NASA 5:24 NASA’s on a mission to collect space dirt from a potentially… NASA InSight lander rocks its journey to Mars: A view in pictures 22 Photos NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further.Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens. NASA also released a GIF of the various surveys Osiris-Rex carried out after arriving at Bennu in early December The series of images, captured between Nov. 30 and Dec. 31, helped the team more accurately determine Bennu’s mass, which ensured that the orbital insertion would proceed smoothly. You can see the GIF, captured by Osiris-Rex’s black-and-white NavCam, below:Enlarge ImageOsiris-Rex surveyed 101955 Bennu before slipping into orbit on December 31. NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin Space The orbital period, lasting until mid-February, is expected to provide additional details about Bennu’s gravity, orientation and spin, along with a better understanding of its mass. All those observations should lead to completing one of the chief objectives for Osiris-Rex: retrieve a sample from Bennu’s surface and fly it back to Earth. In 2020, the spacecraft will extend a specially designed arm, called Tagsam, for a brief high-five with the asteroid. The arm will blow nitrogen gas onto the surface of Bennu, kicking up handfuls of dirt, which the spacecraft will fly back to Earth in 2023.A successful pickpocketing will give scientists a more detailed look at the kind of compounds that make up the potentially hazardous object.Bennu is the near-Earth object that’s second most likely to collide with our planet, only outranked by an asteroid known as 1950 DA on NASA’s Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale. Though they’re ranked as hazardous, the actual likelihood they would ever collide with Earth is incredibly low — Bennu could smack into Earth between 2169 and 2199. 1950 DA shouldn’t trouble you at all. If it were to hit, that impact wouldn’t occur until 2880. Sci-Tech Comments Now playing: Watch this: 2 Fly, Osiris-Rex! Fly! NASA/Goddard Visiting a distant, icy world that looks like a snowman certainly had space enthusiasts enraptured in the first days of 2019, but some other historic NASA news slipped through in the final hours of 2018 — and it might reveal just as much about our solar system.The asteroid-chasing Osiris-Rex (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) performed its own historic maneuver on New Year’s Eve. An eight-second thruster burn on Dec. 31 placed the spacecraft in orbit around 101955 Bennu, which drifts through the solar system’s asteroid belt between the Earth and Mars.By inserting itself into orbit around Bennu, Osiris-Rex will survey the asteroid from a distance of only about 1 mile (1.75 kilometers) from its center. Bennu’s small size creates an incredibly tiny gravitational force, so maintaining that orbit will require lots of little adjustments, made by NASA and its collaborating organizations. “The gravity of Bennu is so small, forces like solar radiation and thermal pressure from Bennu’s surface become much more relevant and can push the spacecraft around in its orbit much more than if it were orbiting around Earth or Mars, where gravity is by far the most dominant force,” said Dan Wibben, maneuver and trajectory design lead. Tags Share your voice
Close In the week of 19 October, Microsoft (US code: MSFT) shares surged 9% on the back on an unexpectedly strong quarterly earnings report, reaching a new 15-year price high of almost $53 per share.All key Microsoft business divisions performed better than expected, with strong contributions from the new Windows 10 operating system, the Office 365 online productivity software suite, and strong uptake of the Xbox One games console and associated Xbox live online subscriptions.But the real star of the show was the 14% constant currency growth in sales from the Intelligent Cloud division, with Microsofts Azure cloud services product doubling revenues over the same period a year ago.This mirrors the very strong performance seen in Amazons quarterly earnings report, with Amazon Web Services posting a very impressive 78% jump in sales over a year ago, driving a surge in Amazons profit growth.So two of US Techs hottest cloud computing giants are hitting new share price highs (Chart 1), joined by the third, the company formerly known as Google, now called Alphabet (US code: GOOGL).Looking at the growth of the cloud computing sector overall, it continues to be very impressive as more and more companies take advantage of Web 2.0 to produce new disruptive business models.Think about the impact that new web-based service businesses have had in taking market share: Uber in taxi services, Airbnb in short hotel stays, Netflix in video on-demand and of course the continued boom in convenient, online shopping at the expense of the traditional High Street.The cloud computing companies that provide the essential web hosting and computing power behind these web-based companies are led by Amazon and Microsoft, but also include IBM, Alphabet (Google) and Salesforce.com (Chart 2).US technology dominates the cloudCloud computing is dominated by US technology behemoths. So if you want to invest in the growth of cloud computing, the most obvious way is via buying shares in US tech companies.You could buy shares in one or a number of these technology giants; however that requires a share account that allows you to trade in US-listed shares, and also requires you to buy these shares in US dollars. This is the approach I take personally, but is perhaps only for the experienced investor who wants to invest regularly in US shares.ETFs and investment trusts: An easier solutionFor investors who do not want to take this more complicated route, a far easier solution lies in exchange-traded funds and investment trusts. These funds, listed on the London Stock Exchange, allow you to buy diversified exposure in US technology companies without needing special overseas share accounts or converting money into US dollars.There are three such listed funds that you can buy via a standard UK share account or a stocks and shares ISA:The Polar Capital Technology Trust (UK code: PCT, 572p as of Friday 23 October). This is an investment trust which invests globally in technology companies, with naturally a heavy bias towards US technology stocks. Its top holdings currently are: Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.The Powershares Nasdaq-100 UCITS ETF (UK code: EQQQ, share price £73.67), an ETF which mimics the US technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 index. Top 3 holdings: Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.3. The Source Technology S and P US Select Sector UCITS ETF (UK code; XLKQ, share price £66.85), an ETF which invests in the US technology sector. Top holdings: Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.For pure technology exposure and a fund that holds three of the largest cloud computing providers, I would opt for the Polar Capital Technology Trust right now, although the Powershares Nasdaq 100 comes a close second.UK cloud computing companies: iomartIn the UK, there are few listed cloud computing companies. One smaller UK technology company that is generating strong sales and profit growth from cloud computing is iomart (UK code: IOM, share price 280p), which develops and puts in place cloud computing solutions for companies using, for example Microsofts Azure online software platform.It has performed well over the last year on the back of strong growth, but could be set for further strong growth as cloud computing becomes ever more popular.Edmund Shing is Global Head of Equity Derivative Strategy at BNP Paribas in London. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.
