SciTech Briefs

A Falcon 9 lands on a pod. The four stilts serve as landing gear while the booster controls descent and balance. (credit: Courtesy of SpaceX, via Flickr) A Falcon 9 lands on a pod. The four stilts serve as landing gear while the booster controls descent and balance. (credit: Courtesy of SpaceX, via Flickr)

Samsung announces the new, sleek S8

After a year riddled with exploding S7 phones and horrendous public relations, Samsung has announced its next phone — the S8 and the S8+. Samsung hopes the new phone will restore customer trust and boost their sales and stock prices. The technology giant has ensured that this phone does not catch fire like its predecessor. The phone will be released on April 21, 2017 and starts at $720.

The S8 comes with a fingerprint sensor, an AI assistant, and an iris recognition security feature. The display screen is incredibly large, boasting a 18.5:9 ratio with curved edges. However, many aspects of the S8, including battery life, camera quality, and RAM are not significantly different from the S7. The S8 thus seems more like a revamped S7 than an entirely new release.

Samsung’s new attempt is sleek, safe, and equipped with an amazing display. Although many customers turned away from Samsung, the S8 could turn things around.

Source: TechRadar

NASA switched off one of its satellites

Earth Observing-1 (EO-1), one of NASA’s most enduring satellites, has been switched off. It was originally built to last a year and launched more as a test, but surpassed everyone’s expectations, operating functionally for 17 years.

EO-1 observed dozens of natural disasters as well as changes to the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. It contributed to NASA’s understanding of satellite formation flight and AI technology with respect to space observation.

The veteran satellite was switched off due to a lack of enough fuel to operate it. It is impossible to refuel the satellite because of the nature of its orbit, which is very low. Other satellites like the Hubble telescope are periodically serviced to ensure they remain at the correct altitude and continue to function. The fuel onboard the satellite is used to power motors for adjusting attitude.

EO-1 will orbit in a dead state for 40 more years, until it burns up in the atmosphere.

Source: Forbes Science

SpaceX landed a used Falcon rocket

SpaceX has made history by landing a rocket it sent into space. The Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, placing a communications satellite in orbit. The Falcon later landed on a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Although SpaceX has landed rockets before, this is the first time in history a space rocket has launched for the second time.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, commented on the feat. “It means you can fly and re-fly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket. This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” he said. The conventional rocket disposes of the orbital booster once it has escaped the atmosphere, leaving it to burn on re-entry.

The cost of space flight could be greatly diminished if SpaceX achieves this feat regularly. Space flight is now similar to other means of transport, in which the vehicle is not disposed of at the destination.

Source: The Verge