Stuff wants

NASA wants you to dig up stuff on the Moon in pursuit of lunar exploration architecture – Teslarati

As part of NASA’s ramp up to its Artemis Moon mission in 2024, a few technologies are being sought out for development by private entities. The latest request is for the collection of a Moon sample, any sample will do, and bidding is open to any commercial entity in the world. NASA’s proposal went out on Thursday (September 10th) and was followed up with a blog post by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“As we at NASA are working aggressively to meet our near-term goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, our Artemis program also is focused on taking steps that will establish a safe and sustainable lunar exploration architecture,” Bridenstine explained. “Today, we’re taking a critical step forward by releasing a solicitation for commercial companies to provide proposals for the collection of space resources.”

The technology desired by NASA seems pretty straightforward: Get to the Moon and dig up some rocks and/or surface regolith, send a picture proving you did that, then transfer ownership of said rocks/regolith to NASA. The company doing the digging doesn’t even have to get the sample back to Earth – NASA will take care of that, too. The only hitch seems to be the timeline, meaning the feat has to be accomplished prior to Artemis’s launch year of 2024. Perhaps the space agency will plan to pick up its lunar property using astronauts? Considering that the sample can also be collected from anywhere on the Moon rather than limited to where Earth arrivals will be, though, maybe not.

SpaceX has its own lunar plans in cooperation with NASA. (Credit: SpaceX)

Award amounts were not specified, but some details about disbursement have been provided. NASA will award 10% of the total purchase amount when the contract is awarded, 10% after the mission launches, and the remaining 80% after the collection is complete.

“The requirements we’ve outlined are that a company will collect a small amount of Moon “dirt” or rocks from any location on the lunar surface, provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material, along with data that identifies the collection location, and conduct an “in-place” transfer of ownership of the lunar regolith or rocks to NASA,” Bridenstine detailed. “After ownership transfer, the collected material becomes the sole property of NASA for our use… NASA’s goal is that the retrieval and transfer of ownership will be completed before 2024.”

It’s a bit of an unusual challenge at first glance – just dig and be done. However, NASA plans to bring back samples that its 2020 Mars Perseverance Rover (currently on the way to the red planet) will soon be digging up. The technology for Moon samples and Mars samples will almost certainly overlap, hence the investment in a lunar sample mission.

NASA has also asked commercial partners to help shuttle payloads to the Moon in a proposal published a few days before this latest sample mission. Altogether, it seems things very well may be making progress towards humans leaving Earth orbit after a near 50-year stalemate.

NASA wants you to dig up stuff on the Moon in pursuit of lunar exploration architecture

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Coming Stuff

All the Stuff Coming to Apple Home in the Fall – Gizmodo

Illustration for article titled All the Stuff Coming to Apple Home in the Fall

Image: Gizmodo (Apple)

Apple’s super-stuffed developer’s presentation today brought new announcements for wearables, an overhauled iOS interface, and a new macOS with the debut of Big Sur. But Apple dropped a bunch of updates coming to the Apple tech we use in our homes—a place we’re now spending more time than ever.

The big push here was the ease with which you can use multiple products with the least amount of trouble, as you might with features like Airplay to push a video from your phone to your Apple TV or using the Home app to control the various smart devices around your space. Apple says it has open-sourced HomeKit to prioritize privacy and ease of use, so that when you add a smart device and set it up through the iOS 14 Home app, it’ll automatically suggest various automation options.

Apple has long supported smart bulbs that can change to nifty colors. But with iOS 14, it’s adding something called Adaptive Lighting, which can be used to change the colors you see in specific rooms automatically based on your preference.

The company is also rolling out a beefed-up system for home security cameras that will let users specifically designate the zones they want to monitor while excluding activity outside of those zones. So, for example, you can opt to only be alerted about activity within that designated area. Another security measure being added is facial recognition for close contacts you’ve tagged in your photos.

This feature will extend to Apple’s own products as well. HomePod will alert you about who is at the door, while Apple TV will display a video overlay from your security camera in the corner of your streaming screen. The company said that all cameras connected with the Home app will be linked to tvOS 14 as well as supported through the control center.

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Apple TV got a few exciting updates of its own in tvOS 14. Multi-user support is coming to Apple Arcade from the control center to pick up where you left off. The company has also announced coming support for Xbox Elite 2 and Xbox adaptive controllers for Apple Arcade. With picture-in-picture support on the way, Apple will also introduce AirPlay sessions.

As for news on the Apple TV+ front, well, the news was pretty slim (though it will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year). But! We did get a trailer for the forthcoming Isaac Asimov sci-fi joint Foundation, which will arrive sometime in 2021.

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