Planet Earth

Solar Orbiter Spacecraft Is Now Halfway Between The Earth And Sun 

In a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, a spacecraft known as the Solar Orbiter has been traveling from the Earth to the Sun. The spacecraft is now officially halfway between the two, according to a report from ESA, meaning it is now 46.6 million miles from the Sun itself. 

Solar Orbiter initially began its mission in November 2021. The craft has been, and will continue to, take in scientific observations as it makes its way closer to the Sun. The spacecraft is taking measurements of the solar winds and volatile corona. 

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The mission itself is also giving researchers a unique opportunity to deeply study space weather. Space weather is a feature of the solar wind; a stream of charged particles from the Sun that generate aurorae. These particles occasionally tend to disrupt electronics on Earth as well. 

The Solar Orbiter is also taking a longer route to get to the Sun as a means of saving energy. The orbiter is also utilizing the gravitational pulls of Earth and Venus to slingshot itself inward. This maneuver also reduces the amount of fuel necessary to propel a spacecraft.

The orbiter’s current position between the Earth and Sun allows it to gather useful data on solar winds and how they move throughout our solar system. Researchers will be combining the data from the Solar Orbiter with data from other spacecraft that are within Earth’s orbit to get a more complex picture of the winds movements. 

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Daniel Müller, a Solar Orbiter project scientist with the ESA, said in a release that “from this point onwards, we are ‘entering the unknown’ as far as Solar Orbiter’s observations of the Sun are concerned.”

“The orbiter will make its closest approach—26 million miles from the Sun—on March 26. From March 14 to April 6, it will be within the orbit of Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun.” 

“What I’m most looking forward to is finding out whether all these dynamical features we see in the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (coined campfires) can make their way into the solar wind or not. There are so many of them!” said Louise Harra, a physicist at the Physical Meteorological Observatory in Davos.

Once the Solar Orbiter arrives at its closest approach later on this month, humans will be able to see some of the closest and clearest images ever taken of the Sun. 

Industrial Factory

What To Expect From CES 2020

CES stands for “Computer Electronics Show,” and every year technology lovers and business owners alike get together to hear from some of the world’s biggest tech names about what’s to come in the next year. Smart TVs took the spotlight at last year’s CES event, giving high definition entertainment a whole new look with the implementation of 8K quality and curved screen technology. So what does CES 2020 have in store for the world’s digital future? 

CES: Unveiled” was an event that took place the night before the actual show, in which reporters were able to come and get a first glimpse at all the new technology being introduced. This way they could gauge what gadgets, software, and trends would be the most talked about before the massive crowds flood the Las Vegas arena the following day. Remember, not all gadgets or concepts are released to the general public after CES, as some of the exhibits are meant to show technology lovers what some companies are striving to perfect in the future. 

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First up, Samsung wanted to keep riding the TV high that came from last year’s CES event, so they announced their new Sero TV. Sero TV was made with the mobile user in mind, as it literally turns to be vertical from traditional landscape mode when you hit a button. The orientation-changing television is meant to make mirroring from your phone much easier, and in this new age where a lot of online video content is modified to adjust to vertical mobile screens, this television wants to take that to the next level. 

Kohler, an appliance company, partnered with Amazon to bring the fantasy of a “smart home” even more to life with Alexa-powered showers. The two companies plan on releasing a shower head with Alexa enabled speaker technology for all of us who love to listen to music in the shower. Additionally, Kohler intends on releasing a lot more bathroom tech throughout 2020, including a new “intelligent” toilet system. 

CES tends to always have a robotic energy about it, quite literally. Every year new types of robo-friends are brought to the CES floor and this year will be no different. This year, CES will be introducing a bread-making robot, Sony’s Aibo Dog, and Buddy, the cute companion robot. Companion robots, and those that are meant to perform just one human task, such as bread making, are fairly common for this event. A cat robot, however, is new. 

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Startup company Elephant Robotics is developing a new robotic feline friend that they’re calling MarsCat. According to reports from CES: Unveiled, the “bionic feline can walk, stretch, play with toys, avoid obstacles and bite its nails. It can also recognize human faces and knows 20 commands and phrases, including ‘sit’ and ‘come here.’”

Segway has developed a new line of single-person transport systems called “Segway S-Pods.” The S-Pod is an electric pod meant for indoor travelling and can accelerate up to 24 miles per hour. Users control the speed and direction with a single knob on the arm rest of the pod. 

Colgate and Oral-B, two of the country’s top dental product providers, wanted to get a piece of the CES action this year, so they both announced their versions of “dental tech innovation.” The Oral-B iO electric toothbrush is meant to work with an app on your phone to tell you when you’re brushing your teeth too hard or too softly. The app also ensures that you’re brushing for a full two minutes, and are covering as much of your mouth’s surface area as possible. 

Colgate, on the other hand, is developing their own electric toothbrush that can detect any sort of “biofilm” build up in the gums. Additionally, it “notifies users when they need to brush longer in one area of their mouth. A light ring around the toothbrush will turn blue when buildup has been found. A white light displays when teeth are clean,” according to reports.

For the rest of what was announced during the CES: Unveiled event, click here. Media outlets will be posting all week about what new and exciting innovations come out of CES this year.