China’s virtual reality arcades aim for real-world success

by Lianchao LAN Agence France Presse Shanghai, China (AFP) — Chen Jiuxiao puts on virtual-reality goggles and is immediately transported to a snow-covered ski slope, down which she slaloms without ever leaving Shanghai. “I felt weightless skiing down the mountain,” Chen, 25, gushes after re-emerging in the material world. “The scenery around me was so authentic,” she adds. Chen, a hospitality worker, said she ventured into one of Shanghai’s VR arcades due to word of […]

Scientists set to unveil first picture of a black hole

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France Presse Paris, France (AFP) — The world, it seems, is soon to see the first picture of a black hole. On Wednesday, astronomers across the globe will hold “six major press conferences” simultaneously to announce the first results of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which was designed precisely for that purpose. It has been a long wait. Of all the forces or objects in the Universe that we cannot see […]

Watch: 5G mobile network technology explained

  5G, or fifth generation mobile network technology, represents a technological revolution and is likely to have a significant impact on our lifestyles, propelling us into the era of connected objects. While 4G is based on the use of longer airwaves, 5G uses millimetre waves, super-high frequencies in theory capable of multiplying the speed by 20. The result: no more buffering while watching a video, as downloading a Giga octet file will take just a […]

World’s first 5G phone released in South Korea

  by Claire Lee Agence France Presse SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Telecom giant Samsung Electronics on Friday released the Galaxy S10 5G, the world’s first available smartphone with built-in fifth-generation communications, as South Korea seeks to build a lead in the transformative technology. On Wednesday the South became the first country to launch nationwide 5G services, with three superfast networks going live offering data speeds that allow users to download entire movies in less […]

Google disbands artificial intelligence ethics board

  by Glenn Chapman Agence France Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google on Thursday confirmed that it has disbanded a recently assembled artificial intelligence ethics advisory panel in the face of controversy over its membership. The end of the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) came just days after a group of Google employees launched a public campaign against having the president of conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation among its members. Another member of […]

Japan probe sends ‘impactor’ to blast asteroid

by Miwa SUZUKI TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — A Japanese probe on Friday launched an explosive device at an asteroid, aiming to blast a crater in the surface and scoop up material that could shed light on how the solar system evolved. The explosive mission is the riskiest yet attempted by the Japanese space agency’s Hayabusa2 probe that aims to reveal more about the origins of life on Earth. Hayabusa2 released the so-called “small carry-on impactor” […]

Israeli spacecraft starts orbiting moon on maiden voyage

JERUSALEM, Undefined (AFP) — An Israeli spacecraft on the country’s first lunar mission began orbiting the Moon on Thursday, completing a key maneuver ahead of a planned touchdown next week, mission chiefs said. The move — known as a “lunar capture” — shifted the unmanned Beresheet craft into an elliptical orbit that brought it within 500 kilometers (310 miles) of the Moon. “This maneuver enabled the spacecraft to be captured by the Moon’s gravity and begin […]

South Korea to launch world’s first national 5G networks

  by Kang Jin-kyu Agence France Presse SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korea launches the world’s first fully-fledged 5G mobile networks Friday, a transformational leap that already has superpowers sparring for control of an innovation that could potentially change the day-to-day lives of billions of people. The superfast communications heralded by fifth-generation wireless technology will ultimately underpin everything from toasters to telephones; from electric cars to power grids. But while the South has won […]

After the Moon in 2024, NASA wants to reach Mars by 2033

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — NASA has made it clear they want astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, and now, they are zeroing in on the Red Planet — the US space agency confirmed that it wants humans to reach Mars by 2033. Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, said Tuesday that in order to achieve that goal, other parts of the program — including a lunar landing — need to move forward more quickly. “We […]

Indian satellite destruction created 400 pieces of debris, endangering ISS: NASA

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The head of NASA on Monday branded India’s destruction of one of its satellites a “terrible thing” that had created 400 pieces of orbital debris and led to new dangers for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Jim Bridenstine was addressing employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration five days after India shot down a low-orbiting satellite in a missile test to prove it was among the world’s advanced […]

New close-ups of the mini-moons in Saturn’s rings

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Nestled between Saturn’s rings are a collection of mini-moons that NASA’s Cassini spacecraft skimmed past in 2017. On Thursday, for the first time, astronomers and scientists are detailing their findings of the moons in the US journal Science. Pan, Daphnis, Atlas, Pandora and Epimetheus each measure between eight and 116 kilometers (five to 72 miles) in diameter. They are either round, shaped like flying saucers or resemble potatoes. They are […]

US to speed up astronaut return to Moon: target 2024

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Donald Trump’s administration announced Tuesday it was speeding up plans to send US astronauts back to the Moon, from 2028 to 2024, calling for a “spark of urgency” to prevail over delays that have plagued NASA’s lunar return plans. “It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the Moon, within the next five years,” Vice President […]