The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday extended the parole permit to Sahara chief Subrata Roy until July 11, reported NDTV news channel. The beleaguered businessman can now stay out of jail a month more than the earlier June 6 deadline.The release was warranted on a rider that Roy would deposit Rs. 200 crore with the Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) by the new date to avoid re-arrest.The Financial Express reported that the apex court also directed the securities market regulator to continue to auction Sahara assets to recover dues the company owes many small investors.The top court has also restricted Roy’s movement within the country. Meanwhile, Roy has submitted an affidavit listing out his immovable assets, and requested that the details be kept secret.The apex court had on Friday granted four weeks’ conditional release to Roy to perform the last rites of his mother, who passed away at the age of 95. The businessman has been in the jail for over two years over non-repayment of money to Sahara investors.
Theresa May File PhotoMPs on Monday once again failed to find a majority on any alternative Brexit plan before them, leaving Britain’s chaotic path towards leaving the EU mired in uncertainty less than two weeks before its departure date.Brussels has set Britain an 12 April deadline to agree to the divorce terms Prime Minister Theresa May has struck with the bloc, find an alternative or crash out of the European Union.MPs have already rejected the Brexit divorce deal three times, shredding May’s authority.Parliament’s lower House of Commons seized the initiative last week by holding a first round of votes on eight alternative Brexit options but failed to find a majority on any of them.Refining them down to four, backbenchers voted again on Monday, hoping to find one solution that most of them could agree on.All four failed to find a majority although the result was close for proposals to hold a second referendum and negotiate a permanent customs union with the EU.Brexit secretary Steve Barclay hinted the government could now bring its deal back for a fourth vote this week and avoid a longer delay to Brexit that would mean holding European Parliament elections in May.He warned that otherwise “the default legal position is the UK will leave the EU in just 11 days time” without a deal — an option that experts have warned could cause huge economic disruption on both sides of the Channel.”Cabinet will meet in the morning to consider the results of tonight’s vote and how we should proceed,” Barclay said.The EU has called an emergency summit for 10 April and warned that without a plan, Britain risks abruptly ending ties with its largest trading partner two days later, causing huge economic disruption.”With our British friends we have had a lot of patience, but even patience is running out,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told Italian television channel Rai 1.Following the result, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the European Parliament’s Brexit committee, said: “A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable”.When MPs meet again on Wednesday “the UK has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss,” Verhofstadt said.Elusive majorityBritain voted by 52 per cent to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum, but the process has been mired in divisions over the terms of the divorce and what kind of future ties to seek.The political chaos forced May to postpone Britain’s exit from the original date of 29 March, but she said it would be “unacceptable” for a further delay beyond European Parliament elections on 23-26 May.Frustrated with her approach, MPs last week gave themselves powers to find an alternative strategy, by holding so-called “indicative votes” on a range of different Brexit options.They brought them back on Monday but once again, nothing produced a majority, even with May’s cabinet abstaining.The first motion, calling for the government to negotiate a permanent customs union with the EU, was defeated by 276 votes to 273.The second option, dubbed “Common Market 2.0″, would accept May’s divorce terms but require her to negotiate a new EU customs arrangement and membership of the EU single market. It was beaten by 282 votes to 261.A vote on plans for a second referendum went down by 292 to 280.The final option, which would have instructed government to revoke the legislation to leave the EU a day before Britain is due to crash out, was rejected by 292 to 191.Nick Boles, a Conservative MP who had proposed the Common Market 2.0 plan, announced he was leaving the party after the vote.”I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise,” an emotional Boles told parliament.”I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party,” he said.Cabinet ministers will meet on Tuesday to discuss the outcome of the ballots, and could still decide to hold a fourth vote on May’s deal on Wednesday or Thursday.The votes by MPs were are not legally binding but would have been politically hard to ignore if a majority was found.