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Asteroid, ejected from Solar System, finds refuge billions of kms. away!

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PARIS: An asteroid ejected from our infant Solar System found refuge billions of kilometres away, beyond the orbit of Neptune, where it has now been spotted, astronomers said Wednesday.

The curious loner is the first carbon-rich asteroid ever observed in the far-flung region called the Kuiper belt, which is filled with frozen objects, a team reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Its composition suggests the asteroid must have been formed in the inner Solar System, likely in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, before migrating to its outer reaches, said the team.

This makes it “a relic of the primordial Solar System”, they added. Theoretical models of our early Solar System describe a tempestuous time with gas giant planets on the rampage, ejecting small rocky bodies from its the system’s centre to far-flung orbits.

Such models suggest the Kuiper Belt should contain a small number of rocky bodies, perhaps also carbon-rich asteroids.

The new observation, using telescopes of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, provides “strong support for these theoretical models of our Solar System’s troubled youth,” said an ESO statement.

The asteroid was spotted partly because it reflects light differently than other objects in the Kuiper Belt, which are icy while asteroids are rocky.

 

 

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Facebook users to get good safeguards!

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PARIS: Facebook users to get good safeguards, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that he was rolling out the privacy controls demanded by European regulators to Facebook users worldwide because “everyone cares about privacy”.

Speaking at the VivaTech trade fair in Paris a day before new European data protection rules come into force Zuckerberg said Europe’s history had made its citizens particularly wary when it comes to data collection.

“There are specific points about history in Europe. If you’re a German citizen and you grew up here you’re worried about the Stasi (former East German secret police).

“That’s more recent in your memory than what we have in the US or other folks around the world.” But “everyone cares about privacy.

That’s not only here, that’s a global thing,” Zuckerberg said, confirming he would extend the protections demanded by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation – including on facial recognition – to Facebook’s two billion users worldwide.

“We’ve been very clear that we’ll roll out the same controls all around the world,” he said, adding that “good regulation” would increase user trust in how tech giants use their data. 

Relevant piece published earlier:  The dreaded Islamic State militant group has made death threats to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a new video which shows their photos riddled with digitally added bullet holes, mocking the social media websites’ attempts to block terrorist content from their platforms. In the 25-minute video, the IS claim they are fighting back against efforts by the social media giants to wipe their platforms of accounts promoting terrorism. The video includes a direct threat to the tech entrepreneurs, branding them allies of the American “Crusader government”. Pictures of Zuckerberg and Dorsey can be seen being blasted with a hail of bullets in the amateur footage which emerged. In a separate slide, they also claim to have hacked more than 10,000 Facebook accounts, 150 Facebook groups, and more than 5,000 Twitter accounts. 

 

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Environment

Twin sports car-sized satellites to chase water changes on Earth

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TAMPA: A pair of identical, sportscar-sized satellites are poised to zoom around the Earth and track changes in water and ice, offering new insights into global warming and sea level rise, NASA said Monday.

Groundwater, oceans, lakes, rivers and ice sheets will be monitored by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint mission between the US space agency and German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

The satellites are scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday at 12:47 pm Pacific time (1947 GMT). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will propel the satellites to an orbit about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above the Earth. The pair will fly 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart, or about the distance from Los Angeles to San Diego.

NASA has spent $430 million on the mission, and Germany has spent about $91 million. The new pair of satellites will pick up where the first GRACE mission left off, having completed its 15-year mission in 2017. The first GRACE mission gave scientists a trove of data about the ever-dwindling ice mass.

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China satellite heralds first mission to dark side of Moon

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China satellite heralds first mission to dark side of Moon

BEIJING: China satellite heralds first mission to dark side of Moon, China launched a relay satellite today that will allow a rover to communicate with the Earth from the far side of the Moon during an unprecedented mission later this year.

The Queqiao (“Magpie Bridge”) satellite was blasted into space from the southwestern Xichang launch center in the pre-dawn hours, according to the China National Space Administration.

The satellite split from its carrier, a Long March-4C rocket, after 25 minutes and unfolded its solar panels and communication antennas, as it headed towards its destination, the CNSA said.

“The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the Moon,” Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

The satellite will relay communications between controllers on Earth and the far side of the moon, where the Chang’e-4 lunar probe – named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology – will be sent later this year.

Also known as the “dark side” of the Moon, the far hemisphere is never directly visible from Earth and while it has been photographed, with the first images appearing in 1959, it has never been explored.

The Chang’e-4 rover will be sent to the Aitken Basin in the lunar south pole region, according to Xinhua. It will be the second Chinese probe to land on the Moon, following the Yutu (“Jade Rabbit”) rover mission in 2013. 

 

 

 

 

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PM visits Sabika Sheikh’s home in Karachi

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