NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Completes 2,000 Days on Mars

NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Completes 2,000 Days on Mars

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has now marked 2,000 days on the red planet.

That’s 2,000 days by Martian standards. A Martian sol, or solar day, is equivalent to 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds. So 2,000 days on Mars equal 2,055 days here on Earth.

Either way, it’s a big milestone this week for scientists eager for Curiosity to begin drilling again, this time into potentially clay-rich rocks on the slopes of Mount Sharp. The six-wheeled rover has traveled 11.6 miles (18.7 kilometers) since its arrival in 2012.

The rover Opportunity, though, has Curiosity beat.

Last month, NASA’s busy Opportunity surpassed its 5,000 day on Mars. It’s been exploring Mars since 2004. NASA plans to send another robotic geologist to Mars in May. Named InSight, the lander will stay in one place as a heat-measuring device burrows deep into the Martian terrain.

Curiosity’s flight controllers, meanwhile, are testing a new drilling method. The rover’s drill stopped working properly in 2016, and so engineers devised another way to bore into Martian rocks and get the pulverised rock samples into the rover’s lab instruments.

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NASA’s Kepler Discovers Nearly 100 New Exoplanets

NASA's Kepler Discovers Nearly 100 New Exoplanets

An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of nearly 100 new exoplanets — planets located outside our solar system.

The discovery was based on data from the second mission of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope or K2 released in 2014.

K2 searches for exoplanet transits by registering dips in light caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star.

The researchers found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft.

But they also detected planets that range from sub-Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger.

One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star.

“We validated a planet on a 10 day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by K2 missions to host a validated planet,” said lead author Andrew Mayo, doctoral student at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

For the study, appearing in the Astronomical Journal, the team started out analysing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets.

In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries, Mayo said.

The Kepler spacecraft was first launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope.

However, astronomers and engineers devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically. This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission.

Adding the newly discovered exoplanets brings the total number of exoplanets by K2 mission to almost 300, the study said.

The first planet orbiting a star similar to our own Sun was detected only in 1995. Today some 3,600 exoplanets have been found, ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter.

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Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A French consumer association filed preliminary, legal complaints
  • Apple is already facing lawsuits in the US
  • Planned obsolescence is illegal in France

Smartphone maker Apple and Japanese printer company Epson are facing legal complaints in France over allegedly speeding up the ageing process of their products to stimulate demand.

A French consumer association called “HOP” – standing for “Stop Planned Obsolescence” – filed preliminary, legal complaints in court against the two groups over the charges.

HOP said it filed its complaint against Apple in Paris on Wednesday. A prosecutor opened an investigation into Epson last month, a judicial source said on Thursday, following a complaint filed in September by HOP in a court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Laetitia Vasseur, co-founder of HOP, told Reuters the aim of both complaints was to apply the French consumer law, which was modified in 2015 to include the notion of planned obsolescence.

Apple is already facing lawsuits in the United States over accusations of having defrauded iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.

These lawsuits came after Apple said last week that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

Under French law, companies risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening the life of their products to spur demand to replace them.

A spokeswoman for Epson France said Epson denied the charges made against it by the HOP association. She added that Epson was working with authorities on the matter and that the quality of its products was of the utmost importance for the company.

Officials for Apple France could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Microsoft Edge Browser Goes Out of Preview; Now Available to Download for Android, iOS

Microsoft Edge Browser Goes Out of Preview; Now Available to Download for Android, iOS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Edge browser app was available for Windows Insiders last month
  • It is now available to download via Google Play and the App Store
  • Microsoft has added a couple of new features since the preview

Microsoft has officially released its Edge browser for Android and iOS devices, a month after unveiling its beta version last month to receive feedback from the Windows Insider Preview community. Microsoft Edge browser for Android and iOS, now without its preview tag, can be downloaded from Google Play and the App Store.

The Edge browser app for Android and iOS is aimed at providing synced workflow for Windows 10 PCusers, with synced Favorites, Reading List, New Tab Page, Reading View, and Roaming Passwords available across the PC and phone, and the “continue on PC” feature allowing users to immediately open the page they are looking at on their PC, wit the ability to save it to work on later.

Microsoft has brought some new features to Edge that weren’t visible during the preview. These include the above mentioned Roaming Passwords – users can save a password on phone or PC, and access it on the other device – as well as Dark Theme.

Describing market and language availability, in a blog post, Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices at Microsoft, said, “Microsoft Edge for iOS is available in the United States (English), China (Simplified-Chinese), France (French) and the UK (English). Microsoft Edge for Android is available in the United States (English), Australia (English) Canada (English and French), China (Simplified-Chinese), France (French), India (English) and the UK (English). We look forward to bringing MS Edge for iOS and Android to additional markets and languages over time!”

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