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Mighty Jupiter is incomprehensibly large. More massive than all the other planets and asteroids in the solar system combined, Jupiter is the size of 1,300 Earths. As if such a big guy needed any additional protection, Jupiter is also swathed in radiation that’s many thousands of times harsher than around Earth.
“Jupiter is by far the most severe radiation environment of any body in the solar system, other than the Sun,” says Kevin Rudolph, an engineer at Lockheed Martin who helped design and build the Juno spacecraft.
The Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4 and orbit it for two years. How will Juno survive such blistering radiation? “We’re basically an armored tank,” says Juno principle investigator Scott Bolton. “This mission is a first for NASA in many ways. It’s probably one of the biggest challenges they’ve attempted, to get this close to Jupiter.”Where Does The Radiation Come From?
Jupiter’s large metal core gives it a magnetic field 20,000 times larger than Earth’s. And just like Earth’s magnetic field, the Jovian magnetosphere traps the electrically charged particles that stream out from the sun.
The particles in the magnetosphere build up over time, and many become more dangerous. As the planet spins, the Jovian magnetic field whips around, too, accelerating all those charged protons and electrons that got caught in the magnetic net. They also take on more energy as they crash into other.
“You end up with essentially BBs,” says Rudolph. But they’re sub-atomic, so they can pass through a spacecraft’s solid hull and spell trouble for a spacecraft’s electronics.
“Those BB-like particles will fly into an electronic circuit and knock the atoms off the chip, or knock the electrons in the circuitry out of position. If they knock enough out, it can destroy the circuit.”An Armored Tank 1. Avoid the radiation
The first step to making sure Juno’s circuitry doesn’t get taken apart by radiation is to limit its exposure.
Jupiter’s worst radiation is concentrated around its equatorial regions, so Juno’s elliptical orbit will make sure it flies through those areas as little as possible.
Juno’s elliptical orbit will help it avoid Jupiter’s most intense radiation. NASA
“The orbits that we have go far away from Jupiter over most of the orbit,” says Rudolph, “and when they come in close, they dive quickly through the intense part, then fly below the radiation and go back out quickly.”
“We thread a needle,” says Bolton. “By going over the poles we’re able to drop down in a small gap between the atmosphere and these intense radiation belts.”2. Radiation hardening
Lockheed Martin based Juno’s design on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. But radiation levels around Mars are much lower than at Jupiter, so the Juno team had to make some adaptations.
The engineers wrapped many of the components of Juno’s avionics systems in a thin layer of lead shielding, which is dense enough that the particles have trouble penetrating.
They also made some of the electronic parts larger, to lessen the impact of each radiation hit. For example, Rudolph says, if a transistor only has five atoms in it and radiation knocks away one of those atoms, then it would have lost 20 percent of its functionality. But if the transistor has 500 atoms in it, than a radiation hit only knocks out 0.2 percent of it.
“If it’s bigger, it’s more robust against radiation,” says Rudolph.
Juno’s radiation vault–the white box beneath the high-gain antenna–protects most of the spacecraft’s electronics from radiation. Lockheed Martin
This kind of radiation hardening makes the spacecraft able to survive a radiation dose of 50,000 rems. But that’s still a far cry from the 20 million rems that Juno will be exposed to over its lifetime. To make it even hardier, they needed to build a special box.3. A radiation-proof vault
Most of Juno’s electronics are secreted away inside a cube that measures about 3 feet on each side. The “vault” is made built from half-inch-thick titanium that will stop or slow down those fast-moving charged particles before they can smash into Juno’s delicate parts.
Of course, Juno’s solar panels and cameras won’t do much good if they’re locked inside a dark box. Those and other sensors are left outside the vault, with cables connecting them to the circuitry inside the vault.
Those external parts have added protections. For example, the camera that looks at the stars to help the spacecraft orient itself is wrapped in an inch-thick canister, with just one end open.
The solar panel arrays have a 12-millimeter-thick sheet of glass over the top. The glass lets in light so the solar panels can do their jobs, but it also provides a small amount of protection against radiation and damaging dust particles.4. Overcompensating
To see how radiation would affect Juno’s solar panels, engineers put the cells in what Rudolph describes as a “hot dog”-shaped chamber that fires electrons at the cells.
Those experiments showed that the solar cells would lose 10 to 15 percent of their output over the life of the mission. So to compensate, the team just made the panels 10 to 15 percent bigger. That way, Juno will still have enough power to take photos and measurements even when its near the end of its mission.
