM-based code generation so that the computer asks the programmer for clarification of any ambiguities before generating code.

The interactive system, called TiCoder, refines and formalizes user intent by generating what is called a “test-driven user-intent formalization”—which attempts to use iterative feedback to divine the programmer’s algorithmic intent and then generate code that is consistent with the expressed intentions.

According to their paper, TiCoder improves the accuracy of automatically generated code by up to 85 percent from 48 percent, when evaluated on the Mostly Basic Programming Problems (MBPP) benchmark. MBPP, meant to evaluate machine-generated code, consists of around 1,000 crowd-sourced Python programming problems, designed to be solvable by entry level programmers.

A unit of code, which can be hundreds of lines long, is the smallest part of a program that can be maintained and executed independently. A suite of unit tests, typically consisting of dozens of unit tests, each of them between 10 and 20 lines of code, checks that the unit executes as intended, so that when you stack the units together, the program works as intended.

Unit tests are useful for debugging individual functions and for detecting errors when code is manually changed. But a unit test can also be used as the specification for the unit of code and can be used to guide programmers to write clean, bug-free code. While not many programmers pursue true test-driven development, in which the unit tests are written first, unit test and units are generally written together.

Hand-coding software programs will increasingly be like hand-knitting sweaters.

According to a survey by Diffblue, developers spend roughly 35 percent of their time writing quality-control tests (as opposed to writing code destined for production use), so there are significant productivity gains to be made just by automating a part of this.

Meanwhile, Github’s Copilot, Amazon’s CodeWhisperer, and AI programming assistant packages can be used as interactive auto-completion tools for writing unit tests. The programmer is given suggestions and picks the one that they think will work best. Diffblue’s system, called Diffblue Cover, uses reinforcement learning to write unit tests automatically, with no human intervention.

Earlier this year, Google’s U.K.-based, artificial intelligence lab, DeepMind, went further in fully automatic code generation with AlphaCode, a large language model that can write simple computer programs from natural-language instructions.

AlphaCode uses an encoder-decoder transformer architecture, first encoding the natural-language description of the problem and then decoding the resulting vector into code for a solution.

The model was first trained on the GitHub code repository until the model was able to produce reasonable-looking code.

To fine-tune the model, DeepMind used 15,000 pairs of natural-language problem descriptions and successful code solutions from past coding competitions to create a specialized data set of input-output examples.

Once AlphaCode was trained and tuned, it was tested against problems it hadn’t seen before.

“I don’t believe AI is anywhere near replacing human developers. It will remove the mundane, boilerplate stuff that people have to do, and they can focus on higher-value things.”
—Vasi Philomin, Amazon

The final step was to generate many solutions and then use a filtering algorithm to select the best one. “We created many different program possibilities by essentially sampling the language model almost a million times,” said Oriol Vinyals, who leads DeepMind’s deep-learning team.

To optimize the sample-selection process, DeepMind uses a clustering algorithm to divide the solutions into groups. The clustering process tends to group the working solutions together, making it easier to find a small set of candidates that are likely to work as well as those written by human programmers.

To test the system, DeepMind submitted 10 AlphaCode-written programs to a human coding competition on the popular Codeforces platform where its solutions ranked among the top 54 percent.

“To generate a program, will you just write it in natural language, no coding required, and then the solution comes out at the other end?” Vinyals asked rhetorically in a recent interview. “I believe so.”

Vinyals and others caution that it will take time, possibly decades, to reach that goal. “We are still very far away from when a person would be able to tell a computer about the requirements for an arbitrary complex computer program, and have that automatically get coded,” said Andrew Ng, a founder and CEO of Landing AI who is an AI pioneer and founding lead of Google Brain.

But given the speed at which AI-code generation has advanced in a few short years, it seems inevitable that AI systems will eventually be able to write code from natural-language instructions. Hand-coding software programs will increasingly be like hand-knitting sweaters.

To give natural-language instructions to a computer, developers will still need to understand some concepts of logic and functions and how to structure things. They will still need to study foundational programming, even if they don’t learn specific programming languages or write in computer code. That will, in turn, enable a wider range of programmers to create more and more varied kinds of software.

“I don’t believe AI is anywhere near replacing human developers,” Amazon’s Philomin said. “It will remove the mundane, boilerplate stuff that people have to do, and they can focus on higher-value things.”

Diffblue’s Schrammel agrees that AI-automated code generation will allow software developers to focus on more difficult and creative tasks. But, he adds, there will at least need to be one interaction with a human to confirm what the machine has understood is what the human intended.

“Software developers will not lose their jobs because an automation tool replaces them,” he said. “There always will be more software that needs to be written.”


Match ID: 96 Score: 14.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 5 days
qualifiers: 14.29 mit

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/14/2022
Wed, 14 Sep 2022 16:00:37 +0000
Payloads: Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR): The CIR was prepared for Fuel Oxidizer Management Assembly (FOMA) Calibration. The CIR includes an optics bench, combustion chamber, fuel, and oxidizer control, and five different cameras for performing combustion investigations in microgravity. Foams and Emulsions: Samples were swapped in the KERMIT microscope as part of Experiment 3 sessions to …
Match ID: 97 Score: 12.86 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 10 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/13/2022
Tue, 13 Sep 2022 16:00:39 +0000
Payloads: Foams and Emulsions: The Foams and Emulsions hardware was setup, and the crew prepared a sample for insertion into the KERMIT microscope. Samples were swapped out per the Experiment 3 protocol to observe emulsions formed with various solutions. Foams (dispersions of bubbles in a liquid) and emulsions (dispersions of droplets in a liquid) appear …
Match ID: 98 Score: 12.86 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 11 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Alex on the rocks
Mon, 12 Sep 2022 13:47:00 +0200
Image:

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Stephanie Wilson are getting world-class geology training this week during the fifth edition of ESA’s Pangaea course.

A balanced mix of theory and field trips, the course will take the pair all over Europe to hone their geology skills. The training began last week in the Italian Dolomites with lessons on fundamental geology knowledge and skills, martian geology and asteroids at Bletterbach Canyon.

The rock samples from the canyon Alexander is holding in this image are a combination of gypsum (white hue) in siltstone-sandstone (reddish hue), and are analogous to rocks found on Mars.

This week, Alexander and Stephanie will follow the footsteps of Apollo astronauts to study the Ries crater in Germany, one of the best-preserved impact craters on Earth, where American crews trained before their flights to the Moon.

The course concludes the year with a trip to the volcanic landscapes of Lanzarote, Spain in November, to learn about the geological interactions between volcanic activity and water – two key factors in the search for life.

The final part of the course has the astronauts travel to Lofoten, Norway, to focus on rocks similar to the lunar highlands. These will be important locations to explore during the future Artemis missions, as they may hold key information for unravelling the history of the Moon and our Solar System.

The different field locations visited during Pangaea are used to train Alexander and Stephanie on how to read a landscape, collect scientifically relevant samples and effectively communicate their geological observations with teams back on Earth.

Alexander is a geophysicist, volcanologist and more recently International Space Station commander in 2018, and has seen 5700 sunrises and sunsets in space. Pangaea is challenging this seasoned space explorer to become a field scientist in preparation for future deep space missions, where the astronauts will be the eyes and ears of the scientific community on Earth.

Follow Alexander on Twitter for his takes on getting back in the classroom for Pangaea.


Match ID: 99 Score: 12.86 source: www.esa.int age: 12 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home
Sat, 10 Sep 2022 15:00:00 +0000


Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

And yet even now, after 150 years of development, the sound we hear from even a high-end audio system falls far short of what we hear when we are physically present at a live music performance. At such an event, we are in a natural sound field and can readily perceive that the sounds of different instruments come from different locations, even when the sound field is criss-crossed with mixed sound from multiple instruments. There’s a reason why people pay considerable sums to hear live music: It is more enjoyable, exciting, and can generate a bigger emotional impact.

To hear the author's 3D Soundstage audio for yourself, grab your headphones and head over to 3dsoundstage.com/ieee.

Today, researchers, companies, and entrepreneurs, including ourselves, are closing in at last on recorded audio that truly re-creates a natural sound field. The group includes big companies, such as Apple and Sony, as well as smaller firms, such as Creative. Netflix recently disclosed a partnership with Sennheiser under which the network has begun using a new system, Ambeo 2-Channel Spatial Audio, to heighten the sonic realism of such TV shows as “Stranger Things” and “The Witcher.”

There are now at least half a dozen different approaches to producing highly realistic audio. We use the term “soundstage” to distinguish our work from other audio formats, such as the ones referred to as spatial audio or immersive audio. These can represent sound with more spatial effect than ordinary stereo, but they do not typically include the detailed sound-source location cues that are needed to reproduce a truly convincing sound field.

We believe that soundstage is the future of music recording and reproduction. But before such a sweeping revolution can occur, it will be necessary to overcome an enormous obstacle: that of conveniently and inexpensively converting the countless hours of existing recordings, regardless of whether they’re mono, stereo, or multichannel surround sound (5.1, 7.1, and so on). No one knows exactly how many songs have been recorded, but according to the entertainment-metadata concern Gracenote, more than 200 million recorded songs are available now on planet Earth. Given that the average duration of a song is about 3 minutes, this is the equivalent of about 1,100 years of music.

Measuring a Head-Related Transfer Function


To provide a high degree of spatial realism for a listener, you need to precisely map the details of how that listener’s unique head shape, ears, and nasal cavity affect how he or she hears sound. This is done by determining the listener’s head-related transfer function, which is accomplished by playing sounds from a variety of angles and recording how the user’s head affects the sounds at each position.


Image of a human body dummy on the floor atop a audio device.


Image of a human body dummy with labels showing the process of audio.


That is a lot of music. Any attempt to popularize a new audio format, no matter how promising, is doomed to fail unless it includes technology that makes it possible for us to listen to all this existing audio with the same ease and convenience with which we now enjoy stereo music—in our homes, at the beach, on a train, or in a car.

We have developed such a technology. Our system, which we call 3D Soundstage, permits music playback in soundstage on smartphones, ordinary or smart speakers, headphones, earphones, laptops, TVs, soundbars, and in vehicles. Not only can it convert mono and stereo recordings to soundstage, it also allows a listener with no special training to reconfigure a sound field according to their own preference, using a graphical user interface. For example, a listener can assign the locations of each instrument and vocal sound source and adjust the volume of each—changing the relative volume of, say, vocals in comparison with the instrumental accompaniment. The system does this by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, and digital signal processing (more on that shortly).

To re-create convincingly the sound coming from, say, a string quartet in two small speakers, such as the ones available in a pair of headphones, requires a great deal of technical finesse. To understand how this is done, let’s start with the way we perceive sound.

When sound travels to your ears, unique characteristics of your head—its physical shape, the shape of your outer and inner ears, even the shape of your nasal cavities—change the audio spectrum of the original sound. Also, there is a very slight difference in the arrival time from a sound source to your two ears. From this spectral change and the time difference, your brain perceives the location of the sound source. The spectral changes and time difference can be modeled mathematically as head-related transfer functions (HRTFs). For each point in three-dimensional space around your head, there is a pair of HRTFs, one for your left ear and the other for the right.

So, given a piece of audio, we can process that audio using a pair of HRTFs, one for the right ear, and one for the left. To re-create the original experience, we would need to take into account the location of the sound sources relative to the microphones that recorded them. If we then played that processed audio back, for example through a pair of headphones, the listener would hear the audio with the original cues, and perceive that the sound is coming from the directions from which it was originally recorded.

If we don’t have the original location information, we can simply assign locations for the individual sound sources and get essentially the same experience. The listener is unlikely to notice minor shifts in performer placement—indeed, they might prefer their own configuration.


Even now, after 150 years of development, the sound we hear from even a high-end audio system falls far short of what we hear when we are physically present at a live music performance.


There are many commercial apps that use HRTFs to create spatial sound for listeners using headphones and earphones. One example is Apple’s Spatialize Stereo. This technology applies HRTFs to playback audio so you can perceive a spatial sound effect—a deeper sound field that is more realistic than ordinary stereo. Apple also offers a head-tracker version that uses sensors on the iPhone and AirPods to track the relative direction between your head, as indicated by the AirPods in your ears, and your iPhone. It then applies the HRTFs associated with the direction of your iPhone to generate spatial sounds, so you perceive that the sound is coming from your iPhone. This isn’t what we would call soundstage audio, because instrument sounds are still mixed together. You can’t perceive that, for example, the violin player is to the left of the viola player.

Apple does, however, have a product that attempts to provide soundstage audio: Apple Spatial Audio. It is a significant improvement over ordinary stereo, but it still has a couple of difficulties, in our view. One, it incorporates Dolby Atmos, a surround-sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. Spatial Audio applies a set of HRTFs to create spatial audio for headphones and earphones. However, the use of Dolby Atmos means that all existing stereophonic music would have to be remastered for this technology. Remastering the millions of songs already recorded in mono and stereo would be basically impossible. Another problem with Spatial Audio is that it can only support headphones or earphones, not speakers, so it has no benefit for people who tend to listen to music in their homes and cars.

So how does our system achieve realistic soundstage audio? We start by using machine-learning software to separate the audio into multiple isolated tracks, each representing one instrument or singer or one group of instruments or singers. This separation process is called upmixing. A producer or even a listener with no special training can then recombine the multiple tracks to re-create and personalize a desired sound field.

Consider a song featuring a quartet consisting of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. The listener can decide where to “locate” the performers and can adjust the volume of each, according to his or her personal preference. Using a touch screen, the listener can virtually arrange the sound-source locations and the listener’s position in the sound field, to achieve a pleasing configuration. The graphical user interface displays a shape representing the stage, upon which are overlaid icons indicating the sound sources—vocals, drums, bass, guitars, and so on. There is a head icon at the center, indicating the listener’s position. The listener can touch and drag the head icon around to change the sound field according to their own preference.

Moving the head icon closer to the drums makes the sound of the drums more prominent. If the listener moves the head icon onto an icon representing an instrument or a singer, the listener will hear that performer as a solo. The point is that by allowing the listener to reconfigure the sound field, 3D Soundstage adds new dimensions (if you’ll pardon the pun) to the enjoyment of music.

The converted soundstage audio can be in two channels, if it is meant to be heard through headphones or an ordinary left- and right-channel system. Or it can be multichannel, if it is destined for playback on a multiple-speaker system. In this latter case, a soundstage audio field can be created by two, four, or more speakers. The number of distinct sound sources in the re-created sound field can even be greater than the number of speakers.

An Audio Taxonomy


Image of a chart showing multiple audio types and examples of audio types.

For a listener seeking a high degree of spatial realism, a variety of audio formats and systems are now available for enjoyment through speakers or headphones. On the low end, ordinary mono and stereo recordings provide a minimal spatial-perceptual experience. In the middle range, multichannel recordings, such as 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, offer somewhat higher levels of spatial realism. At the highest levels are audio systems that start with the individual, separated instrumental tracks of a recording and recombine them, using audio techniques and tools such as head-related transfer functions, to provide a highly realistic spatial experience.



This multichannel approach should not be confused with ordinary 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. These typically have five or seven separate channels and a speaker for each, plus a subwoofer (the “.1”). The multiple loudspeakers create a sound field that is more immersive than a standard two-speaker stereo setup, but they still fall short of the realism possible with a true soundstage recording. When played through such a multichannel setup, our 3D Soundstage recordings bypass the 5.1, 7.1, or any other special audio formats, including multitrack audio-compression standards.

A word about these standards. In order to better handle the data for improved surround-sound and immersive-audio applications, new standards have been developed recently. These include the MPEG-H 3D audio standard for immersive spatial audio with Spatial Audio Object Coding (SAOC). These new standards succeed various multichannel audio formats and their corresponding coding algorithms, such as Dolby Digital AC-3 and DTS, which were developed decades ago.

While developing the new standards, the experts had to take into account many different requirements and desired features. People want to interact with the music, for example by altering the relative volumes of different instrument groups. They want to stream different kinds of multimedia, over different kinds of networks, and through different speaker configurations. SAOC was designed with these features in mind, allowing audio files to be efficiently stored and transported, while preserving the possibility for a listener to adjust the mix based on their personal taste.

To do so, however, it depends on a variety of standardized coding techniques. To create the files, SAOC uses an encoder. The inputs to the encoder are data files containing sound tracks; each track is a file representing one or more instruments. The encoder essentially compresses the data files, using standardized techniques. During playback, a decoder in your audio system decodes the files, which are then converted back to the multichannel analog sound signals by digital-to-analog converters.

Our 3D Soundstage technology bypasses this. We use mono or stereo or multichannel audio data files as input. We separate those files or data streams into multiple tracks of isolated sound sources, and then convert those tracks to two-channel or multichannel output, based on the listener’s preferred configurations, to drive headphones or multiple loudspeakers. We use AI technology to avoid multitrack rerecording, encoding, and decoding.

In fact, one of the biggest technical challenges we faced in creating the 3D Soundstage system was writing that machine-learning software that separates (or upmixes) a conventional mono, stereo, or multichannel recording into multiple isolated tracks in real time. The software runs on a neural network. We developed this approach for music separation in 2012 and described it in patents that were awarded in 2022 and 2015 (the U.S. patent numbers are 11,240,621 B2 and 9,131,305 B2).


The listener can decide where to “locate” the performers and can adjust the volume of each, according to his or her personal preference.


A typical session has two components: training and upmixing. In the training session, a large collection of mixed songs, along with their isolated instrument and vocal tracks, are used as the input and target output, respectively, for the neural network. The training uses machine learning to optimize the neural-network parameters so that the output of the neural network—the collection of individual tracks of isolated instrument and vocal data—matches the target output.

A neural network is very loosely modeled on the brain. It has an input layer of nodes, which represent biological neurons, and then many intermediate layers, called “hidden layers.” Finally, after the hidden layers there is an output layer, where the final results emerge. In our system, the data fed to the input nodes is the data of a mixed audio track. As this data proceeds through layers of hidden nodes, each node performs computations that produce a sum of weighted values. Then a nonlinear mathematical operation is performed on this sum. This calculation determines whether and how the audio data from that node is passed on to the nodes in the next layer.

There are dozens of these layers. As the audio data goes from layer to layer, the individual instruments are gradually separated from one another. At the end, in the output layer, each separated audio track is output on a node in the output layer.

That’s the idea, anyway. While the neural network is being trained, the output may be off the mark. It might not be an isolated instrumental track—it might contain audio elements of two instruments, for example. In that case, the individual weights in the weighting scheme used to determine how the data passes from hidden node to hidden node are tweaked and the training is run again. This iterative training and tweaking goes on until the output matches, more or less perfectly, the target output.

As with any training data set for machine learning, the greater the number of available training samples, the more effective the training will ultimately be. In our case, we needed tens of thousands of songs and their separated instrumental tracks for training; thus, the total training music data sets were in the thousands of hours.

After the neural network is trained, given a song with mixed sounds as input, the system outputs the multiple separated tracks by running them through the neural network using the system established during training.

Unmixing Audio With a Neural Network


A diagram depicts a neural network being used to separate a piece of audio into its component tracks.

After separating a recording into its component tracks, the next step is to remix them into a soundstage recording. This is accomplished by a soundstage signal processor. This soundstage processor performs a complex computational function to generate the output signals that drive the speakers and produce the soundstage audio. The inputs to the generator include the isolated tracks, the physical locations of the speakers, and the desired locations of the listener and sound sources in the re-created sound field. The outputs of the soundstage processor are multitrack signals, one for each channel, to drive the multiple speakers.

The sound field can be in a physical space, if it is generated by speakers, or in a virtual space, if it is generated by headphones or earphones. The function performed within the soundstage processor is based on computational acoustics and psychoacoustics, and it takes into account sound-wave propagation and interference in the desired sound field and the HRTFs for the listener and the desired sound field.

For example, if the listener is going to use earphones, the generator selects a set of HRTFs based on the configuration of desired sound-source locations, then uses the selected HRTFs to filter the isolated sound-source tracks. Finally, the soundstage processor combines all the HRTF outputs to generate the left and right tracks for earphones. If the music is going to be played back on speakers, at least two are needed, but the more speakers, the better the sound field. The number of sound sources in the re-created sound field can be more or less than the number of speakers.

We released our first soundstage app, for the iPhone, in 2020. It lets listeners configure, listen to, and save soundstage music in real time—the processing causes no discernible time delay. The app, called 3D Musica, converts stereo music from a listener’s personal music library, the cloud, or even streaming music to soundstage in real time. (For karaoke, the app can remove vocals, or output any isolated instrument.)

Earlier this year, we opened a Web portal, 3dsoundstage.com, that provides all the features of the 3D Musica app in the cloud plus an application programming interface (API) making the features available to streaming music providers and even to users of any popular Web browser. Anyone can now listen to music in soundstage audio on essentially any device.

When sound travels to your ears, unique characteristics of your head—its physical shape, the shape of your outer and inner ears, even the shape of your nasal cavities—change the audio spectrum of the original sound.

We also developed separate versions of the 3D Soundstage software for vehicles and home audio systems and devices to re-create a 3D sound field using two, four, or more speakers. Beyond music playback, we have high hopes for this technology in videoconferencing. Many of us have had the fatiguing experience of attending videoconferences in which we had trouble hearing other participants clearly or being confused about who was speaking. With soundstage, the audio can be configured so that each person is heard coming from a distinct location in a virtual room. Or the “location” can simply be assigned depending on the person’s position in the grid typical of Zoom and other videoconferencing applications. For some, at least, videoconferencing will be less fatiguing and speech will be more intelligible.

Just as audio moved from mono to stereo, and from stereo to surround and spatial audio, it is now starting to move to soundstage. In those earlier eras, audiophiles evaluated a sound system by its fidelity, based on such parameters as bandwidth, harmonic distortion, data resolution, response time, lossless or lossy data compression, and other signal-related factors. Now, soundstage can be added as another dimension to sound fidelity—and, we dare say, the most fundamental one. To human ears, the impact of soundstage, with its spatial cues and gripping immediacy, is much more significant than incremental improvements in fidelity. This extraordinary feature offers capabilities previously beyond the experience of even the most deep-pocketed audiophiles.

Technology has fueled previous revolutions in the audio industry, and it is now launching another one. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and digital signal processing are tapping in to psychoacoustics to give audio enthusiasts capabilities they’ve never had. At the same time, these technologies are giving recording companies and artists new tools that will breathe new life into old recordings and open up new avenues for creativity. At last, the century-old goal of convincingly re-creating the sounds of the concert hall has been achieved.


Match ID: 100 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 14 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Aligning the Eyes of the Universe Machine
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 17:39:58 +0000


The James Webb Space Telescope, in just a few months of operation, has begun to change our view of the universe. Its images—more detailed than what was possible before—show space aglow with galaxies, some of them formed very soon after the big bang.

None of this would be possible without the work of a team led by Scott Acton, the lead wavefront sensing and control scientist for the Webb at Ball Aerospace & Technologies in Colorado. He and his colleagues developed the systems that align the 18 separate segments of the Webb’s primary mirror with its smaller secondary mirror and science instruments. To produce clear images in the infrared wavelengths the telescope uses, the segments have to be within tens of nanometers of the shape specified in the spacecraft design.

Acton grew up in Wyoming and spent more than 20 years on the Webb team. IEEE Spectrum spoke with Acton after his team had finished aligning the telescope’s optics in space. This transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Tell your story. What got you started?

Scott Acton: When I was seven-years-old, my dad brought home a new television. And he gave me the old television to take apart. I was just enthralled by what I saw inside this television. And from that moment on I was defined by electronics. You look inside an old television and there are mechanisms, there are smells and colors and sights and for a seven-year-old kid, it was just the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.

Fast-forward 25 years and I’m working in the field of adaptive optics. And eventually that led to wavefront sensing and controls, which led to the Webb telescope.

sky with bright stars and gaseous activity Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high. NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Talk about your work getting the telescope ready for flight. You worked on it for more than 20 years.

Acton: Well, we had to invent all of the wavefront sensing and controls. None of that technology really existed in 2001, so we started from the ground up with concepts and simple experiments. Then more complicated, very complicated experiments and eventually something known as TRL 6 technology—Technology Readiness Level 6—which demonstrated that we could do this in a flightlike environment. And then it was a question of taking this technology, algorithms, understanding it and implementing it into very robust procedures, documentation, and software, so that it could then be applied on the flight telescope.

What was it like finally to launch?

Acton: Well, I’ve got to say, there was a lot of nervousness, at least on my part. I was thinking we had a 70 percent chance of mission success, or something like that. It’s like sending your kid off to college—this instrument that we’d been looking at and thinking about.

The Ariane 5 vehicle is so reliable. I didn’t think there was going to be any problem with it, but deployment starts, basically, minutes after launch. So, for me, the place to be was at a computer console [at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore].

And then there were a lot of things that had to work.

Acton: Yes, right. But there are some things that that are interesting. They have these things called nonexplosive actuators [used to secure the spacecraft during launch]. There are about 130 of them. And you actually can’t test them. You build them and they get used, basically, once. If you do reuse one, well, it’s now a different actuator because you have to solder it back together. So you can’t qualify the part, but what you can do is qualify the process.

We could have still had a mission if some didn’t fire, but most of them were absolutely necessary for the success of the mission. So just ask yourself, let’s suppose you want to have a 95 percent chance of success. What number raised to the 130th power is equal to 0.95? That number is basically one. These things had to be perfect.

I remember walking home one night, talking on the phone to my wife, Heidi, and saying, “If I’m wrong about this I’ve just completely screwed up the telescope.” She said, “Scott, that’s why you’re there.” That was her way of telling me to cowboy up. The responsibility had to come down to somebody and in that moment, it was me.

I think the public perception was that the Webb was in very good shape and the in-flight setup all went very well. Would you say that’s accurate?

Acton: Early on in the mission there were hiccups, but other than that, I’d say things just went beyond our wildest expectations. Part of that comes down to the fact that my team and I had commissioned the telescope 100 times in simulations. And we always made it a little harder. I think that served us well because when we got to the real telescope, it was quite robust. It just worked.

Take us through the process of aligning the telescope.

Acton: The first image we got back from the telescope was 2 February, in the middle of the night. Most people had gone home, but I was there, and a lot of other people were too. We just pointed the telescope at the Large Magellanic Cloud, which has lots and lots of stars in it, and took images on the near-infrared cameras. People were really happy to see these images because they were looking basically to make sure that the science instruments worked.

But some of us were really concerned with that image, because you could see some very significant astigmatism—stronger than we were expecting to see from our simulations. Later we would learn that the telescope’s secondary mirror was off in translation—about 1.5 millimeters along the deployment axis and about a millimeter in the other axis. And the primary mirror segments were clocked a bit from the perfectly aligned state.

Lee Feinberg, the telescope lead at NASA Goddard, texted me and said, “Scott, why can’t you just simulate this to see if you can get some images that bad?” So that morning I ran a simulation and was able to reproduce almost exactly what we were seeing in these images. We realized that we were not going to have any major problems with the wavefront.

Describe the cadence of your work during commissioning. What would a day be like?

Acton: One of the rules we set up very early on was that in terms of wavefront sensing and control, we would always have two people sitting in front of the computers at any given time. Anytime anything significant happened, I always wanted to make sure that I was there, so I got an apartment [near the institute in Baltimore]. From my door to the door of the of the Mission Operations Center was a 7-minute walk.

sky with bright star in middle with gases In this mosaic image stretching 340 light-years across, Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) displays the Tarantula Nebula star-forming region in a new light, including tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars that were previously shrouded in cosmic dust.NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Webb ERO Production Team

There were certainly times during the process where it had a very large pucker factor, if you will. We couldn’t point the telescope reliably at the very beginning. And a lot of our software, for the early steps of commissioning, depended on the immutability of telescope pointing. We wanted to have the telescope repeatedly pointed to within a couple of arc-seconds and it was closer to 20 or 30. Because of that, some of the initial moves to align the telescope had to be calculated, if you will, by hand.

I remember walking home one night, talking on the phone to my wife, Heidi, and saying, “If I’m wrong about this I’ve just completely screwed up the telescope.” She said, “Scott, that’s why you’re there.” That was her way of telling me to cowboy up. The responsibility had to come down to somebody and in that moment, it was me.

But when the result came back, we could see the images. We pointed the telescope at a bright isolated star and then we could see, one at a time, 18 spots appearing in the middle of our main science detector. I remember a colleague saying, “I now believe we’re going to completely align the telescope.” He felt in his mind that if we could get past that step, that everything else was downhill.

You’re trying to piece together the universe. It’s hard to get it right, and very easy to make mistakes. But we did it.

Building the Webb was, of course, a big, complicated project. Do you think there are any particular lessons to be drawn from it that people in the future might find useful?

Acton: Here are a couple of really big ones that apply to wavefront sensing and control. One is that there are multiple institutions involved—Northrop Grumman, Ball Aerospace, the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute—and the complication of having all these institutional lines. It could have been very, very difficult to navigate. So very early on we decided not to have any lines. We were a completely badgeless team. Anybody could talk to anybody. If someone said, “No, I think this is wrong, you should do it this way,” even if they didn’t necessarily have contractual responsibility, everybody listened.

Another big lesson we learned was about the importance of the interplay between experimentation and simulation. We built a one-sixth scale model, a fully functional optical model of the telescope, and it’s still working. It allowed us, very early on, to know what was going to be difficult. Then we could address those issues in simulation. That understanding, the interplay between experimentation and modeling and simulations, was absolutely essential.

Recognizing of course, that it’s very early, do you yet have a favorite image?

Acton: My favorite image, so far, was one that was taken during the last real wavefront activity that we did as part of commissioning. It was called a thermal slew test. The telescope has a large sunshield, but the sunshield can be at different angles with respect to the sun. So to make sure it was stable, we aimed it at a bright star we used as a guide star, put it in one orientation, and stayed there for five or six days. And then we switched to a different orientation for five or six days. It turned out to be quite stable. But how do you know that the telescope wasn’t rolling about the guide star? To check this, we took a series of test images with the redundant fine-guidance sensor. As you can imagine, when you have a 6-1/2 meter telescope at L2 away from any competing light sources that is cooled to 50 kelvins, yes, it is sensitive. Even just one 20-minute exposure is going to just have unbelievable detail regarding the deep universe. Imagine what happens if you take 100 of those images and average them together. We came up with an image of just some random part of the sky.

james webb telescope image of bright lights against a dark background Scott Acton’s favorite Webb image: A test image of a random part of the sky, shot with the Webb’s fine-guidance sensor. The points with six-pointed diffraction patterns are stars; all other points are galaxies. NASA/CSA/FGS

I sent this image to James Larkin at UCLA, and he looked at it and estimated that that single image had 15,000 galaxies in it. Every one of those galaxies probably has between 100 [billion] and 200 billion stars.

I don’t talk about religion too much when it comes to this, but I must have had in my mind a Biblical reference to the stars singing. I pictured all of those galaxies as singing, as if this was a way for the universe to express joy that after all these years, we could finally see them. It was quite an emotional experience for me and for many people.

You realized that there was so much out there, and you weren’t even really looking for it yet? You were still phasing the telescope?

Acton: That’s right. I guess I I’m not sure what I expected. I figured you’d just see dark sky. Well, there is no dark sky. Dark sky is a myth. Galaxies are everywhere.

Finally, we got to our first diffraction-limited image [with the telescope calibrated for science observations for the first time]. And that’s the way the telescope is operating now.

