‘Very High Risk’ Two Large Pieces Of Space Junk Will Collide This Week

A defunct Russian satellite and a spent Chinese rocket just floating around high over Earth could smash into each other within a few days, potentially creating a big mess in orbit with potentially dire long-term consequences.

LeoLabs, which tracks space debris, put out the alert on Tuesday warning that the two large hunks of junk will come within 25 meters of each other and have up to a twenty percent chance of colliding Thursday evening.

That’s considered way too close for comfort by space standards. The two objects have a combined mass of 2,800 kilograms and if they were to smash into each other, the “conjunction” could create thousands of new pieces of space junk that would put actual functioning satellites at risk.

Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who keeps a close eye on objects in orbit, identified the old crafts as the Russian Parus navigation satellite that launched in 1989 and a Chinese ChangZheng-4c rocket stage that’s been adrift since 2009.

McDowell noted on Twitter that the altitude where the objects are located is also frequented by “lots of large objects” and that a collision would be “very bad.”

There has been a growing concern among astronomers and others in the space community lately about the accelerating proliferation of space debris. The more objects there are orbiting Earth, the higher the risk of collisions. More collisions also increases the risk of future collisions further in a feedback loop that could end in a scenario known as “Kessler Syndrome,” in which access to space becomes too dangerous.

This could be jumping the gun a bit, but with thousands of satellites headed to orbit as part of SpaceX’s Starlink and other planned mega-constellations, this week’s alert could be something that becomes routine

Ultrafast fiber laser produces record high power

lasertag
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Researchers have developed an ultrafast fiber laser that delivers an average power more than ten times what is available from today’s high-power lasers. The technology is poised to improve industrial-scale materials processing and paves the way for visionary applications.


Michael Müller, a Ph.D. student of Prof. Jens Limpert from the Friedrich Schiller University’s Institute of Applied Physics and the Fraunhofer Institute of Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering in Jena, Germany, will present the new laser at the all-virtual 2020 OSA Laser Congress to be held 12-16 October. The presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, 13 October at 14:30 EDT.

High power without the heat

In lasers, waste heat is generated in the process of light emission. Laser geometries with a large surface-to-volume ratio, such as fibers, can dissipate this heat very well. Thus, an average power of about 1 kilowatt is obtained from today’s high-power lasers. Beyond this power, the heat load degrades the beam quality and poses a limit.

To circumvent this limitation, the research team around Müller and Limpert created a new laser that externally combines the output of 12 laser amplifiers. They showed that the laser can produce 10.4 kW average power without degradation of the beam quality. Thermographic imaging of the final beam combiner revealed a marginal heating. Thus, power scaling to the 100-kW level could be accomplished by adding even more amplifier channels.

“In the future, high-power combined lasers not only will accelerate industrial processing, but also enable formerly visionary applications such as laser-driven particle acceleration and space debris removal,” said Müller.

The investigation of novel applications at that power level as well as the transfer of the laser technology to commercial systems is ongoing within the frame of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources (CAPS), which foremost

Apple’s New iPhone 12 With 5G Technology Carries High Expectations

By Tim Higgins 

Apple is set on Tuesday to unveil a 5G-enabled iPhone that has fueled sky-high expectations for the world’s most valuable company even as uncertainty remains about how useful the next-generation wireless technology is for consumers.

The new technology, which holds the promise of internet speeds significantly faster than what is available for many smartphone users, has stoked anticipation that iPhone users will see a compelling reason to upgrade after millions in recent years held on longer to older devices.

The wave of new iPhone purchases could be enough to compare with 2014, when Apple unveiled a larger screen and sold a record number of devices, or 2017, when the company introduced higher-priced models with facial recognition leading to record revenue, analysts say.

Some investors are hoping it might even lead to the kind of dramatic growth seen in the iPhone’s earliest days, when every annual iteration promised new technological leaps and must-have features.

“I believe it translates into a once-in-a-decade-type upgrade opportunity for Apple,” said Dan Ives, an analyst for Wedbush Securities. He expects the new phone to help fuel iPhone sales this fiscal year that exceed the record 231 million devices sold in fiscal 2015, a boom driven by the iPhone 6 Plus, the first large-screen version of the phone. Sales of the iPhone rose 52% in the following 12 months compared with the previous year.

Apple shares have risen by more than 50% this year and the company’s market value has soared above $2 trillion.

But it remains unclear how much interest customers have in faster speeds, especially during a pandemic when millions of people are working from home and are generally using home internet connections. The coronavirus delayed production of this year’s new flagship phone, pushing back an event that has been held every

Apple’s 5G iPhone Carries High Expectations

Apple


AAPL 1.74%

is set on Tuesday to unveil a 5G-enabled iPhone that has fueled sky-high expectations for the world’s most valuable company even as uncertainty remains about how useful the next-generation wireless technology is for consumers.

The new technology, which holds the promise of internet speeds significantly faster than what is available for many smartphone users, has stoked anticipation that iPhone users will see a compelling reason to upgrade after millions in recent years held on longer to older devices.

The wave of new iPhone purchases could be enough to compare with 2014, when Apple unveiled a larger screen and sold a record number of devices, or 2017, when the company introduced higher-priced models with facial recognition leading to record revenue, analysts say.

Some investors are hoping it might even lead to the kind of dramatic growth seen in the iPhone’s earliest days, when every annual iteration promised new technological leaps and must-have features.

“I believe it translates into a once-in-a-decade-type upgrade opportunity for Apple,” said Dan Ives, an analyst for Wedbush Securities. He expects the new phone to help fuel iPhone sales this fiscal year that exceed the record 231 million devices sold in fiscal 2015, a boom driven by the iPhone 6 Plus, the first large-screen version of the phone. Sales of the iPhone rose 52% in the following 12 months compared with the previous year.

Apple shares have risen by more than 50% this year and the company’s market value has soared above $2 trillion.

But it remains unclear how much interest customers have in faster speeds, especially during a pandemic when millions of people are working from home and are generally using home internet connections. The coronavirus delayed production of this year’s new flagship phone, pushing back an event that has been held every September

It’s High Time We Got a ‘F**k Off’ Economy: Zephyr Teachout

In the 1980s, under the Reagan administration’s lax enforcement of antitrust laws, corporate mergers in the U.S. began to jump. Since then, the market power of America’s biggest corporations has only continued to increase, with this result: A tiny number of companies dominate slews of major industries—from pharmaceuticals and retailers to hospitals and meat processors to defense contractors and social media, to many, many others. This issue was thrown into stark relief during the pandemic when behemoths such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Walmart saw their market values skyrocket while smaller companies all over the country went bankrupt.

Zephyr Teachout contends that monopoly is the forgotten issue of our time.

Monopoly, argues the law professor and former New York congressional and gubernatorial candidate, is a key driver of modern society’s biggest problems, such as low wages, income inequality, financial speculation, restrictions to worker freedom, declining entrepreneurship, and racism.

With her new book, Break Em’ Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money, Teachout seeks to make anti-monopoly a top issue for progressives again. I recently spoke to her by phone about how the Left has missed the monopoly problem, why her book is more about power than economics, and why we need to strive for a “fuck off” economy.

In your introduction, you write that humans have a drive for power that must be checked or tyranny will result. Why did you start like this?

So many questions about politics, power and the economy are really questions about human nature. When we treat Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg as only about the bottom line, we’re misunderstanding motivations. It’s much more than greed. As I write in the book, these are “William the Conqueror” types. They’re out to accumulate power. We need to confront that if