Finnish scientists create ‘sustainable’ lab-grown coffee

by Sam KINGSLEY HELSINKI, Finland (AFP) — Latte drinkers may in the future be sipping on java sourced from a petri dish rather than a plantation, say scientists behind a new technique to grow what they hope to be sustainable coffee in a lab. “It’s really coffee, because there is nothing else than coffee material in the product,” Heiko Rischer tells AFP, pointing to a dish of light brown powder. His team of researchers at […]

US targeting Feb. 2022 to launch new lunar program Artemis

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — NASA is aiming to launch its uncrewed lunar mission Artemis 1 in February next year, the space agency said Friday, the first step in America’s plan to return humans to the Moon. The agency had initially hoped to launch the test flight by the end of this year, with astronauts set to walk on the Moon by 2024. It achieved a major milestone Wednesday when it stacked the Orion […]

Canada hospitals use drones to carry lungs for transplant

by Geneviève NORMAND BROMONT, Canada (AFP) — In the dark of night, a drone takes off from a Toronto hospital rooftop, the hum of its rotors barely audible over the bustling sounds of the cars and pedestrians below in Canada’s largest metropolis. On its maiden flight, with a bird’s-eye view of the city’s glistening skyline as it glides over apartments, shops and office towers, the drone is carrying a precious cargo — human lungs for […]

Google cuts its commission on app subscriptions

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google announced Thursday it will lower a fee in its app store as pressure mounts on tech giants to loosen their grip over their online marketplaces. The commission on subscriptions taken by Google Play will be lopped in half to 15 percent starting in January, vice president of product management Sameer Samat said in a blog post. Currently Google gets a 30 percent cut for the first year of […]

Trump announces plans to launch new social network ‘TRUTH Social’

by Sarah TITTERTON Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Former US president Donald Trump announced plans Wednesday to launch his own social network, in the latest push to reclaim his internet dominance after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the violent Capitol insurrection. “TRUTH Social” will be owned by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), and is expected to begin its beta launch for “invited guests” next month. […]

New name for Facebook? Critics cry smoke and mirrors

  SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook critics pounced Wednesday on a report the leading social network plans to rename itself, arguing it may be seeking to distract from recent scandals and controversy. The report from website The Verge, which Facebook refused to confirm, said the embattled company was aiming to show its ambition to be more than a social media site. But an activist group calling itself The Real Facebook Oversight Board, warned […]

China’s ‘space dream’: A Long March to the Moon and beyond

  BEIJING, China (AFP) — The arrival of three astronauts at China’s new space station on Saturday marks a landmark step in its space ambitions, its longest crewed mission to date. The world’s second-largest economy has put billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a permanently crewed space station by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon. The country has come a long way in catching up with the United States […]

‘It was unbelievable’: Star Trek’s Shatner becomes real life astronaut

  “Star Trek” actor William Shatner finally became a real space traveler on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission Wednesday, calling it the most profound experience of his life. “It was unbelievable,” said the 90-year-old Canadian, known to the sci-fi show’s legion of “Trekkies” as the daring Captain James T. Kirk, a role he first played more than half a century ago. He was joined on the 11-minute journey beyond Earth’s atmosphere and back again by […]

Planet announces plans for new fleet of Earth observation satellites

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) – Satellite data provider Planet announced Tuesday that it plans to launch a new fleet of orbiting eyes so powerful they can distinguish road markings on the ground. Planet, which already operates 200 Earth observation satellites from space, wants to make the new function available in 2023. The new satellites, called Pelican, could be used for mapping services, such as Google maps; in environmental tasks, such as spotting illegal forest […]

Life on Mars: simulating Red Planet base in Israeli desert

by Alexandra VARDI MITZPE RAMON, Israel (AFP) — Inside a huge crater in Israel’s sun-baked Negev desert, a team wearing space suits ventures forth on a mission to simulate conditions on Mars. The Austrian Space Forum has set up a pretend Martian base with the Israeli space agency at Makhtesh Ramon, a 500-metre (1,600-foot) deep, 40 kilometre (25 mile) wide crater. The six so-called “analogue astronauts” will live in isolation in the virtual station until […]

Green energy springs from abandoned UK coalmine

by Olivier DEVOS Agence France-Presse Dawdon coalmine in northeast England was abandoned three decades ago, but is being brought back to life as the unlikely setting for a green energy revolution. The carbon-intensive colliery, near the town of Seaham on the windswept northeast English coast, hauled coal from deep underground until its closure in 1991. Dawdon has long since flooded with water because part of the mine is below sea level, and is heated by […]

General Motors says 2023 car will allow mostly hands-free driving

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) – General Motors plans to launch in 2023 a premium model that would enable hands-free operation in 95 percent of driving scenarios, the US auto giant announced Wednesday. The technology, called “Ultra Cruise,” is a centerpiece of a newly unveiled plan that the Detroit company says will enable it to double annual revenues by 2030. “The vehicle has become a software platform,” Chief Executive Mary Barra said at a briefing […]