Solar Probe Mission Renamed By NASA to Honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker

Solar Probe Mission Renamed By NASA to Honor Pioneering Physicist Eugene Parker
illustration of Parker Solar Probe
Illustration of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft approaching the sun
NASA has renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft — humanity’s first mission to a star, which will launch in 2018 — as the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the University of Chicago, where Parker serves as the S. Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
In 1958, Parker — then a young professor at the university’s Enrico Fermi Institute — published an article in the Astrophysical Journal called “Dynamics of the interplanetary gas and magnetic fields.” Parker believed there was high speed matter and magnetism constantly escaping the sun, and that it affected the planets and space throughout our solar system.
This phenomenon, now known as the solar wind, has been proven to exist repeatedly through direct observation. Parker’s work forms the basis for much of our understanding about how stars interact with the worlds that orbit them.
“This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft for a living individual,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “It’s a testament to the importance of his body of work, founding a new field of science that also inspired my own research and many important science questions NASA continues to study and further understand every day. I’m very excited to be personally involved honoring a great man and his unprecedented legacy.” 
“The solar probe is going to a region of space that has never been explored before,” said Parker. “It’s very exciting that we’ll finally get a look. One would like to have some more detailed measurements of what’s going on in the solar wind. I’m sure that there will be some surprises. There always are.”
In the 1950s, Parker proposed a number of concepts about how stars — including our sun — give off energy. He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon. Parker also theorized an explanation for the superheated solar atmosphere, the corona, which is — contrary to what was expected by physics laws — hotter than the surface of the sun itself. Many NASA missions have continued to focus on this complex space environment defined by our star — a field of research known as heliophysics.
“Parker Solar Probe is going to answer questions about solar physics that we’ve puzzled over for more than six decades,” said Parker Solar Probe Project Scientist Nicola Fox, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “It’s a spacecraft loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve many of the largest mysteries about our star, including finding out why the sun’s corona is so much hotter than its surface. And we’re very proud to be able to carry Gene’s name with us on this amazing voyage of discovery.”
NASA missions are most often renamed after launch and certification; in this case, given Parker’s accomplishments within the field, and how closely aligned this mission is with his research, the decision was made to honor him prior to launch, in order to draw attention to his important contributions to heliophysics and space science.
Born on June 10, 1927, in Michigan, Eugene Newman Parker received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Michigan State University and a doctorate from Caltech. He then taught at the University of Utah, and since 1955, Parker has held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and at its Fermi Institute. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the George Ellery Hale Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Bruce Medal, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Kyoto Prize, and the James Clerk Maxwell Prize.
Parker Solar Probe is on track for launch during a 20-day window that opens July 31, 2018. The mission is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program to explore aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. LWS is managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. Johns Hopkins APL manages the mission for NASA and is designing and building and will operate the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA

Godwin Benson 'Tuteria' Online tutoring innovation wins the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

Godwin Benson 'Tuteria' Online tutoring innovation wins the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
Africa Prize winner 2017
Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation winner, Godwin Benson from Nigeria, is congratulated by judges Sheena Raikundalia, Rebecca Enonchong and Moses Musaazi 