Several days later, about 70 of us got together—astronomers, engineers, and other team members. A member of the team—his name is Anthony Galyer—and I had gone halves several years earlier and purchased a bottle of cognac from 1906, the year that James Webb was born. We toasted James Webb and the telescope that bears his name.


Match ID: 101 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 15 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

MOXIE Shows How to Make Oxygen on Mars
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 15:27:59 +0000


Planning for the return journey is an integral part of the preparations for a crewed Mars mission. Astronauts will require a total mass of about 50 tonnes of rocket propellent for the ascent vehicle that will lift them off the planet’s surface, including 31 tonnes of oxygen approximately. The less popular option is for crewed missions to carry the required oxygen themselves. But scientists are optimistic that it could instead be produced from the carbon dioxide–rich Martian atmosphere itself, using a system called MOXIE.

The Mars Oxygen ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization) Experiment is an 18-kilogram unit housed within the Perseverance rover on Mars. The unit is “the size of a toaster,” adds Jeffrey Hoffman, professor of aerospace engineering at MIT. Its job is to electrochemically break down carbon dioxide collected from the Martian atmosphere into oxygen and carbon monoxide. It also tests the purity of the oxygen.

Between February 2021, when it arrived on Mars aboard the Perseverance, and the end of the year, MOXIE has had several successful test runs. According to a review of the system by Hoffman and colleagues, published in Science Advances, it has demonstrated its ability to produce oxygen during both night and day, when temperatures can vary by over 100 ºC. The generation and purity rates of oxygen also meet requirements to produce rocket propellent and for breathing. The authors assert that a scaled-up version of MOXIE could produce the required oxygen for lift-off as well as for the astronauts to breathe.

Next question: How to power any oxygen-producing factories that NASA can land on Mars? Perhaps via NASA’s Kilopower fission reactors?

MOXIE is a first step toward a much larger and more complex system to support the human exploration of Mars. The researchers estimate a required generation rate of 2 to 3 kilograms per hour, compared with the current MOXIE rate of 6 to 8 grams per hour, to produce enough oxygen for lift-off for a crew arriving 26 months later. “So we’re talking about a system that’s a couple of hundred times bigger than MOXIE,” Hoffman says.

They calculate this rate accounting for eight months to get to Mars, followed by some time to set up the system. “We figure you'd probably have maybe 14 months to make all the oxygen.” Further, he says, the produced oxygen would have to be liquefied to be used a rocket propellant, something the current version of MOXIE doesn’t do.

MOXIE also currently faces several design constraints because, says Hoffman, a former astronaut, “our only ride to Mars was inside the Perseverance rover.” This limited the amount of power available to operate the unit, the amount of heat they could produce, the volume and the mass.

“MOXIE does not work nearly as efficiently as a stand-alone system that was specifically designed would,” says Hoffman. Most of the time, it’s turned off. “Every time we want to make oxygen, we have to heat it up to 800 ºC, so most of the energy goes into heating it up and running the compressor, whereas in a well-designed stand-alone system, most of the energy will go into the actual electrolysis, into actually producing the oxygen.”

However, there are still many kinks to iron out for the scaling-up process. To begin with, any oxygen-producing system will need lots of power. Hoffman thinks nuclear power is the most likely option, maybe NASA’s Kilopower fission reactors. The setup and the cabling would certainly be challenging, he says. “You’re going to have to launch to all of these nuclear reactors, and of course, they’re not going to be in exactly the same place as the [other] units,” he says. "So, robotically, you’re going to have to connect to the electrical cables to bring power to the oxygen-producing unit.”

Then there is the solid oxide electrolysis units, which Hoffman points out are carefully machined systems. Fortunately, the company that makes them, OxEon, has already designed, built, and tested a full-scale unit, a hundred times bigger than the one on MOXIE. “Several of those units would be required to produce oxygen at the quantities that we need,” Hoffman says.

He also adds that at present, there is no redundancy built into MOXIE. If any part fails, the whole system dies. “If you’re counting on a system to produce oxygen for rocket propellant and for breathing, you need very high reliability, which means you’re going to need quite a few redundant units.”

Moreover, the system has to be pretty much autonomous, Hoffman says. “It has to be able to monitor itself, run itself.” For testing purposes, every time MOXIE is powered up, there is plenty of time to plan. A full-scale MOXIE system, though, would have to run continuously, and for that it has to be able to adjust automatically to changes in the Mars atmosphere, which can vary by a factor of two over a year, and between nighttime and daytime temperature differences.


Match ID: 102 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 16 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

China’s Moon Missions Shadow NASA Artemis’s Pace
Wed, 07 Sep 2022 16:56:57 +0000


This past weekend, NASA scrubbed the Artemis I uncrewed mission to the moon and back. Reportedly, the space agency will try again to launch the inaugural moon mission featuring the gargantuan Space Launch System (SLS) at the end of this month or sometime in October. Meanwhile, half a world away, China is progressing on its own step-by-step program to put both robotic and, eventually, crewed spacecraft on the lunar surface and keep pace with NASA-led achievements.

Asia’s rapidly growing space power has already made a number of impressive lunar leaps but will need to build on these in the coming years. Ambitious sample-return missions, landings at the lunar south pole, testing the ability to 3D print using materials from regolith, and finally sending astronauts on a short-term visit to our celestial neighbor are in the cards before the end of the decade.

The next step, expected around 2024, is Chang’e-6: an unprecedented attempt to collect rock samples from the far side of the moon.

The mission will build on two recent major space achievements. In 2019, China became the first country to safely land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, a hemisphere which cannot be seen from Earth—as the moon is tidally locked. The mission was made possible by a relay satellite out beyond the moon at Earth-moon Lagrange point 2, where it can bounce signals between Chang’e-4 and ground stations in China.

Chang’e-5 in 2020 performed the first sampling of lunar material in over four decades. The complex, four-spacecraft mission used an orbiter, lander, ascent vehicle, and return capsule to successfully deliver 1.731 grams of lunar rocks to Earth. The automated rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit of the orbiter and ascent spacecraft was also seen as a test of the technology for getting astronauts off the moon and back to Earth.

Chang’e-6 will again attempt to collect new samples, this time from the South pole-Aitken basin, a massive and ancient impact crater on the far side of the moon. The science return of such a mission could likewise be huge as its rocks have the potential to answer some significant questions about the moon’s geological past, says planetary scientist Katherine Joy of the University of Manchester, in England.

“We think that the basin-formation event was so large that the moon’s mantle could have been excavated from tens of kilometers deep,” says Joy. Fragments of this mantle material originating from deep in the moon would help us to understand how the Moon differentiated early in its history, the nature of its interior, and how volcanism on the far side of the moon is different or similar to that on the nearside.

Chang’e-7, also scheduled for 2024, will look at a different set of questions geared toward lunar resources. It will target the lunar south pole, a region where NASA’s Artemis 3 crewed mission is also looking to land.

The mission will involve a flotilla of spacecraft, including a new relay satellite, an orbiter, lander, rover and a small “hopping” spacecraft designed to inspect permanently shadowed craters which are thought to contain water ice which could be used in the future to provide breathable oxygen, rocket fuel, or drinking water to lunar explorers.

Following this Chang’e-8 is expected to launch around 2027 to test in situ resource utilization and conduct other experiments and technology tests such as oxygen extraction and 3D printing related to building a permanent lunar base—for both robots and crew—in the 2030s, named the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).

The upcoming Chang’e-6, 7 and 8 missions are expected to launch on China’s largest current rocket, the Long March 5. But, as with NASA and Artemis, China will need its own megarockets to make human lunar exploration and ultimately, perhaps, crewed lunar bases a reality.

In part in reaction to the achievements of SpaceX, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main space contractor, is developing a new rocket specifically for launching astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.

The “new generation crew launch vehicle” will essentially bundle three Long March 5 core stages together (which will be no mean feat of engineering) while also improving the performance of its kerosene engines. The result will be a roughly 90-meter-tall rocket resembling a Long March version of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, capable of sending 27 tonnes of payload into translunar injection.

Two launches of the rocket will by 2030, according to leading Chinese space officials, be able to put a pair of astronauts on the moon for a 6-hour stay. Such a mission also requires developing a lunar lander and a new spacecraft capable of keeping astronauts safe in deep space.

For building infrastructure on the moon, China is looking to the future Long March 9, an SLS-class rocket capable of sending 50 tonnes into translunar injection. The project will require CASC to make breakthroughs in a number of areas, including manufacturing new, wider rocket bodies of up to 10 meters in diameter, mastering massive, higher-thrust rocket engines, and building a new launch complex at Wenchang, Hainan island, to handle the monster.

Once again NASA is leading humanity’s journey to the moon, but China’s steady accumulation of capabilities and long-term ambitions means it will likely not be far behind.


Match ID: 103 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 17 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

NASA Selects Proposals to Study Stellar Explosions, Galaxies, Stars
Thu, 18 Aug 2022 15:36 EDT
NASA has selected four mission proposals submitted to the agency’s Explorers Program for further study.
Match ID: 104 Score: 12.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 36 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

X-Rays Could Carry Quantum Signals Across the Stars
Mon, 18 Jul 2022 15:07:14 +0000


Quantum signals may possess a number of advantages over regular forms of communication, leading scientists to wonder if humanity was not alone in discovering such benefits. Now a new study suggests that, for hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations, quantum transmissions using X-rays may be possible across interstellar distances.

Quantum communication relies on a quantum phenomenon known as entanglement. Essentially, two or more particles such as photons that get “linked” via entanglement can, in theory, influence each other instantly no matter how far apart they are.

Entanglement is essential to quantum teleportation, in which data can essentially disappear one place and reappear someplace else. Since this information does not travel across the intervening space, there is no chance the information will be lost.

To accomplish quantum teleportation, one would first entangle two photons. Then, one of the photons—the one to be teleported—is kept at one location while the other is beamed to whatever destination is desired.

Next, the photon at the destination's quantum state—which defines its key characteristics—is analyzed, an act that also destroys its quantum state. Entanglement will lead the destination photon to prove identical to its partner. For all intents and purposes, the photon at the origin point “teleported” to the destination point—no physical matter moved, but the two photons are physically indistinguishable.

And to be clear, quantum teleportation cannot send information faster than the speed of light, because the destination photon must still be transmitted via conventional means.

One weakness of quantum communication is that entanglement is fragile. Still, researchers have successfully transmitted entangled photons that remained stable or “coherent” enough for quantum teleportation across distances as great as 1,400 kilometers.

Such findings led theoretical physicist Arjun Berera at the University of Edinburgh to wonder just how far quantum signals might stay coherent. First, he discovered quantum coherence might survive interstellar distances within our galaxy, and then he and his colleagues found quantum coherence might survive intergalactic distances.

“If photons in Earth’s atmosphere don’t decohere to 100 km, then in interstellar space where the medium is much less dense then our atmosphere, photons won’t decohere up to even the size of the galaxy,” Berera says.

In the new study, the researchers investigated whether and how well quantum communication might survive interstellar distances. Quantum signals might face disruption from a number of factors, such as the gravitational pull of interstellar bodies, they note.

The scientists discovered the best quantum communication channels for interstellar messages are X-rays. Such frequencies are easier to focus and detect across interstellar distances. (NASA has tested deep-space X-ray communication with its XCOM experiment.) The researchers also found that the optical and microwave bands could enable communication across large distances as well, albeit less effectively than X-rays.

Although coherence might survive interstellar distances, Berera does note quantum signals might lose fidelity. “This means the quantum state is sustained, but it can have a phase shift, so although the quantum information is preserved in these states, it has been altered by the effect of gravity.” Therefore, it may “take some work at the receiving end to account for these phase shifts and be able to assess the information contained in the original state.”

Why might an interstellar civilization transmit quantum signals as opposed to regular ones? The researchers note that quantum communication may allow greater data compression and, in some cases, exponentially faster speeds than classical channels. Such a boost in efficiency might prove very useful for civilizations separated by interstellar distances.

“It could be that quantum communication is the main communication mode in an extraterrestrial's world, so they just apply what is at hand to send signals into the cosmos,” Berera says.

The scientists detailed their findings online 28 June in the journal Physical Review D.


Match ID: 105 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 68 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Registration Now Open for NASA 2022 International Space Apps Challenge
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 10:10 EDT
The NASA International Space Apps Challenge – the world’s largest annual hackathon – returns this year with the theme “Make Space,” which emphasizes NASA’s commitment to inclusivity.
Match ID: 106 Score: 12.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 71 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

The Webb Space Telescope’s Profound Data Challenges
Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:03:45 +0000


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.


As previous articles in this series have noted, JWST is parked at Lagrange point L2. It’s a point of gravitational equilibrium located about 1.5 million kilometers beyond Earth on a straight line between the planet and the sun. It’s an ideal location for JWST to observe the universe without obstruction and with minimal orbital adjustments.

Being so far away from Earth, however, means that data has farther to travel to make it back in one piece. It also means the communications subsystem needs to be reliable, because the prospect of a repair mission being sent to address a problem is, for the near term at least, highly unlikely. Given the cost and time involved, says Michael Menzel, the mission systems engineer for JWST, “I would not encourage a rendezvous and servicing mission unless something went wildly wrong.”

According to Menzel, who has worked on JWST in some capacity for over 20 years, the plan has always been to use well-understood K a-band frequencies for the bulky transmissions of scientific data. Specifically, JWST is transmitting data back to Earth on a 25.9-gigahertz channel at up to 28 megabits per second. The Ka-band is a portion of the broader K-band (another portion, the Ku-band, was also considered).

An illustration depicting different Lagrange points and where the Webb Telescope is. The Lagrange points are equilibrium locations where competing gravitational tugs on an object net out to zero. JWST is one of three craft currently occupying L2 (Shown here at an exaggerated distance from Earth). IEEE Spectrum

Both the data-collection and transmission rates of JWST dwarf those of the older Hubble Space Telescope. Compared to Hubble, which is still active and generates 1 to 2 gigabytes of data daily, JWST can produce up to 57 GB each day (although that amount is dependent on what observations are scheduled).

Menzel says he first saw the frequency selection proposals for JWST around 2000, when he was working at Northrop Grumman. He became the mission systems engineer in 2004. “I knew where the risks were in this mission. And I wanted to make sure that we didn’t get any new risks,” he says.

IEEE Spectrum

Besides, K a-band frequencies can transmit more data than X-band (7 to 11.2 GHz) or S-band (2 to 4 GHz), common choices for craft in deep space. A high data rate is a necessity for the scientific work JWST will be undertaking. In addition, according to Carl Hansen, a flight systems engineer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (the science operations center for JWST), a comparable X-band antenna would be so large that the spacecraft would have trouble remaining steady for imaging.

Although the 25.9-GHz K a-band frequency is the telescope’s workhorse communication channel, it also employs two channels in the S-band. One is the 2.09-GHz uplink that ferries future transmission and scientific observation schedules to the telescope at 16 kilobits per second. The other is the 2.27-GHz, 40-kb/s downlink over which the telescope transmits engineering data—including its operational status, systems health, and other information concerning the telescope’s day-to-day activities.

Any scientific data the JWST collects during its lifetime will need to be stored on board, because the spacecraft doesn’t maintain round-the-clock contact with Earth. Data gathered from its scientific instruments, once collected, is stored within the spacecraft’s 68-GB solid-state drive (3 percent is reserved for engineering and telemetry data). Alex Hunter, also a flight systems engineer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, says that by the end of JWST’s 10-year mission life, they expect to be down to about 60 GB because of deep-space radiation and wear and tear.

The onboard storage is enough to collect data for about 24 hours before it runs out of room. Well before that becomes an issue, JWST will have scheduled opportunities to beam that invaluable data to Earth.

JWST will stay connected via the Deep Space Network (DSN)—a resource it shares with the Parker Solar Probe, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the Voyager probes, and the entire ensemble of Mars rovers and orbiters, to name just a few of the other heavyweights. The DSN consists of three antenna complexes: Canberra, Australia; Madrid, Spain; and Barstow, Calif. JWST needs to share finite antenna time with plenty of other deep-space missions, each with unique communications needs and schedules.

IEEE Spectrum

Sandy Kwan, a DSN systems engineer, says that contact windows with spacecraft are scheduled 12 to 20 weeks in advance. JWST had a greater number of scheduled contact windows during its commissioning phase, as instruments were brought on line, checked, and calibrated. Most of that process required real-time communication with Earth.

All of the communications channels use the Reed-Solomon error-correction protocol—the same error-correction standard as used in DVDs and Blu-ray discs as well as QR codes. The lower data-rate S-band channels use binary phase-shift key modulation—involving phase shifting of a signal’s carrier wave. The K-band channel, however, uses a quadrature phase-shift key modulation. Quadrature phase-shift keying can double a channel’s data rate, at the cost of more complicated transmitters and receivers.

JWST’s communications with Earth incorporate an acknowledgement protocol—only after the JWST gets confirmation that a file has been successfully received will it go ahead and delete its copy of the data to clear up space.

The communications subsystem was assembled along with the rest of the spacecraft bus by Northrop Grumman, using off-the-shelf components sourced from multiple manufacturers.

JWST has had a long and often-delayed development, but its communications system has always been a bedrock for the rest of the project. Keeping at least one system dependable means it’s one less thing to worry about. Menzel can remember, for instance, ideas for laser-based optical systems that were invariably rejected. “I can count at least two times where I had been approached by people who wanted to experiment with optical communications,” says Menzel. “Each time they came to me, I sent them away with the old ‘Thank you, but I don’t need it. And I don’t want it.’”


Match ID: 107 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 77 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

NASA Shares Climate, Earth Science Resources at Folklife Festival
Wed, 29 Jun 2022 14:28 EDT
Members of the public are invited to explore the many ways space science helps families, communities, and our nation better understand our home planet and become more climate resilient through hands-on and virtual activities during NASA Day at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Saturday, July 2, on the National Mall in Washington.
Match ID: 108 Score: 12.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 86 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Companies Vie to Build NASA’s Next Communications Network
Fri, 13 May 2022 15:28:16 +0000


It was a great idea for its time—a network of NASA communications satellites high in geostationary orbit, providing nearly continuous radio contact between controllers on the ground and some of the agency’s highest-profile missions: the space shuttles, the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, and dozens of others.

The satellites were called TDRS—short for Tracking and Data Relay Satellite—and the first was launched in 1983 on the maiden voyage of the space shuttle Challenger. Twelve more would follow, quietly providing a backbone for NASA’s orbital operations. But they’ve gotten old, they’re expensive, and in the 40 years since they began, they’ve been outpaced by commercial satellite networks.

So what comes next? That’s the 278-million-dollar question—but, importantly, it’s not a multibillion-dollar question.

“Now it’ll be just plug and play. They can concentrate on the mission, and they don’t have to worry about comms, because we provide that for them.”
—Craig Miller, Viasat

NASA, following its mantra to get out of the business of routine space operations, has now awarded US $278.5 million in contracts to six companies: Amazon’s Project Kuiper, Inmarsat Government, SES Government Solutions, SpaceX, Telesat, and Viasat. The agency is asking them to offer services that are reliable, adaptable for all sorts of missions, easy for NASA to use, and—ideally—orders of magnitude less expensive than TDRS.

“It’s an ambitious wish list,” says Eli Naffah, communications services project manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, in Cleveland. “We’re looking to have industry tell us, based on their capabilities and their business interests, what they would like to provide to us as a service that they would provide to others broadly.”

A satellite  and Earth. Inmarsat now operates a number of geostationary satellites in their GX fleet. The projected GX7 satellite [left] is expected to launch in 2023.Inmarsat Government

Satellite communication is one area that has taken off as a business proposition, independent of NASA’s space efforts. Internet and television transmission, GPS, phone service—all of these have become giant enterprises, ubiquitous in people’s lives. Economy of scale and competition have brought prices down dramatically. (That’s very different from, say, space tourism, which attracts a lot of attention but for now is still something that only the very wealthy can afford.)

NASA benefits, in the case of communications, from being a relatively small player, especially if it can get out from under the costs of running something like the TDRS system. The commercial satellite companies take over those costs—which, they say, is fine, since they were spending the money anyway.

“We love having customers like NASA,” says Craig Miller, president for government systems at Viasat. “They’re a joy to work with, their mission is in alignment with a lot of our core values, but we make billions of dollars a year selling Internet to other sources.”

Each of the six companies under the new NASA contract takes a different approach. Inmarsat, SES, and Viasat, for instance, would use large relay satellites, like TDRS, each seeming to hover over a fixed spot on Earth’s equator because, at an altitude of 35,786 kilometers, one orbit takes precisely 24 hours. Amazon and SpaceX, by contrast, would use swarms of smaller satellites in low Earth orbit, only 3,700 km in altitude. (SpaceX, at last count, had launched more than 2,200 of its Starlink satellites.) SES and Telesat would offer two-for-one packages, with service both from high and lower orbits. As for radio frequencies, the companies might use C band, Ka band, L band, optical—whatever their existing clients have needed. And so on.

Two rows of stacked objects seen over the background of Earth. Sixty SpaceX Starlink satellites wait for deployment from their launch rocket in low Earth orbit, in this photograph from 2019.SpaceX

It may sound like an alphabet soup of ways to solve one basic need—being in contact with its satellites—but engineers say that’s a minor trade-off for NASA if it can piggyback on others’ communications networks. “This allows NASA and our other government users to achieve their missions without the upfront capital expenditure and the full life-cycle cost” of running the TDRS system, said Britt Lewis, a senior vice president of Inmarsat Government, in an email to IEEE Spectrum.

One major advantage to the space agency would be the sheer volume of service available to it. In years past, the TDRS system could handle only so many transmissions at a time; if a particular mission needed to send a large volume of data, it had to book time in advance.

“Now it’ll be just plug and play,” says Miller at Viasat. “They can concentrate on the mission, and they don’t have to worry about comms, because we provide that for them.”

NASA says it expects each company will complete technology development and in-space demonstrations by 2025, with the most successful starting to take over operations for the agency by 2030. There will probably be no single winner: “We’re not really looking to have any one particular company be able to provide all the services on our list,” says NASA’s Naffah.

picture of a satellite in earth orbit NASA's TDRS-M communications satellite launched in 2017. NASA

The TDRS satellites have proved durable; TDRS-3, launched by the space shuttle Discovery in 1988, is still usable as a spare if newer satellites break down. NASA says it will probably continue to use the system into the 2030s, but it planned no more launches after the last (of TDRS-13 a.k.a. TDRS-M) in 2017.

If everything works out, says Amazon in an email, “This model would allow organizations like NASA to rely on commercial operators for near-Earth communications while shifting their focus to more ambitious operations, like solving technical challenges for deep space exploration and science missions.”

At which point the sky's the limit. NASA focuses on the moon, Mars, and other exploration, while it buys routine services from the private sector.

“We can provide the same kind of broadband capabilities that you’re used to having on Earth,” says Viasat’s Miller. He smiles at this thought. “We can provide Netflix to the ISS.”


Match ID: 109 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 134 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Declaración del administrador de la NASA sobre la solicitud de presupuesto del presidente para el año fiscal 2023
Mon, 28 Mar 2022 13:53 EDT
El presupuesto del presidente para el año fiscal 2023 permitiría a la NASA mantener el liderazgo en innovación global de Estados Unidos y mantener a la NASA a la vanguardia de la exploración y el descubrimiento al regresar a la Luna con el programa Artemis, entre otros esfuerzos.
Match ID: 110 Score: 12.86 source: www.nasa.gov age: 180 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Programmable Blocks Tease Self-Assembling Space Structures
Fri, 11 Mar 2022 16:00:25 +0000


This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

Self-assembling and self-reconfiguring robots depicted in films like Transformers are becoming closer to reality, thanks to a team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Scientists at CSAIL have created what they call ElectroVoxels, modular robotic cubes that use embedded electromagnets to move. The accompanying paper will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in May.

“I originally wanted to call them Transformers because they’re essentially robots that can change their shape,” says Martin Nisser, a Ph.D. student in the human-computer interaction group at MIT CSAIL and lead author on the paper. Due to copyright reasons, however, the team decided against it and settled on combining the term “electromagnet” with “voxel,” a volumetric pixel that’s the 3D equivalent of a pixel. “You can think of ElectroVoxels as voxels with electromagnets embedded in them,” he says.

An ElectroVoxel cube indeed has an electromagnet—a ferrite core wrapped with copper wire—embedded into each of its 12 edges. “When you send a current through an electromagnet, the polarization depends on the direction in which you send the current,” Nisser says. “It’s like a permanent magnet, except you can change the polarity depending on the direction of the current.”

ElectroVoxel blocks move by either pivoting to a block it shares an edge with or traversing the face of one block to another. When a pair of electromagnets in a cube are polarized oppositely, they attract each other, creating a hinge. You can then use another pair of electromagnets polarized in the same direction to repel each other and perform a pivoting maneuver. Once that pivoting is complete, you can use two separate pairs of electromagnets to attract each other and hold the faces of the two cubes together.

ElectroVoxels are modular robotic cubes that use embedded electromagnets to move.MIT CSAIL/Martin Nisser

The blocks are also programmable. “When you have more than two or three ElectroVoxels, it becomes hard to address each electromagnet individually and predict what will happen,” says Nisser. “So we created a user interface that lets you specify which ElectroVoxel should pivot in what direction. Then all the underlying electromagnet assignments are computed for you, and we can put that directly onto the microcontroller.”

Unlike other self-assembling robots whose hardware consists of bulky motors or expensive actuators, ElectroVoxels promise scalability. They’re light, with each cube weighing 103 grams; cheaper, with each electromagnet costing around US $0.60; and easy to build, with each cube taking about 80 minutes to construct.

But ElectroVoxels are not without their limitations, and the team took advantage of a particular one as a perfect vehicle for space applications. “One of the drawbacks of ElectroVoxels is that their force is relatively weak compared to other actuators. Yet we also realized that they can be used effectively in space,” Nisser says. “In a microgravity environment, even very low forces can contribute to significant velocities, so a very small force like the ones we have in ElectroVoxels could contribute to moving large objects. We saw this opportunity to explore reconfigurable robots for space applications, where you want to try to change the inertial properties of spacecraft, or to help build temporary structures that can aid in various activities such as structure inspection by astronauts.”

To verify their theory and establish reconfiguration in space, the team conducted experiments in a microgravity environment. First, they used an air table, a flat table with holes in it and chutes around it to create pillows of air that simulate microgravity conditions. The ElectroVoxels successfully performed pivots and traversals on the air table. Then, the team flew the cubes aboard a parabolic flight to observe pivoting. They encountered some difficulties, but the ElectroVoxels were able to pivot in flight.

“On a typical flight, an aircraft flies these parabolas about 20 times, and each of the parabolas lasts for around 15 seconds. But the quality of the microgravity inside those parabolas tends to vary a bit,” says Nisser. “What ended up happening is that we only had about 4 seconds of microgravity, so the main challenge was fine-tuning everything to make sure we were as prepared as possible for it to work, because with just 4 seconds, there was no time or capability to update things.”

While the team has demonstrated the ability of ElectroVoxels for use in space, they hope to do the same in the future for Earth. “We’re looking at trying to optimize ElectroVoxels for torque-to-inertia ratios to be able to pivot against gravity,” Nisser says.

Another fit-for-Earth application for these reconfigurable robots is recyclable rapid prototyping. “3D printers are typically used to create one-off, low-fidelity prototypes, which aren’t necessarily functional,” says Nisser. “If you can create prototypes with a modular system, then you can create one structure and have it automatically pivot into a second structure, making rapid prototyping more sustainable. You wouldn’t have to discard the plastic after each print—you could just use the same modules to create new structures.”


Match ID: 111 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 197 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Satellite Imagery for Everyone
Sat, 19 Feb 2022 16:00:00 +0000


Every day, satellites circling overhead capture trillions of pixels of high-resolution imagery of the surface below. In the past, this kind of information was mostly reserved for specialists in government or the military. But these days, almost anyone can use it.

That’s because the cost of sending payloads, including imaging satellites, into orbit has dropped drastically. High-resolution satellite images, which used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, now can be had for the price of a cup of coffee.

What’s more, with the recent advances in artificial intelligence, companies can more easily extract the information they need from huge digital data sets, including ones composed of satellite images. Using such images to make business decisions on the fly might seem like science fiction, but it is already happening within some industries.


This image shows are variety of blue and green hues, interwoven in a geometrically intriguing way.

These underwater sand dunes adorn the seafloor between Andros Island and the Exuma islands in the Bahamas. The turquoise to the right reflects a shallow carbonate bank, while the dark blue to the left marks the edge of a local deep called Tongue of the Ocean. This image was captured in April 2020 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory


Here’s a brief overview of how you, too, can access this kind of information and use it to your advantage. But before you’ll be able to do that effectively, you need to learn a little about how modern satellite imagery works.

The orbits of Earth-observation satellites generally fall into one of two categories: GEO and LEO. The former is shorthand for geosynchronous equatorial orbit. GEO satellites are positioned roughly 36,000 kilometers above the equator, where they circle in sync with Earth’s rotation. Viewed from the ground, these satellites appear to be stationary, in the sense that their bearing and elevation remain constant. That’s why GEO is said to be a geostationary orbit.

Such orbits are, of course, great for communications relays—it’s what allows people to mount satellite-TV dishes on their houses in a fixed orientation. But GEO satellites are also appropriate when you want to monitor some region of Earth by capturing images over time. Because the satellites are so high up, the resolution of that imagery is quite coarse, however. So these orbits are primarily used for observation satellites designed to track changing weather conditions over broad areas.

Being stationary with respect to Earth means that GEO satellites are always within range of a downlink station, so they can send data back to Earth in minutes. This allows them to alert people to changes in weather patterns almost in real time. Most of this kind of data is made available for free by the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


This black-and-white image shows a narrow waterway blocked by a large ship. The resolution of the image is sufficient to make out individual shipping containers on its deck, as well as the tugboats arrayed around it.

In March 2021, the container ship Ever Given ran aground, blocking the Suez Canal for six days. This satellite image of the scene, obtained using synthetic-aperture radar, shows the kind resolution that is possible with this technology.

Capella Space


The other option is LEO, which stands for low Earth orbit. Satellites placed in LEO are much closer to the ground, which allows them to obtain higher-resolution images. And the lower you can go, the better the resolution you can get. The company Planet, for example, increased the resolution of its recently completed satellite constellation, SkySat, from 72 centimeters per pixel to just 50 cm—an incredible feat—by lowering the orbits its satellites follow from 500 to 450 km and improving the image processing.

The best commercially available spatial resolution for optical imagery is 25 cm, which means that one pixel represents a 25-by-25-cm area on the ground—roughly the size of your laptop. A handful of companies capture data with 25-cm to 1-meter resolution, which is considered high to very high resolution in this industry. Some of these companies also offer data from 1- to 5-meter resolution, considered medium to high resolution. Finally, several government programs have made optical data available at 10-, 15-, 30-, and 250-meter resolutions for free with open data programs. These include NASA/U.S. Geological Survey Landsat, NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), and ESA Copernicus. This imagery is considered low resolution.

Because the satellites that provide the highest-resolution images are in the lowest orbits, they sense less area at once. To cover the entire planet, a satellite can be placed in a polar orbit, which takes it from pole to pole. As it travels, Earth rotates under it, so on its next pass, it will be above a different part of Earth.

