Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

April 27, 2018 by  
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Start-up EarthNow is aiming to bring us real-time video taken from space  of any point on our planet. Backed by such high-profile supporters as Bill Gates and Airbus, EarthNow promises to boldly go where no one has gone before through a proposed “constellation” of satellites that will offer clients their pick of locations and angles from which to capture real-time video of Earth. EarthNow promises the delivery of video with only a one-second delay, without the need to wait for any satellite to be in range due to a comprehensive network that covers the entire planet at any given time. According to EarthNow, the system will one day let us “instantly create “living” 3D models of a town or city, even in remote locations,” observe conflict zones and react in real time, and catch forest fires the minute they start. In its very early stage at the moment, EarthNow intends to initially focus on “high-value enterprise and government customers,” offering services such as weather monitoring, tracking illegal fishing or poaching, or surveillance of conflict zones. Although there is no defined timeline for creating a prototype and testing the system, EarthNow is nonetheless making moves to bring its vision into reality. Thanks to its collaboration with  OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, EarthNow will be able to build its system using a significantly improved version of OneWeb’s satellite network. “Each satellite is equipped with an unprecedented amount of onboard processing power, including more CPU cores than all other commercial satellites combined,” said EarthNow in a press release . Related: Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth Though EarthNow is targeting larger clients to start, its objective is ultimately to share the Earth with all of its inhabitants.  “EarthNow is ambitious and unprecedented, but our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time,” said EarthNow CEO and founder Russell Hannigan in a statement . “We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.” Via Tech Crunch Images via Earth Now

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Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

January 15, 2018 by  
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British company Earth-i just launched a new prototype satellite that paves the way for the “world’s first full-color, full-motion video satellite constellation.” CARBONITE-2 is a test version of the the Vivid-i commercial satellite constellation, and its imaging system “is designed to deliver 1m resolution images and color HD video clips with a swath width of 5km.” CARBONITE-2 (which the Earth-i team calls VividX2) blasted off from the Indian Space Research Organization ‘s Satash Dhawan Space Center aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle late last week. Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) manufactured the technology demonstration satellite. In their statement on the launch they said it “will demonstrate a low-cost video-from-orbit solution using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf technologies.” Related: Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space An Ultra High Definition camera on CARBONITE-2 can snap high-resolution images and capture up to two minutes of video. The satellite weighs around 220 pounds, and it will orbit 314 miles, above the planet, moving at around 4.3 miles a second. European Space Agency Earth Observation Programs director Josef Aschbacher said in a statement, “The launch of VividX2 is a significant next development of Earth-i’s constellation, and welcomed by ESA. The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and lives on Earth.” The company said such images and videos could help governments or businesses monitor assets, track activities or changes, and even “predict future events with more certainty.” Earth-i has already ordered the next five satellites for Vivid-i from SSTL. Via Engadget , Earth-i , and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited Images via SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

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New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

Video: NASA tests its supersonic parachute for the first time

November 20, 2017 by  
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NASA has performed the first test of its supersonic parachute as part of its Mars 2020 mission. This essential component will allow the Mars-bound spacecraft to slow down as its enters the planet’s atmosphere whilst traveling at speeds of over 12,000 MPH. “It is quite a ride,” said Ian Clark, the test’s technical lead from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The imagery of our first parachute inflation is almost as breathtaking to behold as it is scientifically significant. For the first time, we get to see what it would look like to be in a spacecraft hurtling towards the Red Planet , unfurling its parachute.” Take a look at the video after the jump. The first test of this parachute was conducted with the Black Brant IX sounding rocket, which launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on October 4, 2017. After the rocket reached 26 miles in altitude and a speed 1.8 times that of sound, its parachute was deployed successfully. The rocket landed off the coast of Virginia shortly after. “Everything went according to plan or better than planned,” said Clark. “We not only proved that we could get our payload to the correct altitude and velocity conditions to best mimic a parachute deployment in the Martian atmosphere, but as an added bonus, we got to see our parachute in action as well.” Related: The world’s first space nation is now officially in orbit The Mars 2020 mission aims to search for signs of life on Mars by investigating evidence on location through the use of a remote rover and by gathering drilled rock samples to be studied upon their return to Earth. As indicated by its name, the mission aims to launch in 2020 and will require new technology , such as the supersonic parachute, to complete the ambitious undertaking. Although this marked the first parachute test for the Mars 2020 mission, the parachute itself has been used before for Mars exploration. In 2012, a parachute with the same design was used to land NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory on the planet itself. Future tests will incorporate a strengthened parachute, which may be used in the Mars 2020 mission. Via NASA / NBC News Images via NASA

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Video: NASA tests its supersonic parachute for the first time

