Are Microsoft and Google in a space race? We think they are. Their rivalry is also, we believe, a precursor to the next great post-Internet technology boom: space exploration and development…
… Microsoft just released its new Worldwide Telescope, which will access images from NASA’s great fleet of space-born telescopes and earth-bound observatories such as the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, partially funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, which is projected for ‘first light’ in 2014 in Chile’s Atacama Desert -the world’s Southern Hemisphere space-observatory mecca. The 8.4-meter telescope will be able to survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its 3-billion pixel digital camera. The telescope will probe the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, and it will open a movie-like window on objects that change or move rapidly: exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids and distant Kuiper Belt objects.
So far this particular ‘Space Race’ is confined to ground based telescopes using advanced viewing software. I predict in about 10-20 years Google/Microsoft will be conducting virtual reality tours to Solar System planets and moons utilizing more evolved versions.
This could happen faster than actual physical explorations by robots or humans.
…for Nasa, however, the biggest question of all is whether the Phoenix will reach the surface safely.
Its landing system will use descent engines for a controlled touchdown rather than making an airbag-cushioned landing.
This method allows for a larger payload of instruments but is more prone to failure and has seen serious losses. It has not been used successfully on Mars since 1976.
Almost half of the space probes sent to Mars from the past 40 years have failed to reach their targets for one reason or another.
This includes all probes, American, old Soviet, European, etc.
That’s quite a few. And the fact the landing system on Phoenix hasn’t been used since the Viking Landers over thirty years ago doesn’t inspire much confidence in NASA’s skills.
More goodies other than space tours from the Google-Plex:
Google is billing Android as “a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.” Some may call it Google’s answer to the iPhone, and for a long time it was already billed as “the iPhone killer,” long before the software development kit was released.
The Android is going to be a very open platform, where anyone can affect changes. Whereas before, wireless companies had a large amount of control over the phone and its software, with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone, things have been shook up: Google plan to take that a lot further with Android.
Android’s openness has been put through the wringer over at MIT though, after Massachusetts Industry of Technology professor Hal Abelson asked his computer science student’s one question; what do you want your cell phone to be able to do?
Like the Esso/Exxon ad of the 1960s-1970s, “Put a tiger in your tank”, the ad of the early 21st Century is going to be, “Put an android on your phone”.
The Google-monster might be onto something here. People now are disconnecting from landlines and are using their cellphones exclusively for calls, messaging and ‘Tubes surfing. Especially in countries that had no previous telephone infrastructure, this technology is wide spread. The ‘Android’ will only cement this.
The Google-Plex/Cloud-Hive Mind is coming!
Thanx today to The Daily Galaxy