Many of these satellites don’t pass directly over the poles, though. Instead, they are placed in a near-polar orbit that has been specially designed to take advantage of a subtle bit of physics. You see, the spinning Earth bulges outward slightly at the equator. That extra mass causes the orbits of satellites that are not in polar orbits to shift or (technically speaking) to precess. Satellite operators often take advantage of this phenomenon to put a satellite in what’s called a sun-synchronous orbit. Such orbits allow the repeated passes of the satellite over a given spot to take place at the same time of day. Not having the pattern of shadows shift between passes helps the people using these images to detect changes.




It usually takes 24 hours for a satellite in polar orbit to survey the entire surface of Earth. To image the whole world more frequently, satellite companies use multiple satellites, all equipped with the same sensor and following different orbits. In this way, these companies can provide more frequently updated images of a given location. For example, Maxar’s Worldview Legion constellation, launching later this year, includes six satellites.

After a satellite captures some number of images, all that data needs to be sent down to Earth and processed. The time required for that varies.

DigitalGlobe (which Maxar acquired in 2017) recently announced that it had managed to send data from a satellite down to a ground station and then store it in the cloud in less than a minute. That was possible because the image sent back was of the parking lot of the ground station, so the satellite didn’t have to travel between the collection point and where it had to be to do the data “dumping,” as this process is called.

In general, Earth-observation satellites in LEO don’t capture imagery all the time—they do that only when they are above an area of special interest. That’s because these satellites are limited to how much data they can send at one time. Typically, they can transmit data for only 10 minutes or so before they get out of range of a ground station. And they cannot record more data than they’ll have time to dump.

Currently, ground stations are located mostly near the poles, the most visited areas in polar orbits. But we can soon expect distances to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world. As it turns out, hosting the terabytes of satellite data that are collected daily is big business for these companies, which sell their cloud services (Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure) to satellite operators.

For now, if you are looking for imagery of an area far from a ground station, expect a significant delay—maybe hours—between capture and transmission of the data. The data will then have to be processed, which adds yet more time. The fastest providers currently make their data available within 48 hours of capture, but not all can manage that. While it is possible, under ideal weather conditions, for a commercial entity to request a new capture and get the data it needs delivered the same week, such quick turnaround times are still considered cutting edge.


The best commercially available spatial resolution is 25 centimeters for optical imagery, which means that one pixel represents something roughly the size of your laptop.


I’ve been using the word “imagery,” but it’s important to note that satellites do not capture images the same way ordinary cameras do. The optical sensors in satellites are calibrated to measure reflectance over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. This could mean they record how much red, green, and blue light is reflected from different parts of the ground. The satellite operator will then apply a variety of adjustments to correct colors, combine adjacent images, and account for parallax, forming what’s called a true-color composite image, which looks pretty much like what you would expect to get from a good camera floating high in the sky and pointed directly down.

Imaging satellites can also capture data outside of the visible-light spectrum. The near-infrared band is widely used in agriculture, for example, because these images help farmers gauge the health of their crops. This band can also be used to detect soil moisture and a variety of other ground features that would otherwise be hard to determine.

Longer-wavelength “thermal” IR does a good job of penetrating smoke and picking up heat sources, making it useful for wildfire monitoring. And synthetic-aperture radar satellites, which I discuss in greater detail below, are becoming more common because the images they produce aren’t affected by clouds and don’t require the sun for illumination.

You might wonder whether aerial imagery, say, from a drone, wouldn’t work at least as well as satellite data. Sometimes it can. But for many situations, using satellites is the better strategy. Satellites can capture imagery over areas that would be difficult to access otherwise because of their remoteness, for example. Or there could be other sorts of accessibility issues: The area of interest could be in a conflict zone, on private land, or in another place that planes or drones cannot overfly.

So with satellites, organizations can easily monitor the changes taking place at various far-flung locations. Satellite imagery allows pipeline operators, for instance, to quickly identify incursions into their right-of-way zones. The company can then take steps to prevent a disastrous incident, such as someone puncturing a gas pipeline while construction is taking place nearby.


\u200bThis satellite image shows a snow-covered area. A tongue of darker material is draped over the side of a slope, impinging on a nearby developed area with buildings.

This SkySat image shows the effect of a devastating landslide that took place on 30 December 2020. Debris from that landslide destroyed buildings and killed 10 people in the Norwegian village of Ask.

SkySat/Planet



The ability to compare archived imagery with recently acquired data has helped a variety of industries. For example, insurance companies sometimes use satellite data to detect fraudulent claims (“Looks like your house had a damaged roof when you bought it…”). And financial-investment firms use satellite imagery to evaluate such things as retailers’ future profits based on parking-lot fullness or to predict crop prices before farmers report their yields for the season.

Satellite imagery provides a particularly useful way to find or monitor the location of undisclosed features or activities. Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama, for example, uses satellite imagery to locate archaeological sites of interest. 52Impact, a consulting company in the Netherlands, identified undisclosed waste dump sites by training an algorithm to recognize their telltale spectral signature. Satellite imagery has also helped identify illegal fishing activities, fight human trafficking, monitor oil spills, get accurate reporting on COVID-19 deaths, and even investigate Uyghur internment camps in China—all situations where the primary actors couldn’t be trusted to accurately report what’s going on.

Despite these many successes, investigative reporters and nongovernmental organizations aren’t yet using satellite data regularly, perhaps because even the small cost of the imagery is a deterrent. Thankfully, some kinds of low-resolution satellite data can be had for free.

The first place to look for free satellite imagery is the Copernicus Open Access Hub and EarthExplorer. Both offer free access to a wide range of open data. The imagery is lower resolution than what you can purchase, but if the limited resolution meets your needs, why spend money?

If you require medium- or high-resolution data, you might be able to buy it directly from the relevant satellite operator. This field recently went through a period of mergers and acquisitions, leaving only a handful of providers, the big three in the West being Maxar and Planet in the United States and Airbus in Germany. There are also a few large Asian providers, such as SI Imaging Services in South Korea and Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology in Singapore. Most providers have a commercial branch, but they primarily target government buyers. And they often require large minimum purchases, which is unhelpful to companies looking to monitor hundreds of locations or fewer.

Expect the distance to the nearest ground station to shorten because both Amazon and Microsoft have announced intentions to build large networks of ground stations located all over the world.

Fortunately, approaching a satellite operator isn’t the only option. In the past five years, a cottage industry of consultants and local resellers with exclusive deals to service a certain market has sprung up. Aggregators and resellers spend years negotiating contracts with multiple providers so they can offer customers access to data sets at more attractive prices, sometimes for as little as a few dollars per image. Some companies providing geographic information systems—including Esri, L3Harris, and Safe Software—have also negotiated reselling agreements with satellite-image providers.

Traditional resellers are middlemen who will connect you with a salesperson to discuss your needs, obtain quotes from providers on your behalf, and negotiate pricing and priority schedules for image capture and sometimes also for the processing of the data. This is the case for Apollo Mapping, European Space Imaging, Geocento, LandInfo, Satellite Imaging Corp., and many more. The more innovative resellers will give you access to digital platforms where you can check whether an image you need is available from a certain archive and then order it. Examples include LandViewer from EOS and Image Hunter from Apollo Mapping.

More recently, a new crop of aggregators began offering customers the ability to programmatically access Earth-observation data sets. These companies work best for people looking to integrate such data into their own applications or workflows. These include the company I work for, SkyWatch, which provides such a service, called EarthCache. Other examples are UP42 from Airbus and Sentinel Hub from Sinergise.

While you will still need to talk with a sales rep to activate your account—most often to verify you will use the data in ways that fits the company’s terms of service and licensing agreements—once you’ve been granted access to their applications, you will be able to programmatically order archive data from one or multiple providers. SkyWatch is, however, the only aggregator allowing users to programmatically request future data to be collected (“tasking a satellite”).

While satellite imagery is fantastically abundant and easy to access today, two changes are afoot that will expand further what you can do with satellite data: faster revisits and greater use of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR).

This image shows a sprawling compound of dozens of large buildings located in a desert area.

This image shows a race-track shaped structure with a tall chimney in the middle, built in an area where the ground is a distinctly reddish hue. Satellite images have helped to reveal China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority. About a million Uyghurs (and other ethnic minorities) have been interned in prisons or camps like the one shown here [top], which lies to the east of the city of Ürümqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Another satellite image [bottom] shows the characteristic oval shape of a fixed-chimney Bull’s trench kiln, a type widely used for manufacturing bricks in southern Asia. This one is located in Pakistan’s Punjab province. This design poses environmental concerns because of the sooty air pollution it generates, and such kilns have also been associated with human-rights abuses.Top: CNES/Airbus/Google Earth; Bottom: Maxar Technologies/Google Earth

The first of these developments is not surprising. As more Earth-observation satellites are put into orbit, more images will be taken, more often. So how frequently a given area is imaged by a satellite will increase. Right now, that’s typically two or three times a week. Expect the revisit rate soon to become several times a day. This won’t entirely address the challenge of clouds obscuring what you want to view, but it will help.

The second development is more subtle. Data from the two satellites of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 SAR mission, available at no cost, has enabled companies to dabble in SAR over the last few years.

With SAR, the satellite beams radio waves down and measures the return signals bouncing off the surface. It does that continually, and clever processing is used to turn that data into images. The use of radio allows these satellites to see through clouds and to collect measurements day and night. Depending on the radar band that’s employed, SAR imagery can be used to judge material properties, moisture content, precise movements, and elevation.

As more companies get familiar with such data sets, there will no doubt be a growing demand for satellite SAR imagery, which has been widely used by the military since the 1970s. But it’s just now starting to appear in commercial products. You can expect those offerings to grow dramatically, though.

Indeed, a large portion of the money being invested in this industry is currently going to fund large SAR constellations, including those of Capella Space, Iceye, Synspective, XpressSAR, and others. The market is going to get crowded fast, which is great news for customers. It means they will be able to obtain high-resolution SAR images of the place they’re interested in, taken every hour (or less), day or night, cloudy or clear.

People will no doubt figure out wonderful new ways to employ this information, so the more folks who have access to it, the better. This is something my colleagues at SkyWatch and I deeply believe, and it’s why we’ve made it our mission to help democratize access to satellite imagery.

One day in the not-so-distant future, Earth-observation satellite data might become as ubiquitous as GPS, another satellite technology first used only by the military. Imagine, for example, being able to take out your phone and say something like, “Show me this morning’s soil-moisture map for Grover’s Corners High; I want to see whether the baseball fields are still soggy.”

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “A Boom with a View.”

Editor's note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Maxar's Worldview Legion constellation launched last year.


Match ID: 112 Score: 12.86 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 217 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 3.57 mit

Inside the Universe Machine: The Webb Space Telescope’s Chilly Sun Shield
Thu, 07 Jul 2022 13:48:57 +0000


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When Apollo astronauts sent back the first pictures of Earth as a disk in space, the poet Archibald MacLeish wrote of it as “that bright loveliness in the eternal cold.” He was not far off. Deep space has a temperature of 2.7 kelvins—just 2.7 degrees above absolute zero.

If the James Webb Space Telescope is to work—looking so far out and therefore so far back in time that it can see the first galaxies forming after the big bang—it will have to image objects so faint that they barely stand out from the cold around them. The world will begin finding out how well the observatory works as soon as next week, when JWST is expected to release its first trove of scientific images and spectroscopic data.

So, for argument’s sake, let’s assume all indications so far do in fact point to a successful kickoff of the (hopefully long and storied) scientific data-gathering phase of Webb’s mission. How then did the engineers and designers of this massive telescope ever make it possible to cool the telescope down enough—all at a remove of nearly four times the distance from Earth to the moon—to possibly do its job?

After more than 25 years’ work and technological hurdles beyond counting, the Webb team has launched and stationed its mammoth observatory in solar orbit—and brought its instruments below 40 kelvins (-233 °C), cold enough to see the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago. Remarkably, most of the cooling has been done passively, by shielding the telescope from the sun and letting physics take care of the rest.

“Webb is not just the product of a group of people. It’s not the product of some smart astronomers—Webb is truly the product of our entire world’s capability,” says Keith Parrish, a leader on the Webb team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. “Taken as a whole, Webb is truly the result of our entire know-how of how to build complex machines.”

Parrish joined the project in 1997, ultimately becoming its commissioning manager through the years of design, assembly, testing, delay and, finally, launch on 25 December 2021. He says almost everything about it—its shape and location, the materials from which it’s made—was dictated by the need to have an observatory that would survive for years at supercold temperatures.

Photo of clean room with five giant foil-like sheets stacked atop one another, with three scientists in the distance, inspecting the sunshield In this photo, the five-layered JWST sunshield is being unfurled and inspected in a clean room. The layers of coated Kapton E never touch, minimizing the transmission of heat from one layer to the next. Alex Evers/Northrop Grumman

The Webb is an infrared observatory for many reasons, not the least of which is that as the universe expands, the wavelength of light from distant objects is lengthened, causing dramatic redshift. Infrared is also good for seeing through cosmic dust and gas, and for imaging cold things such as comets, Kuiper Belt objects, and perhaps planets orbiting other stars.

But infrared radiation is often best measured as heat, which is why it’s important for the Webb to be so cold. If, like the Hubble Telescope, it were in low Earth orbit, and it had no shielding from the sun, most of its targets would be drowned out by the sun and ground, and by heat in the telescope itself.

“If my signal is heat—and infrared is heat—then what I can’t have is other heat sources that are noise in the system,” says Jim Flynn, the sunshield manager at Northrop Grumman, the prime contractor for the Webb.

So the Webb has been sent to circle a spot in space called L2, 1.5 million kilometers away, opposite the sun, one of the locations known as Lagrange points. These "L" points are where the gravity of Earth and the sun exactly conspire to keep it in a stable and relatively "fixed" orbit with respect to the Earth as it makes its way around its 365.256-day course circling the sun. It’s a good compromise: Earth is distant enough that it doesn’t interfere with observations, but close enough that communication with the spacecraft can be relatively fast. And since the ship isn’t flying from day to night and back on every orbit, its temperature is relatively stable. All it needs is a really, really good sunshade.

“Four [layers of sunshield] would have probably done the job. Five gave us a little bit of an insurance policy. I’d like to say it was way more sophisticated than that, but that’s really not what it was at all.”
—Keith Parrish, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

“The engineering was pushed above and beyond to meet the scientific goals,” says Alexandra Lockwood, a project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the Webb. “It is specifically designed the way that it is because they wanted to do intensive infrared science.”

It makes for an ungainly-looking ship in many renderings, with the telescope assembly, intentionally open to space to prevent heat buildup, attached to its silvery sunshield, about 14 meters wide and 21 meters long, with five layers of insulating film to keep the telescope in almost total darkness.

From its sunlit side the sunshield roughly resembles a kite. The elongated shape, engineers found, would be the most efficient way to keep the Webb’s optics out of the sun. They considered a square or octagon, but the final version covers more area without much more mass.

“It’s no larger than it needs to be to meet the science field-of-view requirements, and that unique kite shape is the result,” says Parrish. “Any larger than it is now, it just makes everything more complex.”

The shield’s five layers are made of Kapton E, a plastic film first developed by DuPont in the 1960s and used for spacecraft insulation and printed circuits. The layers are coated in aluminum and silicon. Each is thinner than a human hair. But engineers say they are, together, very effective in blocking the sun’s heat. The first layer reduces its strength by about an order of magnitude (or 90 percent), the second layer removes another order of magnitude, and so on. The layers never touch, and they’re slightly flared as one gets away from the center of the shield, so that heat will escape out the sides.

The result: Temperatures on the sunny side of the shield approach 360 K (87 °C), but on the dark side they’re below that all-important 40 K (-233 °C). Or, put another way: More than 200 kilowatts of solar energy fall on the first layer, but only 23 milliwatts make it all the way through the fifth.

The Two Sides of the Webb Telescope


illustration depicting features of JWST's sunshield

Why five layers? There was a lot of computer modeling, but it was hard to simulate the shield’s thermal behavior before flight. “Four would have probably done the job. Five gave us a little bit of an insurance policy,” says Parrish. “I’d like to say it was way more sophisticated than that, but that’s really not what it was at all.”

The ability to cool the telescope naturally, first calculated in the 1980s to be possible, was a major advance. It meant the Webb would not have to rely on a heavy, complex cryogenic apparatus, with refrigerants that could leak and shorten the mission. Of its four main scientific instruments, only one, a midinfrared detector called MIRI, needs to be cooled to 6.7 K. It’s chilled by a multistage cryocooler, which pumps cold helium gas through pulse tubes to draw heat away from the instrument’s sensor. It uses the Joule-Thomson effect, reducing the temperature of the helium by making it expand after it’s forced through a 1-millimeter valve. Pressure comes from two pistons—the cryocooler system’s only moving parts—facing opposite directions so their movements will cancel each other out and not disturb observations.

Building the telescope proved immensely complicated; it fell years behind while its budget ballooned toward US $10 billion. The sunshield needed lengthy redesign after testing, when Kapton tore and fasteners came loose.

“We just bit off way more than we could chew,” Parrish says now. “That’s exactly what NASA should be doing. It should be pushing the envelope. The problem is that eventually Webb got too big to fail.”

But it’s finally deployed, sending data, and surprising engineers who expected at least some failures as it began to operate. Keith Parrish, his work done, is moving on to other projects at Goddard.

“I think Webb,” he says, “is just a great product of what it means to be an advanced civilization.”


Update: 26 July 2022: The story was updated to clarify that the gravity at Lagrange point L2 does not "cancel" (as the story had previously stated) but in fact adds to keep an object at L2 orbiting at the precise same orbital period as, in this case, the Earth—i.e. at 365.256 days.


Match ID: 113 Score: 12.14 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 79 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

New Deep Learning Method Adds 301 Planets to Kepler's Total Count
Mon, 22 Nov 2021 20:36 EST
Scientists recently added a whopping 301 newly confirmed exoplanets to the total exoplanet tally.
Match ID: 114 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 305 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

About Half of Sun-Like Stars Could Host Rocky, Potentially Habitable Planets
Thu, 29 Oct 2020 07:00 EDT
According to new research using data from NASA’s retired planet-hunting mission, the Kepler space telescope, about half the stars similar in temperature to our Sun could have a rocky planet capable of supporting liquid water on its surface.
Match ID: 115 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 695 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

Gravity Assist: Puffy Planets, Powerful Telescopes, with Knicole Colon
Fri, 12 Jun 2020 09:01 EDT
NASA astrophysicist Knicole Colon describes her work on the Kepler, Hubble, TESS and Webb missions, and takes us on a tour of some of her favorite planets.
Match ID: 116 Score: 12.14 source: www.nasa.gov age: 834 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa, 2.86 planets

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/16/2022
Fri, 16 Sep 2022 16:00:34 +0000
Payloads: Foams and Emulsions: Sample swaps for Day 4 Experiment 3 protocol were performed to observe foams formed with various solutions. Foams (dispersions of bubbles in a liquid) and emulsions (dispersions of droplets in a liquid) appear in many food, consumer, and personal care products and are used in a variety of industries. Structure and …
Match ID: 117 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 8 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/15/2022
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 14:21:45 +0000
ISS Reboost: Today, the ISS performed a reboost using the Aft Progress 81P research and design thrusters. The purpose of this reboost was to set up proper phasing conditions for the upcoming 68S launch and 67S return. The burn duration was 1 min 46 seconds with a Delta-V of 0.22 m/s. Payloads: Education Payload Operations …
Match ID: 118 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 9 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA to Host Briefing on Perseverance Mars Rover Mission Operations
Mon, 12 Sep 2022 09:49 EDT
NASA will host a briefing at 11:30 a.m. EDT (8:30 a.m. PDT) on Thursday, Sept. 15, at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California to provide highlights from the first year and a half of the Perseverance rover’s exploration of Mars.
Match ID: 119 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 12 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

When Experts Play It Too Safe: Innovation Lessons from a NASA Experiment
2022-09-12T00:00:00Z
A study of an international robotics competition reveals how experts prioritize easy-to-execute inventions over moonshot ideas. Are companies missing out on potential breakthroughs? Research by Jacqueline Lane and Karim Lakhani.
Match ID: 120 Score: 9.29 source: hbswk.hbs.edu age: 12 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Hosts National Space Council Meeting, Vice President Chairs Event
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 19:23 EDT
Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted the importance of climate, human spaceflight, and STEM education during the Biden-Harris Administration’s second National Space Council meeting Friday, held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Match ID: 121 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 14 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/09/2022
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 16:00:24 +0000
Significant Items: Vice President Crew Conference: Today, the United States Vice President, Kamala Harris, called the US crew from Johnson Space Center Flight Control Room 1. The Vice President was able to thank the crew for their diligent work and asked a few questions about life on station. Vice President Kamala Harris also chaired her …
Match ID: 122 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 15 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

ISS Daily Summary Report – 9/08/2022
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 16:00:11 +0000
Payloads: GRIP: GRIP Session 3 science was performed in the seated position. The GRIP experiment studies long-duration spaceflight effects on the abilities of human subjects to regulate grip force and upper limbs trajectories when manipulating objects during different kind of movements such as oscillatory movements, rapid discrete movements, and tapping gestures.  Fixed Radio Frequency Identification …
Match ID: 123 Score: 9.29 source: blogs.nasa.gov age: 16 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Training astronauts to be scientists on the Moon
Mon, 05 Sep 2022 11:30:00 +0200
A showcase of sedimentary rocks

Astronauts with their sights on the Moon are receiving world-class geology training during the fifth edition of ESA’s Pangaea campaign. From choosing landing sites for a future Artemis mission, to designing science operations for the lunar surface, the course challenges space explorers to become field scientists.


Match ID: 124 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 19 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Artemis: Nasa's Moon rocket will need leak repair
Sat, 03 Sep 2022 21:21:40 GMT
The launch of the American space agency's big new Moon rocket is facing a potentially lengthy delay.
Match ID: 125 Score: 9.29 source: www.bbc.co.uk age: 20 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA, NOAA Invite Media to Polar Orbiting Weather Satellite Launch
Thu, 01 Sep 2022 14:08 EDT
NASA is accepting media requests for launch coverage of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellite. This is the third satellite in the JPSS series, which will capture data to improve weather forecasts, helping scientists predict and prepare for extreme weather events and climate chan
Match ID: 126 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 22 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Artemis I launch postponed
Wed, 31 Aug 2022 11:44:00 +0200

NASA update, 3 September, 23:45 CEST: The team continues to troubleshoot, and plans to return with a variety of options early next week. We are standing down on any launch attempts through the current launch period, which ends Tuesday. See http://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis for more information.

Update 3 September, 18:45 CEST: The Artemis I mission to the Moon has been postponed. NASA teams attempted to fix an issue related to a leak in the hardware transferring fuel into the rocket, but were unsuccessful. A news conference will follow with updates, watch via https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive.

 

Teams are moving forward to the Moon with a second launch attempt of the Artemis I mission on Saturday, 3 September. The two-hour launch window starts at 20:17 CEST (19:17 BST).


Match ID: 127 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 24 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Sunrise for the Moon
Fri, 26 Aug 2022 13:24:00 +0200
Image:

The Orion spacecraft with integrated European Service Module sit atop the Space Launch System, imaged at sunrise at historic Launchpad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

The Flight Readiness Review has deemed the trio GO for launch, marking the dawn of a new era in space exploration.

The first in a series of missions that will return humans to the Moon, including taking the first European, Artemis I is scheduled for launch no earlier than Monday 29 August, at 14:33 CEST.

This mission will put NASA’s Orion spacecraft and ESA’s European Service Module to the test during a journey beyond the Moon and back. No crew will be on board Orion this time, and the spacecraft will be controlled by teams on Earth.

The crew module, however, won’t be empty. Two mannequins, named Helga and Zohar, will occupy the passenger seats. Their female-shaped plastic bodies are filled with over 5600 sensors each to measure the radiation load during their trip around the Moon. The specially trained woolly astronaut, Shaun the Sheep, has also been assigned a seat.

The spacecraft will enter lunar orbit using the Moon’s gravity to gain speed and propel itself almost half a million km from Earth – farther than any human-rated spacecraft has ever travelled.

The second Artemis mission will see four astronauts travel around the Moon on a flyby voyage around our natural satellite.

Mission duration depends on the launch date and even time. It will last between 20 to 40 days, depending on how many orbits of the Moon mission designers decide to make.

This flexibility in mission length is necessary to allow the mission to end as intended with a splashdown during daylight hours in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California, USA.

Two more dates are available if a launch on 29 August is not possible. The Artemis Moon mission can also be launched on 2 September and 5 September. Check all the possible launch options on ESA’s Orion blog.

Orion is the only spacecraft capable of human spaceflight outside Earth orbit and high-speed reentry from the vicinity of the Moon. More than just a crew module, Orion includes the European Service Module (ESM), the powerhouse that fuels and propels Orion.

ESM provides for all astronauts’ basic needs, such as water, oxygen, nitrogen, temperature control, power and propulsion. Much like a train engine pulls passenger carriages and supplies power, the European Service Module will take the Orion capsule to its destination and back.

Watch launch coverage on ESA Web TV starting at 12:30 CEST here. Follow @esaspaceflight for updates and live Twitter coverage.


Match ID: 128 Score: 9.29 source: www.esa.int age: 29 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

La NASA invita a la prensa a la primera prueba de defensa planetaria
Tue, 23 Aug 2022 11:47 EDT
La misión Prueba de redireccionamiento del asteroide doble (DART, por sus siglas en inglés) de la NASA, la primera en el mundo que pone a prueba una tecnología para defender a la Tierra de posibles peligros de asteroides o cometas, impactará con su objetivo, un asteroide que no supone ninguna amenaza para la Tierra, a las 7:14 pm EDT del lunes 26 d
Match ID: 129 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 32 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Invites Media to Witness World’s First Planetary Defense Test
Tue, 23 Aug 2022 11:38 EDT
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, will impact its target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth—at 7:14 p.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 26.
Match ID: 130 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 32 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Identifies Candidate Regions for Landing Next Americans on Moon
Fri, 19 Aug 2022 11:07 EDT
As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the Moon under Artemis, the agency has identified 13 candidate landing regions near the lunar South Pole.
Match ID: 131 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 36 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Media Invited to Learn About NASA Tools, Resources for Agriculture
Thu, 18 Aug 2022 14:51 EDT
NASA will host a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. CDT Thursday, Aug. 25, to discuss the agency’s tools, resources, and science research available to the agriculture community.
Match ID: 132 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 36 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Transfers Landsat 9 Satellite to USGS to Monitor Earth’s Changes
Thu, 11 Aug 2022 16:07 EDT
NASA transferred ownership and operational control on Thursday of the Landsat 9 satellite to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in a ceremony in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Match ID: 133 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 43 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Administrator Statement on Chinese Space Debris
Sat, 30 Jul 2022 14:00 EDT
NASA Administrator Statement on Chinese Space Debris
Match ID: 134 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 56 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Administrator Statement on Agency Authorization Bill
Thu, 28 Jul 2022 15:22 EDT
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released this statement Thursday following approval by the U.S. Congress for the NASA Authorization Act of 2022, which is part of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2022.
Match ID: 135 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 57 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Awards Contracts for NOAA GeoXO Spacecraft Phase A Study
Tue, 26 Jul 2022 16:00 EDT
On behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA has selected two firms for the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) Spacecraft Phase A Study. These contracted firms will help meet the objectives of NOAA’s GeoXO Program.
Match ID: 136 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 59 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Roman Space Telescope
Tue, 19 Jul 2022 15:02 EDT
NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, California, to provide launch service for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope mission.
Match ID: 137 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 66 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Administrator, Deputy to Attend Farnborough Airshow
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 16:13 EDT
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy will attend the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom on Monday, July 18.
Match ID: 138 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 70 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA, SpaceX Launch Climate Science Research, More to Space Station
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 20:06 EDT
A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft carrying more than 5,800 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo is on its way to the International Space Station after launching at 8:44 p.m. EDT Thursday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Match ID: 139 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 71 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

La NASA revela las primeras imágenes del telescopio Webb de un universo nunca antes visto
Tue, 12 Jul 2022 11:02 EDT
El amanecer de una nueva era en la astronomía ha comenzado mientras el mundo ve por primera vez las capacidades completas del telescopio espacial James Webb de la NASA, en asociación con la Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Agencia Espacial Canadiense (CSA, por sus siglas en inglés).
Match ID: 140 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Reveals Webb Telescope’s First Images of Unseen Universe
Tue, 12 Jul 2022 08:21 EDT
The dawn of a new era in astronomy has begun as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
Match ID: 141 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 74 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA to Industry: Let’s Develop Flight Tech to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Wed, 29 Jun 2022 14:25 EDT
NASA announced Wednesday the agency is seeking partners to develop technologies needed to shape a new generation of lower-emission, single-aisle airliners that passengers could see in airports in the 2030s.
Match ID: 142 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 86 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Pentagon Aims to Demo a Nuclear Spacecraft Within 5 Years
Thu, 09 Jun 2022 16:44:41 +0000


In the latest push for nuclear power in space, the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) awarded a contract in May to Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear to advance its nuclear power and propulsion concepts. The company is making a soccer ball–size radioisotope battery it calls EmberCore. The DIU’s goal is to launch the technology into space for demonstration in 2027.

Ultra Safe Nuclear’s system is intended to be lightweight, scalable, and usable as both a propulsion source and a power source. It will be specifically designed to give small-to-medium-size military spacecraft the ability to maneuver nimbly in the space between Earth orbit and the moon. The DIU effort is part of the U.S. military’s recently announced plans to develop a surveillance network in cislunar space.

Besides speedy space maneuvers, the DIU wants to power sensors and communication systems without having to worry about solar panels pointing in the right direction or batteries having enough charge to work at night, says Adam Schilffarth, director of strategy at Ultra Safe Nuclear. “Right now, if you are trying to take radar imagery in Ukraine through cloudy skies,” he says, “current platforms can only take a very short image because they draw so much power.”

Radioisotope power sources are well suited for small, uncrewed spacecraft, adds Christopher Morrison, who is leading EmberCore’s development. Such sources rely on the radioactive decay of an element that produces energy, as opposed to nuclear fission, which involves splitting atomic nuclei in a controlled chain reaction to release energy. Heat produced by radioactive decay is converted into electricity using thermoelectric devices.

Radioisotopes have provided heat and electricity for spacecraft since 1961. The Curiosity and Perseverance rovers on Mars, and deep-space missions including Cassini, New Horizons, and Voyager all use radioisotope batteries that rely on the decay of plutonium-238, which is nonfissile—unlike plutonium-239, which is used in weapons and power reactors.

For EmberCore, Ultra Safe Nuclear has instead turned to medical isotopes such as cobalt-60 that are easier and cheaper to produce. The materials start out inert, and have to be charged with neutrons to become radioactive. The company encapsulates the material in a proprietary ceramic for safety.

Cobalt-60 has a half-life of five years (compared to plutonium-238’s 90 years), which is enough for the cislunar missions that the DOD and NASA are looking at, Morrison says. He says that EmberCore should be able to provide 10 times as much power as a plutonium-238 system, providing over 1 million kilowatt-hours of energy using just a few pounds of fuel. “This is a technology that is in many ways commercially viable and potentially more scalable than plutonium-238,” he says.

