Kepler Space Telescope Recovered from Emergency Mode

It was recently reported that the deep space telescope, Kepler had run into trouble and had forced itself to enter its emergency mode. Thankfully the planet-hunting spacecraft has since returned to a stable state.

NASA’s Kepler team engineers were able to direct the communications array aboard the craft towards Earth and have begun the long process of downloading the data that could reveal the cause of the emergency. Due to the spacecraft being 75 million miles from Earth, any signal to and from it takes a whole 13 minutes.

When the telescope was first found to have run into issues late last week, NASA had declared a mission emergency, providing the Kepler team with priority access to the Deep Space Network, which is used to contact distant spacecraft. Due to emergency mode consuming vastly more fuel than normal, restoring Kepler’s functionality was a race against time before it would be unable to complete its mission. Now that Kepler has returned to a stable state, access to the DSN has returned to normal priorities.

Whether Kepler will be returned to “science mode” is yet to be decided by the mission engineers and they are currently performing health checks on all data received from the craft. At the time of failure, the telescope was only 14 hours away from beginning the next section of its ongoing mission, however, the craft has until July 1st to complete this stage, should it be deemed fit to return to full operation.

Planet Hunting Spacecraft Kepler Enters Emergency Mode

NASA engineers have raised a mission emergency in regards to the exoplanet-hunting spacecraft Kepler, which has unexpectedly entered its emergency mode 75 million miles from Earth. This mode is the lowest level of operation for the craft and worryingly, also consumes the most fuel while in it.

The last time that NASA communicated with Kepler was on April 4th, where it was still fully operational and reporting no issues. Despite this, by the 7th, Kepler was reporting that it had been in emergency mode for a day and a half. This is certainly not good but as communication with the spacecraft is still possible, recovery from whatever went wrong may still be possible.

It won’t be easy to get Kepler back on track, though, as due to the enormous distance from Earth, any messages will take a whole 13 minutes in order to reach the craft. In order to have the best chance of getting Kepler back into normal operation, the mission support team have been granted priority access to NASA’s deep space telecommunications system and will provide updates on the craft’s status as it develops.

Kepler is no stranger to technical difficulties and its mission team have proven themselves capable of recovering the craft in the past. In July 2012 and later May 2013, Kepler lost one of its four reaction wheels used to steer the craft. Being down to half of these wheels should have proven fatal to the craft, which required precise directional control to search for planets. Despite this, a workaround using the pressure from the sun was found that allowed Kepler to continue its mission and has operated this way for almost 3 years.

The Wonders of Technology – Anti Earthquake Beds!

Natural disasters. We can be warned about some of them, such as Storms and Volcano’s erupting but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Earthquakes strike fast, and even with preparation, they can be deadly. Not to fear, a clever designer has created a range of beds designed to keep you safe should an earthquake ever happen while you are in bed.

In case you were wondering these are miracle saviours, the beds are designed as metal bunkers that would protect you while your building collapses, giving the rescue services enough time to find you while avoiding any harm from the fall or debris. If that wasn’t enough you even have a choice of how you want to spend those dark days, and how you even get out of bed and into the metal casket.

With several different ways to protect yourself, from magician like falling bottoms to a four-poster bed with a collapsing roof. Some designs even look a little less safe, such as the design where the roof is held up in the middle and drops down on either side, potentially cutting your limbs off before burying you in safety.

https://youtu.be/RI3pz5p6l24

While all these designs are nifty, the water, emergency rations, medical kit, fire extinguisher and gas masks go a long way to making these beds a mini-bunker for a short-term stay.

EU’s Mandatory eCall Technology Could Spark Privacy Concerns

EU’s safety idea to add mandatory eCall units to cars is expected to start in March 2018. Every new car sold in the EU will need to be equipped with the new technology as the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted in favour of the draft EU rules on Tuesday, and it is expected to become law in April.

The system in itself is a great idea. It consists of a black box that detects a crash and automatically calls the emergency services and a button on the dashboard to manually call 112 when needed. Inside is a cell phone like sim card and it’s also fitted with a GPS sensor. This is to send your coordinates to the emergency services, but it also sparks concerns among privacy groups on how it could be misused.

“Motorists will not be comfortable forcibly having a black box installed which is capable of recording and transmitting their exact location when they are driving,” said Emma Carr, of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch

The eCall units can’t be turned off and will be tested in MoT checks, but there’s also concerns that insurance companies will misuse the information to get out of paying where they should, perhaps using it by getting around it due to minor technicalities.

A separate study by the EU Data Protection Supervisor warns of the “potential intrusiveness” of eCall given that it operates on the same basis as mobile phones and “potentially enables the constant collection of the vehicle’s geolocation”.