Each of Juno’s three solar panels is 30 feet long. Engineers made them larger to compensate for the damage they’ll receive from Jupiter’s harsh radiation. Lockheed Martin
Overall, Juno is designed to take twice as much radiation than scientists expect it to have to deal with. Its total radiation tolerance of 40 million rems gives a little room for error, in case the radiation levels are higher than expected, and should also leave open the possibility for a mission extension beyond November 2023.Paving The Way To Europa
Juno’s radiation-protected sensors show us Jupiter in greater detail than ever before. The mission could help to uncover how Jupiter formed, in turn shedding light on how the solar system, and maybe even life itself, came to be.
NASA is also seriously considering a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, which scientists consider to be one of the most likely spots to find alien life in our solar system. Because Europa orbits in Jupiter’s severe radiation belt, Juno’s design could help shape the spacecraft that eventually go there.
“Europa’s radiation dose is much worse than the dose that we’re getting from Jupiter,” says Rudolph. “They’re going to have to come up with some nifty stuff, and I’m sure NASA will take lessons from this mission.”
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Will smaller ad agencies end up ultimately trampled to death by yottabytes of Facebook and Google data? Behind the curtain: how Facebook and Google collect user data? Facebook’s mechanisms of data devouring
Signing up to Facebook, you immediately lose the inviolability of your private information. Most of the users voluntarily hand plenty of data attributes like gender, age, place of work and study, interests, etc. to the network during their first day on the website.
But the most fun fact about Facebook is that it collects data even if you don’t have a Facebook account. The network uses two ways to retrieve data from non-registered users: browsing history and their friends.Google’s secrets of data richness
The primary source of Google’s data is search. Each time you type letters in the search line, Google is taking notes and later personalizes your search accordingly.
Google knows that you traveled to Cambodia last fall, that you like bacon and eggs for breakfast, and that you have already finished the latest episode of Stranger Things ahead of your partner. Your partner may never discover the truth, but this guilty pleasure can’t get past Google.Drawbacks of duopoly’s data collection practices
Kate O’Flaherty said it perfectly in her recent Forbes article published after another Facebook data breach that affected 50 million of its users. “Trust in large technology companies is at an all-time low” — writes Kate. Facebook and Google may not resell their data to other parties, but even they are not safe from the risk of the data breach.
That’s not the first data breach that occurred on Facebook. A year before, Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data of over 87 million Facebook users without their consent. In the same year, Google exposed private data of 500,000 users. Instead of alerting users about the incident right away, the company waited for seven months to disclose the breach to the audience.
This was not the last event that happened within a year. Later in 2023, Google revealed a Google+ bug that left the user’s age, occupation, and email address exposed for six days. Again, the representatives had been covering up the incident for one month.
The reason for that is obvious: Google is afraid of hurting its public image, and so should you be while working with their ad platforms.What about ad agencies: Do they use a data-driven approach in their media-buying practices?
Ad agencies primarily rely on ad tech companies in their media buying activities. Most of them utilize ad networks and self-serve DSPs, which create some challenges on the way to better data processing within a company. They gather some data about their clients, yet their hands are tied when it comes to third-party sources.
No enterprise will share their data for free with another business, even if it’s not their direct competition. Therefore, ad agencies that don’t have their ad technology in-house stack might collapse in the face of the Duopoly.3 ways to strengthen ad agencies with smarter big data solutions
At the same time, ad agencies don’t need each user’s “mental health record” as such from Facebook’s file cabinet. Though, they could benefit from collecting better and more detailed third-party data by establishing a stable data source. This source may be their own ad tech platform that directly gathers third-party data and immediately brings it to the ad agency’s servers.
Welcome the three ad tech solutions that can serve as a lifeline for each of the drowning agencies.1. White-label demand-side platform
First of all, self-serve DSP providers are intermediaries who charge you up to 50% of a hidden fee, which translates into a significant bid markup. This can be avoided by setting up your own platform based on white label DSP technology.
A self-serve DSP provider is just another company with its own interests. Even though it shares some data with you, you will never see all of it. For full transparency and control, ad agencies might opt for a white-label DSP solution, where they buy the technology and build up the platform based on it.
Some white-label DSPs offer a precious feature of bidstream data collection. Bidstream is data about the user who has just seen an ad on the publisher’s website and can contain up to 50 attributes per user. This is not personally identifiable information, and you don’t violate GDPR by its collection, but it can make a good use for user profiling, location identification, and ad spend optimization.