One downside of the medical isotopes is that they can produce high-energy X-rays in addition to heat. So Ultra Safe Nuclear wraps the fuel with a radiation-absorbing metal shield. But in the future, the EmberCore system could be designed for scientists to use the X-rays for experiments. “They buy this heater and get an X-ray source for free,” says Schilffarth. “We’ve talked with scientists who right now have to haul pieces of lunar or Martian regolith up to their sensor because the X-ray source is so weak. Now we’re talking about a spotlight that could shine down to do science from a distance.”

Ultra Safe Nuclear’s contract is one of two awarded by the DIU—which aims to speed up the deployment of commercial technology through military use—to develop nuclear power and propulsion for spacecraft. The other contract was awarded to Avalanche Energy, which is making a lunchbox-size fusion device it calls an Orbitron. The device will use electrostatic fields to trap high-speed ions in slowly changing orbits around a negatively charged cathode. Collisions between the ions can result in fusion reactions that produce energetic particles.

Both companies will use nuclear energy to power high-efficiency electric propulsion systems. Electric propulsion technologies such as ion thrusters, which use electromagnetic fields to accelerate ions and generate thrust, are more efficient than chemical rockets, which burn fuel. Solar panels typically power the ion thrusters that satellites use today to change their position and orientation. Schilffarth says that the higher power from EmberCore should give a greater velocity change of 10 kilometers per second in orbit than today’s electric propulsion systems.

Ultra Safe Nuclear is also one of three companies developing nuclear fission thermal propulsion systems for NASA and the Department of Energy. Meanwhile, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking companies to develop a fission-based nuclear thermal rocket engine, with demonstrations expected in 2026.

This article appears in the August 2022 print issue as “Spacecraft to Run on Radioactive Decay.”


Match ID: 143 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 107 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Supports Small Business Research to Power Future Exploration
Thu, 26 May 2022 14:01 EDT
NASA has selected hundreds of small businesses and dozens of research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration, ranging from novel sensors and electronics to new types of software and cutting-edge materials.
Match ID: 144 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 120 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

A Helicopter Will Try to Catch a Rocket Booster in Midair
Mon, 18 Apr 2022 18:28:03 +0000


The longest journey begins with a single step, and that step gets expensive when you’re in the space business. Take, for example, the Electron booster made by Rocket Lab, a company with two launch pads on the New Zealand coast and another awaiting use in Virginia. Earth’s gravity is so stubborn that, by necessity, two-thirds of the rocket is its first stage—and it has historically ended up as trash on the ocean floor after less than 3 minutes of flight.

Making those boosters reusable—saving them from a saltwater grave, and therefore saving a lot of money—has been a goal of aerospace engineers since the early space age. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has famously been landing its Falcon 9 boosters on drone ships off the Florida coast—mind-bending to watch but very hard to pull off.

Rocket Lab says it has another way. Iits next flight will carry 34 commercial satellites—and instead of being dropped in the Pacific, the spent first stage will be snared in midair by a helicopter as it descends by parachute. It will then be brought back to base, seared by the heat of reentry but inwardly intact, for possible refurbishment and reuse. The team, in its determination to minimize its odds of dropping the ball, so to speak, has pushed back the launch several times in order to wait out inclement weather. They reason that because this isn’t a game of horseshoes, close is not good enough.

“It’s a very complex thing to do,” says Morgan Bailey of Rocket Lab. “You have to position the helicopter in exactly the right spot, you have to know exactly where the stage is going to be coming down, you have to be able to slow it enough,” she says. “We’ve practiced and practiced all of the individual puzzle pieces, and now it’s putting them together. It’s not a foregone conclusion that the first capture attempt will be a success.”

Still, people in the space business will be watching, since Rocket Lab has established a niche for itself as a viable space company. This will be its 26th Electron launch. The company says it has launched 112 satellites so far, many of them so-called smallsats that are relatively inexpensive to fly. “Right now, there are two companies taking payloads to orbit: SpaceX and Rocket Lab,” says Chad Anderson, CEO of Space Capital, a firm that funds space startups.

Here's the flight profile. The Electron is 18 meters tall; the bottom 12 meters are the first stage. For this mission it will lift off from New Zealand on its way to a sun-synchronous orbit 520 kilometers high. The first stage burns out after the first 70 km. Two minutes and 32 seconds into the flight, it drops off, following a long arc that in the past would have sent it crashing into the ocean, about 280 km downrange.

But Rocket Lab has now equipped its booster with heat shielding, protecting it as it falls tail-first at up to 8,300 kilometers per hour. Temperatures should reach 2,400 °C as the booster is slowed by the air around it.

At an altitude of 13 km, a small drogue parachute is deployed from the top end of the rocket stage, followed by a main chute at about 6 km, less than a minute later. The parachute slows the rocket substantially, so that it is soon descending at only about 36 km/h.

Rendering of helicopter after catching the spent Electron rocket first stage in midair. An artist’s conception shows the helicopter after catching the spent Electron rocket’s first stage in midair.Rocket Lab

But even that would make for a hard splashdown—which is why a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter hovers over the landing zone, trailing a grappling hook on a long cable. The plan is for the helicopter to fly over the descending rocket and snag the parachute cables. The rocket never gets wet; the chopper secures it and either lowers it onto a ship or carries it back to land. Meanwhile—let’s not lose sight of the prime mission—the second stage of the rocket should reach orbit about 10 minutes after launch.

“You have to keep the booster out of the water,” says Anderson. “If they can do that, it’s a big deal.” Many space people will recall NASA’s solid rocket boosters, which helped launch the space shuttles and then parachuted into the Atlantic; towing them back to port and cleaning them up for reuse was slow and expensive. NASA’s giant SLS rocket uses the same boosters, but there are no plans to recover them.

So midair recovery is far better, though it’s not new. As long ago as 1960, the U.S. Air Force snagged a returning capsule from a mission called Discoverer 14. But that had nothing to do with economy; the Discoverers were actually Corona reconnaissance satellites, and they were sending back film of the Soviet Union—priceless for Cold War intelligence.

Rocket Lab tries to sound more playful about its missions: It gives them names like “A Data With Destiny” or “Without Mission a Beat.” This newest flight, with its booster-recovery attempt, is called “There and Back Again.”

A teenager tweeted to CEO Peter Beck: “It would have been cool if the mission was called ‘Catch Me If You Can.’”

“Oh…that’s good!” Beck replied. “Congratulations, you have just named the very next recovery mission.”

Update 22 April 2022: In a tweet, Rocket Lab announced that due to weather, the planned launch and recovery would be rescheduled for 27 April at the earliest.

This article appears in the July 2022 print issue as “Rocket Lab Catches Rocket Booster in Midair.”


Match ID: 145 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 158 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Awards Contracts for Aerospace Testing and Facilities Operations
Mon, 11 Apr 2022 17:44 EDT
NASA has awarded a contract to Jacobs Technology Inc. of Tullahoma, Tennessee, to provide the agency’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California with support services for ground-based aerospace test facilities at the center.
Match ID: 146 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 165 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

University Teams Fly High in Airport Designs of the Future
Thu, 07 Apr 2022 12:50 EDT
Concepts from eight teams participating in the 2022 Gateways to Blue Skies: Airports of Tomorrow (Blue Skies) Competition have been selected to present their design concepts to a panel of industry experts
Match ID: 147 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 170 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Administrator Statement on President’s FY 2023 Budget Request
Mon, 28 Mar 2022 11:51 EDT
The President’s fiscal year 2023 budget would allow NASA to sustain America’s global innovation leadership and keep NASA at the forefront of exploration and discovery by returning to the Moon with the Artemis program, among other efforts.
Match ID: 148 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 180 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Starfall: Finding a Meteorite with Drones and AI
Thu, 24 Mar 2022 21:41:38 +0000


Go outside on a clear night, and if you’re very lucky you will see the sky falling. NASA estimates that 50,000 meteorites from space have been found on Earth.

The shooting stars or fireballs they form as they enter the atmosphere can be beautiful, but they’re hard to track. Of those 50,000, astronomers have been able to plot the past orbits of only about 40.

Which is why Seamus Anderson and his colleagues at Curtin University in Australia may have made an important first. They report they’ve recovered a meteorite in the remote Australian outback—one that once followed an ellipse between the orbits of Venus and Jupiter—and they picked it out of nowhere with two drones and machine learning.

“It was a semi-surprise,” says Anderson, an American who came to Curtin in 2018 to do his Ph.D. work on technology for meteorite searches. “We weren’t expecting to have that much success the first time.”

Curtin’s Space Science and Technology Center, in the city of Perth, runs the Desert Fireball Network, a system of 50 automated cameras that monitor Australia’s night skies for incoming meteors. One night last year, two of the cameras tracked a streak in the sky, and the system calculated that a small rock had probably crashed in the desert scrub of Western Australia, in a region known as the Nullarbor. The observations weren’t ideal—they estimated that the meteorite weighed between 150 and 700 grams and had come down in an area of 5 square kilometers—but Anderson and two colleagues decided to make a field trip. In December, they set out from Perth on a drive of more than 1,000 km looking for a needle in a haystack: one blackened piece of rock on the desert floor, 50 km from the nearest paved road.

In the past, the trip would have been all but pointless. Meteorite hunters usually search the ground on foot, walking back and forth in a grid pattern and hoping they hit pay dirt. Eighty percent of the time, they fail.

“It’s been shown that people are just terrible at these kinds of repetitive tasks,” says Anderson. “A major problem is humans just not paying attention.”

Through repetition, the machine and the researchers learned to deal with false positives: bottles, cans, desert plant roots, and occasional kangaroo bones.

That’s where technology came in. They used off-the-shelf hardware—a quadcopter drone with a 44-megapixel camera and a desktop computer with a good video card. The unusual part was the convolutional neural network they ran on it—machine-learning software not often carried by campers in the outback.

“The holy grail of meteorite hunting right now is a drone that can grid a geographic area, look at the ground, and find meteorites with AI,” says Mike Hankey of the American Meteor Society.

Overhead shot shows 3 people in the desert pointing at the ground. Seamus Anderson [right] poses with his two colleagues, both pointing at the meteorite they just found. The photo was taken with the drone they had used to locate the specimen.Seamus Anderson/Curtin University

A machine-learning system needs training—data about the world from which it can extrapolate—so the researchers fed it drone images of the Nullarbor terrain. Some of them included meteorite samples borrowed from a local museum and planted on the ground. Those images were given a score of 1—a definite meteorite, even if each appeared only as a black dot. Other images showing random terrain nearby were scored as 0—no meteorite here. Through repetition, the machine and the researchers learned to deal with false positives: bottles, cans, desert plant roots, and occasional kangaroo bones.

“It’s like training your kid to figure out what a dog looks like,” says Anderson now. “You could show lots of images of nothing but black Labs—and then, when it sees a picture of a German Shepard, it’s maybe going to freak out and not know exactly what it’s supposed to do. So you have to give it many opportunities to know what a meteorite can look like in that background.”

Top satellite image  has insets of a meteor falling and blue lines indicating search zones. Bottom shows an orbital map and a closer satellite of the desert with dots showing searched areas. Top: The incoming meteor and where it landed in Western Australia. Bottom left: The likely orbit of the meteoroid before it hit the Earth. Bottom: The section of desert scientists searched. Seamus Anderson/Curtin University

They began surveying: 43 drone flights over three days, going back and forth at an altitude of about 20 meters, recording 57,255 images. Back at camp, they began to process their images. From the first four flights alone, the algorithm gave 59,384 objects a score of at least 0.7 on that scale of 0 to 1—a lot of possible specimens. The researchers were quickly able to narrow them down to 259 and then 38, which they reinspected with a second, smaller drone. Soon they were down to four, and set out on foot, guided by GPS, to find them.

Before we reach the conclusion, it’s worth pausing to ask why meteorites are worth chasing. Space scientists will say that some date from the beginnings of the solar system. Some contain amino acids, those most basic building blocks of life. A few are large enough to do harm. Others, Anderson points out, contain rare elements, perhaps valuable for future technologies but hard to mine on Earth.

So there was a lot to think about in the desert heat—life, the universe, the reliability of their algorithm—as Anderson and his two comrades paced the ground looking for a blackened rock.

“Then one of my friends on the trip, John Fairweather, said one of the most annoying things you can hear at that moment—like, ‘Hey, is this the meteorite?’” Anderson says. He thought it was a joke. “And I thought, ‘That’s not funny right now, John.’ And I looked over and, literally, he’s got the rock.”

Closeup of the meteorite on the desert floor in Australia, with a pen to show its size. The meteorite, named DFN 09, is shown here with a pen for scale.Seamus Anderson/Curtin University

Anderson looked around to be sure the surroundings matched what the overhead drone image had shown. They did. The rock was a chondrite, a common type of iron-rich meteorite. It was 5 centimeters long, about the size of an egg, and weighed 70 grams. Most important to Anderson, the algorithm had given this particular patch of ground a score of 1.0—a perfect match.

“And I stood there, and I basically just screamed for a minute or two. Yes, it was awesome.”


Match ID: 149 Score: 9.29 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 183 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA to Host Virtual Future of Aviation Showcase
Wed, 23 Feb 2022 12:11 EST
Members of the media and public are invited to participate in NASA’s imaginAviation, a three-day virtual event that will focus on the future transformation of aviation that begins Tuesday, March 1.
Match ID: 150 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 213 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

A un año del mandato de Biden, la NASA mira hacia el futuro
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 13:01 EST
Durante el año pasado, la NASA ha hecho valiosas contribuciones a los objetivos de la Administración Biden-Harris: liderando a nivel mundial, abordando el problema urgente del cambio climático, creando empleos bien remunerados e inspirando a las generaciones futuras.
Match ID: 151 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 246 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s TESS Tunes into an All-sky ‘Symphony’ of Red Giant Stars
Wed, 04 Aug 2021 17:00 EDT
Using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, astronomers have identified a vast collection of pulsating red giant stars that will help us explore our galactic neighborhood.
Match ID: 152 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 415 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Planetary Sleuthing Finds Triple-Star World
Mon, 11 Jan 2021 13:40 EST
Years after its detection, astronomers have confirmed a planet called KOI-5Ab orbiting in a triple-star system with a skewed configuration.
Match ID: 153 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 620 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA Awards SETI Institute Contract for Planetary Protection Support
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 12:04 EDT
NASA has awarded the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, a contract to support all phases of current and future planetary protection missions to ensure compliance with planetary protection standards.
Match ID: 154 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 806 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Imagining Another Earth
Thu, 28 May 2020 10:27 EDT
This artist's concept shows exoplanet Kepler-1649c orbiting around its host red dwarf star.
Match ID: 155 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 849 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

NASA’s TESS Enables Breakthrough Study of Perplexing Stellar Pulsations
Wed, 13 May 2020 11:00 EDT
Astronomers have detected elusive pulsation patterns in dozens of young, rapidly rotating stars thanks to data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Match ID: 156 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 864 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

AAS Names 29 NASA-Affiliated Legacy Fellows
Thu, 30 Apr 2020 09:00 EDT
Twenty-nine scientists working at or affiliated with NASA have been named Fellows of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America.
Match ID: 157 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 877 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Kepler-1649c: Earth-Size, Habitable Zone Planet Hides in Plain Sight
Thu, 16 Apr 2020 02:13 EDT
This artist's illustration shows what Kepler-1649c could look like from its surface.
Match ID: 158 Score: 9.29 source: www.nasa.gov age: 891 days
qualifiers: 9.29 nasa

Relay Attack against Teslas
2022-09-15T15:28:52Z

Nice work:

Radio relay attacks are technically complicated to execute, but conceptually easy to understand: attackers simply extend the range of your existing key using what is essentially a high-tech walkie-talkie. One thief stands near you while you’re in the grocery store, intercepting your key’s transmitted signal with a radio transceiver. Another stands near your car, with another transceiver, taking the signal from their friend and passing it on to the car. Since the car and the key can now talk, through the thieves’ range extenders, the car has no reason to suspect the key isn’t inside—and fires right up...


Match ID: 159 Score: 3.57 source: www.schneier.com age: 9 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Ensuring Underwater Robots Survive in Hot Tropical Waters
Thu, 15 Sep 2022 15:00:00 +0000


The hot, humid environment of tropical marine areas such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can wreak havoc on the marine autonomous systems. Underwater and surface MAS are used for marine monitoring, locating objects such as mines on the seafloor, and rescuing swimmers.

“Tropical conditions can cause systems to overheat or prevent high-density lithium batteries from recharging,” says Melanie Olsen, who is a project director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science’s (AIMS) ReefWorks, a technology testing and evaluation facility in northern Australia. “And the microbial and small creatures that thrive in these tropical environments grow rapidly on underwater surfaces and degrade the sensor performance and the hydrodynamics of the robotics and autonomous systems.”


Developing technology that can stand up to these conditions is part of Olsen’s job, as is supporting ReefWorks’ broader mission of helping others move their autonomous systems out of the lab. It’s essential to test these systems and collect compliance evidence to demonstrate they meet regulatory requirements and can be certified for operations, says Olsen, an IEEE senior member. But there are very few places to test marine robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial-intelligence (RAS-AI) technologies, which hampers the growth of the industry, Olsen says. “It’s difficult for RAS-AI vendors to progress from a prototype to a commercial product because the pathway to a certified system is complex.”

That’s why AIMS established ReefWorks. The facility is used to test crewed and uncrewed tropical and marine vessels as well as robots, sensors, and other innovations. “We are Australia’s—and possibly the world’s—first such testing facility in the tropics,” Olsen says. Examples of underwater and surface MAS include the ReefScan CoralAUV, which is used for marine monitoring, and the Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel, a surface vessel used for marine monitoring, locating mines and other objects on the seafloor, and rescuing swimmers.

AIMS has been testing equipment for over a decade, but this part of AIMS’s facilities opened to the public in December 2021. ReefWorks supports the entire development cycle, from digital-model validation and developmental testing to product and operational-level testing, Olsen says. Physical tests can be done at AIMS’s three marine field ranges, which offer different testing conditions. ReefWorks also has land-based facilities, plus the National Sea Simulator sensor test tank, and drone corridors between the at-sea ranges for verifying the performance of long-range marine autonomous systems.

“Our overall objective is to establish a sustainable marine autonomous systems [MAS] sector in Australia,” she says.

One of the ways ReefWorks helps its users make the most of their time on test ranges is to offer “digital twins” and virtual worlds. A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world object, machine, or system that can be used to assess how the real-world counterpart is performing.

“Each of our test ranges is developing a digital twin,” Olsen says. “Developers will be able to conduct a test mission on the virtual range so when they get here, they can replay missions with real-time collected data, and validate their MAS digital-model performance.”

Olsen leads a team of five people and is currently recruiting another five. She expects the staff to triple in size in a few years as ReefWorks becomes more established in the region.

An IEEE senior member, Olsen is active with the IEEE Northern Australia Section. She served as the section chair in 2020 and 2021, during which time the section achieved the Region 10 Outstanding Small Section Award.

Integrating embedded AI and IOT edge computing

Before joining AIMS, Olsen spent a decade in Australia’s Department of Defence (DOD) as a lead engineer working on future technologies and maritime electronic-warfare systems.

Olsen grew up in a farming family and wasn’t really exposed to computers or engineers until an EE lecturer from James Cook University, in Australia, came to her rural high school to give a presentation. He brought along a remote-controlled quadrotor helicopter—a decade before quadcopters were commonplace.

The lecture led Olsen to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical, electronics, and computer systems, also from James Cook University, in Townsville. She went on to earn a master’s degree in systems engineering from Australia’s University of New South Wales, in Canberra. In 2016, Olsen took a job at AIMS as an engineering team leader in technology development.

“I’m very passionate about new technologies and seeing them integrated in the field,” she says. “During my decade at the [Australian] DOD, I grew my skills in systems engineering to solve more complex technology-integration challenges. AIMS offered me an opportunity to apply these skills to the challenges facing the tropical marine environment.”

“We are Australia’s—and possibly the world’s—first such testing facility in the tropics.”

There are many similarities between what Olsen had been doing at DOD and her role at ReefWorks. “My work at both DOD and AIMS requires an understanding of how electronic subsystems work, determining what’s viable for the use case, understanding the importance of modeling and simulation, and being able to communicate engineering terminology to an interdisciplinary team,” she says. “Both roles are all about engineering problem-solving.”

Olsen is currently working on integrating embedded AI and Internet of Things edge computing into AIMS infrastructure. “Artificial intelligence is used to increase a marine autonomous system’s capabilities,” she says. “For example, AI is used to train a MAS to navigate and avoid colliding with coral reefs, other vessels, or other objects or to allow the MAS to identify specific marine species, reef areas suitable for reseeding, and marine mines.”

IoT edge computing is used to process data closer to its point of origin. “This has the potential to speed up the decision process for vessels and operators while minimizing the communications and data bandwidth needed, which are key limitations when operating in marine northern Australia,” Olsen says.

Since GPS doesn’t work underwater, another of her team’s projects is looking for additional ways to conduct accurate geospatial positioning and control for missions that don’t require marine autonomous systems to come to the surface.

“We’re only just starting to get a feel for what marine autonomous systems can do—not just for our tropical marine waters but in general,” she says. “There are grand challenges no one can solve right now, like dealing with ocean pollution and the impacts of climate change.”

Robotics engineers needed

There’s nowhere near enough robotics engineers in the world, Olsen says. She recommends that engineering students take courses that include group projects.

“Group projects help you grow your ability to solve problems outside your knowledge or expertise,” she says. “They teach you how to work as an interdisciplinary team, who to ask for help, and where to find it.”

This article appears in the October 2022 print issue as “Melanie Olsen.”


Match ID: 160 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 9 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Exploring the Value of Power Modules
Wed, 14 Sep 2022 12:15:00 +0000


In this training series, we will discuss the high level of integration of DC/DC power modules and the significant implications that this has on power supply design.

Watch this free webinar now!

In addition to high power density and small solution size, modules can also simplify EMI mitigation and reduce power supply design time. And thanks to improved process and packaging technology, a power module may even provide all of these benefits with a lower overall solution cost as well.


In addition to these core topics, this training series also touches on some of the lesser-known aspects of power module design like inductor withstand voltage and high-temperature storage testing.


Match ID: 161 Score: 3.57 source: ad.doubleclick.net age: 10 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

A New One-Stop Resource for IEEE Life Members
Tue, 13 Sep 2022 18:00:00 +0000


The new IEEE Life Members website is a one-stop resource to keep the most experienced of members connected.

The life member designation is for those who have reached the age of 65 and have been with IEEE for such a period of time that the sum of their age and their years of membership equals or exceeds 100.


There are many benefits to being a life member. Dues, regional assessments, and society fees are waived. Life members receive reduced registration fees at conferences for which IEEE is the sole sponsor. In addition, the members can continue to participate in the IEEE Member Discounts program. They also retain all the other benefits of membership.

IEEE’s 35,000 life members provide professional and personal experiences and are an underutilized source of wisdom, says Life Member Ralph Wyndrum, an IEEE Fellow who led the project to redesign the website.

“IEEE’s 35,000 life members provide professional and personal experiences and are an underutilized source of wisdom.”

“As life members, we are uniquely experienced and available to serve as volunteers to the IEEE,” Wyndrum says, “and to those in the profession who would like to fast-track their career knowledge and advancement through formal and informal opportunities.”

IEEE Senior Member Howard Wolfman, chair of the IEEE Life Members Committee, says that for about a year, the committee painstakingly reviewed all its activities, “reimagining a more intuitive and efficient way to connect our members and the public to the million years of professional and life experiences that IEEE life members have to offer.”

Five ways to connect

The new website is organized into five sections:

  • Ways to get involved. There are many opportunities to participate, including helping others connect with senior leaders in the corporate and academic worlds, mentoring the next generation of engineers, and getting involved in technical and nontechnical interest groups.
  • News and events. Members are kept informed through a newsletter, announcements, and a calendar of upcoming meetings.
  • Awards and recognitions. Learn about the four awards that the Life Members Committee bestows to honor the work of its members. Also included is information about nominating a colleague.
  • Volunteers. For those who want to donate their time, there are several ways to do so. One is to join a section’s or council’s life member affinity group. The groups let life members contribute to the social good in their community, advance the professional interests of IEEE, and plan social and technical events.
  • Resources. This section of the website offers books, publications, videos, and continuing-education materials to help members stay technically current.

A new Collabratec community

An online community for life members has launched on IEEE Collabratec, the organization’s professional networking and collaboration platform. IEEE Life Members and Friends community provides opportunities to connect and engage in conversations of mutual interest with others, regardless of their physical location.

“In addition to improving connectivity and fellowship among our life members,” Wolfman says, “we have begun taking bold, new measures to support the next generation of innovators.” Throughout this year and next, he says, the Life Members Committee will collaborate with the IEEE Foundation to raise funds to support leadership-development events and opportunities for IEEE’s student members.
Match ID: 162 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 11 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Automated Cloud Driven Scheduling and Optimization of 5G Phased Antenna Arrays
Tue, 13 Sep 2022 16:58:45 +0000


Nokia and Ansys Presents: Automated Cloud Driven Scheduling and Optimization of 5G Phased Antenna Arrays.

Register now for this free webinar!

5G massive MIMO radio applications require more complex antenna systems. The phased antenna array design workflow for such systems is typically both comprehensive and complex, which many times requires a combined effort from different experts.


Moreover, the traditional antenna design workflow involves extensive manual tweaking of design parameters to achieve optimum performance. Furthermore, the large 5G phase antenna array simulations are naturally computationally extensive but can mitigated with high-performance computing. However, the most efficient workflow would require a cloud driven workflow that is capable of embarrassingly parallel computation i.e., parallel computing of both the design variations from the optimizer, and the frequency sweep within each design variation.

This presentation will show how a real 5G phased antenna array optimization workflow within the Ansys product family, where Ansys ModelCenter is the orchestrator that is scheduling the design variations for the optimizer. The state-of-the-art EM solvers in Ansys HFSS is automatically configured to execute and solve the design variations in parallel in the Ansys cloud environment. The automation of this workflow not only enables a far reduced complexity in the optimization process of 5G phased antenna array, but also considerable time savings due to the hardware availability and parallelism of Ansys Cloud.

What you will learn:

  • How to build real 5G phased antenna array optimization workflow
  • How to use ModelCenter to schedule the design variations for the optimizer
  • How to automatically configure, execute and solve the design variations in parallel
  • How to overcome hardware bottlenecks by employing Ansys Cloud
  • How to drive time savings in your project

Who should attend:

This webinar will benefit engineers and designers working with phased antenna array applications. The attendees will learn how Ansys solutions can connect silos, reduce hardware and bottlenecks, and improve time to market.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CERTIFICATES

Attendees of this IEEE Spectrum webinar have the opportunity to earn PDHs or Continuing Education Certificates!

To request your certificate you will need to get a code. You will be provided a code during the webinar (live or on-demand) which will enable you to complete the form to request the certificate.


Match ID: 163 Score: 3.57 source: www.ansys.com age: 11 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Nvidia’s New Chip Shows Its Muscle in AI Tests
Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:59:24 +0000


It’s time for the “Olympics of machine learning” again, and if you’re tired of seeing Nvidia at the top of the podium over and over, too bad. At least this time, the GPU powerhouse put a new contender into the mix, its Hopper GPU, which delivered as much as 4.5 times the performance of its predecessor and is due out in a matter of months. But Hopper was not alone in making it to the podium at MLPerf Inferencing v2.1. Systems based on Qualcomm’s AI 100 also made a good showing, and there were other new chips, new types of neural networks, and even new, more realistic ways of testing them.

Before I go on, let me repeat the canned answer to “What the heck is MLPerf?”

MLPerf is a set of benchmarks agreed upon by members of the industry group MLCommons. It is the first attempt to provide apples-to-apples comparisons of how good computers are at training and executing (inferencing) neural networks. In MLPerf’s inferencing benchmarks, systems made up of combinations of CPUs and GPUs or other accelerator chips are tested on up to six neural networks that perform a variety of common functions—image classification, object detection, speech recognition, 3D medical imaging, natural-language processing, and recommendation. The networks had already been trained on a standard set of data and had to make predictions about data they had not been exposed to before.

Cartoons of a cat, people, a magnifying glass, and other symbols. This slide from Nvidia sums up the whole MLPerf effort. Six benchmarks [left] are tested on two types of computers (data center and edge) in a variety of conditions [right].Nvidia

Tested computers are categorized as intended for data centers or “the edge.” Commercially available data-center-based systems were tested under two conditions—a simulation of real data-center activity where queries arrive in bursts and “offline” activity where all the data is available at once. Computers meant to work on-site instead of in the data center—what MLPerf calls the edge, because they’re located at the edge of the network—were measured in the offline state; as if they were receiving a single stream of data, such as from a security camera; and as if they had to handle multiple streams of data, the way a car with several cameras and sensors would. In addition to testing raw performance, computers could also compete on efficiency.

The contest was further divided into a “closed” category, where everybody had to run the same “mathematically equivalent” neural networks and meet the same accuracy measures, and an “open” category, where companies could show off how modifications to the standard neural networks make their systems work better. In the contest with the most powerful computers under the most stringent conditions, the closed data-center group, computers with AI accelerator chips from four companies competed: Biren, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Sapeon. (Intel made two entries without any accelerators, to demonstrate what its CPUs could do on their own.)

While several systems were tested on the entire suite of neural networks, most results were submitted for image recognition, with the natural-language processor BERT (short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) a close second, making those categories the easiest to compare. Several Nvidia-GPU-based systems were tested on the entire suite of benchmarks, but performing even one benchmark can take more than a month of work, engineers involved say.

On the image-recognition trial, startup Biren’s new chip, the BR104, performed well. An eight-accelerator computer built with the company’s partner, Inspur, blasted through 424,660 samples per second, the fourth-fastest system tested, behind a Qualcomm Cloud AI 100-based machine with 18 accelerators, and two Nvidia A100-based R&D systems from Nettrix and H3C with 20 accelerators each.

But Biren really showed its power on natural-language processing, beating all the other four-accelerator systems by at least 33 percent on the highest-accuracy version of BERT and by even bigger margins among eight-accelerator systems.

An Intel system based on two soon-to-be-released Xeon Sapphire Rapids CPUs without the aid of any accelerators was another standout, edging out a machine using two current-generation Xeons in combination with an accelerator. The difference is partly down to Sapphire Rapids’ Advanced Matrix Extensions, an accelerator worked into each of the CPU’s cores.

Sapeon presented two systems with different versions of their Sapeon X220 accelerator, testing them only on image recognition. Both handily beat the other single-accelerator computers at this, with the exception of Nvidia’s Hopper, which got through six times as much work.

A pair of vertical bar charts with six sets of bars each. Computers with multiple GPUs or other AI accelerators typically run faster than those with a single accelerator. But on a per-accelerator basis, Nvidia’s upcoming H100 pretty much crushed it.Nvidia

In fact, among systems with the same configuration, Nvidia’s Hopper topped every category. Compared to its predecessor, the A100 GPU, Hopper was at least 1.5 times and up to 4.5 times as fast on a per-accelerator basis, depending on the neural network under test. “H100 came in and really brought the thunder,” says Dave Salvator, Nvidia’s director of product marketing for accelerated cloud computing. “Our engineers knocked it out of the park.”

