Tech Talk

• NASA technology designed to protect spacecraft from heat and pressure when entering a planet’s atmosphere will be launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico as part of testing.

NASA said Friday the system will be aboard a suborbital rocket being launched today by UP Aerospace. Once the rocket reaches space, the umbrella-like shield will deploy.

The shield is made from woven carbon fabric and supported by semi-rigid ribs. NASA says it would allow exploratory spacecraft larger than the Curiosity rover to successfully land on other planets within the solar system.

The shield was designed and built by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.

As part of the launch, NASA also will be testing other technology for launch vehicles and measuring the internal environment of suborbital vehicles that are carrying experiments.

• Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are planning to lead the largest drone-based study of tornadoes and severe storms ever conducted.

More than 50 scientists and students from four universities will participate during the 2019 and 2020 storm seasons. The project has received a $2.5m in support from the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

University officials say the study is the largest of its kind, based on the geographical area covered and the number of drones and other assets deployed.

The University of Colorado Boulder, Texas Tech University, the University of Oklahoma and the National Severe Storms Laboratory are also participating.

The research is intended to improve the conceptual model of super cell thunderstorms.

• Apple is expected to unveil its biggest and most expensive iPhone today as part of a lineup of three new models aimed at widening the product’s appeal amid slowing sales growth.

Most of the buzz is swirling around a rumored iPhone that is supposed to boast a 6.5-inch OLED screen, up from 5.8 inches on the existing iPhone X.

If the speculation pans out, the even-bigger iPhone would represent Apple’s attempt to feed consumers’ appetite for increasingly bigger screens as they rely on smartphones to watch and record video, as well as take photos wherever they are.


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