In today’s Bulldog wrapup of science and technology news:
- European Space Agency mapping 1 billion stars in 3D
- Twitter to stream NFL on Thursday nights
- Tesla says bad connection caused fire in France
- A Silicon Valley startup uses robots in pizza process
- Space agency starts to unfold atlas of 1 billion stars in 3D
If space is the final frontier, it will help to have an accurate map, and the European Space Agency said Wednesday its mission to chart more than 1 billion stars in the Milky Way is on track for completion in a year’s time.
The agency released the first data from its ongoing effort, called the Gaia Mission, to draw the biggest and most precise three-dimensional map of our galaxy.
Mission manager Fred Jansen told a news conference in Madrid that the project has already collected some 500 billion measurements and he is “extremely happy” with the precision of the data. It is being distributed among scientists for analysis.
(VIDEO: Watch a video recap at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTMnN9ehfjk )
(VIDEO 2: Watch a replay of the full press conference at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pAjvQ5uu7I )
At the heart of the five-year mission is the 10-meter (33-foot)-wide Gaia spacecraft, which resembles a barrel sitting on a silver saucer. It carries two telescopes and is orbiting slowly around the sun.
Anthony Brown, head of the scientific consortium processing Gaia data, said the highly precise calculations represent “a revolution” in astrophysics. The high-resolution methods have already helped identify some 400 million new stars.
The full atlas of 1 billion stars — representing about 1 percent of the stars in the Milky Way — is set to be released near the end of 2017.
The agency says the “huge stellar census” will help resolve mysteries about the origin and evolution of the galaxy.
Cataloguing the galaxy is a major technological challenge, and the agency says Gaia’s measuring abilities are in some cases comparable to measuring the diameter of a human hair from 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away.
- Twitter to launch app on Apple TV, others to stream NFL
A new Twitter app is coming to Xbox One, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, where viewers will be able to watch NFL games on Thursday nights.
The short-messaging service secured the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games this year as it attempts to broaden its appeal. It’s hoping that live video of sports and otherevents will help stimulate more interest in its service.
It’s a crucial time for the faltering company that is trying to improve stagnating user growth, not to mention boost its appeal to advertisers.
The apps, which are free, will have all the live-streaming video available on Twitter. Besides the football games, this includes content from the NBA and Bloomberg News. It will also have other Twitter content, such as top tweets and Periscopes (video from Twitter’s live-streaming app).
Users won’t need a Twitter account or a pay-TV subscription to watch the content. But they will be exposed to advertising from Twitter — and ideally might be lured into signing up for an account.
In July, Twitter announced live-streaming partnerships with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League to show out-of-market games. These are games that are not shown on local TV channels. As part of the deal, the once-a-week live streams of the games are available to logged-in and logged-out Twitter users in the United States,Twitter said. The deal also made MLB games available worldwide, except in some international territories.
- Tesla says France fire caused by badly tightened connection
Tesla says that a fire in one of its electric cars in France broke out because an electrical connection had not been tightened properly.
The company said in a statement to The Associated Press Wednesday that “usually, these electrical connections are installed by a robot, but for this car this connection was installed manually.”
The three people aboard the Model S sedan escaped unharmed when it caught fire during a promotional tour last month in the resort city of Biarritz.
Tesla said it was the only time such an incident had occurred. It did not elaborate on how the loose connection sparked a fire.
The U.S. government investigated Tesla in 2013 after two fires in Model S sedans, but closed the investigation after Tesla made changes to the cars.
- Hungry startup uses robots to grab slice of pizza
Did robots help make your pizza?
If you ordered it from Silicon Valley’s Zume Pizza, the answer is yes.
The startup, which began delivery in April, is using intelligent machines to grab a slice of the multibillion-dollar pizza delivery market.
Zume is one of a growing number of food-tech firms seeking to disrupt the restaurant industry with software and robots.