Hopper’s not-secret-at-all sauce is a system called the transformer engine. Transformers are a class of neural networks that include the natural-language processor in the MLPerf inferencing benchmarks, BERT. The transformer engine is meant to speed inferencing and training by adjusting the precision of the numbers computed in each layer of the neural network, using the minimum needed to reach an accurate result. This includes computing with a modified version of 8-bit floating-point numbers. (Here’s a more complete explanation of reduced-precision machine learning.)

Because these results are a first attempt at the MLPerf benchmarks, Salvator says to expect the gap between H100 and A100 to widen, as engineers discover how to get the most out of the new chips. There’s good precedence for that. Through software and other improvements, engineers have been able to speed up A100 systems continuously since its introduction in May 2020.

Salvator says to expect H100 results for MLPerf’s efficiency benchmarks in future, but for now the company is focused on seeing what kind of performance they can get out of the new chip.

Efficiency

On the efficiency front, Qualcomm Cloud AI 100-based machines did themselves proud, but this was in a much smaller field than the performance contest. (MLPerf representatives stressed that computers are configured differently for the efficiency tests than for the performance tests, so it’s only fair to compare the performance of systems configured to the same purpose.) On the offline image-recognition benchmark for data-center systems, Qualcomm took the top three spots in terms of the number of images they could recognize per joule expended. The contest for efficiency on BERT was much closer. Qualcomm took to the top spot for the 99-percent-accuracy version, but it lost out to an Nvidia A100 system at the 99.99-percent-accuracy task. In both cases the race was close.

The case was similar for image recognition for edge systems, with Qualcomm taking nearly all the top spots by dealing with streams of data in less than a millisecond in most cases and often using less than 0.1 joules to do it. Nvidia’s Orin chip, due out within six months, came closest to matching the Qualcomm results. Again, Nvidia was better with BERT, using less energy, though it still couldn’t match Qualcomm’s speed.

Sparsity

There was a lot going on in the “open” division of MLPerf, but one of the more interesting results was how companies have been showing how well and efficiently “sparse” networks perform. These take a neural network and prune it down, removing nodes that contribute little or nothing toward producing a result. The much smaller network can then, in theory, run faster and more efficiently while using less compute and memory resources.

For example, startup Moffett AI showed results for three computers using its Antoum accelerator architecture for sparse networks. Moffett tested the systems, which are intended for data-center use on image recognition and natural-language processing. At image recognition, the company’s commercially available system managed 31,678 samples per second, and its coming chip hit 95,784 samples per second. For reference, the H100 hit 95,784 samples per second, but the Nvidia machine was working on the full neural network and met a higher accuracy target.

Another sparsity-focused firm, Neural Magic, showed off software that applies sparsity algorithms to neural networks so that they run faster on commodity CPUs. Its algorithms decreased the size of a version of BERT from 1.3 gigabytes to about 10 megabytes and boosted throughput from about 10 samples per second to 1,000, the company says.

And finally, Tel Aviv-based Deci used software it calls Automated Neural Architecture Construction technology (AutoNAC) to produce a version of BERT optimized to run on an AMD CPU. The resulting network sped throughput more than sixfold using a model that was one-third the size of the reference neural network.

And More

With more than 7,400 measurements across a host of categories, there’s a lot more to unpack. Feel free to take a look yourself at MLCommons.


Match ID: 164 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 12 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Video Friday: DARPA ANCILLARY
Fri, 09 Sep 2022 15:55:30 +0000


Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPrize Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!


DARPA’s AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY X-Plane program, nicknamed ANCILLARY, aims to develop and flight demonstrate critical technologies required for a leap ahead in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), low-weight, high-payload, and long-endurance capabilities.

[ DARPA ]

Behold the tastiest robot ever, thanks to the 40 kilograms of dark chocolate that it’s made of.

[ Amaury Guichon ]

When a video features a robot operating outdoors while being pursued by a human with a laptop on a cart, you know it’s going to be some cutting-edge stuff. In this case, it’s the University of Michigan’s Cassie autonomously navigating based on directions from a hand-drawn map.

First, we show Cassie a map with a hand-drawn path, which she needs to follow. Second, she localizes herself into the OpenStreetMap, used as a topological global map. Third, she then converts the drawn path to her own understanding in the OpenStreetMap. Fourth, she determines terrain types such as sidewalks, roads, and grass. Fifth, she decides what categories she should walk on at the moment. Sixth, a multi-layered map is built. Seventh, a reactive CLF planning algorithm is guiding Cassie to walk safely without hitting obstacles. Finally, the planning signal is sent to Cassie’s 20 degree-of-freedom motion controller.

[ University of Michigan ]

Thanks, Bruce!

Apparently Indonesia drone laws are very permissive? Or they are for DJI, anyway.

[ DJI Avata ]

Waymo Co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov recently took another rider-only trip around San Francisco. Watch as the Waymo Driver reacts dynamically to other human drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians during the nearly hour-long ride.

[ Waymo ]

This capacitive sensing skin will keep you from getting whacked by a robot arm.

[ Paper ]

Dexterous Teleoperation combining shadow hand with real-time volumetric telepresence rendering in VR.

[ Extend Robotics ]

Breathtaking landscape aerial cinematography is made easy when using Skydio drone technology! Enjoy some of our favorite scenic landscape moments from the Skydio community.

[ Skydio ]

Most people think of intelligence as existing in the computer or our brain. Artificial intelligence recognizes faces, understands speech, picks movies, and corrects typos. These tasks are well-suited for computers. But when it comes to roboticists, they are all about physical tasks in the real world. And intelligence is no longer confined to the realm of the bits; the intelligent agent is a robot. Professor Matei Ciocarlie’s Robotic Manipulation and Mobility lab is embodying intelligence in robot hands to solve the problem of physical interaction in our complicated world.

[ ROAM Lab ]

In this episode of our Robot Spotlight series, we showcase a Polaris GEM electric vehicle that has been outfitted with our OutdoorNav autonomy software. Watch the video to learn how it all came together and to find out if the team was able to use the autonomy software to navigate the vehicle through a local shopping plaza and through a Starbucks drive thru.

[ Clearpath ]

Two research talks from UPenn’s GRASP lab: Nadia Figueroa on Collaborative Human-Aware Robotics, and M. Ani Hsieh on Robots for Climate, Energy, and Stability.

[ GRASP Lab ]


Match ID: 165 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 15 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Apple Kicks Off the Cell-Calls-From-Space Race
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 14:18:38 +0000


The race to deliver cellular calls from space passes two milestones this month and saw one major announcement last month. First, Apple will offer emergency satellite messaging on two of its latest iPhone models, the company announced on Wednesday. Second, AST SpaceMobile plans a launch on Saturday, 10 September, of an experimental satellite to test full-fledged satellite 5G service. In addition, T-Mobile USA and SpaceX intend to offer their own messaging and limited data service via the second generation of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation, as the two companies announced on 25 August.

Each contender is taking a different approach to space-based cellular service. The Apple offering uses the existing satellite bandwidth Globalstar once used for messaging offerings, but without the need for a satellite-specific handset. The AST project and another company, Lynk Global, would use a dedicated network of satellites with larger-than-normal antennas to produce a 4G, 5G, and someday 6G cellular signal compatible with any existing 4G-compatible phone (as detailed in other recent IEEE Spectrum coverage of space-based 5G offerings). Assuming regulatory approval is forthcoming, the technology would work first in equatorial regions and then across more of the planet as these providers expand their satellite constellations. T-Mobile and Starlink’s offering would work in the former PCS band in the United States. SpaceX, like AST and Lynk, would need to negotiate access to spectrum on a country-by-country basis.

Apple’s competitors are unlikely to see commercial operations before 2024.

“Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date.”
—Tim Farrar, telecommunications consultant

The T-Mobile–Starlink announcement is “in some ways an endorsement” of AST and Lynk’s proposition, and “in other ways a great threat,” says telecommunications consultant Tim Farrar of Tim Farrar Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. AST and Lynk have so far told investors they expect their national mobile network operator partners to charge per use or per day, but T-Mobile announced that they plan to include satellite messaging in the 1,900-megahertz range in their existing services. Apple said their Emergency SOS via Satellite service would be free the first two years for U.S. and Canadian iPhone 14 buyers, but did not say what it would cost after that. For now, the Globalstar satellites it is using cannot offer the kind of broadband bandwidth AST has promised, but Globalstar has reported to investors orders for new satellites that might offer new capabilities, including new gateways.

Even under the best conditions—a clear view of the sky—users will need 15 seconds to send a message via Apple’s service. They will also have to follow onscreen guidance to keep the device pointed at the satellites they are using. Light foliage can cause the same message to take more than a minute to send. Ashley Williams, a satellite engineer at Apple who recorded the service’s announcement, also mentioned a data-compression algorithm and a series of rescue-related suggested auto-replies intended to minimize the amount of data that users would need to send during a rescue.

Meanwhile, AST SpaceMobile says it aims to launch an experimental satellite Saturday, 10 September, to test its cellular broadband offering.

Last month’s T-Mobile-SpaceX announcement “helped the world focus attention on the huge market opportunity for SpaceMobile, the only planned space-based cellular broadband network. BlueWalker 3, which has a 693 sq ft array, is scheduled for launch within weeks!” tweeted AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan on 25 August. The size of the array matters because AST SpaceMobile has so far indicated in its applications for experimental satellite licenses that it intends to use lower radio frequencies (700–900 MHz) with less propagation loss but that require antennas much larger than conventional satellites carry.

The size of the array will also make it more reflective, which has raised concerns among astronomers. The size of Starlink’s planned constellation has already provoked complaints among astronomers because it will interfere with their ability to observe space. Sky & Telescope magazine published on 1 September a call for both professional and amateur astronomers to observe the growing constellations of satellites to document the interference. Professional astronomy societies have lobbied U.S. government agencies and Congress on the issue and met with SpaceX officials in May to discuss a recent change that brightened satellites by 0.5 visual magnitudes.

So far government agencies have issued licenses for thousands of low-Earth-orbiting satellites, which have the biggest impact on astronomers. Even with the constellations starting to form, satellite-cellular telecommunications companies are still open to big regulatory risks. “Regulators have not decided on the power limits from space, what concerns there are about interference, especially across national borders. There’s a whole bunch of regulatory issues that simply haven’t been thought about to date,” Farrar says.

For a hiker with a twisted ankle, a messaging service that takes a while to connect and twinkles in and out of service as satellites fly by may be better than nothing, but early space-based cellular will not be a seamless way to connect to video calls from out at sea.

“User cooperation is in my view the single most critical aspect of whether this service will attract mass-market usage or people willing to pay a significant amount for this service,” Farrar says.


Match ID: 166 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 16 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

IEEE Is Working to Reconfigure Its Geographic Regions
Wed, 07 Sep 2022 18:00:01 +0000


IEEE has been analyzing its region and geographic unit structure to ensure there is equitable representation across its global membership.

IEEE’s region structure organizes membership into 10 globe-spanning geographic organizational units. Each member is assigned to a local section within one of the 10 regions, and each region elects a representative to serve on the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board and on the IEEE Board of Directors. The regional units work to fulfill IEEE’s mission and to meet the needs of IEEE members living within the region’s borders.

As of June, the distribution of the IEEE membership across the 10 regions is Region 1: 24,938 members; Region 2: 21,795 members; Region 3: 24,202 members; Region 4: 16,836 members; Region 5: 22,317 members; Region 6: 43,089 members; Region 7: 14,179 members; Region 8: 74,451 members; Region 9: 16,426 members; and Region 10: 151,421 members.

Last year, the MGA Board, which oversees IEEE membership and the activities of geographic units worldwide, formed a region realignment ad hoc committee to review the regional organization and propose recommendations for structural changes. The committee consists of current region directors among other MGA volunteers.

Based on the ad hoc committee’s recommendations, several actions have been taken to date. A formal plan will be presented to the MGA Board for approval at a meeting later this year.

A plan has been developed to divide Region 10, IEEE’s largest region, into two regions, to better meet the needs of its members in this region. Region 10 leadership and the MGA ad hoc committee have been working to develop the geographic boundaries of the two regions and have been creating implementation plans to execute this regional division following approval by the MGA Board and the IEEE Board of Directors.

To maintain a total of 10 regions across the world, IEEE Region 1 and Region 2 are proposing to merge formally into a single region with a single region director. The Region 1 and Region 2 Board of Governors and Executive Committees will work collaboratively to document and determine the best path forward in merging the two regions affairs, governance, and member activities.

While planning efforts for regional realignment are ongoing, another recent initiative has been the introduction of additional zone representatives at the MGA Board. A zone is a substructure within a region with a significant number of members. In these large regions, zone representatives can assist in the region and provide an additional voice for members within the zone.

To test the zone concept, in February the MGA Board approved the formation of four zones: two in Region 8 and two in Region 10. Representatives from the new zones participated in the MGA Board meeting held in June. The ad hoc committee is continuing to further develop specific responsibilities for the zone leaders.

The ad hoc committee is planning to bring motions forward to an upcoming MGA Board meeting to confirm the direction and next steps of the realignment, including next steps in the split of Region 10 into two regions, the consolidation of Regions 1 and 2 into a single region, and further definition of the zone concept.

If approved by the MGA Board, the vice president of MGA, David Koehler, will then present motions related to these matters for consideration by the IEEE Board of Directors at its November meeting.


Match ID: 167 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 17 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Mozilla Foundation's Insight team is hosting an AMA on AI and Internet Health today at 12:00pm ET over at r/IAmA.
2022-09-01T15:55:34+00:00
submitted by /u/Mozilla-Foundation
[link] [comments]
Match ID: 168 Score: 3.57 source: www.reddit.com age: 23 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

As China’s Quantum-Encrypting Satellites Shrink, Their Networking Abilities Grow
Thu, 25 Aug 2022 18:37:07 +0000


The orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab has transmitted quantum-encryption keys to four ground stations, researchers reported on 18 August. The same network of ground stations is also able to receive quantum keys from the orbiting Micius satellite, which is in a much higher orbit, using the space station as a repeater. It comes just after the late July launch of Jinan 1, China’s second quantum-encrypting satellite, by the University of Science and Technology of China. USTC told the Xinhua News Agency that the new satellite is one-sixth the mass of its 2016 predecessor.

“The launch is significant,” says physicist Paul Kwiat of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, because it means the team are starting to build, not just plan, a quantum network. USTC researchers did not reply to IEEE Spectrum’s request for comments.

In quantum-key distribution (QKD), the quantum states of a single photon, such as polarization, encode and distribute random information that can be used to encrypt a classical message. Because it is impossible to copy the quantum state without changing it, senders and recipients can verify that their transmission got through without tampering or reading by third parties. In some scenarios it involves sending just one well-described photon at a time, but single photons are difficult to produce, and in this case, researchers used an attenuated laser to send small pulses that might also come out a couple of photons at a time, or not at all.

The USTC research team, led by Jian-Wei Pan, had already established quantum-key distribution from Micius to a single ground station in 2017, not long after the 2016 launch of the satellite. The work that Pan and colleagues reported this month, but which took place in 2018 and 2019, is a necessary step for building a constellation of quantum-encryption-compatible satellites across a range of orbits, to ensure more secure long-distance communications.

Several other research groups have transmitted quantum keys, and others are now building microsatellites for the same purpose. However, the U.S. National Security Agency’s site about QKD lists several technical limitations, such as requiring an initial verification of the counterparty’s identity, the need for special equipment, the cost, and the risk of hardware-based security vulnerabilities. In the absence of fixes, the NSA does not anticipate approving QKD for national security communications.

However, attenuated laser pulses are just one way of implementing QKD. Another is to use quantum entanglement, by which a pair of photons will behave the same way, even at a distance, when someone measures one of their quantum properties. In earlier experiments, Pan and colleagues also reported using quantum entanglement for QKD and mixing satellite and fiber-optic links to establish a mixed-modality QKD network spanning almost 5,000 kilometers.

“A quantum network with entangled nodes is the thing that would be really interesting, enabling distributed quantum computing and sensing, but that’s a hard thing to make. Being able to do QKD is a necessary but not sufficient first step,” Kwiat says. The USTC experiments are a chance to establish many technical abilities, such as the precise control of the pulse duration and direction of the lasers involved, or the ability to accurately transfer and measure the quantum signals to the standard necessary for a more complex quantum network.

That is a step ahead of the many other QKD efforts made so far on laboratory benchtops, over ground-to-ground cables, or aboard balloons or aircraft. “You have to do things very differently if you’re not allowed to fiddle with something once it’s launched into space,” Kwiat says.

The U.S. CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, signed on 9 August, allocated more than US $153 million a year for quantum computing and networks. While that’s unlikely to drive more American work toward an end goal of QKD, Kwiat says, “maybe we do it on the way to these more interesting applications.”


Match ID: 169 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 29 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

TOP 10 AI MARKETING TOOLS YOU SHOULD USE
Wed, 13 Jul 2022 15:25:00 +0000

  

Top 10 AI marketing tools

 The marketing industry is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) as a way to save time and execute smarter, more personalized campaigns. 61% of marketers say AI software is the most important aspect of their data strategy.

  If you’re late to the AI party, don’t worry. It’s easier than you think to start leveraging artificial intelligence tools in your marketing strategy. Here are 10 AI marketing tools every marketer should start using today.

1. Personalize

 Personalize is an AI-powered technology that helps you identify and produce highly targeted sales and marketing campaigns by tracking the products and services your contacts are most interested in at any given time. The platform uses an algorithm to identify each contact’s top three interests, which are updated in real-time based on recent site activity.

Key Features

  • Identifies  top three interests based on metrics like time on page, recency and frequency of each contacts
  • Works with every ESP and CRM
  • Easy to get up and running in days
  • Enterprise-grade technology at a low cost for SMBs

2. Seventh Sense

  Seventh Sense provides behavioral analytics that help you win attention in your customers’ overcrowded email inboxes. Choosing the best day and time to send an email is always a gamble. And while some days of the week generally get higher open rates than others, you’ll never be able to nail down a time that’s best for every customer. Seventh Sense eases your stress of having to figure out the perfect send-time and day for your email campaigns. The AI-based platform figures out the best timing and email frequency for each contact based on when they’re opening emails. The tool is primarily geared toward HubSpot and Marketo customers 

Key Features 

  • AI determines the best send-time and email frequency for each contact
  • Connects with HubSpot and Marketo

3. Phrasee

  Phrasee uses artificial intelligence to help you write more effective subject lines. With its AI-based Natural Language Generation system, Phrasee uses data-driven insights to generate millions of natural sounding copy variants that match your brand voice. The model is end-to-end, meaning when you feed the results back to Phrasee, the prediction model rebuilds so it can continuously learn from your audience.

Key Features 

  • Instantly generates millions of human-sounding, brand-compliant copy variants
  • Creates tailored language models for every customer
  • Learns what your audience responds to and rebuilds the prediction model every time

4. Hubspot Seo

  HubSpot Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an integral tool for the Human Content team. It uses machine learning to determine how search engines understand and categorize your content. HubSpot SEO helps you improve your search engine rankings and outrank your competitors.Search engines reward websites that organize their content around core subjects, or topic clusters. HubSpot SEO helps you discover and rank for the topics that matter to your business and customers.

Key Features 

  • Helps you discover and rank for topics that people are searching for
  • Provides suggestions for your topic clusters and related subjects
  • Integrates with all other HubSpot content tools to help you create a well-rounded content strategy

 5. Evolve AI

  When you’re limited to testing two variables against each other at a time, it can take months to get the results you’re looking for.Evolv AI lets you test all your ideas at once. It uses advanced algorithms to identify the top performing concepts, combine them with each other, and repeat the process to achieve the best site experience.

Key Features 

  • Figures out which content provides the best performance
  • Lets you test multiple ideas in a single experiment instead of having to perform many individual tests over a long period of time
  • Lets you try all your ideas across multiple pages for full-funnel optimization
  • Offers visual and code editors

6. Acrolinx

  Acrolinx is a content alignment platform that helps brands scale and improve the quality of their content. It’s geared toward enterprises – its major customers include big brands like Google, Adobe and Amazon - to help them scale their writing efforts. Instead of spending time chasing down and fixing typos in multiple places throughout an article or blog post, you can use Acrolinx to do it all right there in one place. You start by setting your preferences for style, grammar, tone of voice and company-specific word usage. Then, Acrolinx checks and scores your existing content to find what’s working and suggest areas for improvement. The platform provides real-time guidance and suggestions to make writing better and strengthen weak pages.

Key features

  • Reviews and scores existing content to ensure it meets your brand guidelines
  • Finds opportunities to improve your content and uses automation to shorten your editorial process.
  • Integrates with more than 50 tools and platforms, including Google Docs, Microsoft Word, WordPress and most web browsers.

7. MarketMuse 

MarketMuse uses an algorithm to help marketers build content strategies. The tool shows you where to target keywords to rank in specific topic categories, and recommends keywords you should go after if you want to own particular topics. It also identifies gaps and opportunities for new content and prioritizes them by their probable impact on your rankings. The algorithm compares your content with thousands of articles related to the same topic to uncover what’s missing from your site.

Key features:

  • The built-in editor shows how in-depth your topic is covered and what needs improvement
  • Finds gaps and opportunities for new content creation, prioritized by their probable impact and your chance of ranking

8. Copilot

Copilot is a suite of tools that help ecommerce businesses maintain real-time communication with customers around the clock at every stage of the funnel. Promote products, recover shopping carts and send updates or reminders directly through Messenger.

Key features: 

  • Integrate Facebook Messenger directly with your website, including chat history and recent interactions for a fluid customer service experience 
  • Run drip messenger campaigns to keep customers engaged with your brand
  • Send abandoned cart, out-of-stock, restock, preorder, order status and shipment notifications to contacts 
  • Send branded images, promotional content or coupon codes to those who opt in
  • Collect post-purchase feedback, reviews and customer insight
  • Demonstrate social proof on your website with a widget, or push automatic Facebook posts sharing recent purchases
  • Display a promotional banner on your website to capture contacts instantly

9. Yotpo

Yotpo’s deep learning technology evaluates your customers’ product reviews to help you make better business decisions. It identifies key topics that customers mention related to your products—and their feelings toward them. The AI engine extracts relevant reviews from past buyers and presents them in smart displays to convert new shoppers. Yotpo also saves you time moderating reviews. The AI-powered moderation tool automatically assigns a score to each review and flags reviews with negative sentiment so you can focus on quality control instead of manually reviewing every post.

Key features:

  • Makes it easy for shoppers to filter reviews and find the exact information they’re looking for
  • Analyzes customer feedback and sentiments to help you improve your products
  • Integrates with most leading ecommerce platforms, including BigCommerce, Magento and Shopify.

10. Albert AI

  Albert is a self-learning software that automates the creation of marketing campaigns for your brand. It analyzes vast amounts of data to run optimized campaigns autonomously, allowing you to feed in your own creative content and target markets, and then use data from its database to determine key characteristics of a serious buyer. Albert identifies potential customers that match those traits, runs trial campaigns on a small group of customers—with results refined by Albert itself—before launching it on a larger scale.

  Albert plugs into your existing marketing technology stack, so you still have access to your accounts, ads, search, social media and more. Albert maps tracking and attribution to your source of truth so you can determine which channels are driving your business.

Key features:

  • Breaks down large amounts of data to help you customize campaigns
  • Plugs into your marketing technology stack and can be used across diverse media outlets, including email, content, paid media and mobile

Final Saying

There are many tools and companies out there that offer AI tools, but this is a small list of resources that we have found to be helpful. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below this article. As marketing evolves at such a rapid pace, new marketing strategies will be invented that we haven't even dreamed of yet. But for now, this list should give you a good starting point on your way to implementing AI into your marketing mix.



Match ID: 170 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 73 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Terrae Novae: Earth orbit, Moon and Mars
Tue, 05 Jul 2022 10:00:00 +0200
Video: 00:02:18

Terrae Novae is ESA’s exploration programme.

Terrae Novae is not only literally about exploring new worlds, but by describing the limitless opportunities for discovery, economic growth and inspiration it also expresses our ambitions for Europe’s future innovators, scientists and explorers.

This video shows the many exploration activities ESA is conducting or has planned in our Solar System, from the International Space Station to the Moon with the European Service Module and lunar Gateway modules for Artemis, and on to Mars with the Mars Sample Return campaign.

For more on ESA’s human and robotic exploration strategy see: https://www.esa.int/terraenovae


Match ID: 171 Score: 3.57 source: www.esa.int age: 81 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

DARPA Wants a Better, Badder Caspian Sea Monster
Thu, 19 May 2022 19:31:02 +0000


Arguably, the primary job of any military organization is moving enormous amounts of stuff from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of that stuff is weaponry, but the vast majority are things that support that weaponry—fuel, spare parts, personnel, and so on. At the moment, the U.S. military has two options when it comes to transporting large amounts of payload. Option one is boats (a sealift), which are efficient, but also slow and require ports. Option two is planes (an airlift), which are faster by a couple of orders of magnitude, but also expensive and require runways.

To solve this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to combine traditional sealift and airlift with the Liberty Lifter program, which aims to “design, build, and flight test an affordable, innovative, and disruptive seaplane” that “enables efficient theater-range transport of large payloads at speeds far exceeding existing sea lift platforms.”

DARPA

DARPA is asking for a design like this to take advantage of ground effect, which occurs when an aircraft’s wing deflects air downward and proximity to the ground generates a cushioning effect due to the compression of air between the bottom of the wing and the ground. This boosts lift and lowers drag to yield a substantial overall improvement in efficiency. Ground effect works on both water and land, but you can take advantage of it for only so long on land before your aircraft runs into something. Which is why oceans are the ideal place for these aircraft—or ships, depending on your perspective.

During the late 1980s, the Soviets (and later the Russians) leveraged ground effect in the design of a handful of awesomely bizarre ships and aircraft. There’s the VVA-14, which was also an airplane, along with the vehicle shown in DARPA’s video above, the Lun-class ekranoplan, which operated until the late 1990s. The video clip really does not do this thing justice, so here’s a better picture, taken a couple of years ago:

Oblique overhead view of a huge grey seaplane on the water Instagram

The Lun (only one was ever made) had a wingspan of 44 meters and was powered by eight turbojet engines. It flew about 4 meters above the water at speeds of up to 550 kilometers per hour, and could transport almost 100,000 kilograms of cargo for 2,000 km. It was based on an earlier, even larger prototype (the largest aircraft in the world at the time) that the CIA spotted in satellite images in 1967 and which seems to have seriously freaked them out. It was nicknamed the Caspian Sea Monster, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that the West understood what it was and how it worked.

In the mid 1990s, DARPA itself took a serious look at a stupendously large ground-effect vehicle of its own, the Aerocon Dash 1.6 wingship. The concept image below is of a 4.5-million-kg vehicle, 175 meters long with a 100-meter wingspan, powered by 20 (!) jet engines:

A black and white wireframe drawing of a huge streamlined aircraft Wikipedia

With a range of almost 20,000 km at over 700 km/h, the wingship could have carried 3,000 passengers or 1.4 million kg of cargo. By 1994, though, DARPA had decided that the potential billion-dollar project to build a wingship like this was too risky, and canceled the whole thing.

A concept image of a massive grey seaplane skimming over the ocean

Less than 10 years later, Boeing’s Phantom Works started exploring an enormous ground-effect aircraft, the Pelican Ultra Large Transport Aircraft. The Pelican would have been even larger than the Aerocon wingship, with a wingspan of 152 meters and a payload of 1.2 million kg—that’s about 178 shipping containers’ worth. Unlike the wingship, the Pelican would take advantage of ground effect to boost efficiency only in transit above water, but would otherwise use runways like a normal aircraft and be able to reach flight altitudes of 7,500 meters. Operating as a traditional aircraft and with an optimal payload, the Pelican would have a range of about 12,000 km. In ground effect, however, the range would have increased to 18,500 km, illustrating the appeal of designs like these. But Boeing dropped the project in 2005 to focus on lower cost, less risky options.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t at least briefly mention two other massive aircraft: the H-4 Hercules, the cargo seaplane built by Hughes Aircraft Co. in the 1940s, and the Stratolaunch carrier aircraft, which features a twin-fuselage configuration that DARPA seems to be favoring in its concept video for some reason.

From the sound of DARPA’s announcement, they’re looking for something a bit more like the Pelican than the Aerocon Dash or the Lun. DARPA wants the Liberty Lifter to be able to sustain flight out of ground effect if necessary, although it’s expected to spend most of its time over water for efficiency. It won’t use runways on land at all, though, and should be able to stay out on the water for 4 to 6 weeks at a time, operating even in rough seas—a significant challenge for ground-effect aircraft.

DARPA is looking for an operational range of 7,500 km, with a maximum payload of at least 90,000 kg, including the ability to launch and recover amphibious vehicles. The hardest thing DARPA is asking for could be that, unlike most other X-planes, the Liberty Lifter should incorporate a “low cost design and construction philosophy” inspired by the mass-produced Liberty ships of World War II.

With US $15 million to be awarded to up to two Liberty Lifter concepts, DARPA is hoping that at least one of those concepts will pass a system-level critical design review in 2025. If everything goes well after that, the first flight of a full-scale prototype vehicle could happen as early as 2027.

This article appears in the September 2022 print issue as “DARPA Reincarnates Soviet-Era Sea Monster.”


Match ID: 172 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 127 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Bi-Weekly /r/Technology Tech Support / General Discussion Thread. Have you a tech question or want to discuss tech?
2022-05-15T17:29:35+00:00

Greetings Fine Subscribers of /r/Technology,

This is the Bi-Weekly /r/Technology Tech Support / General Discussion Thread.

All questions must be submitted as top comments (direct replies to this post).

As always, we ask that you keep it civil, abide by the rules of reddit and mind your reddiquette. Please hit the report button on any activity that you feel may be in violation of any of the guidelines listed above.

Click here to review past entries of these support discussions.

/r/technology moderators.

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Match ID: 173 Score: 3.57 source: www.reddit.com age: 132 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Housing starts rise despite surging mortgage rates
Tue, 19 Apr 2022 08:35:38 -0500
U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.79 million in March, representing a 0.3% increase from the upwardly-revised figures for the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Compared with March 2021, housing starts were up nearly 4%. Meanwhile, permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.87 million, up 0.4% from February and 6.7% from a year ago. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a median pace of 1.73 million and building permits to come in at a median pace of 1.82 million.
Match ID: 174 Score: 3.57 source: www.marketwatch.com age: 158 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

What is Blockchain: Everything You Need to Know (2022)
Mon, 18 Apr 2022 05:49:00 +0000
What is Blockchain

If you want to pay online, you need to register an account and provide credit card information. If you don't have a credit card, you can pay with bank transfer. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, these methods may become old.

Imagine a world in which you can do transactions and many other things without having to give your personal information. A world in which you don’t need to rely on banks or governments anymore. Sounds amazing, right? That’s exactly what blockchain technology allows us to do.

It’s like your computer’s hard drive. blockchain is a technology that lets you store data in digital blocks, which are connected together like links in a chain. 

Blockchain technology was originally invented in 1991 by two mathematicians, Stuart Haber and W. Scot Stornetta. They first proposed the system to ensure that timestamps could not be tampered with.

A few years later, in 1998, software developer Nick Szabo proposed using a similar kind of technology to secure a digital payments system he called “Bit Gold.” However, this innovation was not adopted until Satoshi Nakamoto claimed to have invented the first Blockchain and Bitcoin.

