• Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit 2018 - Day 2

    Palmer Luckey talks VR and the military at Vanity Fair confab

    Palmer Luckey has no qualms about developing autonomous tech for the US military. There were already hints of that in the mission statement of his new company, Anduril. ‘Anduril aims to rebuild the bridge between the tech and defense communities.’   Onstage Wednesday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles, Luckey said the company’s engineers ‘work on autonomous systems, and applying that to warfare.’   Luckey, who has a penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops, was wearing both (along with a pair of shorts) onstage as he spoke with Mike Allen of Axios. His comments and descriptions of his company’s products, which include autonomous sensors, show…

  • marscrater

    NASA discovers fresh ‘blast pattern’ on Mars

    Sometime between July and September of 2018, a rock smacked into Mars and left an impressive mark near the planet’s south pole.   NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) snapped a view of the resulting impact crater and the explosive signature it left on the icy landscape.   ‘It’s notable because it occurred in the seasonal southern ice cap, and has apparently punched through it, creating a two-toned blast pattern,’ NASA planetary scientist Ross Beyer said of the image released on Tuesday.   Impact craters result when a meteoroid or other space-faring rock collides with Mars.   Beyer says the larger, lighter-colored blast area could be caused by winds scouring the surface…

  • primescout

    Amazon Scout robots are heading out to deliver packages

    Amazon is testing a small fleet of autonomous delivery robots in Washington state.   On Wednesday the company introduced Scout, a fully electric robot, about the size of a small cooler, that’ll deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps. Starting Wednesday, these robots will deliver items in a neighborhood in Snohomish County, Washington, Amazon said in a blog post.     The e-commerce giant said it’s starting with six Amazon Scout robots that’ll make deliveries Monday through Friday during daytime. Scout robots can navigate around pets, pedestrians and other things in their way, Amazon said, though they’ll initially be accompanied by a human employee.     ‘We are happy to welcome Amazon…

  • blombos

    Oldest known drawing, from 73,000 years ago, looks like a hashtag

    And you thought the Mona Lisa was old.   Researchers say they’ve found the earliest known drawing on a stone fragment in South Africa. The simple cross-hatched pattern dates back 73,000 years to the Middle Stone Age, which makes it some 30,000 years older than the oldest known abstract drawings.   The drawing, found in a cave 186 miles (300 kilometers) east of Cape Town, was engraved with red ochre pigment. The stone canvas measures just 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) and is thought to have once been part of a larger grindstone, meaning we’re probably seeing only part of the original design.   Archaeologists have been excavating the Blombos Cave…

  • whereisroadster

    Elon Musk Tesla still orbiting one year after SpaceX launch

    One year ago, on Feb. 6, SpaceX blasted a Falcon Heavy rocket into space and sent Elon Musk’s personal Tesla roadster off on a journey through the cosmos to the tune of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, with a spacesuit-wearing Starman dummy at the wheel.   There’s a lot about that last sentence that sounds insane, but it happened. Programmer Ben Pearson runs the Where is Roadster? website, dedicated to tracking the Tesla’s trip around the sun. Let’s check in to see the latest stats.   According to Pearson’s calculations as of Wednesday morning, the electric car is 226,423,581 miles (364,393,544 km) from Earth and 163,525,522 miles (263,168,899 km) from Mars.…

  • apollomoon

    Mystery swirls on the moon hint at their magnetic secrets

    A swirl of cream in a mug of hot chocolate. Tadpole-shaped. Striking. The diffuse appearance of abstract airbrush paintings. These are all phrases NASA has used to describe a famous lunar swirl named Reiner Gamma, one of a series of mysterious and exotic formations seen on the surface of the moon.   But there’s no alien with an airbrush over there. Scientists already knew the lunar swirls coincide with locally elevated magnetic fields. A new study led by a team from Rutgers University and the University of California, Berkeley points to a deeper, volcanic-related understanding of the haunting surface features.   Researchers suspect magnetic anomalies are deflecting solar winds that…

  • NASA

    This NASA rocket plane launched the space age, and got left behind

    In the early months of 1962, Neil Armstrong was wrestling with a decision: stick with flying experimental aircraft like the rocket-powered X-15, which flirted with the edge of the atmosphere, or apply for a chance at becoming an actual astronaut. At the time, test pilots like Armstrong didn’t necessarily think the fledgling space program was the way to go. They were doing serious, challenging work, taking aircraft to ever newer extremes. And would astronauts even be pilots? NASA, now marking its 60th anniversary, first envisioned them as mere passengers and test subjects. Armstrong knew, too, that aerospace R&D projects didn’t always pan out. He had a good thing going:  ‘The…