NASA Gets in a Right Spin Over a Flying Saucer

By Darren Orf on at

NASA tests more Mars-bound tech, important apps updates aplenty, and PlayStation 4 gets a new special edition console.


This spinning piece of sci-fi is NASA’s low-density supersonic decelerator (we’ll work on the name) specifically designed to deliver large payloads to the surface of Mars. Yesterday, NASA preformed an important spin test in Hawaii to make sure everything is good to go for the summer’s upcoming flight test.

This saucer/parachute combo was designed to address the tricky conditions of Mars’s atmosphere, which is too thick for rockets but also too thin for parachutes. NASA says they can only deliver about one tonne of cargo to the surface of Mars at a time, as demonstrated with the Curiosity mission, but if humans are serious about exploring the Red Planet, NASA will need to do better. [NASA]

  • Apple tried to lure away Tidal’s exclusive artists. But don’t worry. Jay-Z ain’t mad. [9to5Mac]
  • Two industrial giants are battling it out, Highlander-style, over the future of lithium-ion batteries. There can only be one. [Quartz]

Apps and Devices

  • Alcatel’s new smartwatch is now available for pre-order for $150 (£101), but here’s the kicker—It’s OS-agnostic.
  • Amazon just launched a sleek all-white Kindle, only problem is it’s currently a Japan/China exclusive. Fingers crossed. [The Digital Reader]
  • WhatsApp brings voice calling to Android. Ditch that stock dialler already. [VentureBeat]
  • Todoist is an app with the sole purpose of making your life easier, but with a new massive update, including smarter task creation, it’s now more possible than ever. [TNW]
  • Inbox by Gmail may not have been the email saviour you were hoping for, but it’s getting better. This new update will bring custom snooze times on emails. [Android Central]
  • Apple opens the Apple Watch app floodgates and begins accepting submissions from all developers. [MacRumors]

Rumours!

  • Android One, Google’s super-cheap smartphone platform, may be ready to spread its wings from Asia. Where it will land is still uncertain. [Android Headlines]
  • Rumour: Ants may be aliens. [BBC]
  • This console is the PlayStation 4 we deserve. [PlayStation Blog]

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