Summing up, an ad agency equipped with a white label DSP can utilize big data without infringing upon their privacy, as the person’s name and private details remain undisclosed.2. Data management platform
The data management platform (DMP) gathers and consolidates data retrieved from all sources. This data is anonymous, just like bidstream data explained above. Data collected by a DMP has an expiration date: it’s stored up to 90 days, which is the lifetime of a cookie. The platform can build temporary user profiles without specifying their names, but the connections between them remain probabilistic.3. In-house business intelligence tools
Business intelligence (BI) tools specialize in collecting historical data about the company as well as data from external sources and transforming it into actionable insights. The primary purpose of BI is to streamline business operations and fuel the data-driven decisions of the company.
Data collection is not the only ability of BI, because if it was, it would be the same thing as a DMP. BI can either analyze, visualize, or report on the received information, and even suggest a change to the business strategy afterward.The bottom line: small agencies offer much more than just data
Google and Facebook can boast of superior data solutions, but there is one thing they’ll lack forever: human resources which become luxury when everyone is striving for automation.
Facebook Ads Manager and Google Ads are soulless algorithms, using these means you’re left one-on-one with a shadow machine. You have an instruction manual, but no timely human help will ever be provided.
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The secret to a mosquito’s survival during a rainstorm isn’t due to any fancy maneuvers or midair acrobatics. It is a combination of their low mass, hydrophobic wings, and go-with-the-flow mentality, according to David Hu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Hu has researched mosquitoes’ flight behavior in rainy conditions to better understand the limits of micro-airborne vehicles (MAVs). These tiny robot airplanes can be as small as an insect, so understanding how mosquitoes survive collisions with raindrops can help scientist develop more reliable MAVs.
Understanding how mosquitoes survive collisions with raindrops can help scientist develop more reliable MAVs.”There is still a question of how to build these things and once you build them what their limits are,” Hu says. A mosquito can provide some solutions to these limits—providing ideas for how MAVs can be better adapted to in-air collisions.
A raindrop falls from the sky at about 10 miles per hour. When it hits a solid surface at this speed, it rapidly decelerates by 100 percent and generates a force that is about 10,000 times the weight of a mosquito—enough to kill it, Hu says.
But a mosquito is very lightweight, so a raindrop only decelerates by 2 to 20 percent when it collides with the insect in midair, creating a force of about 50 to 300 mosquito weights—still a significant force, but because of the mosquito’s extremely strong exoskeleton, not enough to kill on impact, Hu says. “It is like you take a down feather out of your jacket and put it right on top of the mosquito,” Hu says.
It’s easy to imagine that a swipe of a feather won’t harm a mosquito, but how does a mosquito handle the force of a raindrop? One of two things happens: If the raindrop hits the mosquito’s legs or wings, the mosquito gets knocked off balance and spins in the air as the raindrop slips off of its water resistant extremities. The mosquito recalibrates and is back on track in about one-hundredth of a second.
The mosquito is back on track in about one-hundredth of a second. If a raindrop directly hits a mosquito’s body, the impact is much greater. Instead of spinning in midair, the raindrop grabs hold of the mosquito, rapidly accelerating it downward. It’s like walking down the street, then a bus going 10,000 miles per hour hits you and carries you along with it.
The mosquito hitches a ride on the raindrop at super speed for about 5 to 10 centimeters and then it does something unexpected—it peels away from the raindrop and continues on its flight path.
This process would be like if that unfortunate guy who got hit by the bus happened to be covered in newspapers, Hu says. As he and the bus collide, his newspaper limbs begin to flap in the wind. Because the mosquito’s long legs and wings extend past the perimeter of the drop, they generate wind and torques that free the mosquito, Hu says.
Mosquitoes are the ultimate tai chi masters: they don’t resist the force. Throughout all this turmoil, you’d think the mosquitoes would alter their behavior to avoid raindrops. Yeah, they can survive the impact forces, but it can’t be comfortable to hurtle toward the earth on the back of speeding raindrops. You’d be wrong.
“I call the mosquitoes the ultimate tai chi masters because they don’t resist the force at all,” Hu says. Instead, the mosquito just goes along for the ride despite the jet-speed acceleration.
But this carefree attitude may work against the mosquitoes when they are flying too close to the ground. If the mosquito is 10 centimeters or fewer from the ground and gets a direct body hit from a raindrop, it doesn’t have enough time to peel off. Instead, it gets smashed into the ground. Game over for the tai chi master.
This story was produced in partnership with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. For more FYIs, go here.
