Spacecraft talk to us with radios, but we've pushed radio tech about as far as we can. In future, they'll talk much faster using: space lasers. arstechnica.com/science/2019/0

Yes, this toot was just an excuse to say "space lasers." No regrets.

Incidentally, I presume this is why the upcoming NASA Psyche mission is testing a laser communication system (jpl.nasa.gov/missions/psyche/). Whee, space lasers!

Pluto and Charon seem to have mostly big craters and few small craters, we've learned from New Horizons images. That suggests that Kuiper Belt Objects are mostly large and few are small.
arstechnica.com/science/2019/0

"The Opportunity rover is not just a mobile robot, it is a deliberate human analog. ... Opportunity and our other space robots do more than activate our empathy for others; they actually *feel like a part of ourselves*." A fascinating angle; not the whole story, but a striking angle I'd never considered. Well worth reading in full. blogs.discovermagazine.com/out

Shamefully, the US hasn't been able to launch humans into space for almost eight years. That might change on March 2, thanks to SpaceX.
arstechnica.com/science/2019/0

NASA's InSight finds a mystery on Mars, reminding me of this possibly apocryphal Asimov quote: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ....'" arstechnica.com/science/2019/0

Men's and women's visual systems process 3-D cues differently. Guess whose cues are prioritized in tech like the Oculus Rift headset? This is surely inadvertent, but it's also inevitable when you don't test your gear on a variety of humans.
qz.com/192874/is-the-oculus-ri

Opportunity's team reflects on our favorite memories from her adventure -- little rover vignettes from all of us who loved her. A time capsule and a (growing) treasure.
jpl.nasa.gov/opportunity-memor

They aren’t explicit in the press advisory. But let’s be clear, there’s a limited set of things this can mean. More later, but for now: well done, daughter. Well done. nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to

Big surprise: half of Mars One is now bankrupt.

Not clear from the headline: this is only one part of Mars One. The other part hasn't completely failed yet.

arstechnica.com/science/2019/0

Why arguments against a 70% marginal tax rate for income over $10 million is absurd (look at all that money they'd STILL have):

Here's much more background and detail than I've seen before about ORNL's recent invention of a process to automate production of Pu-238, the nuclear fuel powering deep space missions. If we're lucky, this means our space energy crisis might just be over.
hackaday.com/2019/02/08/the-de

More than you ever wanted to know about the Apollo Guidance Computer's core memory subsystem, c/o the incomparable Ken Shirriff. Fun observation from the article: a modern 64GB micro SD card is comparable to the size of 64 *bits* of AGC core memory. righto.com/2019/01/inside-apol

Glad to see this soberly considered. I've thought for a long time that there's a lot to be said for cautiously revisiting elements of faster-better-cheaper, and this is a great explication of why. elizabethafrank.com/colliding-

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