A 27-year-old Nigerian systems engineer has won the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
Godwin Benson designed Tuteria, an online platform that links students to qualified tutors in their area and within their budget. Users find the skill they want to learn on an app on their phone, set their budget, and wait to be connected to the nearest tutor.
Benson wins £25,000. At the awards ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya on 23 May 2017, the four finalists delivered presentations, before Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation.
Benson developed the platform based on the experiences he had as a young tutor. An important part of the service is that both students and teachers are thoroughly vetted before being allowed to use the platform.
The scope of skills on offer ranges from learning to play the piano, sew clothes, learn a new language and more. Tutors also cover a range of academic subjects for all ages.
The platform has a ratings system, and students book lessons using an upfront online payment system. Tutors are paid once the lessons have been confirmed, and Tuteria takes 15 to 30% commission for each paid lesson.
Sixteen shortlisted Africa Prize entrants, from eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa, received six months training and mentoring during which they learned to develop business plans and market their innovations. The group received coaching on communicating effectively, focusing on customers and approaching investors with confidence.
“Godwin Benson’s Tuteria invention changes the way Nigerians – and Africans – share knowledge and skills with one another. We’re proud to have him as our third Africa Prize winner, and we trust Tuteria will go on to change the lives of millions of people who are eager to learn and develop new skills,” said head judge Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng.
“His engineering innovation is not only new technology, but also a new way of thinking about education. Benson has successfully incorporated the training of the past six months into his project, and we are eager to watch Tuteria grow on the continent.”
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, encourages talented sub-Saharan African engineers, from all disciplines, to develop local solutions to challenges in their communities. The Prize selects a shortlist of innovators from across the continent and provides training and mentoring to help turn engineers with incredible ideas into successful entrepreneurs.
Launched in 2014, the Prize aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward engineers who have developed innovations that will benefit Africans.
The three runners up, who each win £10,000, are:
  • Andre Nel from South Africa for the GreenTower Microgrid system, which reduces the energy used to heat water by 90%. A single unit can service 15 homes and reduce electricity demand from a community by 65%.
  • Hindu Nabulumba from Uganda for the Yaaka Digital Learning Network, which teachers and students can use to share academic knowledge and materials.
  • Kelvin Gacheru from Kenya for the Mobi-Water system, which allows water tank users to monitor and control the water in their tanks remotely using a mobile phone. Users will be able to save more than 30% of their water.
Benson commented: “I am so humbled and grateful to the Academy for the training and support. It’s such a vote of confidence to be chosen out of sixteen such incredible businesses – we will do the Africa Prize proud!”
Africa Prize judge Rebecca Enonchong said: “Education is one of the best investments we can make in our communities, and Godwin’s innovation has amazing potential for the continent. We urge him to keep persevering. We can’t wait to see how Tuteria grows.”
The fourth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open. Individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa, and who have an engineering innovation, are invited to enter. Potential entrants can find more information here. The deadline for entries is 24 July 2017.
The Africa Prize is grateful to the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, a founding sponsor of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, who have come on board as the headline sponsor for the next three years of the Prize.

(Video) The terrifying moment a sea lion yanks a girl into the water

The first part of a now-viral video shows a sea lion swimming near a dock in Steveston, a seaside community on Canada’s western coast. The sound of cameras clicking can be heard in the background as onlookers marveled at its size.
The animal swims closer to the dock after grabbing a piece of food that someone threw.
It then rises from the water toward a little girl kneeling near the dock, then goes back in. The girl and others laugh.
She sits on the dock. After just one second, the sea lion jumps back, swiftly grabbing the girl by her white dress and dragging her into the water. Onlookers can be heard screaming in horror. A man immediately gets into the water to save the girl. culled.