There is no doubt that this technology can save many lives, but it also needs proper safeguarding against unlawful use of personal data, tracking, and hacking.

Thanks to DailyMail for providing us with this information

Delusional Grand Theft Auto V Player Calls Ambulance Over Imagined Shooting

A man who called 999 to report a shooting at his house was in a ‘confused’ state after playing Grand Theft Auto V, a court heard last week.

Back in November, 25-year old David Helens, after a marathon GTA session, called an ambulance to report the shooting of his friend ‘Max’. Helens, from the Tyne and Wear area of the UK, told the call handler that ‘Max’ was “slipping in and out of consciousness” after a gunshot wound to the chest, and that he thought his friend might be dead. It was only after two ambulances arrived at Helens’ property that paramedics discovered that there had been no shooting, and that ‘Max’ didn’t exist.

Helens was arrested after admitting to playing GTA V shortly before he made the call. In court last week, prosecutor Christopher Rose said, “The call lasted for approximately 12 minutes.”

“The caller said he was at an address and that he was with another man called Max who had suffered a gunshot injury to his chest.”

“He said the man was slipping in an out of consciousness and bleeding badly.”

“An ambulance had to be dispatched and, once the call handler was told the man had stopped breathing, and that he might be dead, this information had to be treated as a possible cardiac arrest and a second ambulance was called.”

“The defendant then said he himself had been attacked by a third person and feigned screaming and shouting.”

“The call taker said that this caused her to be very concerned for his safety and that of ‘Max’.”

Defence counsel Laura Johnson implied that Helens was in an unstable state of mind at the time of making the call, saying, “He tells me that he has very little recollection of the phone call.”

“Mr Helens has significant health needs. He is deaf in his left ear, partially blind in his left eye and has speech problems.”

“He accepts that he caused disruption and upset to the call taker and he apologizes for his actions.”

Helens, after pleading guilty, was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and a supervision order lasting 18 months.

Source: The Mirror

British Government Want to Build a ‘Super Database’ To Help Run the Country

Even with all its power, the UK government has admitted that it’s at a point where simple tasks, such as sharing information or data between two different departments, has become a burden. This is mostly due to the fact that there are a wide range of databases controlled by each government department.

However, the cabinet’s data sharing policy team came up with a plan back in April that would have all departments link all of their databases. This means that local authorities, emergency services, schools and even government departments would merge their databases into a single ‘super database’.

The resulting database then said to be able to handle huge amounts of data and provide more accurate information. Other benefits that might follow are said to include a saving of up to £37 billion in error, dump and fraud.

Another beneficial outcome from all of this is the government’s ability to understand a person’s life and help him with their money problems. For example, if an individual is in debt to various departments, the payment can then be structured and manageable on a low-income.

To be noted is that the policy is still just a proposal and the government is now looking for the people’s opinion in order to find out if they support the plan or not.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Engadget

Silverstone SST-PB03 AA Emergency Battery Pack Review

Introduction


In our highly connected digital worlds, keeping on touch with everyone around us is virtually mandatory and as a result we find ourselves demanding more and more battery life from our mobile devices and smart phones. Naturally there is only so much power that can be crammed in to the shell of a smart phone and short of having a very bulky handset, the only real option for many of us is to stick near to a power source where we can give our phones a quick boost of power, although this is both inconvenient and unpractical. To keep us going, portable battery packs that allow us to charge our phones on the go have started cropping up through multiple vendors, making them a commodity for those of us that use our phones a lot whilst out on the go – myself being a prime example.

When it comes to selecting the right battery pack for your budget or needs, the number of options to choose from is huge and the vendors themselves know this. With the demand so high and the number of competing items growing at a rapid rate, every manufacturer is doing the best they can to set their products apart from the rest of the crowd, whether it be through design to suit a particular set of users, or through features and functionality by adding in additional features and accessories such as carry bags, torches, larger capacities and wireless charging capabilities. Whilst all off these products have a variety of designs and capacities, they all have internal batteries and when these come to the end of their working life, there is no option but to buy a new pack. Silverstone however believe they have to the solution to the problem of battery life, simply by removing the battery out of the equation, leaving the user the freedom to select their own batteries and thus the freedom to get a larger capacity of battery for a longer charge time,

Built into a metal casing with a plastic inside, Silverstone’s PB03 barging pack features a small LED light and also doubles up as an AA battery charger. With the cost of portable battery packs spread out across a fairly wide range of budgets, the real question to ask is whether you are better off in getting the PB03 and your own set of batteries, or should we stick to the plug and play units that require no user interaction apart from charging?

It goes without saying that we don’t expect there to be much included in the box alongside the battery and this is just the case with a short USB cable included for charging the battery pack (when rechargeable batteries are used) or connecting a mobile device that has a microUSB port.