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Asteroid flies by Earth closer than any seen before, Nasa says

The Independent - Tech

An asteroid has flown past Earth closer than any seen before. The tiny object, known as asteroid 2020 QG, came just 1,830 miles over the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday, the space agency said. As it did so, it was spotted by the Zwicky Transient Facility, a robotic camera that scans the sky in search of a variety of objects, from the smallest asteroids to the largest supernova. The asteroid 2020 QG is particularly small. It is about three to six meters across, scientists said, roughly the size of a large car.


Nasa Mars launch: Space agency to head to red planet in search of alien life

The Independent - Tech

Nasa is sending a rover to Mars in the hope of finding evidence of alien life. The next-generation Perseverance rover will liftoff from Florida's Cape Canaveral before arriving at the red planet on Friday, where it look for traces of life that could once have been present on our nearest neighbour. The space agency's mission – which has cost $2.4 billion – will launch at 7.50am local eastern time, or 12.50pm in the UK. The car-sized six-wheeled robotic rover, which will launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance, also is scheduled to deploy a mini helicopter on Mars and test out equipment for future human missions to the fourth planet from the sun. The weather forecast from the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron put chances of an undisturbed liftoff at 80 percent, reporting a slim chance that thick clouds would form over the launchpad and delay the launch.


Nasa Mars launch: Why the Perseverance rover will be space agency's smartest and strongest ever visitor to red planet

The Independent - Tech

Nasa is firing a rover towards Mars in a launch that should liftoff this week. The rover, Perseverance, has the job of looking for evidence of ancient life that may have once called the Red Planet home. And it will do so using a suite of technology that makes it the smartest and strongest of the numerous rovers that have been sent by Mars to look across the surface. It also sets a number of other records. The sample return tubes that the space agency hopes will one day be used to bring parts of the Martian surface back to Earth are the cleanest items that have ever gone to space, and it is carrying a helicopter that will make the first ever flight on another world.


'Extremely odd physics' of black holes could allow them to be used to create energy, scientists say

The Independent - Tech

Black holes could be harnessed for energy, scientists have said. The claim comes after researchers produced an experiment they claim verified a decades-old theory that such black holes could create energy as a result of "extremely odd physics". Scientists at the University of Glasgow's School of Physics and Astronomy set out to validate Roger Penrose's 1969 work. They used sound waves in an attempt to endorse the "extremely odd physics a half-century after the theory was first proposed". British physicist Mr Penrose theorised that energy could be created by dropping objects such as a rocket into a black hole and splitting the object in two.


Our universe could have been spinning around, new study that might change our understanding of the cosmos suggests

The Independent - Tech

Galaxies are spinning in different directions, scientists have found – a discovery that could change our undertstanding of the structure of the universe. The spin of those galaxies seem to suggest there are unexpected and unexplained links between the directions of their spin. The structure formed by those unusual links could suggest that the early universe was also spinning, according to the new study. That is in conflict with previous understandings of the structure of the universe at the largest scale. For decades, scientists have believed that the universe is expanding in no particular direction, with the galaxies inside of it distributed with no particular structure.


SpaceX launch - live: Nasa to attempt mission today as rocket liftoff threatened by weather again

The Independent - Tech

SpaceX has sent Nasa astronauts into space in a historic mission. The Falcon 9 rocket carried the astronauts into orbit in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. Minutes after launch, the rocket detached and landed safely on a drone ship while the capsule continued to carry the astronauts on to the International Space Station. The successful launch is the first time that humans have been shot into space from US soil since the Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011. And it is the first time that humans have been sent into space by a private company, a feat only previous achieved by the space agencies of the US, Russia and China.


How AI can plug the $40bn patent black hole Sifted

#artificialintelligence

Companies looking for ways to cut costs as they brace for a coronavirus-induced economic slowdown should consider their patent portfolio. It's like a cupboard in desperate need of a spring clean. Businesses spend over $40bn on maintaining their patent portfolio each year, according to a new study from the UK intellectual property (IP) startup Aistemos and media platform IAM, but less than 20% of companies believe they have the right portfolio. Large companies hold tens of thousands of patents aimed at protecting the company's business from copying and legal issues. Around 4.5% of a company's revenues, on average, are vulnerable to patent litigation, according to the US consultancy Analysis Group.


Artificial intelligence lights up black hole fusion

#artificialintelligence

A simulation using an artificial intelligence algorithm succeeds in predicting the characteristics of the fusion of two black holes. Nearly five years after the discovery of the first gravitational wave in September 2015, a team from the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics of the California Institute of Technology (CalTech, United States) has just published an article which reveals its details, collisions of black holes. Published in Physical Review Letters of January 11, this work presents the most precise simulation to date to describe the fusion of these compact stars. Machine learning Thus these researchers laid bare the most cataclysmic event that can occur in the Cosmos: the fusion of two black holes, two extremely compact stars, at the origin of the emission of a gravitational wave. Theoretically predicted by Einstein in 1916, it took physicists a century to invent complex and extremely sensitive detectors such as interferometers capable of detecting the tiny vibrations of space-time that are gravitational waves.


What's inside a black hole?

FOX News

This image released Wednesday, April 10, 2019, by Event Horizon Telescope shows a black hole. Scientists revealed the first image ever made of a black hole after assembling data gathered by a network of radio telescopes around the world. You've managed to travel tens of thousands of light-years beyond the solar system. Bravely facing the depths of the great interstellar voids, you've witnessed some of the most achingly beautiful and outrageously powerful events in the universe, from the births of new solar systems to the cataclysmic deaths of massive stars. And now for your swan song, you're going big: you're about to take a dip into the inky blackness of a giant black hole and see what's on the other side of that enigmatic event horizon.


Algorithms are grading student essays across the country. Can this really teach kids how to write better?

#artificialintelligence

Algorithms are grading student essays across the country. So can artificial intelligence really teach us to write better? Todd Feathers, who wrote about AI essay grading for Motherboard, called up every state in the country and found that at least 21 states use some form of automated scoring. "The algorithms are prone to a couple of flaws. One is that they can be fooled by any kind of nonsense gibberish sophisticated words. It looks good from afar but it doesn't actually mean anything. And the other problem is that some of the algorithms have been proven by the testing vendors themselves to be biased against people from certain language backgrounds."