This terrifying glass walkway in China cracks as you step on it

October 16, 2017 by  
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Would you trek across this “cracking” glass walkway? In China ‘s Taihang Mountains there’s a frosty glass walkway that gives visitors a heart-stopping experience. The skywalk is approximately 873-feet-long and it’s located 3871 feet off the ground. Somewhere in the middle, however, there is a high-tech panel that simulates the effect of breaking glass. It’s so realistic that it has caused more than one person to nearly lose themselves in fright. The floor of the skywalk is all glass, but it alternates between clear and frosted panels. Because of this, it is impossible to know which panel will simulate the near-death experience — and possibly spawn a heart attack in the process. As the video above reveals, even the bravest of the brave will likely find themselves crawling the remaining portion of the glass walkway . The “fake” cracking glass panel is actually a high-tech display with pressure sensors. The moment an unsuspecting tourist steps on it, it begins to crack — giving them the sense they are about to drop to their death. There are even matching sound effects to complete the experience. Related: Spiraling treetop walkway gives visitors a bird’s eye view of a Danish forest There has been quite an uproar about the cracking glass skywalk. As a result, the local government issued an apology. A promotion video was also created to inform trekkers about the “fake” danger. Because the skywalk is checked daily for actual cracking glass, the likelihood of a panel breaking is said to be small. Via SlashGear Images via YouTube

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This terrifying glass walkway in China cracks as you step on it

First ever video footage of wild sand cat kittens in Morocco

October 12, 2017 by  
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Get ready for cuteness overload. Researchers recently filmed sand cat kittens in the Moroccan Sahara , and they’re crazy adorable. The team thinks this could be the very first time scientists “documented wild sand cat kittens in their African range.” Sand cats can be incredibly elusive. They don’t leave many visible footprints. They’re quiet when they meow. And they don’t leave prey remains around. Their fur offers excellent camouflage in the desert, and they move around during the night, or at dusk or dawn. According to Grégory Breton, Panthera France managing director and one of the team members, “Finding these kittens was astonishing.” Related: At this “cat library,” you can check out a kitten for the day Breton was headed back to camp with Alexander Sliwa, Cologne Zoo curator, and Sahrawi driver Elhaj at 2:00 AM, after seven hours of searching for sand cats that day, when they saw the glimmer of three pairs of eyes: the sand cat kittens. Breton described them as having wider faces and bigger ears than a regular house cat. The researchers think they were between six and eight weeks old. Sand cats haven’t been well studied in their natural range, according to Breton. After the sightings, the team acquired a permit from the authorities in Morocco to catch and collar the cats. Breton said they’ve spotted 29 different sand cats and radio-collared 13. They’ve started gathering information that will help protect the species, and some of their findings have surprised them, like the fact that “sand cats are traveling more than we thought and more than what’s been recovered for any other small cats.” The team makes clear in their video above that sand cats are a wild desert species, and say, “Please don’t try to acquire them as a pet , rather save an abandoned domestic cat!” You can follow the team, which also includes Jardin Zoologique National veterinarian Saâd Azizi and other local guides and drivers, on the Sand Cat Sahara Team Facebook page. Via Panthera Images via screenshot

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First ever video footage of wild sand cat kittens in Morocco

TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof

October 12, 2017 by  
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The camper designers at TAXA Outdoors have outdone themselves with their latest off-grid masterpiece. Weighing in at just under 2,300 pounds, the Mantis can be towed wherever adventure calls you. The 18-foot-long home on wheels comes complete with a pop-up roof that adds more space to the interior, creating enough room for four full-sized adventurers to sleep comfortably. The innovative flexible space adds a lot of value to the otherwise compact camper. At full height, the pop-up central roof adds ample standing room in the kitchen and bathroom areas. For sleep space, a full-size bed/couch at the rear of the camper fits two full size adult and two bunk beds fold out in the living area. Related: Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed Like most of the TAXA campers, the Mantis is designed to be enjoyable on the road and easy to store when not since it easily folds down to 6´9″ to fit into most standard length and height garage. Founder Garrett Finney, former senior architect at the Habitability Design Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), explains the inspiration behind the ultra-efficient Mantis design, “Our dealers wanted something with more sleeping room to round out our family of products beyond the Cricket, which is designed for 2 adults and 2 younger children,” Finney says. “The number one selling trailer for the past decade is a 20-foot trailer that sleeps 4 adults. This is our version of that.” For basic needs, the camper comes installed with integrated electric and plumbing systems, and is pre-wired for solar panels . The camper was also installed with ample storage underneath the bunk beds and in the kitchen. The Mantis also comes with the beloved TAXA feature of well-placed cargo nets and bungee cords, which are infinitely handy. The roof also has a cargo deck and rack for large items like bikes or kayaks. The Mantis camper has an estimated starting cost of $32,500 and will be available for purchase this month. + TAXA Mantis Via Uncrate

