The Morning After: NASA’s Perseverance begins its search for ancient life on Mars

Mat Smith, Richard Lawler and Engadget
·4-min read

After launching in July 2020, NASA’s Perseverance touched down on Mars at around 3:55 PM ET yesterday, following a smooth descent to the surface. Perseverance's engineering cameras shared images from the landing site shortly after touchdown, which you can see here. If you’re waiting on high-resolution images for your next PC or smartphone wallpaper, you’ll have to wait on NASA a little longer.

Mars Perseverance render
Mars Perseverance render

Perseverance will use imaging and ultraviolet cameras to hunt down a promising dig site somewhere inside the Jezero Crater, a 28-mile section of Mars that was once an ancient river or lake. NASA believes that a body of water, roughly the size of Lake Tahoe, existed there between 3 and 4 billion years ago. The space agency hopes to find signs of ancient microbial life, maybe some preserved organic molecules, when Perseverance drills into the crater’s surface.

If you’re particularly inspired by the Mars rover mission, we’ve profiled how some of NASA’s engineers got to where they are now.

— Mat Smith

The first Android 12 developer preview is here

Simpler gesture navigation and haptic feedback.

While some of us are dabbling in new emoji in the beta of iOS 14.5, Android 12’s developer preview approaches. While it’s mostly dense documentation aimed at developers, we pulled out a few details. Gesture navigation will be streamlined and more consistent while you’re playing a game, reading a book or watching a video. And while developers can still only show the translucent navigation bar (to prevent accidental swipes when in full screen), any app that doesn't have it will default to recognizing a swipe from the side or bottom as going back or home.

Android 12 will also have support for "audio-coupled haptic feedback." This means developers could create experiences like simulating rough terrain in a racing game, or allowing custom ringtones paired with vibration patterns to let the user identify the caller when the device is in the user’s pocket.

This initial preview is meant only for developers, so Google is limiting it to manual downloads. But if you're a developer or feeling risky, you can install the preview today by flashing a device system image to a Pixel phone (Pixel 3 and newer).

Continue reading.

Tesla cuts prices for entry-level Model 3 and Model Y

Prices are rising for the Performance variants.

Tesla
Tesla

As Reuters reports, Tesla has slashed the prices of entry-level Model 3 and Model Y electric cars. A Standard Range Plus Model 3 now starts at $36,990 (down from $37,990), while the Standard Range Model Y has dropped more sharply to $39,990 (previously $41,990). The company just made the Model Y more accessible by introducing the Standard Range in January, so a price cut this soon comes as something of a surprise.

Continue reading.

Panasonic developed farting robot that just hangs out looking cute

Like a sock and a Pokémon had a baby.

Panasonic
Panasonic

Panasonic co-developed a spherical robot called Nicobo, which actually has fewer features than other robots. It might recognize faces and even respond to some verbal cues, but sometimes it’ll intentionally just ignore you. It can’t move, but it likes lazing in the sun, (it has light sensors built in). It also has gas issues, despite the fact it doesn’t even eat. Is that endearing?

Continue reading.

AI has remastered Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up' in glorious 4K

Rickrolling will never be the same.

YouTube
YouTube

YouTube user Revideo has taken the internet phenomenon and upgraded the slightly smeary, utterly ‘80s music video into 4K resolution, smoothing out the shimmying arms and blow-out hair-dos into 60 fps. The effect is a weird one, making the 1988 video look like something made in the last couple of years. It helps that a lot of the fashion choices from back then are right on trend once more.

Continue reading.

SolarWinds hackers accessed Microsoft source code for 3 products

But didn’t access customer data, according to the report.

The tech giant has completed its investigation and has determined that the hackers didn't get their hands on customer data. It also said it found no indications the hackers used its systems to attack its other victims — and there were many, including nine federal agencies and around 100 companies in the private sector.

According to the latest report, the bad actors accessed and downloaded source code for three products in particular: its cloud computing service, Azure; its cloud-based management solution, Intune and its mail and calendar server, Exchange. In all three cases, Microsoft said the attackers only managed to access a small number of files, though they used search terms indicating they were focused on finding company secrets.

Continue reading.

But wait, there’s more...

VAIO Z is a pricey laptop with a '3D molded' carbon-fiber body

Christie's first digital art auction leans on blockchain and other buzzwords

Amazon reportedly locks Donald Glover into a huge Prime Video deal

Facebook, Google and Twitter CEOs agree to testify about misinformation

The 'Mortal Kombat' reboot trailer is as gory as it should be

Animal Crossing's Mario update lets you recreate the Mushroom Kingdom

EA now owns Codemasters and its many, many racing games

California DMV warns 20 months of records may have been exposed

NVIDIA limits RTX 3060 crypto speeds as it introduces mining cards