Low-Cost Plasma Jet Engines Might Soon Take Us From Earth to Space

Low-Cost Plasma Jet Engines Might Soon Take Us From Earth to Space
Researchers are working on plasma jet engines that could fly aircraft to the edge of space using air and electricity alone. This development would mean lower operational costs, extended range, and a clean power source for commercial flights.
Imagine a jet engine that could propel an aircraft faster than a traditional engine, taking us all the way to the edge of the atmosphere, all without burning fossil fuels - and for a low cost.
That's exactly what plasma jet engines should be able to do, although thus far they have been confined to research labs, mostly those focusing on using the engines to move satellites and other spacecraft.
Now researchers from the Technical University of Berlin are working to bring them out of the lab and into the sky. 
Instead of burning fuel and compressed air and then shoving the results out of the back of an engine to cause a forward propulsion, a plasma jet engine mimics a fusion reactor or a star.
It creates electricity by exciting and compressing gas into a plasma, and then generating an electromagnetic field.
Led by Berkant Göksel, the research team aims to marry the plasma engine and the passenger jet to come up with something that could fly at very high altitudes but still take off and land.
"We are the first to produce fast and powerful plasma jets at ground level," Göksel told New Scientist.
"These jets of plasma can reach speeds of up to 20 kilometres a second."
Several obstacles are still standing between the plasma jet engine that can carry us to the edge of space and reality. First, Göksel's team was using tiny plasma thrusters - about 80 millimetres in length.
It would take around 10,000 of these little thrusters to propel a standard commercial-size aircraft, so the current design is a non-starter. For now, Göksel's team intends to use 100 to 1,000 thrusters to move a smaller airship or plane, which ought to be feasible.
Like anything else that runs on electricity - especially something that needs so much electricity - the biggest problem that even the tiny version of the plasma thrusters face is the need for batteries.
They need to be lightweight enough to avoid being counterproductive, yet have enough capacity to supply the needed power. The fact that the ultimate goal is making the thrusters bigger only exacerbates the issue.
So far, this problem hasn't been solved:
"An array of thrusters would require a small electrical power plant, which would be impossible to mount on an aircraft with today's technology," the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's Dan Lev told New Scientist.
Göksel and his team are, thus far, relying on outside power breakthroughs to bridge this gap. Improvements in solar panels or compact fusion reactors for use on aircraft or spacecraft could be exactly what this system needs.
Until something develops on that front, though, the team intends to create a hybrid craft that uses either rockets or pulse detonation combustion engines to fill in the gaps left by the plasma engine.
source: ScienceAlert

Social Media: Facebook, Messenger and Instagram unite with cross-app notifications

Social Media: Facebook, Messenger and Instagram unite with cross-app notifications
Facebook’s family of apps are moving in together. Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are each testing a feature that shows notification counters from the other apps and lets you instantly switch between them.
The feature could boost engagement across the apps by using those maddening red notification jewels to constantly remind you there’s something to see in the other apps. This way if you miss or dismiss an alert when you first receive it, or you don’t get push notifications from every type of activity, you’ll still see that red number lingering in the corner, beckoning your attention.
That’s also why some users will probably hate it. It exploits people’s anxiety about unread alerts and red dots in their blue apps to compel them to action.
Social media analyst Mari Smith first spotted the feature, and Facebook confirmed its existence to TechCrunch noting:
“We are conducting a very small test to make it easier for people to discover and connect with the people and things they care about. We’re exploring ways to help people switch more easily between their Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram accounts.”
The pop-over cross-app switcher appears when some users tap the profile icon in the top corners of Facebook, Messenger or Instagram. That icon displays a sum of the pending notifications from the other apps. Once opened, users see their accounts on the three services and a red jewel denoting unread alerts in those apps, which they can switch to with a tap. Fellow Facebook acquisition WhatsApp isn’t included in the switcher at this time.
Essentially, Facebook is leveraging the massive amounts of time people spend in these three products to override their devices’ operating systems and continuously pester people about its app family’s activity.

Telecom: MTN Makes Recharge Easy With Its New VTU Alias Platform

Telecom: MTN Makes Recharge Easy With Its New VTU Alias Platform
You can now top up your airtime and data with ease of mind using the new MTN VTU Alias platform, another first from MTN.
This new platform gives you the freedom to recharge airtime and data plans without giving out your real phone numbers through MTNAlias number.
All you need is to have an Alias number in place of your phone number for VTU top anytime.
How it works
  • Customer dial *323# to generate Alias Number.
  • Alias number is generated once. No need to generate number upon every VTU top-up request.
  • Alias number is an 11 digit code and not to be used for calls or SMS
  • Can be used on all VTU platforms (ATMs, Quickteller, Paga etc)
  • It is a permanent number for each customer’s phone number
Steps to create your MTN Alias Number
  1. Dial *323#
  2. Select 1 to create an Alias
  3. You would receive a confirmation SMS with your Alias number created
Forgot your Alias number? Here’s how to retrieve:
Dial *323#, Select “View” from options displayed to retrieve Alias Number.
This is a sponsored content.

