Very early this morning, NASA flew a small drone helicopter that its latest rover had toted to Mars, marking humankind's first controlled and powered flight on another planet. Ingenuity stuck the landing--and space engineers are stoked. Ingenuity ascended about one meter per second, until it rose three meters--about 10 feet above Mars. The helicopter hung as evenly as its state-of-the-art electronics could allow, and then landed where it had been 40 seconds before. Then, Ingenuity pinged its Earth-bound engineers a message they've sought for almost a decade: Mission accomplished.
Four of the newfound quadruply imaged quasars are shown here: From top left and moving clockwise, the objects are: GraL J1537-3010 or "Wolf's Paw;" GraL J0659 1629 or "Gemini's Crossbow;" GraL J1651-0417 or "Dragon's Kite;" GraL J2038-4008 or "Microscope Lens." The fuzzy dot in the middle of the images is the lensing galaxy, the gravity of which is splitting the light from the quasar behind it in such a way to produce four quasar images. By modeling these systems and monitoring how the different images vary in brightness over time, astronomers can determine the expansion rate of the universe and help solve cosmological problems. With the help of machine-learning techniques, a team of astronomers has discovered a dozen quasars that have been warped by a naturally occurring cosmic "lens" and split into four similar images. Quasars are extremely luminous cores of distant galaxies that are powered by supermassive black holes.
While we continue to wait for news about the Mars copter's first test flight, Elon Musk and SpaceX closed out the week with a big win, scoring a contract from NASA to use Starship as a lander for the Artemis lunar program. The company beat out Blue Origin (which teamed up with key aerospace players like Lockheed Martin) and defense contractor Dynetics to secure the $2.9 billion contract. There are still funding hurdles for NASA to clear if it plans to fly as scheduled, but those missions are still years away at best. In the nearer future, Apple's Spring Loaded event is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Chris Velazco has reminders of the rumors you should know about before it starts. New iPads and iMacs seem like safe bets, but we'll see if there are any big surprises in a few days.
Nasa's InSight Mars lander is currently trying to endure the abrasive Martian environment, as it sits on the Red Planet conserving power as its solar panels get covered in dust. InSight was designed to be powered by solar energy, gathered through dual two-meter panels. It was always expected that the panels would reduce their power output as time went on and dust landed on them, but would still have enough to last throughout the two-year mission. Unfortunately, not all has gone to plan. Despite InSight landing in Elysium Planitia, a windswept area of Mars that gets lots of sunlight, none of the passing dust devils (funnel-like chimneys of hot air) have been close enough to clean the panels.
Anyone who has ever brought a drone knows that after it comes out of the box, the first thing you do is install a ton of software updates. It turns out that things work similarly when you're NASA, and the drone is a helicopter preparing to take flight on Mars, 174 million miles away from you. Issues during a rotor test alerted the Ingenuity team to a problem with the command sequence, and to address it, they'll put together a patch and upload it to the craft over the next few days. That means more waiting before its eventual first test flight, but given the stakes, it makes sense to do everything necessary to avoid any type of crash. NVIDIA's GTC conference revealed the sexiest of all graphics announcements: data center CPUs.
"If your dad would just wear a space suit, I could monitor him." It's not often that a random joke leads to the creation of a company, but that's exactly what happened with Ejenta, a digital health startup. Maarten Sierhuis, a NASA alum, had made the comment to Rachna Dhamija, a tech veteran and his future cofounder. Both were dealing with aging parents who had health issues. Sierhuis had spent 12 years as a senior research scientist at NASA, where he used sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor astronauts in space.
NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter photographed by the Perseverance rover on 5 April The first drone on another world is ready to fly. The Ingenuity helicopter is primed to lift off from the surface of Mars on 12 April, which will be the first powered flight on another planet. NASA's Perseverance rover, which launched in July 2020 and arrived on Mars on 18 February, carried the Ingenuity helicopter folded up in its belly. After the rover landed, it dropped Ingenuity onto the ground and drove off so the drone could ready itself for its first flight. "It has survived launch, it has survived the journey through space, the vacuum and radiation, it has survived the entry and descent and landing onto the surface on the bottom of the Perseverance rover," said Bob Balaram at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Ingenuity's chief engineer, during a 23 March press conference.
NASA's Perseverance rover has sent back two selfies of its camera-laden'face' and'head' from the Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars. The two snaps show Perseverance's remote sensing mast, which hosts many of the rover's cameras and scientific instruments. They were taken with the SHERLOC WATSON camera, located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm. Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet on February 18 after a nearly seven-month journey through space. It is tasked with seeking traces of fossilised microbial life from Mars' ancient past and to collect rock specimens for return to Earth through future missions to the Red Planet.
An amateur astrophotographer has taken an incredible image of the International Space Station (ISS) flying in front of the Sun. Mehmet Ergun took the photo on April 2 from his base in Germany and had been planning the photo for three weeks. He has now successfully taken several images of the ISS in transit and posts them to his Instagram, where he has more than 14,000 followers. The space fanatic captured the photo with a Lunt LS80 DSII solarscope, Rainbow RST-135 star tracker, a QHY5III174M camera, Hutech Hinode solar guider and a 2x Meade Series 5000 Barlow Lens. It enabled him to photograph the ISS at the exact moment it passed 300 miles (500km) over his head in Alzey, Germany.
The concept of digital twin is not new. The technology has been around since the 1960s. NASA has been physically creating duplicate systems for its various space missions at ground level, to test its equipment in a virtual environment. An example of this is Apollo 13, for which a digital twin was developed by NASA to assess and simulate conditions on board. In the recent past, digital twin has become one of the most promising technological trends. It is estimated that the global Digital Twin technology will reach $48.2 billion by 2026, from $3.1 billion in 2020 and estimated to grow at a rate of 58% between 2021 and 2026 A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object, process, or service.