Last summer, the Juno spacecraft flew within about 2,600 miles of Jupiter—the closest any human-made object had ever come to the largest planet in our solar system.
Scientists are still analyzing all the juicy data Juno collected during that first flyby, as well as later orbits, but the first results have just been published. Two new studies in Science and 44 papers in Geophysical Research Letters document a number of odd and amazing findings. Here are the highlights of what we’ve learned so far about Jupiter.Its north pole is a chaotic mess of storms…
Juno gets 10 times closer to Jupiter’s north pole than any other spacecraft in history. Images from its first close pass show the tumultuous region is dotted with oval-shaped cyclones, which span as much as 870 miles across. That’s wider than the distance between Chicago and New York.…And it’s very different from Saturn’s north pole.
Saturn’s north pole is encircled by an enormous hexagon-shaped storm, with a high-speed vortex spinning at its center. Jupiter’s north pole is not nearly so organized, showing that the atmospheres of these two gas giants are fundamentally different.Jupiter may not have a distinct core.
“We used to think there was like a little ball of heavy elements, small and quite distinct at its center,” says NASA astrophysicist Jack Connerney. “Now we’re thinking that mass may be much more spread out.” High heat and pressure at Jupiter’s center may be dissolving the planet’s original rock-ice core in a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen, eroding it until it’s no longer sharply differentiated from the rest of the gas giant.Its atmosphere circulates like Earth’s…
Peering into the thermal structure of Jupiter’s atmosphere, Juno found signs that ammonia wells up from the deep atmosphere, feeding clouds that form giant weather systems around its equator. These “striking and unexpected” features resemble Earth’s Hadley cells, wherein winds blowing toward the equator rise, produce thunderstorms, and then flow back toward the poles. But Jupiter’s cells are much bigger, and instead of water, they rain out ammonia crystals that quickly evaporate.…But its auroras are not like ours.
Juno found that the electrons in Jupiter’s auroras mostly stream upwards, away from the poles and toward space. If Jupiter’s auroras were like Earth’s, Juno would have seen more electrons flowing down as well. “We’ve had the electrons going in the wrong direction this whole time,” says Connerney. “And that’s kind of the theme, here—we’re finding out that a lot of our simple interpretations about Jupiter don’t really hold.”Its magnetic field is twice as strong as we expected…
Juno found that, close up, Jupiter’s magnetic field is roughly 10 times stronger than Earth’s.…And its dynamo might be showing.
For hundreds of years, scientists have wondered how planets and stars generate magnetic fields. On Earth, we can’t see the dynamo that’s generating our magnetic field because it’s buried deep in a rocky, iron-laden crust. But that’s not a problem with a gas giant. Jupiter’s magnetic field is turning out to be a lot more complicated than expected, with lots of small-scale structures embedded. According to Connerney, these variations may mean Juno is getting close to the dynamo, and that Jupiter’s dynamo is very close to the surface. By piecing together data from one orbit at a time, Juno may provide the first clear map of what a dynamo looks like.What’s most exciting?
Connerney thinks the magnetic field findings are the most exciting so far. “After 500 years of wondering,” he says, “we might actually see what a dynamo looks like by the end of the mission.” But he admits that as a magnetic field scientist, he’s biased. The other teams of researchers are equally excited about their own findings, he says. “It’s like six blind guys telling you what an elephant looks like. It just depends on which part you’re grabbing at that point.”
Juno still has another year or two before it retires, with no doubt its biggest discoveries yet to come. By the end of it, we should have a much more complete picture of the elephant in the solar system.
Business has not been “as usual” for the past few years now. The pandemic drastically changed the way many of us participate in our workplaces and has effectively reshaped the entire U.S. job market. The fact is, the vast majority of employees who can do their jobs from home are doing so. And in lew of face-to-face meetings, virtual offices are quickly gaining popularity.
But we’re not just talking about video calls and Zoom happy hours. Metaverse jobs are here – from software engineering roles to making sandwiches at a metaverse Subway. Even established, non-digitally native businesses are looking to become involved in the Web3 ecosystem and onboard their employees along the way.
The metaverse isn’t just a game anymore. Here’s why.
An example of a Horizon Workroom. Credit: MetaThe metaverse is more than NFTs and VR games
Right now, it seems like everyone is talking about the metaverse. The term skyrocketed in popularity last fall when Facebook changed its name to Meta. Since then, many have taken an interest in what the “metaverse” actually entails. Some are even finding it within their interests to secure a bit of virtual real estate.