Meet The 'Eyeborg' Man Rob Spence, Who Replaced His Eyeball with a Camera

Meet The 'Eyeborg' Man Rob Spence, Who Replaced His Eyeball with a Camera

Rob Spence is a filmmaker who calls himself the “Eyeborg.” After losing sight in his right eye at age 9 by incorrectly shooting a shotgun, Spence decided 26 years later to have his sightless eye removed and replaced with a digital camera.

After sharing his initial eye camera back in 2011, Spence has gotten major upgrades to the design.
While the early model clearly looked like a mass of electronics in his eye socket, Spence’s new camera looks just like a regular eye prosthesis. But behind the facade is a working camera with a built-in micro radio-frequency transmitter.
Eyeborg_Press_The Eye Horizontal
The camera isn’t wired to Spence’s nerves, so it doesn’t do the duties of a real eye, but it does record 3-minutes of video at a time (the time limit is due to overheating). Spence can monitor the eye’s “live view” through a handheld screen, and turning the camera on and off is done by tapping a magnet against it.
Here’s a view of Spence’s wife and dog in his Toronto apartment. It’s from an episode from Showtime’s new series “Dark Net,” which featured Spence’s eye camera:

Social Media: Facebook banks on virtual reality as the future of socialising

Social Media: Facebook banks on virtual reality as the future of socialising

Socialising in Facebook Spaces via VR

You finally managed to get everyone together in one place. Friends you haven’t seen for ages, scattered around the world, smile and talk to each other across a table – a virtual table, in a virtual world, seen through a virtual reality headset. This is the future of socialising, according to Facebook.
The social network announced several new products at its F8 Developer Conference in San Jose this week, with a strong focus on virtual and augmented reality.
Facebook Spaces, its new VR app, lets you chat with friends in a 3D virtual environment. It’s the first real glimpse of how Facebook plans to make virtual reality a social tool after buying Oculus VR in 2014.
“VR is a technology that gives us something no other technology has before – a magical feeling of presence, the sense that we’re really there together even when we’re apart,” said head of social VR Rachel Franklin as she announced the app.

Cartoon you

To create this feeling, Facebook Spaces lets you customise a cartoon avatar to represent you in the virtual world based on one of your Facebook photos. You can bring multiple people into the virtual space at the same time and chat as you usually would, using Oculus Touch controllers to move your avatar’s arms.
The VR app also draws on the wealth of content connected to your Facebook profile. You can overlay 360 images or videos from your Facebook feed onto the virtual space to plunge you and your avatar friends into a personalised environment, and flick through 2D photos with them.
Friends who don’t have Oculus Rift- and the headset is pretty expensive at around £500 – can be added to the conversation through video chat on Facebook Messenger. There’s also an MS Paint-style drawing tool so you can doodle in the air, though the focus of the app is on just hanging out and chatting.
This kind of social VR is essentially a “fancier version of Skype”, says Antonia Hamilton, a social neuroscientist at University College London. VR offers an advantage over video messaging, she says, because it can let us more easily communicate using nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and gestures.


But consumer headsets don’t capture motion or expressions well enough to make it look realistic in the virtual world. “Without capturing faces, you get VR characters which look very wooden and people often don’t like them,” says Hamilton.
In addition to virtual reality, Facebook is banking on augmented reality playing a role in our future communications. While its new AR tools are little more than Snapchat-like filters for your smartphone camera, the company clearly envisages a transition to wearable AR devices. “We want glasses, eventually contact lenses, that look and feel normal but let us overlay all kinds of information and digital objects on top of the real world,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the conference.
With developments in AI, augmented reality will ultimately be so good that you won’t be able to tell augmented visuals from reality, says Hao Li at the University of Southern California.
But there needs to be a hardware revolution before social VR and AR can become mainstream, he says. Headsets are still expensive and uncomfortable, and cause some users to feel dizzy or nauseous. “Until this has been solved, I find it hard to believe that the content would be so good and so engaging that people would want to use it on a daily basis,” says Li.
And it remains to be seen how much social value these tools can really provide. At one rather poignant moment in the conference, Zuckerberg demonstrated using AR to add a second coffee cup into an image of a dining table – “so it doesn’t look like you’re having breakfast alone”.