So, What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a distributed database shared between the nodes of a computer network. It saves information in digital format. Many people first heard of blockchain technology when they started to look up information about bitcoin.

Blockchain is used in cryptocurrency systems to ensure secure, decentralized records of transactions.

Blockchain allowed people to guarantee the fidelity and security of a record of data without the need for a third party to ensure accuracy.

To understand how a blockchain works, Consider these basic steps:

  • Blockchain collects information in “blocks”.
  • A block has a storage capacity, and once it's used up, it can be closed and linked to a previously served block.
  • Blocks form chains, which are called “Blockchains.”
  • More information will be added to the block with the most content until its capacity is full. The process repeats itself.
  • Each block in the chain has an exact timestamp and can't be changed.

Let’s get to know more about the blockchain.

How does blockchain work?

Blockchain records digital information and distributes it across the network without changing it. The information is distributed among many users and stored in an immutable, permanent ledger that can't be changed or destroyed. That's why blockchain is also called "Distributed Ledger Technology" or DLT.

Here’s how it works:

  • Someone or a computer will transacts
  • The transaction is transmitted throughout the network.
  • A network of computers can confirm the transaction.
  • When it is confirmed a transaction is added to a block
  • The blocks are linked together to create a history.

And that’s the beauty of it! The process may seem complicated, but it’s done in minutes with modern technology. And because technology is advancing rapidly, I expect things to move even more quickly than ever.

  • A new transaction is added to the system. It is then relayed to a network of computers located around the world. The computers then solve equations to ensure the authenticity of the transaction.
  • Once a transaction is confirmed, it is placed in a block after the confirmation. All of the blocks are chained together to create a permanent history of every transaction.

How are Blockchains used?

Even though blockchain is integral to cryptocurrency, it has other applications. For example, blockchain can be used for storing reliable data about transactions. Many people confuse blockchain with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.

Blockchain already being adopted by some big-name companies, such as Walmart, AIG, Siemens, Pfizer, and Unilever. For example, IBM's Food Trust uses blockchain to track food's journey before reaching its final destination.

Although some of you may consider this practice excessive, food suppliers and manufacturers adhere to the policy of tracing their products because bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella have been found in packaged foods. In addition, there have been isolated cases where dangerous allergens such as peanuts have accidentally been introduced into certain products.

Tracing and identifying the sources of an outbreak is a challenging task that can take months or years. Thanks to the Blockchain, however, companies now know exactly where their food has been—so they can trace its location and prevent future outbreaks.

Blockchain technology allows systems to react much faster in the event of a hazard. It also has many other uses in the modern world.

What is Blockchain Decentralization?

Blockchain technology is safe, even if it’s public. People can access the technology using an internet connection.

Have you ever been in a situation where you had all your data stored at one place and that one secure place got compromised? Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to prevent your data from leaking out even when the security of your storage systems is compromised?

Blockchain technology provides a way of avoiding this situation by using multiple computers at different locations to store information about transactions. If one computer experiences problems with a transaction, it will not affect the other nodes.

Instead, other nodes will use the correct information to cross-reference your incorrect node. This is called “Decentralization,” meaning all the information is stored in multiple places.

Blockchain guarantees your data's authenticity—not just its accuracy, but also its irreversibility. It can also be used to store data that are difficult to register, like legal contracts, state identifications, or a company's product inventory.

Pros and Cons of Blockchain

Blockchain has many advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros

  • Accuracy is increased because there is no human involvement in the verification process.
  • One of the great things about decentralization is that it makes information harder to tamper with.
  • Safe, private, and easy transactions
  • Provides a banking alternative and safe storage of personal information

Cons

  • Data storage has limits.
  • The regulations are always changing, as they differ from place to place.
  • It has a risk of being used for illicit activities 

Frequently Asked Questions About Blockchain

I’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about blockchain in this section.

Is Blockchain a cryptocurrency?

Blockchain is not a cryptocurrency but a technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible. It's a digital ledger that records every transaction seamlessly.

Is it possible for Blockchain to be hacked?

Yes, blockchain can be theoretically hacked, but it is a complicated task to be achieved. A network of users constantly reviews it, which makes hacking the blockchain difficult.

What is the most prominent blockchain company?

Coinbase Global is currently the biggest blockchain company in the world. The company runs a commendable infrastructure, services, and technology for the digital currency economy.

Who owns Blockchain?

Blockchain is a decentralized technology. It’s a chain of distributed ledgers connected with nodes. Each node can be any electronic device. Thus, one owns blockhain.

What is the difference between Bitcoin and Blockchain technology?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is powered by Blockchain technology while Blockchain is a distributed ledger of cryptocurrency 

What is the difference between Blockchain and a Database?

Generally a database is a collection of data which can be stored and organized using a database management system. The people who have access to the database can view or edit the information stored there. The client-server network architecture is used to implement databases. whereas a blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, stored in a distributed system. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, timestamp and transaction information. Modification of data is not allowed due to the design of the blockchain. The technology allows decentralized control and eliminates risks of data modification by other parties.

Final Saying

Blockchain has a wide spectrum of applications and, over the next 5-10 years, we will likely see it being integrated into all sorts of industries. From finance to healthcare, blockchain could revolutionize the way we store and share data. Although there is some hesitation to adopt blockchain systems right now, that won't be the case in 2022-2023 (and even less so in 2026). Once people become more comfortable with the technology and understand how it can work for them, owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs alike will be quick to leverage blockchain technology for their own gain. Hope you like this article if you have any question let me know in the comments section

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Match ID: 175 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 159 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Puzzling Out the Drone War Over Ukraine
Fri, 25 Mar 2022 12:26:23 +0000


In 2014, Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Crimea knew that the sight of Russian drones would soon be followed by a heavy barrage of Russian artillery. During that war, the Russian military integrated drones into tactical missions, using them to hunt for Ukrainian forces, whom they then pounded with artillery and cannon fire. Russian drones weren’t as advanced as those of their Western counterparts, but the Russian military’s integration of drones into its battlefield tactics was second to none.

Eight years later, the Russians are again invading Ukraine. And since the earlier incursion, the Russian military has spent approximately US $9 billion to domestically produce an armada of some 500 drones (a.k.a. unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs). But, astonishingly, three weeks into this invasion, the Russians have not had anywhere near their previous level of success with their drones. There are even signs that in the drone war, the Ukrainians have an edge over the Russians.

How could the drone capabilities of these two militaries have experienced such differing fortunes over the same period? The answer lies in a combination of trade embargoes, tech development, and the rising importance of countermeasures.

Since 2014’s invasion of Crimea, Russia’s drone-development efforts have lagged—during a time of dynamic evolution and development across the UAV industry.

First, some background. Military drones come in a wide variety of sizes, purposes, and capabilities, but they can be grouped into a few categories. On one end of the spectrum are relatively tiny flying bombs, small enough to be carried in a rucksack. On the other end are high-altitude drones, with wingspans up to 25 meters and capable of staying aloft for 30 or 40 hours, of being operated from consoles thousands of kilometers from the battlefield, and of firing air-to-surface missiles with deadly precision. In between are a range of intermediate-size drones used primarily for surveillance and reconnaissance.

Russia’s fleet of drones includes models in each of these categories. However, sanctions imposed after the 2014 invasion of Crimea blocked the Russian military from procuring some key technologies necessary to stay on the cutting edge of drone development, particularly in optics, lightweight composites, and electronics. With relatively limited capabilities of its own in these areas, Russia’s drone development efforts became somewhat sluggish during a time of dynamic evolution and development elsewhere.

Current stalwarts in the Russian arsenal include the Zala Kyb, which is a “loitering munition” that can dive into a target and explode. The most common Russian drones are midsize ones used for surveillance and reconnaissance. These include the Eleron-3SV and the Orlan-10 drones, both of which have been used extensively in Syria and Ukraine. In fact, just last week, an Orlan-10 operator was awarded a military medal for locating a site from which Ukrainian soldiers were ambushing Russian tanks, and also a Ukrainian basing area outside Kyiv containing ten artillery pieces, which were subsequently destroyed. Russia’s only large, missile-firing drone is the Kronshtadt Orion, which is similar to the American MQ-1 Predator and can be used for precision strikes as well as reconnaissance. An Orion was credited with an air strike on a command center in Ukraine in early March 2022.

Meanwhile, since the 2014 Crimea war, when they had no drones at all, the Ukrainians have methodically assembled a modest but highly capable set of drones. The backbone of the fleet, with some 300 units fielded, are the A1-SM Fury and the Leleka-100 reconnaissance drones, both designed and manufactured in Ukraine. The A1-SM Fury entered service in April 2020, and the Leleka-100, in May, 2021.

On offense, the Ukrainian and Russian militaries are closely matched in the drone war. The difference is on defense.

The heavy hitter for Ukraine in this war, though, is the Bayraktar TB2 drone, a combat aerial flyer with a wingspan of 12 meters and an armament of four laser-guided bombs. As of the beginning of March, and after losing two TB2s to Russian-backed separatist forces in Lugansk, Ukraine had a complement of 30 of the drones, which were designed and developed in Turkey. These drones are specifically aimed at destroying tanks and as of 24 March had been credited with destroying 26 vehicles, 10 surface-to-air missile systems, and 3 command posts. Various reports have put the cost of a TB2 at anywhere from $1 million to $10 million. It’s much cheaper than the tens of millions fetched for better-known combat drones, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, the backbone of the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of combat drones.

The Ukrainian arsenal also includes the Tu-141 reconnaissance drones, which are large, high-altitude Soviet-era drones that have had little success in the war. At the small end of the Ukraine drone complement are 100 Switchblade drones, which were donated by the United States as part of the $800 million weapons package announced on 16 March. The Switchblades are loitering munitions similar in size and functionality to the Russian Zala Kyb.

The upshot is that on offense, the Ukrainian and Russian militaries are closely matched in the drone war. The difference is on defense: Ukraine has the advantage when it comes to counter-drone technology. A decade ago, counter-drone technology mostly meant using radar to detect drones and surface-to-air missiles to shoot them down. It quickly proved far too costly and ineffective. Drone technology advanced at a brisk pace over the past decade, so counter-drone technology had to move rapidly to keep up. In Russia, it didn’t. Here, again, the Russian military was hampered by technology embargoes and a domestic industrial base that has been somewhat stagnant and lacking in critical capabilities. For contrast, the combined industrial base of the countries supporting Ukraine in this war is massive and has invested heavily in counter-drone technology.

Russia has deployed electronic warfare systems to counter enemy drones and have likely been using the Borisoglebsk 2 MT-LB and R-330Zh Zhitel systems, which use a combination of jamming and spoofing. These systems fill the air with radio-frequency energy, increasing the noise threshold to such a level that the drone cannot distinguish control signals from the remote pilot. Another standard counterdrone technique is sending false signals to the drone, with the most common being fake (“spoofed”) GPS signals, which disorient the flyer. Jamming and spoofing systems are easy to target because they emit radio-frequency waves at fairly high intensities. In fact, open-source images show that Ukrainian forces have already destroyed three of these Russian counterdrone systems.

The exact systems that have been provided to the Ukrainians is not publicly known, but it’s possible to make an educated guess from among the many systems available.

Additionally, some of the newer drones being used by the Ukrainians include features to withstand such electronic attacks. For example, when one of these drones detects a jamming signal, it switches to frequencies that are not being jammed; if it is still unable to reestablish a connection, the drone operates autonomously with a series of preset maneuvers until a connection can be reestablished.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has access to the wide array of NATO counterdrone technologies. The exact systems that have been provided to the Ukrainians is not publicly known, but it’s possible to make an educated guess from among the many systems available. One of the more powerful ones, from Lockheed Martin, repurposes a solid-state, phased-array radar system developed to spot incoming munitions, to detect and identify a drone. The system then tracks the drone and uses high-energy lasers to shoot it down. Raytheon’s counterdrone portfolio includes similar capabilities along with drone-killing drones and systems capable of beaming high-power microwaves that disrupt the drone’s electronics.

While most major Western defense contractors have some sort of counterdrone system, there has also been significant innovation in the commercial sector, given the mass proliferation of commercial drones. While many of these technologies are aimed at smaller drones, some of the technologies, including acoustic sensing and radio-frequency localization, are effective against larger drones as well. Also, a dozen small companies have developed jamming and spoofing systems specifically aimed at countering modern drones.

Although we don’t know specifically which counterdrone systems are being deployed by the Ukrainians, the images of the destroyed drones tell a compelling story. In the drone war, many of the flyers on both sides have been captured or destroyed on the ground, but more than half were disabled while in flight. The destroyed Ukrainian drones often show tremendous damage, including burn marks and other signs that they were shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile. A logical conclusion is that the Russians’ electronic counterdrone systems were not effective. Meanwhile, the downed Russian drones are typically much more intact, showing relatively minor damage consistent with a precision strike from a laser or electromagnetic pulse. This is exactly what you would expect if the drones had been dispatched by one of the newer Western counterdrone systems.

In the first three weeks of this conflict, Russian drones have failed to achieve the level of success that they did in 2014. The Ukrainians, on the other hand, have logged multiple victories with drone and counterdrone forces assembled in just 8 years. The Russian drones, primarily domestically sourced, have been foiled repeatedly by NATO counterdrone technology. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian drones, such as the TB2s procured from NATO-member Turkey, have had multiple successes against the Russian counterdrone systems.
Match ID: 176 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 183 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

ProWritingAid VS Grammarly: Which Grammar Checker is Better in (2022) ?
Sun, 13 Mar 2022 15:04:00 +0000

Grammarly vs prowritingaid

ProWritingAid VS Grammarly:  When it comes to English grammar, there are two Big Players that everyone knows of: the Grammarly and ProWritingAid. but you are wondering which one to choose so here we write a detail article which will help you to choose the best one for you so Let's start

What is Grammarly?

Grammarly is a tool that checks for grammatical errors, spelling, and punctuation.it gives you comprehensive feedback on your writing. You can use this tool to proofread and edit articles, blog posts, emails, etc.

Grammarly also detects all types of mistakes, including sentence structure issues and misused words. It also gives you suggestions on style changes, punctuation, spelling, and grammar all are in real-time. The free version covers the basics like identifying grammar and spelling mistakes

whereas the Premium version offers a lot more functionality, it detects plagiarism in your content, suggests word choice, or adds fluency to it.


Features of Grammarly

  • Spelling and Word Suggestion: Grammarly detects basic to advance grammatical errors and also help you why this is an error and suggest to you how you can improve it
  • Create a Personal Dictionary: The Grammarly app allows you to add words to your personal dictionary so that the same mistake isn't highlighted every time you run Grammarly.
  • Different English Style: Check to spell for American, British, Canadian, and Australian English.
  • Plagiarism: This feature helps you detect if a text has been plagiarized by comparing it with over eight billion web pages.
  • Wordiness: This tool will help you check your writing for long and hard-to-read sentences. It also shows you how to shorten sentences so that they are more concise.
  • Passive Voice: The program also notifies users when passive voice is used too frequently in a document.
  • Punctuations: This feature flags all incorrect and missing punctuation.
  • Repetition: The tool provides recommendations for replacing the repeated word.
  • Proposition: Grammarly identifies misplaced and confused prepositions.

  • Plugins: It offers Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, and Google Chrome plugins.


What is ProWritingAid?

ProWritingAid is a style and grammar checker for content creators and writers. It helps to optimize word choice, punctuation errors, and common grammar mistakes, providing detailed reports to help you improve your writing. 

ProWritingAid can be used as an add-on to WordPress, Gmail, and Google Docs. The software also offers helpful articles, videos, quizzes, and explanations to help improve your writing.

Features of ProWriting Aid

Here are some key features of ProWriting Aid:

  • Grammar checker and spell checker: This tool helps you to find all grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Find repeated words:  The tool also allows you to search for repeated words and phrases in your content.
  • Context-sensitive style suggestions:  You can find the exact style of writing you intend and suggest if it flows well in your writing.
  • Check the readability of your content: Pro Writing Aid helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your article by pointing out difficult sentences and paragraphs.
  • Sentence Length: It also indicates the length of your sentences.
  • Check Grammatical error: It also checks your work for any grammatical errors or typos, as well.
  • Overused words: As a writer, you might find yourself using the same word repeatedly. ProWritingAid's overused words checker helps you avoid this lazy writing mistake.
  • Consistency: Check your work for inconsistent usage of open and closed quotation marks.
  • Echoes: Check your writing for uniformly repetitive words and phrases.

Difference between Grammarly and Pro-Writing Aid

Grammarly and ProWritingAid are well-known grammar-checking software. However, if you're like most people who can't decide which to use, here are some different points that may be helpful in your decision.

Grammarly vs ProWritingAid

  • Grammarly is a writing enhancement tool that offers suggestions for grammar, vocabulary, and syntax whereas ProWritingAid offers world-class grammar and style checking, as well as advanced reports to help you strengthen your writing.
  • Grammarly provides Android and IOS apps whereas ProWritingAid doesn't have a mobile or IOS app.
  • Grammarly offers important suggestions about mistakes you've made whereas ProWritingAid  shows more suggestions than Grammarly but all recommendations are not accurate
  • Grammarly has a more friendly UI/UX whereas the ProWritingAid interface is not friendly as Grammarly.
  • Grammarly is an accurate grammar checker for non-fiction writing whereas ProWritingAid is an accurate grammar checker for fiction writers.
  • Grammarly finds grammar and punctuation mistakes, whereas ProWritingAid identifies run-on sentences and fragments.
  • Grammarly provides 24/7 support via submitting a ticket and sending emails. ProWritingAid’s support team is available via email, though the response time is approximately 48 hours.
  • Grammarly offers many features in its free plan, whereas ProWritingAid offers some basic features in the free plan.
  • Grammarly does not offer much feedback on big picture writing; ProWritingAid offers complete feedback on big picture writing.
  • Grammarly is a better option for accuracy, whereas ProWritingAid is better for handling fragmented sentences and dialogue. It can be quite useful for fiction writers.

ProWritingAid VS Grammarly: Pricing Difference

  • ProWritingAid comes with three pricing structures. The full-year cost of ProWritingAid is $79, while its lifetime plans cost $339. You also can opt for a monthly plan of $20.
  • Grammarly offers a Premium subscription for $30/month for a monthly plan  $20/month for quarterly and $12/month for an annual subscription.
  • The Business plan costs $12.50 per month for each member of your company.

ProWritingAid vs Grammarly – Pros and Cons

Grammarly Pros

  • It allows you to fix common mistakes like grammar and spelling.
  • Offers most features in the free plan
  • Allows you to edit a document without affecting the formatting.
  • Active and passive voice checker
  • Personal dictionary 
  • Plagiarism checker (paid version)
  • Proofread your writing and correct all punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors.
  • Allows you to make changes to a document without altering its formatting.
  • Helps users improve vocabulary
  • User-friendly interface
  • Browser extensions and MS word add-ons
  • Available on all major devices and platforms
  • Grammarly will also offer suggestions to improve your style.
  • Enhance the readability of your sentence
  • Free mobile apps 
  • Offers  free version

Grammarly Cons

  • Supports only English 
  • Customer support only via email
  • Limits to 150,000 words
  • Subscription plans can be a bit pricey 
  • Plagiarism checker is only available in a premium plan
  • Doesn’t offer a free trial
  • No refund policy
  • The free version is ideal for basic spelling and grammatical mistakes, but it does not correct advanced writing issues.
  • Some features are not available for Mac.

ProwritingAid Pros

  • It offers more than 20 different reports to help you improve your writing.
  • Less expensive than other grammar checkers.
  • This tool helps you strengthen your writing style as it offers big-picture feedback.
  • ProWritingAid has a life plan with no further payments required.
  • Compatible with Google Docs!
  • Prowritingaid works on both Windows and Mac.
  • They offer more integrations than most tools.

ProWritingAid Cons

  • Editing can be a little more time-consuming when you add larger passages of text.
  • ProWritingAid currently offers no mobile app for Android or iOS devices.
  • Plagiarism checker is only available in premium plans.
  • All recommendations are not accurate

Summarizing the Ginger VS Grammarly: My Recommendation

As both writing assistants are great in their own way, you need to choose the one that suits you best.

  • For example, go for Grammarly  if you are a non-fiction writer
  • Go for ProWritingAid if you are a fiction writer.
  • ProWritingAid is better at catching errors found in long-form content. However, Grammarly is more suited to short blog posts and other similar tasks.
  • ProWritingAid helps you clean up your writing by checking for style, structure, and content while Grammarly focuses on grammar and punctuation.
  • Grammarly has a more friendly UI/UX whereas; ProWritingAid offers complete feedback on big picture writing.

Both ProWritingAid and Grammarly are awesome writing tools, without a doubt. but as per my experience, Grammarly is a winner here because Grammarly helps you to review and edit your content. Grammarly highlights all the mistakes in your writing within seconds of copying and pasting the content into Grammarly’s editor or using the software’s native feature in other text editors.

Not only does it identify tiny grammatical and spelling errors, it tells you when you overlook punctuations where they are needed. And, beyond its plagiarism-checking capabilities, Grammarly helps you proofread your content. Even better, the software offers a free plan that gives you access to some of its features.




Match ID: 177 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 195 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Sellfy Review 2022: How Good Is This Ecommerce Platform?
Sat, 12 Mar 2022 11:54:00 +0000

 

Sellfy

Are you searching for an ecomerce platform to help you build an online store and sell products?

In this Sellfy review, we'll talk about how this eCommerce platform can let you sell digital products while keeping full control of your marketing.

And the best part? Starting your business can be done in just five minutes.

Let us then talk about the Sellfy platform and all the benefits it can bring to your business.

What is Sellfy?

Sellfy is an eCommerce solution that allows digital content creators, including writers, illustrators, designers, musicians, and filmmakers, to sell their products online. Sellfy provides a customizable storefront where users can display their digital products and embed "Buy Now" buttons on their website or blog. Sellfy product pages enable users to showcase their products from different angles with multiple images and previews from Soundcloud, Vimeo, and YouTube. Files of up to 2GB can be uploaded to Sellfy, and the company offers unlimited bandwidth and secure file storage. Users can also embed their entire store or individual project widgets in their site, with the ability to preview how widgets will appear before they are displayed.

Features

Sellfy includes:

Online Store

Sellfy is a powerful e-commerce platform that helps you personalize your online storefront. You can add your logo, change colors, revise navigation, and edit the layout of your store. Sellfy also allows you to create a full shopping cart so customers can purchase multiple items. And Sellfy gives you the ability to set your language or let customers see a translated version of your store based on their location.

Sellfy gives you the option to host your store directly on its platform, add a custom domain to your store, and use it as an embedded storefront on your website. Sellfy also optimizes its store offerings for mobile devices, allowing for a seamless checkout experience.

Product hosting

Sellfy allows creators to host all their products and sell all of their digital products on one platform. Sellfy also does not place storage limits on your store but recommends that files be no larger than 5GB. Creators can sell both standard and subscription-based products in any file format that is supported by the online marketplace. Customers can purchase products instantly after making a purchase – there is no waiting period.

You can organize your store by creating your product categories, sorting by any characteristic you choose. Your title, description, and the image will be included on each product page. In this way, customers can immediately evaluate all of your products. You can offer different pricing options for all of your products, including "pay what you want," in which the price is entirely up to the customer. This option allows you to give customers control over the cost of individual items (without a minimum price) or to set pricing minimums—a good option if you're in a competitive market or when you have higher-end products. You can also offer set prices per product as well as free products to help build your store's popularity.

Sellfy is ideal for selling digital content, such as ebooks. But it does not allow you to copyrighted material (that you don't have rights to distribute).

Embed options

Sellfy offers several ways to share your store, enabling you to promote your business on different platforms. Sellfy lets you integrate it with your existing website using "buy now" buttons, embed your entire storefront, or embed certain products so you can reach more people. Sellfy also enables you to connect with your Facebook page and YouTube channel, maximizing your visibility.

Payments and security

Sellfy is a simple online platform that allows customers to buy your products directly through your store. Sellfy has two payment processing options: PayPal and Stripe. You will receive instant payments with both of these processors, and your customer data is protected by Sellfy's secure (PCI-compliant) payment security measures. In addition to payment security, Sellfy provides anti-fraud tools to help protect your products including PDF stamping, unique download links, and limited download attempts.


Marketing and analytics tools

The Sellfy platform includes marketing and analytics tools to help you manage your online store. You can send email product updates and collect newsletter subscribers through the platform. With Sellfy, you can also offer discount codes and product upsells, as well as create and track Facebook and Twitter ads for your store. The software's analytics dashboard will help you track your best-performing products, generated revenue, traffic channels, top locations, and overall store performance.

Integrations

To expand functionality and make your e-commerce store run more efficiently, Sellfy offers several integrations. Google Analytics and Webhooks, as well as integrations with Patreon and Facebook Live Chat, are just a few of the options available. Sellfy allows you to connect to Zapier, which gives you access to hundreds of third-party apps, including tools like Mailchimp, Trello, Salesforce, and more.

Pricing and Premium Plan Features

Get Sellfy 14 day free trail from here

Free Plan

  • Price: $0

The free plan comes with:

  • Up to 10 products
  • Print-on-demand products
  • Physical products

Starter Plan

  • Price: $19/month

Starter plan comes with:

  • Everything is Free, plus:
  • Unlimited products
  • Digital products
  • Subscription products
  • Connect your domain
  • 2,000 email credits

Business Plan

  • Price: $49/month

The business plan comes with:

  • Everything in Starter, plus:
  • Remove "Sellfy" branding
  • Store design migration
  • Cart abandonment
  • Product upselling
  • 10,000 email credits

Premium Plan

  • Price: $99/month

The premium plan comes with:

  • Everything in Business, plus:
  • Product migration
  • Priority support
  • 50,000 email credits

Sellfy Review: Pros and Cons

Sellfy has its benefits and downsides, but fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons.

Pros

  • It takes only a few minutes to set up an online store and begin selling products.
  • You can sell your products on a single storefront, even if you are selling multiple product types.
  • Sellfy supports selling a variety of product types, including physical items, digital goods, subscriptions, and print-on-demand products.

  • Sellfy offers a free plan for those who want to test out the features before committing to a paid plan.
  • You get paid the same day you make a sale. Sellfy doesn't delay your funds as some other payment processors do. 
  • Print-on-demand services are available directly from your store, so you can sell merchandise to fans without setting up an integration. 
  • You can conduct all store-related activities via the mobile app and all online stores have mobile responsive designs.
  • Everything you need to make your website is included, including a custom domain name hosting, security for your files, and the ability to customize your store
  • The file security features can help you protect your digital property by allowing you to put PDF stamps, set download limits, and SSL encryption.
  • Sellfy provides unlimited support.
  • Sellfy provides simple and intuitive tax and VAT configuration settings.
  • Marketing strategies include coupons, email marketing, upselling, tracking pixels, and cart abandonment.

Cons

  • Although the free plan is helpful, but it limits you to only 10 products.
  • Payment plans often require an upgrade if you exceed a certain sales amount per year.
  • The storefront designs are clean, but they're not unique templates for creating a completely different brand image.
  • Sellfy's branding is removed from your hosted product when you upgrade to the $49 per month Business plan.
  • The free plan does not allow for selling digital or subscription products.

Conclusion

In this article, we have taken a look at some of the biggest benefits associated with using sellfy for eCommerce. Once you compare these benefits to what you get with other platforms such as Shopify, you should find that it is worth your time to consider sellfy for your business. After reading this article all of your questions will be solved but if you have still some questions let me know in the comment section below, I will be happy to answer your questions.

Note: This article contains affiliate links which means we make a small commission if you buy sellfy premium plan from our link.



Match ID: 178 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 196 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Top 10 Best PLR(Private Label Rights) Websites | Which One You Should Join in 2022?
Sat, 26 Feb 2022 13:36:00 +0000
PLR


Content creation is one of the biggest struggles for many marketers and business owners. It often requires both time and financial resources, especially if you plan to hire a writer.
Today, we have a fantastic opportunity to use other people's products by purchasing Private Label Rights.

To find a good PLR website, first, determine the type of products you want to acquire. One way to do this is to choose among membership sites or PLR product stores. Following are 10 great sites that offer products in both categories.

What are PLR websites?

Private Label Rights (PLR) products are digital products that can be in the form of an ebook, software, online course videos, value-packed articles, etc. You can use these products with some adjustments to sell as your own under your own brand and keep all the money and profit yourself without wasting your time on product creation.
The truth is that locating the best website for PLR materials can be a time-consuming and expensive exercise. That’s why we have researched, analyzed, and ranked the best 10 websites:

1. PLR.me

 PLR.me is of the best places to get PLR content in 2021-2022. It offers a content marketing system that comes with courses, brandable tools, and more. It is the most trusted PLR website, among other PLR sites. The PLR.me platform features smart digital caching PLR tools for health and wellness professionals. The PLR.me platform, which was built on advanced caching technology, has been well-received by big brands such as Toronto Sun and Entrepreneur. The best thing about this website is its content marketing automation tools.

Pricing

  • Pay-as-you-go Plan – $22
  • 100 Monthly Plan – $99/month
  • 400 Annual Plan – $379/year
  • 800 Annual Plan – $579/year
  • 2500 Annual Plan – $990/year

Pros

  • Access over 15,940+ ready-to-use PLR coaching resources.
  • Content marketing and sliding tools are provided by the site.
  • You can create courses, products, webinars, emails, and nearly anything else you can dream of.
  • You can cancel your subscription anytime.

Cons

  • Compared to other top PLR sites, this one is a bit more expensive.

2. InDigitalWorks

InDigitalWorks is a leading private label rights membership website established in 2008. As of now, it has more than 100,000 members from around the globe have joined the platform. The site offers thousands of ready-to-be-sold digital products for online businesses in every single niche possible. InDigitalWorks features hundreds of electronic books, software applications, templates, graphics, videos that you can sell right away.

Pricing:

  • 3 Months Plan – $39
  • 1 Year Plan – $69
  • Lifetime Plan – $79

Pros

  • IndigitalWorks promotes new authors by providing them with 200 free products for download.
  • Largest and most reputable private label rights membership site.
  •  20000+ digital products
  • 137 training videos provided by experts to help beginners set up and grow their online presence for free.
  • 10 GB of web hosting will be available on a reliable server.

Cons

  • Fewer people are experiencing the frustration of not getting the help they need.

3. BuyQualityPLR

BuyQualityPLR’s website is a Top PLR of 2021-2022! It's a source for major Internet Marketing Products and Resources. Whether you’re an Affiliate Marketer, Product Creator, Course Seller,  BuyQualityPLR can assist you in the right direction. You will find several eBooks and digital products related to the Health and Fitness niche, along with a series of Security-based products. If you search for digital products, Resell Rights Products, Private Label Rights Products, or Internet Marketing Products, BuyQualityPLR is among the best websites for your needs.

Pricing

  • Free PLR articles packs, ebooks, and other digital products are available
  • Price ranges from 3.99$ to 99.9$

Pros

  • Everything on this site is written by professionals
  • The quick download features available
  • Doesn't provide membership.
  • Offers thousand of PLR content in many niches
  • Valuable courses available

Cons

  • You can't buy all content because it doesn't provide membership

4. IDPLR

The IDPLR website has helped thousands of internet marketers since 2008. This website follows a membership approach and allows you to gain access to thousands of PLR products in different niches. The best thing about this site is the quality of the products, which is extremely impressive.
This is the best PLR website of 2021-2022, offering over 200k+ high-quality articles. It also gives you graphics, templates, ebooks, and audio.