The concept of the metaverse has been around for decades, but its recent resurgence is no random event. Just as blockchain tech (especially NFTs) has taken off over the past year, so too has the contemporary idea of living a fully digitized life.
Currently, the most established use-cases of metaverse technology are centered around either NFTs or gaming. Platforms like Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, and The Sandbox continue to incentivize users to build virtual dwellings, display and trade NFTs, and just generally engage in their gamified ecosystems.
Google’s Tilt Brush is a perfect example of how metaverse tech has helped expand the NFT ecosystem. Created to be a virtual version of a fully equipped painter’s studio, Tilt has become the livelihood of artists like Anna Zhilyaeva and Aimi Sekiguchi — who use the software to create immersive NFTs that often fetch a hefty sum.
We’ve even seen a multitude of NFT art galleries built in the metaverse, with Sotheby’s possibly taking the cake for the virtual version of their London headquarters. And institutions arent the only ones being incentivized to create galleries, as companies like OnCyber are making it easy for collectors of all levels to showcase their NFTs in the metaverse.
Sotheby’s Decentraland Gallery. Credit: Decentraland
But what is the real utility of blockchain-based gaming? Is that all there is to the metaverse? Of course not. While these games are fun (no seriously, go mess around on Decentraland, it’s great), the real incentive of entering the metaverse is that it opens up a new avenue for interpersonal connections.
With open-world metaverse games, we’re able to meet a wide variety of people from the comfort of our homes. And these interactions have evolved far past the days of chat rooms and Omegle. With platforms like VR Chat and Meta’s Horizon Worlds, users can come face-to-face with people from all over the world.
Thanks to the early adopters of these virtual technologies, and the developers that have iterated on them, non-digitally native businesses can easily get involved in the metaverse.Even your team could have meetings in the metaverse
It shouldn’t be surprising that there’s a market for enterprise-level solutions for organizational culture. I mean, we’ve all been begrudgingly hosting our meetings via Zoom or Google Meet since 2023. The need to improve upon these tools, and use technology to make remote work less isolating is evident.
Companies like Microsoft, Meta, and more are aiming to lead the pack when it comes to these solutions. Especially when it comes to taking aspects of the metaverse – open-world games, custom avatar creation, and VR capability – and adapting them for business
In the coming years, platforms like Meta’s Horizon Workrooms and Microsoft Mesh could make switching to a fully-remote work model more appealing to both employers and employees. Other companies aren’t far behind in their efforts to provide an alternative to the many developing Fortune 500 tech company-led solutions.
Rove, for one, is possibly one of the best business-focused metaverse platforms currently available. Aimed at expanding what’s possible in the metaverse, this new free-to-access metaverse project is providing use-cases that place importance on that aforementioned interpersonal connection.
With Rove, the metaverse can feel like a happy medium between fun and utilitarian. For artists wanting to create a 3D website/storefront for their products, users hoping to customize a virtual hangout space, and of course businesses looking for a more casual Web3 way to hold meetings, Rove has solutions.
The range of spaces users can create in Rove. Credit: Rove
Imagine, instead of staring at name cards and frozen screens in a 10+ person video meeting, your entire team can don their own custom avatars, show up to a lounge area and flip on a virtual projector for a presentation. In Rove, all of this is possible. Users can even dress the office walls with the latest NFTs they’ve picked up – no coding skills necessary.
This line between the corporate and casual metaverse may very well be the gateway for businesses to become interested in fostering a Web3 organizational culture. And it seems even the newer players entering into the metaverse race understand this: that the interactive and accessible components of the metaverse are likely its biggest selling points.
Functionality that inspires creativity and vice versa. This seems to be the goal of many metaverse companies, possibly best exemplified by vSpace — an extended reality platform that features 3D video conferencing with a sort of plug-and-play nature. With Twitch, Vimeo, and YouTube integration all in one, the business tool focused on interpersonal connection almost feels like a game.The metaverse is anything but static
With each passing month, facets of everyday life are being integrated into the metaverse. Use-cases are growing rapidly, and just as quickly as gaming led to businesses getting involved, so too will Microsoft, Meta, Rove and the like help open the doors to the next big iteration.
The metaverse should be for everyone. Sure, it can be confusing, but the metaverse is here and it doesn’t just have to be an individualized experience anymore.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see companies begin to incentivize their entire workforces to show up virtually for a full 40-hour workweek anytime soon (well…unless you’re ZOAN). But now, onboarding your team into the metaverse can be as easy as scheduling a meeting.
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