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TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof

First newly-developed chocolate in 80 years is made from Ruby cocoa beans

September 13, 2017 by  
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Chocolate aficionados rejoice! There’s a new version of your favorite velvety treat, and it’s ruby red in color. Made from the Ruby cocoa bean, the newly-invented variety of chocolate is the first to be developed in 80 years — since white chocolate was introduced to the world. And though we haven’t tried it ourselves, apparently it has a fruity and slightly sour flavor. The new chocolate was recently unveiled in Shanghai, China by Swiss chocolate producer Barry Callebaut . MNN reports the company spent 13 years developing the treat and describes it as a “tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness.” It’s “an intense sensorial delight,” says the company. Part of the chocolate’s appeal is its unique color, a result of the Ruby cocoa bean’s pigment. The product is all natural and is made using an “innovative process” that unlocks the bean’s unique flavor and color. Barry Callebaut says no berries, berry flavor or any color is added to the chocolate. Related: HOW TO: Make delicious, raw chocolate pudding from avocados! This is the #rubychocolate that everyone is on about. Taste is like white choc w/ berry fruits – but all from bean… pic.twitter.com/NqGs90Lmda — Andrew Baker (@ccAndrewBaker) September 5, 2017 Unfortunately, it will be at least six months until you can try the ruby chocolate for yourself since Callebaut only makes the chocolate, and not the consumer products that would go with it. Raphael Warmth wrote on the company’s Facebook page : “So far you cannot buy the ruby chocolate. This very much depends on our customers when ruby chocolate will be available … as we are a B2B company and selling ruby chocolate to food manufacturers. Usually, it takes from 6 up to 18 months until an innovation from our side hits the retail shelves.” Judging by the gleeful reactions of people taste-testing the ruby chocolate in the video below, it will be worth the wait. + Barry Callebaut Via MNN Images via  Barry Callebaut

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First newly-developed chocolate in 80 years is made from Ruby cocoa beans

Rare white giraffes spotted by Kenyan conservation group

September 12, 2017 by  
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Remarkable white giraffes have been sighted in northeastern Kenya . These creamy giraffes barely even look real, but the Hirola Conservation Program (HCP) captured two, a mother and baby, in a video. The animals have a genetic condition called leucism, which is not the same as albinism. The white giraffes were spotted in an area where HCP, a Kenya-based non-governmental organization and partner Rainforest Trust , are protecting habitat for the hirola antelope. Rangers reported the white giraffes after hearing about them from villagers who live nearby, according to HCP, which rushed to the scene to see for themselves. Related: Video footage of rare all-white moose in Sweden They caught sight of the mother and juvenile, noting the adult female pacing back and forth a few yards away from them while signaling the baby to hide in the bushes. HCP noted this behavior is characteristic of many wildlife mothers working to protect their children. Rainforest Trust said leucism turns animals’ appearance white . According to TreeHugger, skin cells in animals with leucism don’t produce pigmentation, but soft tissues do, like in the eyes of these giraffes, which are dark. White giraffes aren’t common in the area, and HCP said most elders say they’ve never seen the creatures. HCP quoted a ranger, Bashir, who said, “This is new to us. I remember when I was a kid, we never saw them. It must be very recent and we are not sure what is causing it.” White giraffes have been previously sighted in Kenya and in Tanzania . HCP said the first report of a white giraffe in the wild occurred just last year, in January 2016, in a Tanzania national park . Via Hirola Conservation Program and TreeHugger Images via screenshot

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Video: Michael Phelps’ Water-Saving Tips

September 2, 2017 by  
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As a successful swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps knows a thing or two about water — including how to save it. He’s teamed up with Colgate for their “Save Water” campaign, and his tips don’t…

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Video: Michael Phelps’ Water-Saving Tips

Video footage of rare all-white moose in Sweden

August 15, 2017 by  
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The rare appearance of a white moose is being celebrated by animal enthusiasts worldwide, as the majestic animal is estimated to be one of just 100 living in Sweden . Hans Nilsson, who has been tracking the elusive creature for three years, captured the footage on August 11 in the province of Varmland. As soon as it was uploaded, the video went viral. The BBC reports that the white moose is not albino but lacks color due to a genetic mutation. True albino animals are unable to produce melanin and have pink or red eyes. Animals with leucism, on the other hand, have a snowy white coat and dark-colored eyes. Moose are extraordinary animals , standing approximately 6.5 feet high at the shoulder. Some moose can weigh up to 1,800 pounds, and males have massive antlers that can span up to 6 feet end to end. Moose can also run up to 35 miles per hour. Related: Nova Scotia’s Sacred Albino Moose Killed by Visiting Hunters Unicorns sadly remain fictional, but at least white moose are real. Via BBC Images via Hans Nilsson

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