Pricing

  • 3 Months ACCESS: $39
  • 1 YEAR ACCESS: $69
  • LIFETIME ACCESS: $79

Pros

  • You will have access to over 12,590 PLR products.
  • You will get access to training tutorials and Courses in a Gold membership.
  • 10 GB of web hosting will be available on a reliable server.
  • You will receive 3D eCover Software
  • It offers an unlimited download limit
  • Most important, you will get a 30 day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • A few products are available for free membership.

5. PLRMines

PLRmines is a leading digital product library for private label rights products. The site provides useful information on products that you can use to grow your business, as well as licenses for reselling the content. You can either purchase a membership or get access through a free trial, and you can find unlimited high-quality resources via the site's paid or free membership. Overall, the site is an excellent resource for finding outstanding private label rights content.

Pricing

  • Lifetime membership:  $97

Pros

  • 4000+ ebooks from top categories
  • Members have access to more than 660 instructional videos covering all kinds of topics in a membership area.
  • You will receive outstanding graphics that are ready to use.
  • They also offer a variety of helpful resources and tools, such as PLR blogs, WordPress themes, and plugins

Cons

  • The free membership won't give you much value.

6. Super-Resell

Super-Resell is another remarkable provider of PLR material. The platform was established in 2009 and offers valuable PLR content to users. Currently, the platform offers standard lifetime memberships and monthly plans at an affordable price. Interested users can purchase up to 10,000 products with digital rights or rights of re-sale. Super-Resell offers a wide range of products such as readymade websites, article packs, videos, ebooks, software, templates, and graphics, etc.

Pricing

  • 6 Months Membership: $49.90
  • Lifetime membership: $129

Pros

  • It offers you products that come with sales pages and those without sales pages.
  •  You'll find thousands of digital products that will help your business grow.
  • Daily News update

Cons

  • The company has set up an automatic renewal system. This can result in costs for you even though you are not using the service.

7. Unstoppable PLR

UnStoppablePLR was launched in 2006 by Aurelius Tjin, an internet marketer. Over the last 15 years, UnStoppablePLR has provided massive value to users by offering high-quality PLR content. The site is one of the best PLR sites because of its affordability and flexibility.

Pricing

  • Regular Price: $29/Month

Pros

  • You’ll get 30 PLR articles in various niches for free.
  • 100% money-back guarantee.
  • Members get access to community
  • It gives you access to professionally designed graphics and much more.

Cons

  • People often complain that not enough PLR products are released each month. 

8. Resell Rights Weekly

Resell Rights Weekly, a private label rights (PLR) website, provides exceptional PLR content. It is among the top free PLR websites that provide free membership. You will get 728+ PLR products completely free and new products every single week. The Resell Rights Weekly gives you free instant access to all products and downloads the ones you require.

Pricing

  • Gold Membership: $19.95/Month

Pros

  • Lots of products available free of cost
  • Free access to the  members forum

Cons

  • The prices for the products at this PLR site are very low quality compared to other websites that sell the same items.

9. MasterResellRights

MasterResellRights was established in 2006, and it has helped many successful entrepreneurs. Once you join MasterResellRights, you will get access to more than 10,000 products and services from other members. It is one of the top PLR sites that provide high-quality PLR products to members across the globe. You will be able to access a lot of other membership privileges at no extra price. The website also provides PLR, MRR, and RR license products.

Pricing

One Month Membership: $19.97
Three Month Membership: $47.00

Pros

Access more than 10,000 high-quality,  PLR articles in different niches.
Get daily fresh new updates
Users get 8 GB of hosting space
You can pay using PayPal

Cons

Only members have access to the features of this site.

10. BigProductStore 

BigProductStore is a popular private label rights website that offers tens of thousands of digital products. These include software, videos, video courses, eBooks, and many others that you can resell, use as you want, or sell and keep 100% of the profit.
The PLR website updates its product list daily. It currently offers over 10,000 products.
The site offers original content for almost every niche and when you register as a member, you can access the exclusive products section where you can download a variety of high-quality, unique, and exclusive products.

Pricing

  • Monthly Plan: $19.90/Month 27% off
  • One-Time-Payment: $98.50  50% off
  • Monthly Ultimate: $29.90/Month 36% off
  • One-Time-Payment Ultimate: $198.50 50% off

Pros

  • You can use PLR products to generate profits, give them as bonuses for your affiliate promotion campaign, or rebrand them and create new unique products.
  • Lifetime memberships for PLR products can save you money if you’re looking for a long-term solution to bulk goods.
  • The website is updated regularly with fresh, quality content.

Cons

  • Product descriptions may not provide much detail, so it can be difficult to know just what you’re downloading.
  • Some product categories such as WP Themes and articles are outdated. 

Match ID: 179 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 210 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Canva Review 2022: Details, Pricing & Features
Sun, 20 Feb 2022 12:02:00 +0000


Are you looking for a new graphic design tool? Would you like to read a detailed review of Canva? As it's one of the tools I love using. I am also writing my first ebook using canva and publish it soon on my site you can download it is free.  Let's start the review.

Canva has a web version and also a mobile app

What is Canva?

Canva is a free graphic design web application that allows you to create invitations, business cards, flyers, lesson plans, banners, and more using professionally designed templates. You can upload your own photos from your computer or from Google Drive, and add them to Canva's templates using a simple drag-and-drop interface. It's like having a basic version of Photoshop that doesn't require Graphic designing knowledge to use. It’s best for nongraphic designers.

Who is Canva best suited for?

Canva is a great tool for small business owners, online entrepreneurs, and marketers who don’t have the time and want to edit quickly.

To create sophisticated graphics, a tool such as Photoshop can is ideal. To use it, you’ll need to learn its hundreds of features, get familiar with the software, and it’s best to have a good background in design, too.

Also running the latest version of Photoshop you need a high-end computer.

So here  Canva takes place, with Canva you can do all that with drag-and-drop feature. It’s also easier to use and free. Also an even-more-affordable paid version is available for $12.95 per month.

Free vs Pro vs Enterprise Pricing plan

The product is available in three plans: Free, Pro ($12.99/month per user or  $119.99/year for up to 5 people), and Enterprise ($30 per user per month, minimum 25 people).

Free plan Features

  • 250,000+ free templates
  • 100+ design types (social media posts, presentations, letters, and more)
  • Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics
  • Invite members to your team
  • Collaborate and comment in real-time
  • 5GB of cloud storage
  • Try Canva Pro for free for 30 days

Pro Plan Features 

  • Everything Free, has plus:
  • 100+ million premium and  stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics
  • 610,000+ premium and free templates with new designs daily
  • Access to Background Remover and Magic Resize
  •  Create a library of your brand or campaign's colors, logos, and fonts with up to 100 Brand Kits
  • Remove image backgrounds instantly with background remover
  • Resize designs infinitely with Magic Resize
  • Save designs as templates for your team to use
  • 100GB of cloud storage
  • Schedule social media content to 8 platforms

Enterprise Plan Features

  • Everything Pro has plus:
  • Establish your brand's visual identity with logos, colors and fonts across multiple Brand Kits
  • Control your team's access to apps, graphics, logos, colors and fonts with brand controls
  • Built-in workflows to get approval on your designs
  • Set which elements your team can edit and stay on brand with template locking
  • Unlimited Storage
  • Log in with single-sign on (SSO) and have access to 24/7 Enterprise-level support.

How to Use Canva?

To get started on Canva, you will need to create an account by providing your email address, Google, Facebook or Apple credentials. You will then choose your account type between student, teacher, small business, large company, non-profit, or personal. Based on your choice of account type, templates will be recommended to you.

You can sign up for a free trial of Canva Pro, or you can start with the free version to get a sense of whether it’s the right graphic design tool for your needs.

Canva Sign Up

Designing with Canva

canva


When you sign up for an account, Canva will suggest different post types to choose from. Based on the type of account you set up  you'll be able to see templates categorized by the following categories: social media posts, documents, presentations, marketing, events, ads, launch your business, build your online brand, etc.

 Start by choosing a template for your post or searching for something more specific. Search by social network name to see a list of post types on each network.

Templates

canva templates


Next, you can choose a template. Choose from hundreds of templates that are ready to go, with customizable photos, text, and other elements.

You can start your design by choosing from a variety of ready-made templates, searching for a template matching your needs, or working with a blank template.


 Canva has a lot to choose from, so start with a specific search.if you want to create business card just search for it and you will see alot of templates to choose from

Elements

Inside the Canva designer, the Elements tab gives you access to lines and shapes, graphics, photos, videos, audio, charts, photo frames, and photo grids.The search box on the Elements tab lets you search everything on Canva.

canva elements

To begin with, Canva has a large library of elements to choose from. To find them, be specific in your search query. You may also want to search in the following tabs to see various elements separately:

Photos

The Photos tab lets you search for and choose from millions of professional stock photos for your templates.

You can replace the photos in our templates to create a new look. This can also make the template more suited to your industry.

You can find photos on other stock photography sites like pexel, pixabay and many more or simply upload your own photos.

canva photos

When you choose an image, Canva’s photo editing features let you adjust the photo’s settings (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.), crop, or animate it.

 When you subscribe to Canva Pro, you get access to a number of premium features, including the Background Remover. This feature allows you to remove the background from any stock photo in  library or any image you upload.

Text

The Text tab lets you add headings, normal text, and graphical text to your design.

When you click on  text, you'll see options to adjust the font, font size, color, format, spacing, and text effects (like shadows). 

Canva Pro subscribers can choose from a large library of fonts on the Brand Kit or the Styles tab. Enterprise-level controls ensure that visual content remains on-brand, no matter how many people are working on it.

Audio

Create an animated image or video by adding audio to capture user’s attention in social news feeds.

If you want to use audio from another stock site or your own audio tracks, you can upload them in the Uploads tab or from the more option.

Video

Want to create your own videos? Choose from thousands of stock video clips. You’ll find videos that range upto 2 minutes

You can upload your own videos as well as videos from other stock sites in the Uploads tab. 

Once you have chosen a video, you can use the editing features in Canva to trim the video, flip it, and adjust its transparency.

Backgrounds

On the Background tab, you’ll find free stock photos to serve as backgrounds on your designs. Change out the background on a template to give it a more personal touch.

Styles


The Styles tab lets you quickly change the look and feel of your template with just a click. And if you have a Canva Pro subscription, you can upload your brand’s custom colors and fonts to ensure designs stay on brand.

Logos

If you have a Canva Pro subscription, you’ll have a Logos tab. Here, you can upload variations of your brand logo to use throughout your designs.

With Canva, you can also create your own logos. Note that you cannot trademark a logo with stock content in it.

Publishing with Canva

With Canva, free users can download and share designs to multiple platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slack and Tumblr.

Canva Pro subscribers can create multiple post formats from one design. For example, you can start by designing an Instagram post, and Canva's Magic Resizer can resize it for other networks, Stories, Reels, and other formats.

Canva Pro subscribers can also use Canva’s Content Planner to post content on eight different accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slack, and Tumblr.

Canva Team

Canva Pro allows you to work with your team on visual content. Designs can be created inside Canva, and then sent to your team members for approval. Everyone can make comments, edits, revisions, and keep track via the version history.

Canva Print

When it comes to printing your designs, Canva has you covered. With an extensive selection of printing options, they can turn your designs into anything from banners and wall art to mugs and t-shirts. 

Canva Print is perfect for any business seeking to make a lasting impression. Create inspiring designs people will want to wear, keep, and share. Hand out custom business cards that leave a lasting impression on customers' minds.

Canva Apps

The Canva app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The Canva app has earned a 4.9 out of five star rating from over 946.3K Apple users and a 4.5 out of five star rating from over 6,996,708 Google users.

In addition to mobile apps, you can use Canva’s integration with other Internet services to add images and text from sources like Google Maps, Emojis, photos from Google Drive and Dropbox, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Bitmojis, and other popular visual content elements.

Canva Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Canva is a great tool for people who want to create professional graphics but don’t have graphic design skills.
  • Hundreds of templates, so you'll never have to start from scratch.
  • Wide variety of templates to fit multiple uses
  • Branding kits to keep your team consistent with the brand colors and fonts
  • Creating visual content on the go
  • You can find royalty free images, audio, and video without having to subscribe to another service.

Cons:

  • Some professional templates are available for Pro user only
  • Advanced photo editing features like blurring or erasing a specific area are missing.
  • Some elements that fall outside of a design are tricky to retrieve.
  • Features (like Canva presentations) could use some improvement.
  • If you are a regular user of Adobe products, you might find Canva's features limited.
  • Prefers to work with vectors. Especially logos.
  • Expensive enterprise pricing

Conclusion

In general, Canva is an excellent tool for those who need simple images for projects. If you are a graphic designer with experience, you will find Canva’s platform lacking in customization and advanced features – particularly vectors. But if you have little design experience, you will find Canva easier to use than advanced graphic design tools like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator for most projects. If you have any queries let me know in the comments section.






Match ID: 180 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 216 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Top 7 Best Wordpress Plugin Of All Time
Fri, 11 Feb 2022 09:00:00 +0000

 

If you are looking for the best wordpress plugins, then you are at the right place. Here is the list of best wordpress plugins that you should use in your blog to boost SEO, strong your security and know every aspects of your blog . Although creating a good content is one factor but there are many wordpress plugins that perform different actions and add on to your success. So let's  start

1.Yoast SEO

Those users who are serious about SEO, Yoast SEO will do the work for them to reach their goals. All they need to do is select a keyword, and the plugin will then optimize your page according to the specified keyword

Yoast offers many popular SEO WordPress plugin functions. It gives you real-time page analysis to optimize your content, images, meta descriptions, titles, and kewords. Yoast also checks the length of your sentences and paragraphs, whether you’re using enough transition words or subheadings, how often you use passive voice, and so on. Yoast tells Google whether or not to index a page or a set of pages too.

Let me summarize these points in bullets:

  • Enhance the readability of your article to reduce bounce rate
  • Optimize your articles with targetted keywords
  • Let Google know who you are and what your site is about
  • Improve your on-page SEO with advanced, real-time guidance and advice on keyword usage, linking, and external linking.
  • Keep your focus keywords consistent to help rank better on  Google.
  • Preview how your page would appear in the search engine results page (SERP)
  • Crawl your site daily to ensure Google indexes it as quickly as possible.
  • Rate your article informing you of any mistakes you might have made so that you can fix them before publishing.
  • Stay up-to-date with Google’s latest algorithm changes and adapt your on-page SEO as needed with smartsuggestionss from the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin is always up-to-date.
  • Free Version is available 

Pricing

  • Premium version=$89/year that comes with extra functions, allowing you to optimize your content up to five keywords, among other benefits.


2. WP Rocket

A website running WordPress can put a lot of strain on a server, which increases the chances that the website will crash and harm your business. To avoid such an unfortunate situation and ensure that all your pages load quickly, you need a caching plugin like WP Rocket.

WP Rocket plugin designed to increases your website speed. Instead of waiting for pages to be saved to cache, WP Rocket turns on desired caching settings, like page cache and gzip compression. The plugin also activates other features, such as CDN support and llazy image loadding, to enhance your site speed.

Features in bullets:

  • Browser Catching
  • Preloading the cache of pages
  • Reducing the number of HTTP requests allows websites to load more quickly.
  • Decreasing bandwidth usage with GZIP compression
  • Apply optimal browser caching headers (expires)
  • Minifying and combining JavaScript and CSS files
  • Remove Unused CSS
  • Deferred loading of images (LazyLoad)
  • WebP compatibility
  • Deferred loading of JavaScript files
  • Delay JavaScript Execution
  • Critical Path CSS generation and deferred loading of CSS files
  • Database optimization
  • WordPress Heartbeat API control
  • DNS prefetch
  • CDN integration
  • Cloudflare integration
  • Sucuri integration
  • Easy import/export of settings
  • Easy roll back to a previous version


Pricing

  • Single License =$49/year for one website
  • Plus License =$99/year for 3 websites
  • Infinite License =$249/year for unlimited websites


3.Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security is a WordPress firewall and security scanner that keeps your site safe from malicious hackers, spam, and other online threats. This Plugin comes with a web application firewall (WAF) called tthread Defence  Feed  that helps to prevents brute force attacks by ensuring you set stronger passwords and limiting login attempts. It searches for malware and compares code, theme, and plugin files with the records in the WordPress.org repository to verify their integrity and reports changes to you.

Wordfence security scanner provides you with actionable insights into your website's security status and will alert you to any potential threats, keeping it safe and secure. It also includes login security features that let you activate reCAPTCHA and two-factor authentication for your website.

Features in Bullets.

  • Scans your site for vulnerabilities.
  • Alerts you by email when new threats are detected.
  • Supports advanced login security measures.
  • IP addresses may be blocked automatically if suspicious activity is detected.

Pricing

  • Premium Plan= $99/Year that comes with extra security features like the real time IP backlist and country blocking option and also support from highly qualified experts.

4. Akismet

Akismet can help prevent spam from appearing on your site. Every day, it automatically checks every comment against a global database of spam to block malicious content. With Akismet, you also won’t have to worry about innocent comments being caught by the filter or false positives. You can simply tell Akismet about those and it will get better over time. It also checks your contact form submissions against its global spam database and weed out unnecessary fake information.

Features in Bullets:

  • The program automatically checks comments and filters out spam.
  • Hidden or misleading links are often revealed in the comment body. 
  • Akismet tracks the status of each comment, allowing you to see which ones were caught by Akismet and which ones were cleared by a moderator.
  • A spam-blocking feature that saves disk space and makes your site run faster.
  • Moderators can view a list of comments approved by each user.

Pricing

  • Free to use for personal blog 

5. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a plug-in that allows you to create contact forms that make it easy for your users to send messages to your site. The plug-in was developed by Takayuki Miyoshi and lets you create multiple contact forms on the same site; it also integrates Akismet spam filtering and lets you customize the styling and fields that you want to use in the form. The plug-in provides CAPTCHA and Ajax submitting.

Features in bullets:

  • Create and manage multiple contact forms
  • Easily customize form fields
  • Use simple markup to alter mail content
  • Add Lots of third-party extensions for additional functionality
  • Shortcode offers a way to insert content into pages or posts.
  • Akismet spam filtering, Ajax-powered submitting, and CAPTCHA are all features of this plugin.

Pricing

  • Free to use

6. Monster Insights

When you’re looking for an easy way to manage your Google Analytics-related web tracking services, Monster Insights can help. You can add, customize, and integrate Google Analytics data with ease so you’ll be able to see how every webpage performs, which online campaigns bring in the most traffic, and which content readers engage with the most. It’s same as Google Analytics

It is a powerful tool to keep track of your traffic stats. With it, you can view stats for your active sessions, conversions, and bounce rates. You’ll also be able to see your total revenue, the products you sell, and how your site is performing when it comes to referrals.

MonsterInsights offers a free plan that includes basic Google Analytics integration, data insights, and user activity metrics.

Features in bullets:

  • Demographics and interest reports:
  • Anonymize the  IPs of visitor
  • See the results of how far visitors Scroll down
  • Show the insights of multiple links to the same page and show you which links get more clicks
  • See sessions of two related sites as a single session
  • Google AdSense tracking
  • Send you weekly analytics report of your blog you can download it as pdf

Pricing

  • Premium plan= $99.50/year that comes with extra features like page and post tracking, Adsense tracking,  custom tracking and reports.

7. Pretty Links

Pretty Links is a powerful WordPress plugin that enables you to easily cloak affiliate links on your websiteIt even allows you to easily redirect visitors based on a specific request, including permanent 301 and temporary 302/307 redirects.

Pretty links also helps you to automatically shorten your url for your post and pages.

You can also enable auto-linking feature to automatically add affiliate links for certain keywords

Features

  •  Create clean, easy-to-remember URLs on your website (301, 302, and 307 redirects only)
  • Random-generator or custom URL slugs
  • Track the number of clicks
  • Easy to understand reports
  • View click details including ip address, remote host, browser, operating system, and referring site
  • You can pass custom parameters to your scripts when using pretty permalinks, and still have full tracking capability.
  • Exclude IP Addresses from Stats
  • Cookie-based system to track your activity across clicks
  • Create nofollow/noindex links
  • Toggle tracking on / off on each link.
  • Pretty Link Bookmarklet
  •  Update redirected links easily to new URLs!

Pricing

  • Beginner Plan=$79/year that can be used on 1 site
  • Marketer Plan: $99/year – that can be used on upto 2 sites
  • Super Affiliate Plan: $149/year – that can be use on upto 5 sites


We hope you’ve found this article useful. We appreciate you reading and welcome your feedback if you have it.



Match ID: 181 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 225 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Ginger VS Grammarly: Which Grammar Checker is Better in (2022) ?
Thu, 10 Feb 2022 10:28:00 +0000
Grammarly vs Ginger


Ginger VS Grammarly: When it comes to grammar checkers, Ginger and Grammarly are two of the most popular choices on the market. This article aims to highlight the specifics of each one so that you can make a more informed decision about the one you'll use.

What is Grammarly?

If you are a writer, you must have heard of  Grammarly before. Grammarly has over 10M users across the globe, it's probably the most popular AI writing enhancement tool, without a doubt. That's why there's a high chance that you already know about Grammarly.

But today we are going to do a comparison between Ginger and Grammarly, So let's define Grammarly here. Like Ginger, Grammarly is an AI writing assistant that checks for grammatical errors, spellings, and punctuation. The free version covers the basics like identifying grammar and spelling mistakes

While the Premium version offers a lot more functionality, it detects plagiarism in your content, suggests word choice, or adds fluency to it.

Features of Grammarly

  • Grammarly detects basic to advance grammatical errors and also help you why this is an error and suggest to you how you can improve it
  • Create a personal dictionary 
  • Check to spell for American, British, Canadian, and Australian English.
  • Understand inconsistencies. 
  • Detect unclear structure. 
  • Detect Plagiarism.
  • Explore overuse of words and wordiness. 
  • Get to know about the improper tones. 
  • Discover the insensitive language aligns with your intent, audience, style, emotion, and more.


What is Ginger

 Ginger is a writing enhancement tool that not only catches typos and grammatical mistakes but also suggests content improvements. As you type, it picks up on errors then shows you what’s wrong, and suggests a fix. It also provides you with synonyms and definitions of words and allows you to translate your text into dozens of languages.


Ginger Software: Features & Benefits

  • Ginger's software helps you identify and correct common grammatical mistakes, such as consecutive nouns, or contextual spelling correction.
  • The sentence rephrasing feature can help you convey your meaning perfectly.
  • Ginger acts like a personal coach that helps you practice certain exercises based on your mistakes.
  • The dictionary feature helps users understand the meanings of words.

In addition, the program provides a text reader, so you can gauge your writing’s conversational tone.


Ginger vs Grammarly

Grammarly and Ginger are two popular grammar checker software brands that help you to become a better writer. But if you’re undecided about which software to use, consider these differences:

  • Grammarly only supports the English language while Ginger supports 40+ languages.
  • Grammarly offers a wordiness feature while Ginger lacks a Wordiness feature.
  • Grammarly shows an accuracy score while Ginger lacks an accuracy score feature.
  • Grammarly has a plagiarism checker while ginger doesn't have such a feature.
  • Grammarly can recognize an incorrect use of numbers while Ginger can’t recognize an incorrect use of numbers.
  • Grammarly and Ginger both have mobile apps.
  • Ginger and Grammarly offer monthly, quarterly, and annual plans.
  • Grammarly allows you to check uploaded documents. while Ginger doesn't check uploaded documents.
  • Grammarly Offers a tone suggestion feature while Ginger doesn't offer a tone suggestion feature.
  • Ginger helps to translate documents into 40+ languages while Grammarly doesn't have a translation feature.
  • Ginger Offers text to speech features while Grammarly doesn't have such features.


Grammarly Score: 7/10

Ginger:4/10

So Grammarly  wins here.

Ginger VS Grammarly: Pricing Difference

  • Ginger offers a Premium subscription for 13.99$/month. it comes at $11.19/month for quarterly and $7.49/month for an annual subscription with 40$ off.
  • On the other hand,  Grammarly offers a Premium subscription for $30/month for a monthly plan  $20/month for quarterly, and $12/month for an annual subscription.

For companies with three or more employees, the Business plan costs $12.50/month for each member of your team. 

Ginger Wins Here

Ginger vs Grammarly – Pros and Cons


Grammarly Pros

  • Offers  free version
  • All-in-one tool (grammar checker + spell checker + punctuation checker)
  • Allows you to edit a document without affecting the formatting.
  • Style checker (paid version)

  • Active and passive voice checker
  • Personal dictionary 
  • Plagiarism checker (paid version)
  • Available on all major devices and platforms
  • Free mobile apps 
  • User-friendly interface
  • Browser extensions and MS word add-ons
  • Can upload and download documents


Grammarly Cons

  • Supports only English 
  • Customer support only via email
  • Limits to 150,000 words
  • Subscription plans can be a bit pricey 
  • Doesn’t offer a free trial
  • No refund policy

Ginger Pros

  • Offers free version
  • All-in-one tool (grammar checker + spell checker + punctuation checker)
  • Affordable Subscription plans (Additionals discounts are available)
  • Active and passive voice changer
  • Translates documents in 40+ languages 
  • Personal dictionary
  • Browser extension available 
  •  Personal trainers help clients develop their knowledge of grammar.
  • Text-to-speech feature reads work out loud
  • Get a full refund within 7 days


Ginger Cons

  • Mobile apps aren't free
  • Limited monthly corrections for free users
  • No style checker
  • No plagiarism checker
  • Not as user-friendly as Grammarly
  • You are unable to upload or download documents; however, you may copy and paste files as needed.
  • Doesn't offer a free trial


Summarizing the Ginger VS Grammarly: My Recommendation

While both writing assistants are fantastic in their ways, you need to choose the one you want. 

For example, go for Grammarly if you want a plagiarism tool included. 

Choose Ginger if you want to write in languages other than English. I will to the differences for you in order to make the distinctions clearer.

  • Grammarly offers a plagiarism checking tool
  • Ginger provides text to speech tool
  • Grammarly helps you check uploaded documents
  • Ginger supports over 40 languages
  • Grammarly has a more friendly UI/UX
Both Ginger and Grammarly are awesome writing tools, without a doubt. Depending on your needs, you might want to use Ginger over Grammarly. As per my experience, I found Grammarly easier to use than Ginger.

Which one you like let me know in the comments section also give your opinions in the comments section below.


Match ID: 182 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 226 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Following the Money in the Air-Taxi Craze
Tue, 08 Feb 2022 15:04:00 +0000


When entrepreneur JoeBen Bevirt launched Joby Aviation 12 years ago, it was just one of a slew of offbeat tech projects at his Sproutwerx ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains. Today, Joby has more than 1,000 employees and it’s backed by close to US $2 billion in investments, including $400 million from Toyota Motor Corporation along with big infusions from Uber and JetBlue.

Having raked in perhaps 30 percent of all the money invested in electrically-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft so far, Joby is the colossus in an emerging class of startups working on these radical, battery-powered commercial flyers. All told, at least 250 companies worldwide are angling to revolutionize transportation in and around cities with a new category of aviation, called urban air mobility or advanced air mobility. With Joby at the apex, the category’s top seven companies together have hauled in more than $5 billion in funding—a figure that doesn’t include private firms, whose finances haven’t been disclosed.

But with some of these companies pledging to start commercial operations in 2024, there is no clear answer to a fundamental question: Are we on the verge of a stunning revolution in urban transportation, or are we witnessing, as aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia puts it, the “mother of all aerospace bubbles”?

Even by the standards of big-money tech investment, the vision is giddily audacious. During rush hour, the skies over a large city, such as Dubai or Madrid or Los Angeles, would swarm with hundreds, and eventually thousands, of eVTOL “air taxis.” Each would seat between one and perhaps half a dozen passengers, and would, eventually, be autonomous. Hailing a ride would be no more complicated than scheduling a trip on a ride-sharing app.

“We’re going to have to get the consumer used to thinking about flying in a small aircraft without a pilot on board. I have reservations about the general public’s willingness to accept that vision.”
—Laurie Garrow, Georgia Tech

And somehow, the cost would be no greater, either. In a discussion hosted by the Washington Post last July, Bevirt declared, “Our initial price point would be comparable to the cost of a taxi or an Uber, but our target is to move quickly down to the cost of what it costs you to drive your own car. And we believe that's the critical unlock to making this transformative to the world and for people’s daily lives.” Asked to put some dollar figures on his projection, Bevirt said, “Our goal is to launch this service [in 2024] at an average price of around $3 a mile and to move that down below $1 a mile over time.” The cost of an Uber varies by city and time of day, but it’s usually between $1 and $2 per mile, not including fees.

Industry analysts tend to have more restrained expectations. With the notable exception of China, they suggest, limited commercial flights will begin with eVTOL aircraft flown by human pilots, a phase that is expected to last six to eight years at least. Costs will be similar to those of helicopter trips, which tend to be in the range of $6 to $10 per mile or more. Of the 250+ startups in the field, only three—Kittyhawk, Wisk Aero (a joint venture of Kittyhawk and Boeing), and Ehang—plan to go straight to full autonomy without a preliminary phase involving pilots, says Chris Anderson, Chief Operating Officer at Kittyhawk.

To some, the autonomy issue is the heart of whether this entire enterprise can succeed economically. “When you figure in autonomy, you go from $3 a mile to 50 cents a mile,” says Anderson, citing studies done by his company. “You can’t do that with a pilot in the seat.”

Laurie A. Garrow, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, agrees. “For the large-scale vision, autonomy will be critical,” she says. “In order to get to the vision that people have, where this is a ubiquitous mode of transportation with a high market share, the only way to get that is by… eliminating the pilot.” Garrow, a civil engineer who co-directs the university’s Center for Urban and Regional Air Mobility, adds that autonomy presents challenges beyond technology: “We’re going to have to get the consumer used to thinking about flying in a small aircraft without a pilot on board. I have reservations about the general public’s willingness to accept that vision, especially early on.”

“The technical problems are, if not solved, then solvable. The main limiters are laws and regulations.”
—Chris Anderson, COO, Kittyhawk

Some analysts have much more fundamental doubts. Aboulafia, managing director at the consultancy AeroDynamic Advisory, says the figures simply don’t add up. eVTOL startups are counting on mass-manufacturing techniques to reduce the costs of these exotic aircraft, but such techniques have never been applied to producing aircraft on the scale specified in the projections. Even the anticipated lower operating costs, Aboulafia adds, won’t compensate. “If I started a car service here in Washington, D.C., using Rolls Royces, you’d think I was out of my mind, right?,” he asks. “But if I put batteries in those Rolls Royces, would you think I was any less crazy?”

What everyone agrees on is that achieving even a modest amount of success for eVTOLs will require surmounting entire categories of challenges, including regulations and certification, technology development, and the operational considerations of safely flying large numbers of aircraft in a small airspace.

To some, certification will be the highest hurdle. “The technical problems are, if not solved, then solvable,” says Anderson. “The main limiters are laws and regulations.”

