Sci-Tech

SpaceX’s Elon Musk renames his big rocket “Starship”

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk has announced he is changing the name of his monster rocket BFR, aimed at carrying people to the Moon and possibly one day to Mars, to “Starship.” BFR has long been the unofficial name of the rocket, which is still under development. The letters were initially presumed to stand for “Big Fucking Rocket,” before company executives began formally referring to it as “Big Falcon Rocket.” […]

NASA picks ancient Martian river delta for 2020 rover touchdown

by Kerry SHERIDAN Agence France Presse TAMPA, United States (AFP) — NASA has picked an ancient river delta as the landing site for its uncrewed Mars 2020 rover, to hunt for evidence of past life on Earth’s neighboring planet, officials said Monday. Even though the Red Planet is now cold and dry, the landing site, Jezero Crater, was filled with a 1,600-foot (500-meter) deep lake that opened to a network of rivers some 3.5 to […]

Cygnus cargo ship launches to ISS

United States (AFP) — An unmanned Cygnus cargo ship blasted off Saturday toward the International Space Station, marking the second supply mission in 24 hours destined to carry food and supplies to the astronauts living in space. An Antares rocket operated by Northrop Grumman lit up the night sky at 4:01 am (0901 GMT) as it propelled the craft loaded with 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of gear into space. On Friday, a Russian Soyuz rocket […]

Russia set for first ISS launch since accident

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — A Russian Soyuz rocket with a cargo vessel is to blast off Friday in the first launch to the International Space Station (ISS) since a manned accident last month. “The mission control center has completed the work set out for the launch of the Progress MS-10 cargo vessel. The takeoff of the Soyuz-FG rocket is set for 1814 GMT,” Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement. The launch from […]

Facebook to launch independent body for calls on content

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook announced Thursday it is creating an independent body to make potentially precedent-setting calls on what content should be yanked from the social network. The announcement came as Facebook reported it has ramped up its ability to quickly detect “hate speech” and other posts violating community rules, with the leading social network under pressure from regulators in various countries and activists to root out abusive and inappropriate content. “I […]

‘Robocop’ on patrol at Singapore summit

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Hi-tech Singapore has deployed an autonomous robot with a swivelling camera for a head and flashing lights to patrol a summit venue — arresting the attention of amused passers-by who stopped to snap selfies. The white, four-wheeled buggy, measuring about five-feet (1.5 meters), trundled around the perimeter of a convention center in the city-state, providing additional security at a meeting of world leaders. The so far unnamed robot, decked out with […]

First supply trip to space since Soyuz failure poised to launch

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A US spaceship loaded with supplies for the International Space Station is poised to launch Thursday, marking the first such trip since a Soyuz rocket carrying three people failed last month. At the last moment, NASA added some extra supplies for the three orbiting scientists, just in case. The next Soyuz launch, with three more astronauts on board — one Russian, one Canadian and one American — is planned for […]

How to drive a robot on Mars

by Ivan Couronne Agence France Presse GREENBELT, United States (AFP) — Some 78 million miles (126 million kilometers) from Earth, alone on the immense and frigid Red Planet, a robot the size of a small 4×4 wakes up just after sunrise. And just as it has every day for the past six years, it awaits its instructions. Around 9:30 Mars time, a message arrives from California, where it was sent 15 minutes earlier. “Drive forward […]

How to drive a robot on Mars

by Ivan Couronne Agence France-Presse GREENBELT, United States (AFP) — Some 78 million miles (126 million kilometers) from Earth, alone on the immense and frigid Red Planet, a robot the size of a small 4×4 wakes up just after sunrise. And just as it has every day for the past six years, it awaits its instructions. Around 9:30 Mars time, a message arrives from California, where it was sent 15 minutes earlier. “Drive forward 10 […]

China steps up drone race with stealth aircraft

by Ludovic EHRET Agence France-Presse ZHUHAI, China (AFP) — China is unleashing stealth drones and pilotless aircraft fitted with AK-47 rifles onto world markets, racing to catch up to US technology and adding to a fleet that has already seen combat action in the Middle East. Combat drones were among the jet fighters, missiles and other military hardware shown off this week at Airshow China, the country’s biggest aerospace industry exhibition. A delta-winged stealth drone […]