China: 70 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Egg Fossils Have Been Discovered in Guangdong Province

Ancient dinosaur egg fossils thought to be some 70 million years old have been discovered at a construction site in south-east China.
The remains of five shells were found buried in sandstone in the city of Foshan in China's Guangdong Province, at a depth of around 8 metres (26 feet), where scientists think they laid hidden and preserved since the late Cretaceous period.
"We found five eggs: three were destroyed, but they are still visible," researcher Qiu Licheng from Guangdong's Archaeological Institute told China Central Television (CCTV).
"The other two have their imprints on the stone. The eggs were round in shape, belonging to phytophagous [plant-eating] dinosaurs."
You can see footage of the discovery, which took place last Monday in Foshan, in the video below, with the egg fossils measuring approximately 13–14 centimetres (5.1-5.5 inches) in diameter uncovered in large chunks of red sandstone excavated from a local building site.
According to the archaeologists, the egg shells were damaged to varying degrees, with the veining that marked the shells' surface still visible, and the insides of the eggs filled with sandstone. Read further here......

Astronaut Peggy Whitson breaks U.S. space endurance record, is congratulated by President Trump

Astronaut Peggy Whitson broke the U.S. record Monday for most time in space and talked up Mars during a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump.
The International Space Station’s commander surpassed the record of 534 days, two hours and 48 minutes for most accumulated time in space by an American.
“This is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight,” Trump said. His daughter, Ivanka, also offered congratulations to Whitson from the Oval Office.
Astronaut breaks U.S. space endurance record, is congratulated by Trump
From the International Space Station, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA speak via video conference to U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Monday. | REUTERS
Whitson said it’s “a huge honor” to break such a record. “It’s an exciting time” as NASA prepares for human expeditions to Mars in the 2030s, included in new legislation signed by Trump last month. She called the space station “a key bridge” between living on Earth and traveling into deep space, and she singled out the station’s recycling system that transforms astronauts’ urine into drinking water.
“It’s really not as bad as it sounds,” she assured the president.
“Well, that’s good, I’m glad to hear that,” he replied. “Better you than me.”
Whitson already was the world’s most experienced spacewoman and female spacewalker and, at 57, the oldest woman in space. By the time she returns to Earth in September, she’ll have logged 666 days in orbit over three flights.
The world record — 879 days — is held by Russian Gennady Padalka. Whitson broke the NASA cumulative record set last year by astronaut Jeffrey Williams; Scott Kelly holds the U.S. record for consecutive days in space — 340.
Whitson is also the first woman to command the space station twice and the only woman to have led NASA’s astronaut corps. Behind her was a banner that read: “Congrats Peggy!! New U.S. High-Time Space Ninja.” The sign arrived Saturday on the commercial cargo ship, the S.S. John Glenn — barely in time for Monday’s celebration.
NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who arrived at the space station last week and took part in Monday’s call, said the space station is “by far the best example of international cooperation.”
Whitson told the president that spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting to Mars will require collaboration from other countries to succeed. NASA is building the hardware right now to test a new rocket that will carry astronauts farther from Earth than ever before, she said.
“Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term, so we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, OK?” Trump replied.
“We’ll do our best,” Whitson replied.
The debut of the mega rocket is still more than a year away — at least. The date will depend on whether astronauts are on board for the test flight, which could hoist the new Orion capsule to the vicinity of the moon.
Both Whitson and Fischer raised a hand when Trump asked which one of them was ready to go to Mars.
Joining Trump in the Oval Office was astronaut Kate Rubins, who last summer became the first person in space to perform entire DNA decoding, or sequencing. She said she used a device the size of a cellphone for the job, and noted that such sequencing can detect microbes aboard spacecraft and monitor astronaut health.
“That’s fantastic,” Trump said. “I’ve been dealing with politicians so much, I’m so much more impressed with these people, you have no idea.”