There are dozens of aviation certification agencies in the world. But the three most important ones for these new aircraft are the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S., the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Of the three, the FAA is considered the most challenging, for several reasons. One is that, to deal with eVTOLs, the agency has chosen to adapt its existing certification rules. That gives some observers pause, because the FAA does not have a body of knowledge and experience for certifying aircraft that fly by means of battery systems and electric motors. The EASA, on the other hand, has created an entirely new set of regulations tailored for eVTOL aircraft and related technology, according to Erin Rivera, senior associate for regulatory affairs at Lilium.

To clear an aircraft for commercial flight, the FAA actually requires three certifications: one for the aircraft itself, one for its operations, and one for its manufacturing. For the aircraft, the agency designates different categories, or “parts,” for different kinds of fliers. For eVTOLs (other than multicopters), the applicable category seems to be Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 23, which covers “normal, utility, acrobatic, and commuter category airplanes.” The certification process itself is performance based, meaning that the FAA establishes performance criteria that an aircraft must meet, but does not specify how it must meet them.

Because eVTOLs are so novel, the FAA is expected to lean on industry-developed standards referred to as Means of Compliance (MOC). The proposed MOCs must be acceptable to the FAA. Through a certification scheme known as the “issue paper process,” the applicant begins by submitting what’s known as a G1 proposal, which specifies the applicable certification standards and special conditions that must be met to achieve certification. The FAA reviews and then either approves or rejects the proposal. If it’s rejected, the applicant revises the proposal to address the FAA’s concerns and tries again.

“If very high levels of automation are critical to scaling, that will be very difficult to certify. How do you certify all the algorithms?”
—Matt Metcalfe, Deloitte Consulting

Some participants are wary. When he was the chief executive of drone maker 3D Robotics, Anderson participated in an analogous experiment in which the FAA had pledged to work more closely with industry to expedite certification of drone aircraft such as multicopters. “That was five years ago, and none of the drones have been certified,” Anderson points out. “It was supposed to be agile and streamlined, and it has been anything but.”

Nobody knows how many eVTOL startups have started the certification process with the FAA, although a good guess seems to be one or two dozen. Joby is furthest along in the process, according to Mark Moore, CEO of Whisper Aero, a maker of advanced electric propulsor systems in Crossville, Tenn. The G1 certification proposals are not public, but when the FAA accepts one (presumably Joby’s), it will become available through the U.S. Federal Register for public comment. Observers expect that to happen any day now.

This certification phase of piloted aircraft is fraught with unknowns because of the novelty of the eVTOL craft themselves. But experts say a greater challenge lies ahead, when manufacturers seek to certify the vehicles for autonomous flight. “If very high levels of automation are critical to scaling, that will be very difficult to certify,” says Matt Metcalfe, a managing director in Deloitte Consulting's Future of Mobility and Aviation practice. “That’s a real challenge, because it’s so complicated. How do you certify all the algorithms?”

“It’s a matter of, how do you ensure that autonomous technology is going to be as safe as a pilot?,” says an executive at one of the startups. “How do you certify that it’s always going to be able to do what it says? With true autonomous technology, the system itself can make an undetermined number of decisions, within its programming. And the way the current certification regulations work, is that they want to be able to know the inputs and outcome of every decision that the aircraft system makes. With a fully autonomous system, you can’t do that.”

Perhaps surprisingly, most experts contacted for this story agreed with Kittyhawk's Anderson that the technical challenges of building the aircraft themselves are solvable. Even autonomy—certification challenges aside—is within reach, most say. The Chinese company EHang has already offered fully autonomous, trial flights of its EH216 multicopter to tourists in the northeastern port city of Yantai and is now building a flight hub in its home city of Guangzhou. Wisk, Kittyhawk, Joby, and other companies have collectively conducted thousands of flights that were at least partially autonomous, without a pilot on board.

Experts foresee eVTOLs largely replacing helicopters for niche applications. There’s less agreement on whether middle-class people will ever be routinely whisked around cities for pennies a mile.

A more imposing challenge, and one likely to determine whether the grand vision of urban air mobility comes to pass, is whether municipal and aviation authorities can solve the challenges of integrating large numbers of eVTOLs into the airspace over major cities. Some of these challenges are, like the aircraft themselves, totally new. For example, most viable scenarios require the construction of “vertiports” in and around cities. These would be like mini airports where the eVTOLs would take off and land, be recharged, and take on and discharge passengers. Right now, it’s not clear who would pay for these. “Manufacturers probably won’t have the money to do it,” says Metcalfe at Deloitte.

As Georgia Tech's Garrow sees it, “vertiports may be one of the greatest constraints on scalability of UAM.” Vertiports, she explains, will be the “pinch points,” because at urban facilities, space will likely be limited to accommodating several aircraft at most. And yet at such a facility, room will be needed during rush hours to accommodate dozens of aircraft needing to land, be charged, take on passengers, and take off. “So the scalability of operations at the vertiports, and the amount of land space required to do that, are going to be two major challenges.”

Despite all the challenges, Garrow, Metcalfe, and others are cautiously optimistic that air mobility will eventually become part of the urban fabric in many cities. They foresee an initial period in which the eVTOLs largely replace helicopters in a few niche applications, such as linking downtown transportation depots to airports for those who can afford it, taking tourists on sightseeing tours, and transporting organs and high-risk patients among hospitals. There’s less agreement on whether middle-class people will ever be routinely whisked around cities for pennies a mile. Even some advocates think that’s more than 10 years away, if it happens at all.

If it does happen, a few studies have predicted that travel times and greenhouse-gas and pollutant emissions could all be reduced. A 2020 study published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found a substantial reduction in overall energy use for transportation under “optimistic” scenarios for urban air mobility. And a 2021 study at the University of California, Berkeley, found that in the San Francisco Bay area, overall travel times could be reduced with as few as 10 vertiports. The benefits went up as the number of vertiports increased and as the transfer times at the vertiports went down. But the study also warned that “vertiport scheduling and capacity may become bottlenecks that limit the value of UAM.”

Metacalfe notes that ubiquitous modern conveniences like online shopping have already unleashed tech-based revolutions on a par with the grand vision for UAM. “We tend to look at this through the lens of today,” he says. “And that may be the wrong way to look at it. Ten years ago we never would have thought we’d be getting two or three packages a day. Similarly, the way we move people and goods in the future could be very, very different from the way we do it today.”

This article appears in the March 2022 print issue as “What’s Behind the Air-Taxi Craze.”


Match ID: 183 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 228 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

How AI Will Change Chip Design
Tue, 08 Feb 2022 14:00:01 +0000


The end of Moore’s Law is looming. Engineers and designers can do only so much to miniaturize transistors and pack as many of them as possible into chips. So they’re turning to other approaches to chip design, incorporating technologies like AI into the process.

Samsung, for instance, is adding AI to its memory chips to enable processing in memory, thereby saving energy and speeding up machine learning. Speaking of speed, Google’s TPU V4 AI chip has doubled its processing power compared with that of its previous version.

But AI holds still more promise and potential for the semiconductor industry. To better understand how AI is set to revolutionize chip design, we spoke with Heather Gorr, senior product manager for MathWorks’ MATLAB platform.

How is AI currently being used to design the next generation of chips?

Heather Gorr: AI is such an important technology because it’s involved in most parts of the cycle, including the design and manufacturing process. There’s a lot of important applications here, even in the general process engineering where we want to optimize things. I think defect detection is a big one at all phases of the process, especially in manufacturing. But even thinking ahead in the design process, [AI now plays a significant role] when you’re designing the light and the sensors and all the different components. There’s a lot of anomaly detection and fault mitigation that you really want to consider.

Portrait of a woman with blonde-red hair smiling at the camera Heather GorrMathWorks

Then, thinking about the logistical modeling that you see in any industry, there is always planned downtime that you want to mitigate; but you also end up having unplanned downtime. So, looking back at that historical data of when you’ve had those moments where maybe it took a bit longer than expected to manufacture something, you can take a look at all of that data and use AI to try to identify the proximate cause or to see something that might jump out even in the processing and design phases. We think of AI oftentimes as a predictive tool, or as a robot doing something, but a lot of times you get a lot of insight from the data through AI.

What are the benefits of using AI for chip design?

Gorr: Historically, we’ve seen a lot of physics-based modeling, which is a very intensive process. We want to do a reduced order model, where instead of solving such a computationally expensive and extensive model, we can do something a little cheaper. You could create a surrogate model, so to speak, of that physics-based model, use the data, and then do your parameter sweeps, your optimizations, your Monte Carlo simulations using the surrogate model. That takes a lot less time computationally than solving the physics-based equations directly. So, we’re seeing that benefit in many ways, including the efficiency and economy that are the results of iterating quickly on the experiments and the simulations that will really help in the design.

So it’s like having a digital twin in a sense?

Gorr: Exactly. That’s pretty much what people are doing, where you have the physical system model and the experimental data. Then, in conjunction, you have this other model that you could tweak and tune and try different parameters and experiments that let sweep through all of those different situations and come up with a better design in the end.

So, it’s going to be more efficient and, as you said, cheaper?

Gorr: Yeah, definitely. Especially in the experimentation and design phases, where you’re trying different things. That’s obviously going to yield dramatic cost savings if you’re actually manufacturing and producing [the chips]. You want to simulate, test, experiment as much as possible without making something using the actual process engineering.

We’ve talked about the benefits. How about the drawbacks?

Gorr: The [AI-based experimental models] tend to not be as accurate as physics-based models. Of course, that’s why you do many simulations and parameter sweeps. But that’s also the benefit of having that digital twin, where you can keep that in mind—it's not going to be as accurate as that precise model that we’ve developed over the years.

Both chip design and manufacturing are system intensive; you have to consider every little part. And that can be really challenging. It's a case where you might have models to predict something and different parts of it, but you still need to bring it all together.

One of the other things to think about too is that you need the data to build the models. You have to incorporate data from all sorts of different sensors and different sorts of teams, and so that heightens the challenge.

How can engineers use AI to better prepare and extract insights from hardware or sensor data?

Gorr: We always think about using AI to predict something or do some robot task, but you can use AI to come up with patterns and pick out things you might not have noticed before on your own. People will use AI when they have high-frequency data coming from many different sensors, and a lot of times it’s useful to explore the frequency domain and things like data synchronization or resampling. Those can be really challenging if you’re not sure where to start.

One of the things I would say is, use the tools that are available. There’s a vast community of people working on these things, and you can find lots of examples [of applications and techniques] on GitHub or MATLAB Central, where people have shared nice examples, even little apps they’ve created. I think many of us are buried in data and just not sure what to do with it, so definitely take advantage of what’s already out there in the community. You can explore and see what makes sense to you, and bring in that balance of domain knowledge and the insight you get from the tools and AI.

What should engineers and designers consider when using AI for chip design?

Gorr: Think through what problems you’re trying to solve or what insights you might hope to find, and try to be clear about that. Consider all of the different components, and document and test each of those different parts. Consider all of the people involved, and explain and hand off in a way that is sensible for the whole team.

How do you think AI will affect chip designers’ jobs?

Gorr: It’s going to free up a lot of human capital for more advanced tasks. We can use AI to reduce waste, to optimize the materials, to optimize the design, but then you still have that human involved whenever it comes to decision-making. I think it’s a great example of people and technology working hand in hand. It’s also an industry where all people involved—even on the manufacturing floor—need to have some level of understanding of what’s happening, so this is a great industry for advancing AI because of how we test things and how we think about them before we put them on the chip.

How do you envision the future of AI and chip design?

Gorr: It's very much dependent on that human element—involving people in the process and having that interpretable model. We can do many things with the mathematical minutiae of modeling, but it comes down to how people are using it, how everybody in the process is understanding and applying it. Communication and involvement of people of all skill levels in the process are going to be really important. We’re going to see less of those superprecise predictions and more transparency of information, sharing, and that digital twin—not only using AI but also using our human knowledge and all of the work that many people have done over the years.


Match ID: 184 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 228 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Atomically Thin Materials Significantly Shrink Qubits
Mon, 07 Feb 2022 16:12:05 +0000


Quantum computing is a devilishly complex technology, with many technical hurdles impacting its development. Of these challenges two critical issues stand out: miniaturization and qubit quality.

IBM has adopted the superconducting qubit road map of reaching a 1,121-qubit processor by 2023, leading to the expectation that 1,000 qubits with today’s qubit form factor is feasible. However, current approaches will require very large chips (50 millimeters on a side, or larger) at the scale of small wafers, or the use of chiplets on multichip modules. While this approach will work, the aim is to attain a better path toward scalability.

Now researchers at MIT have been able to both reduce the size of the qubits and done so in a way that reduces the interference that occurs between neighboring qubits. The MIT researchers have increased the number of superconducting qubits that can be added onto a device by a factor of 100.

“We are addressing both qubit miniaturization and quality,” said William Oliver, the director for the Center for Quantum Engineering at MIT. “Unlike conventional transistor scaling, where only the number really matters, for qubits, large numbers are not sufficient, they must also be high-performance. Sacrificing performance for qubit number is not a useful trade in quantum computing. They must go hand in hand.”

The key to this big increase in qubit density and reduction of interference comes down to the use of two-dimensional materials, in particular the 2D insulator hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). The MIT researchers demonstrated that a few atomic monolayers of hBN can be stacked to form the insulator in the capacitors of a superconducting qubit.

Just like other capacitors, the capacitors in these superconducting circuits take the form of a sandwich in which an insulator material is sandwiched between two metal plates. The big difference for these capacitors is that the superconducting circuits can operate only at extremely low temperatures—less than 0.02 degrees above absolute zero (-273.15 °C).

Golden dilution refrigerator hanging vertically Superconducting qubits are measured at temperatures as low as 20 millikelvin in a dilution refrigerator.Nathan Fiske/MIT

In that environment, insulating materials that are available for the job, such as PE-CVD silicon oxide or silicon nitride, have quite a few defects that are too lossy for quantum computing applications. To get around these material shortcomings, most superconducting circuits use what are called coplanar capacitors. In these capacitors, the plates are positioned laterally to one another, rather than on top of one another.

As a result, the intrinsic silicon substrate below the plates and to a smaller degree the vacuum above the plates serve as the capacitor dielectric. Intrinsic silicon is chemically pure and therefore has few defects, and the large size dilutes the electric field at the plate interfaces, all of which leads to a low-loss capacitor. The lateral size of each plate in this open-face design ends up being quite large (typically 100 by 100 micrometers) in order to achieve the required capacitance.

In an effort to move away from the large lateral configuration, the MIT researchers embarked on a search for an insulator that has very few defects and is compatible with superconducting capacitor plates.

“We chose to study hBN because it is the most widely used insulator in 2D material research due to its cleanliness and chemical inertness,” said colead author Joel Wang, a research scientist in the Engineering Quantum Systems group of the MIT Research Laboratory for Electronics.

On either side of the hBN, the MIT researchers used the 2D superconducting material, niobium diselenide. One of the trickiest aspects of fabricating the capacitors was working with the niobium diselenide, which oxidizes in seconds when exposed to air, according to Wang. This necessitates that the assembly of the capacitor occur in a glove box filled with argon gas.

While this would seemingly complicate the scaling up of the production of these capacitors, Wang doesn’t regard this as a limiting factor.

“What determines the quality factor of the capacitor are the two interfaces between the two materials,” said Wang. “Once the sandwich is made, the two interfaces are “sealed” and we don’t see any noticeable degradation over time when exposed to the atmosphere.”

This lack of degradation is because around 90 percent of the electric field is contained within the sandwich structure, so the oxidation of the outer surface of the niobium diselenide does not play a significant role anymore. This ultimately makes the capacitor footprint much smaller, and it accounts for the reduction in cross talk between the neighboring qubits.

“The main challenge for scaling up the fabrication will be the wafer-scale growth of hBN and 2D superconductors like [niobium diselenide], and how one can do wafer-scale stacking of these films,” added Wang.

Wang believes that this research has shown 2D hBN to be a good insulator candidate for superconducting qubits. He says that the groundwork the MIT team has done will serve as a road map for using other hybrid 2D materials to build superconducting circuits.


Match ID: 185 Score: 3.57 source: spectrum.ieee.org age: 229 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Most Frequently Asked Questions About NFTs(Non-Fungible Tokens)
Sun, 06 Feb 2022 10:04:00 +0000

 

NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the most popular digital assets today, capturing the attention of cryptocurrency investors, whales and people from around the world. People find it amazing that some users spend thousands or millions of dollars on a single NFT-based image of a monkey or other token, but you can simply take a screenshot for free. So here we share some freuently asked question about NFTs.

1) What is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible  token, which is a cryptographic token on a blockchain with unique identification codes that distinguish it from other tokens. NFTs are unique and not interchangeable, which means no two NFTs are the same. NFTs can be a unique artwork, GIF, Images, videos, Audio album. in-game items, collectibles etc.

2) What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that allows for the secure storage of data. By recording any kind of information—such as bank account transactions, the ownership of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), or Decentralized Finance (DeFi) smart contracts—in one place, and distributing it to many different computers, blockchains ensure that data can’t be manipulated without everyone in the system being aware.

3) What makes an NFT valuable?


The value of an NFT comes from its ability to be traded freely and securely on the blockchain, which is not possible with other current digital ownership solutionsThe NFT points to its location on the blockchain, but doesn’t necessarily contain the digital property. For example, if you replace one bitcoin with another, you will still have the same thing. If you buy a non-fungible item, such as a movie ticket, it is impossible to replace it with any other movie ticket because each ticket is unique to a specific time and place.

4) How do NFTs work?

One of the unique characteristics of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is that they can be tokenised to create a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought, sold and traded on the blockchain. 

As with crypto-currency, records of who owns what are stored on a ledger that is maintained by thousands of computers around the world. These records can’t be forged because the whole system operates on an open-source network. 

NFTs also contain smart contracts—small computer programs that run on the blockchain—that give the artist, for example, a cut of any future sale of the token.

5) What’s the connection between NFTs and cryptocurrency?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) aren't cryptocurrencies, but they do use blockchain technology. Many NFTs are based on Ethereum, where the blockchain serves as a ledger for all the transactions related to said NFT and the properties it represents.5) How to make an NFT?

Anyone can create an NFT. All you need is a digital wallet, some ethereum tokens and a connection to an NFT marketplace where you’ll be able to upload and sell your creations

6) How to validate the authencity of an NFT?

When you purchase a stock in NFT, that purchase is recorded on the blockchain—the bitcoin ledger of transactions—and that entry acts as your proof of ownership.

7) How is an NFT valued? What are the most expensive NFTs?

The value of an NFT varies a lot based on the digital asset up for grabs. People use NFTs to trade and sell digital art, so when creating an NFT, you should consider the popularity of your digital artwork along with historical statistics.

In the year 2021, a digital artist called Pak created an artwork called The Merge. It was sold on the Nifty Gateway NFT market for $91.8 million.

8) Can NFTs be used as an investment?

Non-fungible tokens can be used in investment opportunities. One can purchase an NFT and resell it at a profit. Certain NFT marketplaces let sellers of NFTs keep a percentage of the profits from sales of the assets they create.

9) Will NFTs be the future of art and collectibles?

Many people want to buy NFTs because it lets them support the arts and own something cool from their favorite musicians, brands, and celebrities. NFTs also give artists an opportunity to program in continual royalties if someone buys their work. Galleries see this as a way to reach new buyers interested in art.

10) How do we buy an NFTs?

There are many places to buy digital assets, like opensea and their policies vary. On top shot, for instance, you sign up for a waitlist that can be thousands of people long. When a digital asset goes on sale, you are occasionally chosen to purchase it.

11) Can i mint NFT for free?

To mint an NFT token, you must pay some amount of gas fee to process the transaction on the Etherum blockchain, but you can mint your NFT on a different blockchain called Polygon to avoid paying gas fees. This option is available on OpenSea and this simply denotes that your NFT will only be able to trade using Polygon's blockchain and not Etherum's blockchain. Mintable allows you to mint NFTs for free without paying any gas fees.

12) Do i own an NFT if i screenshot it?

The answer is no. Non-Fungible Tokens are minted on the blockchain using cryptocurrencies such as Etherum, Solana, Polygon, and so on. Once a Non-Fungible Token is minted, the transaction is recorded on the blockchain and the contract or license is awarded to whoever has that Non-Fungible Token in their wallet.

12) Why are people investing so much in NFT?


 Non-fungible tokens have gained the hearts of people around the world, and they have given digital creators the recognition they deserve. One of the remarkable things about non-fungible tokens is that you can take a screenshot of one, but you don’t own it. This is because when a non-fungible token is created, then the transaction is stored on the blockchain, and the license or contract to hold such a token is awarded to the person owning the token in their digital wallet.

You can sell your work and creations by attaching a license to it on the blockchain, where its ownership can be transferred. This lets you get exposure without losing full ownership of your work. Some of the most successful projects include Cryptopunks, Bored Ape Yatch Club NFTs, SandBox, World of Women and so on. These NFT projects have gained popularity globally and are owned by celebrities and other successful entrepreneurs. Owning one of these NFTs gives you an automatic ticket to exclusive business meetings and life-changing connections.

Final Saying

That’s a wrap. Hope you guys found this article enlightening. I just answer some question with my limited knowledge about NFTs. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. Also I have a question for you, Is bitcoin an NFTs? let me know in The comment section below






Match ID: 186 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 230 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

10 Best Chrome Extensions That Are Perfect for Everyone
Mon, 31 Jan 2022 10:56:00 +0000

Are you a great Chrome user? That’s nice to hear. But first, consider whether or not there are any essential Chrome extensions you are currently missing from your browsing life, so here we're going to share with you10 Best Chrome Extensions That Are Perfect for Everyone

Are you a great Chrome user? That’s nice to hear. But first, consider whether or not there are any essential Chrome extensions you are currently missing from your browsing life, so here we're going to share with you 10 Best Chrome Extensions That Are Perfect for Everyone. So Let's Start.

1. LastPass

When you have too several passwords to remember, LastPass remembers them for you.

This chrome extension is an easy way to save you time and increase security. It’s a single password manager that will log you into all of your accounts. you simply ought to bear in mind one word: your LastPass password to log in to all or any your accounts.

Features

  • Save usernames and passwords and LastPasswill  log you  in  automatically.
  • Fill the forms quickly to save your addresses, credit card numbers and more.

2. MozBar

MozBar is an SEO toolbar extension that makes it easy for you to analyze your web pages' SEO while you surf. You can customize your search so that you see data for a particular region or for all regions. You get data such as website and domain authority and link profile. The status column tells you whether there are any no-followed links to the page.You can also compare link metrics. There is a pro version of MozBar, too.


3. Grammerly

Grammarly is a real-time grammar checking and spelling  tool for online writing. It checks spelling, grammar, and punctuation as you type, and has a dictionary feature that suggests related words. if you use mobile phones for writing than  Grammerly also have a mobile keyboard app.

4. VidlQ

VidIQ is a SaaS product and Chrome Extension that makes it easier to manage and optimize your YouTube channels. It keeps you informed about your channel's performance with real-time analytics and powerful insights.

Features

  • Learn more about insights and statistics beyond YouTube Analytics
  • Find great videos with the Trending tab.
  • You can check out any video’s YouTube rankings and see how your own video is doing on the charts.
  • Keep track  the  history of the keyword to determine when a keyword is rising or down  in popularity over time.
  • Quickly find out which videos are performing the best on YouTube right now.
  • Let this tool suggest keywords for you to use in your title, description and tags.

5. ColorZilla

ColorZilla is a browser extension that allows you to find out the exact color of any object in your web browser. This is especially useful when you want to match elements on your page to the color of an image.

Features 

  •  Advanced Color Picker (similar to Photoshop's)
  • Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator
  • The "Webpage Color Analyzer" site helps you determine the palette of colors used in a particular website.
  • Palette Viewer with 7 pre-installed palettes
  • Eyedropper - sample the color of any pixel on the page
  • Color History of recently picked colors
  • Displays some info about the element, including the tag name, class, id and size.
  • Auto copy picked colors to clipboard
  • Get colors of dynamic hover elements 
  • Pick colors from Flash objects
  • Pick colors at any zoom level



6. Honey

Honey is a chrome extension with which you  save each product from the website and notify it when it is available at  low price it's one among the highest extensions for Chrome that finds coupon codes whenever you look online.

Features

  • Best for finding exclusive prices on Amazon.
  • A free reward program called Honey Gold.
  • Searches and filters the simplest value fitting your demand.
  • Instant notifications.


7. GMass: Powerful Chrome Extension for Gmail Marketers

GMass (or Gmail Mass) permits users to compose and send mass emails using Gmail. it is a great tool as a result of you'll use it as a replacement for a third-party email sending platform. you will love GMass to spice up your emailing functionality on the platform.


8. Notion Web Clipper: Chrome Extension for Geeks

It's a Chrome extension for geeks that enables you to highlight and save what you see on the web.

It's been designed by Notion, that could be a Google space different that helps groups craft higher ideas and collaborate effectively.

Features

  • Save anything online with just one click  
  • Use it on any device
  • Organize your saved clips quickly
  • Tag, share and comment on the clips

If you are someone who works online, you need to surf the internet to get your business done. And often there is no time to read or analyze something. But it's important that you  do it. Notion Web Clipper will help you with that.

9. WhatFont: Chrome Extension for identifying Any Site Fonts

WhatFont is a Chrome extension that allows web designers to easily identify and compare different fonts on a page. The first time you use it on any page, WhatFont will copy the selected page.It  Uses this page to find out what fonts are present and generate an image that shows all those fonts in different sizes. Besides the apparent websites like Google or Amazon,  you'll conjointly use it on sites wherever embedded fonts ar used. 

10. SimilarWeb: Traffic Rank & Website Analysis Extension

Similar Web is an SEO add on for both Chrome and Firefox.It allows you  to check web site traffic and key metrics for any web site, as well as engagement rate, traffic ranking, keyword ranking, and traffic source. this is often a good tool if you are looking to seek out new and effective SEO ways similarly as analyze trends across the web.

Features

  • Discover keyword trends
  • Know fresh keywords
  • Get benefit from the real traffic insights
  • Analyze engagement metrics
  • Explore unique visitors data
  • Analyze your industry's category
  • Use month to date data


How to Install chrome Extension in Android

I know everyone knows how to install extension in pc but most of people don't know how to install it in android phone so i will show you how to install it in android

1. Download Kiwi browser from Play Store and then Open it.


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 2. Tap the three dots at the top right corner and select Extension. 




3. Click on (+From Store) to access chrome web store or simple search chrome web store and access it.


4. Once you found an extension click on add to chrome a message will pop-up  asking if you wish to confirm your choice. Hit OK to install the extension in the Kiwi browser.


5. To manage  extensions on the browser, tap the three dots in the upper right corner. Then select Extensions to access a catalog of installed extensions that you can disable, update or remove with just a few clicks.


Your Chrome extensions should install on Android, but there’s no guarantee all of them will work. Because Google Chrome Extensions are not optimized for Android devices.


Final Saying

We hope this list of 10 best chrome extensions that is perfect for everyone will help you in picking the right Chrome Extensions. We have selected the extensions after matching their features to the needs of different categories of people. Also which extension you like the most let me know in the comment section


Match ID: 187 Score: 3.57 source: www.crunchhype.com age: 236 days
qualifiers: 3.57 mit

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing
Sat, 29 Jan 2022 12:45:00 +0000


1. Why is email marketing important?

Email is the marketing tool that helps you  create a seamless, connected, frictionless buyer journey. More importantly, email marketing allows you to build relationships with prospects, customers, and past customers. It's your chance to speak  to them right in their inbox, at a time that suits them. Along with the right message, email can become one of your most powerful marketing channels.

2. What is benefits of email marketing?

Email marketing is best way for creating long term relationship with your clients, and increasing sales in our company.

Benefits of email marketing for bussiness:
  • Better brand recognition
  • Statistics of what works best
  • More sales
  • Targeted audience
  • More traffic to your products/services/newsletter
  • Build credibility
Most  bussinesses are using email marketing and making tons of money with email marketing.

3. What is the simplest day and time to send my marketing emails?


Again, the answer to this question varies from company to company. And again, testing is the way to find out what works best. Typically, weekends and mornings seem to be  times when multiple emails are opened, but since your audience may have different habits, it's best to experiment and then use your  data to decide.

 4. Which metrics should I be looking at?


The two most important metrics for email marketing are  open rate and click-through rate. If your emails aren't opened, subscribers will never see your full marketing message, and if they open them but don't click through to your site, your emails won't convert.

5. How do I write a decent subject line?


The best subject lines are short and to the point, accurately describing  the content of the email, but also catchy and intriguing, so the reader wants to know more. Once Again, this is the perfect place for  A/B testing, to see what types of subject lines work best with your audience. Your call to action should be clear and  simple. It should be somewhere at the top of your email for those who haven't finished reading the entire email,  then repeated  at the end for those reading all the way through. It should state exactly what you want subscribers to do, for example "Click here to download the premium theme for free.




6. Is email marketing still effective?

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for a business to reach its customers directly. Think about it. You don't post something on your site  hoping people will visit it. You don't even post something on a social media page and hope fans  see it. You're sending something straight to each person's inbox, where they'll definitely  see it! Even if they don't open it, they'll still see your subject line and business name every time you send an email, so you're still communicating directly with your audience.



7. However do I grow my email subscribers list? Should i buy an email list or build it myself?

Buying an email list is  waste of time & money. These email accounts are unverified and not interested in your brand. The mailing list is useless if your subscribers do not open your emails. There are different ways to grow your mailing list. 

Give them a free ebook and host it on a landing page where they have to enter the email to download the file and also create a forum page on your website, asks your visitors what questions they might have about your business, and collects email addresses to follow up with them.


8. How do I prevent audience from unsubscribing?


If the  subject line of the email is irrelevant to  customers, they will ignore it multiple times. But, if it keeps repeating, they are intercepted and unsubscribed from your emails. So, send relevant emails for the benefit of the customer. Don't send emails that often only focus  on sales, offers and discounts. 
Submit information about your business and offers so you can connect with customers. You can also update them on recent trends in your industry. The basic role of an email is first and foremost to  connect with customers, get the most out of this tool.

9. What is the difference between a cold email and a spam email?


Cold emails are mostly sales emails that are sent with content align to the needs of the recipient. It is usually personalized and includes a business perspective. However, it is still an unsolicited email. And all unsolicited emails are marked as SPAM. 
Regularly receiving this type of unsolicited email in your users' inboxes, chances are  your emails will soon be diverted to  spam or junk folders. The most important thing to prevent this from happening is to respect your recipients' choice to opt-out of receiving emails from you. You can add the links to easily unsubscribe. You must be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act and its regulations.

10. Where can I find email template?

Almost all email campaign tools provide you with ready-made templates. Whether you use MailChimp or Pardot, you'll get several email templates ready to use.
 However, if you want to create a template from scratch, you can do so.Most of email campaign tools have option to paste the HTML code of your own design. 


11. What email marketing trend will help marketers succeed in 2022?

Is it a trend to listen to  and get to know your customers? I think people realize how bad it feels for a brand or a company to obsess over themselves without knowing their customers personal needs. People who listen empathetically and then provide value based on what they learn will win.


Final Saying


 You can approach email marketing in different ways. We have compiled a list of most frequently asked questions to help you understand how to get started, what constraints you need to keep in mind, and what future development you will need, we don’t have 100% answers to every situation and there’s always a chance you will have something new and different to deal with as you market your own business. 



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