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Elon Musk Wants To Provide Everyone With The Internet, Here’s How He Plans To Do It

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Elon MuskElon Musk is at it again. How many big ideas and projects can one guy have in a lifetime? Who knows—but it doesn’t appear that he’s going to slow down anytime soon. His latest idea involves satellites that provide internet access to everyone, everywhere.

Sound familiar? That’s because Musk isn’t the first person to get attached to the idea. Google announced its Project Loon program last year, which involves delivering the internet to everyone via balloons that coast on stratospheric winds. They bought Titan Aerospace last spring because of its drones that can hang out in the air for upwards of five years. Those drones, which can provide communications capabilities to remote places, will likely factor into Google’s quest to bring internet (ie, itself) to everyone. Facebook has gotten in on the action too, buying drone-maker Ascenta after Google snatched up Titan. So powerhouse corporations have already revealed their intentions to bring internet everywhere, but in true Musk style, he says he can do it better and cheaper.

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This Autonomous Robot Creates Interpretive Works Of Art

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robot paulOne of the abilities that distinguishes humans from animals is the ability to create art. Sure, animals do some cool stuff, but there’s usually a practical reason, rather than an aesthetic one (with the exception of the Kraken). Until fairly recently, humans figured that the desire and ability to create art separated us from robots too, but robotic musicians and other art-generating robots call this once-unique ability into question. Still, most of those robots are programmed to play, and it’s not as though they’re mechanical Beethovens, applying what they’ve learned about musical theory to their own skills to create unique scores. Recently, artist and roboticist Patrick Tresset decided to create a robot that can autonomously create artwork inspired by its own interpretation of its environment.

Tresset has been making robots for a while—namely, upgraded versions of a robot he calls Paul, which he calls a “creative prosthetic,” originally designed when he had a terrible case of painter’s block. A few years ago he created Paul and Pete (I have to wonder if there’s a Mary on the way), robots that sketched human faces using facial recognition technology and showed off their stuff at London’s Tenderpixel gallery. Now, many iterations later, Tresset has developed Paul-IX in an attempt to explore the question of whether robots can autonomously create “artifacts that stand as artworks”—specifically, artworks that comment on the human condition.

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Rosetta To Attempt First Ever Comet Landing This Week, Get The Details Here

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philae landerTen years ago, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Rosetta probe, and earlier this year it caught up with Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. On Wednesday, Rosetta will release its Philae lander, which will then attempt the first-ever landing on a comet.

Humans haven’t landed probes or rovers on very many planetary bodies. We’ve set crafts down on the moon, Mars, Venus, Titan, and on two asteroids, but that’s in. This comet will be the seventh, and landing on a comet is no easy feat. Right now, Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is moving pretty darn fast—forty times faster than a bullet. It’s also spinning and ejecting gas. That makes it a potentially tougher object to land on than Mars, and even then, Curiosity’s nail-biting landing two years ago was a close call.

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Virgin Galactic Explosion Caused By Pilot Error—But What Caused The Pilot Error?

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SS2 investigationLast week, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo exploded during a test flight, killing one pilot and injuring the other. While the investigation continues, and is likely to go on for quite some time, we do know more about what happened to SpaceShipTwo—namely, that the explosion appears to have been caused by pilot error. But in the wake of that revelation, new questions arise—ones that may not be easy to answer.

Investigators know that the premature unlocking of SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system—a braking system used to help the plane decelerate and descend—caused the explosion that resulted in the death of pilot Michael Alsbury. The deployment of that system caused the craft’s tail booms to move upward and forward to increase drag. It was supposed to be deployed when the craft reached a speed of 1.4 Mach, but instead was deployed when the space plane hit 1 Mach and was still accelerating.

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NASA Prepares For Orion’s First Flight Test, Here’s What You Need To Know

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OrionWhen President Obama officially canceled the Constellation Program, one era of U.S. spaceflight ended and another one began—both Obama and NASA made a case for using private companies for the transport of humans and cargo into space. He also assured citizens that the space agency wasn’t about to retire entirely from the game, and dangled the carrot of Orion—their next manned spacecraft intended to bring humans beyond low-Earth orbit. Orion is “Apollo on steroids,” and NASA is currently preparing for its first test flight.

This test flight would have been a big deal no matter what, but after last week’s catastrophes, the stakes feel higher than ever.

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This Upgraded Telescope Captures Never-Before-Seen Images Of Planets Being Born

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planet formationThanks to Voyager and Cassini, we’ve been able to detect Saturn’s F ring giving birth to moons. Sure, the moons don’t last very long before they disintegrate, but celestial births are still pretty exciting (and they don’t involve any expensive registries or showers). Recently, the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) radio telescope (which is actually a set of 66 individual telescopes), received ah high-resolution upgrade that allowed it to record images of planets being born around a young star.

Stars such as our sun are formed when gravity condenses gas and dust clouds into a core. Planets then form inside of those dense clouds, which makes them difficult to observe. However, ALMA, located in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, was able to use longer wavelengths thanks to the antennas recently spaced 15 kilometers apart, which allows for comparisons of signals. These upgrades were implemented in September, and since then, the telescope’s target has been HL Tau, the “infant” star (it’s less than a million years old, after all) in the Taurus constellation roughly 450 light years from Earth. According to research, the new images ALMA obtained are tantamount to me photographing a penny from 70 miles away.