Entrepreneur: AYEEN 2017 set to empower 1,000 people this year, register now

Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, Africa's richest woman and the Chief Executive Matron to the Africa's Young Entrepreneurs discusses the AYEEN2017 plan with the organisation's executives in their annual meeting which was held at the Rose of Sharon Towers in Victoria Island. It was a strategic meeting and discussion on how to impact the lives of more young Nigerians though entrepreneurship.

The Organisation through its AYEEN (Africa's Young Entrepreneurs Empowerment Nigeria) initiative will be empowering a thousand entrepreneurs this year. The registration process is ongoing while the screening process which is set to commence in MAY this year will be held in 6 key locations across Nigeria; Abuja, Calabar, Delta, Enugu, Kaduna and Lagos. Business owners and young Nigerians with business ideas will be given a platform to pitch their ideas and businesses to the business experts/judges. 

Selected entrepreneurs who will be AYEEN 2017 beneficiaries will be awarded with full grants, single digit interest loans, business equipments, mentorship and training. Stand a chance to be one of the beneficiaries this year by registering at before registration closes. 

The AYEEN program since its inception in 2014 has empowered thousands of Nigerians across the country, they remain the largest entrepreneurship network in AFRICA and their great work and objectives has just been rated as one of the top entrepreneurship organisation in the world by the Global Entrepreneurship Institute, United State.

Under graduates, graduates, youth corpers, business owners, unemployed youth and Nigerians in general are advised to take advantage of this life changing opportunity.

Click to register:

Join their social network:

Twitter: @ayeorganisation
Facebook: africas young entrepreneurs
Instagram: africasyoungentrepreneurs
Download their app on google playstore, microsoft and all android phones: AYE

NASA: Large asteroid to pass close to Earth on Wednesday

NASA: Large asteroid to pass close to Earth on Wednesday
FILE PHOTO: NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera image of earth
An asteroid more than a quarter mile (400 meters) wide will pass close to Earth on Wednesday, zooming by at a distance of just over a million miles (1.8 million km), but with no chance of impact, according to NASA scientists.
Smaller asteroids routinely make closer passes to Earth, but 2014 J025, discovered in May 2014, will be the largest asteroid to come this near to the planet since 2004, flying by at only about 4.6 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km).
"We know the time that the object is going to be closest within seconds, and the distance is known within hundreds of kilometers (miles)," Davide Farnocchia, a mathematician at NASA's Near-Earth Object program, said by telephone on Tuesday.
Having several years of data on the asteroid's trajectory gives scientists the ability to predict its path very confidently, he added.
The asteroid, estimated to be between one-quarter and three-quarters of a mile (600-1,400 meters) wide and twice as reflective as the Moon, won't be visible to the naked eye, but sky watchers should be able to view it with home telescopes for one or two nights starting on Wednesday.
The approach of J025 will be the asteroid's closest for at least the next 500 years.
In 2004, the 3.1-mile (5-km) wide asteroid Toutatis passed about four lunar distances, or just under a million miles (1.6 million km) from Earth.
Amateur astronomers may be watching J025's journey, but Farnocchia said he and his colleagues have moved on to tracking even closer encounters, such as asteroid 1999 AN10, a half-mile (800-meter) wide rock predicted to pass only 236,000 miles (380,000 km) from Earth, or slightly less than the distance to the Moon, in 2027.

Credit: Reuters