NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, is running on a processor that’s 23 years old. Last seen in Apple’s iMac G3 (the colorful AIO), it's a single-core processor with approximately 6 million transistors and a clock speed of 233MHz. While there are beefier chips, well, everywhere, NASA went with the PowerPC 750 due to the most important factor for space exploration: reliability. The RAD750 variant of the PowerPC 750 that's inside Percy should withstand 200,000 to 1,000,000 rads, as well as temperatures between −55 and 125 degrees Celsius. The processor has already proven itself, ticking away in around 100 satellites floating around Earth.
It’s not the first mainstream CPU sent into space by a longshot. Back in 2006, NASA strapped a radiation-hardened version of the original PlayStation’s CPU into its New Horizons probe. In decades’ time, I wonder where we’ll be sending Ryzen, M1 and Snapdragon chips.
And if all this Mars and space talk has you dreaming, there’s now a chance you could win a trip around the moon.
— Mat Smith
Maezawa will choose eight others to fly on the first civilian mission to the Moon.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa purchased the right to be SpaceX's first lunar tourist on a mission scheduled for 2023, but he won't be going alone. Maezawa bought all the seats on the flight and announced plans to choose eight people to take the week-long trip to orbit the Moon with him (and two or three others).
Maezawa says there are two criteria for potential tripmates. One, that they can push the envelope of whatever they do to help people and society by taking this trip, and that they're willing and able to support crewmembers in their ambitions. I assume this goes beyond helping fellow passengers get their helmets on.
Accessory maker Gomi will help eke more use out of damaged battery packs.
Gomi, a UK company that makes sustainable chargers and other devices, has launched a line of portable Bluetooth speakers built from retired Lime e-bike batteries. The company will use 50,000 battery cells from 1,000 old Lime e-bikes to build the Gomi Speaker with 20 hours of battery life. Batteries aside, the speakers are built from 100 percent recycled plastic waste. They’re now live on Kickstarter, with prices starting at £99 ($138).
Samsung decided to highlight its 2021 TV lineup with a 45-minute long preview video, but you don’t have to watch the whole thing. We’ve edited down the key bits to make it around ten minutes, so you can get pricing info on the main lineup and see items like the new 76-inch MicroLED configuration, updated Odyssey G9 gaming monitor and 4K short-throw projector.
At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced some big upgrades to the Teams app for work. Since we clearly aren't going to return to large-scale in-person events anytime soon, you can now have up to a thousand attendees per meeting from both inside and outside your organization. If you need to reach even more people, there’s a view-only broadcast mode that will support up to 10,000 attendees.
Microsoft is also offering a stronger Teams spin on Powerpoint, with Powerpoint Live. Here, presenters can advance their slides whenever they like while viewers can privately skip ahead or go back at their own speed.
Way back in 2019, Instagram announced the start of tests to hide the Like counts we all see on everyone else's posts. That test has apparently still been going on, but without much update or expansion. Then today, all of a sudden, many Instagram users in the US got the above notification saying they wouldn't see Like counts anymore.
Instagram told Engadget that today's expansion was a bug, explaining in a tweet that "We unintentionally added more people to the test today." Your precious counts should now be restored — or will be very soon.