By Adian McGaughey and Tamoor Hamid
February’s tech news largely centered around historic moments in space. From 4G LTE on the Moon to a space-traveling sports car, here’s an overview of last month’s most noteworthy tech stories.
5. Apple Getting Colbalt
Demand for Apple products has never been higher, and one of the key elements of these products are their rechargeable batteries. The materials to make these batteries have become scarcer. Due to this, Apple is talking with many mining companies for cobalt, one of the key resources for the batteries. If deals have been made, mining companies will have attention and human rights may become involved, as seen in the past.
4. 4G on the Moon
Elon Musk may want to put people on the Moon, but the German company Vodafone wants to put LTE there. Vodafone has partnered with Audi and Nokia to achieve the task. Audi will be developing two rovers to carry an “Ultra Compact Network” that will be developed by Nokia. The rovers will be launched in 2019 from a SpaceX Falcon 9. Finally, the Moon can have memes.
3. Bitcoin to Zero Summary
In the last year, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin has had a sudden increase in price and popularity. In February, due to a Japanese mix-up in Bitcoin exchange, the currency accidentally dropped to a price of zero for about 18 minutes. This caused seven customers to get high amounts of Bitcoin, one person getting $20 trillion. Luckily, the problem was resolved before some of those people tried to cash-out on their Bitcoin.
2. The New Internet
On February 21, SpaceX launched the first 2 satellites, named “Tintin A” and “Tintin B,” that will one day make up a brand new way to connect to the internet. The project is called “Starlink,” and there are thousands of other satellites planned to be put in a similar low geosynchronous orbit around the Earth. When completed, they will be able to beam down the internet anywhere around the world with low-latency. Something similar to this was prophesied by the great Sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke.
1. The Car in Space
In the December Top Tech Articles list, The Pulse spoke about Elon Musk’s plans to launch a Tesla Roadster into space. On February 6, a car connected to a rocket carried a dummy named “Star Man” into space, all in one weird, historic moment. The Roadster also had its dashboard screen saying “DON’T PANIC!” in reference to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The car’s dash contained a smaller figure of “Star Man” with a digital version of the “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov. The car launched while “Life of Mars” by David Bowie played in the background. A few days after launch, NASA officially classified the car as a celestial object. At the moment, the Tesla is hurtling through space at a speed of 7,532 mph on its way around the solar system, set to reach Mars in October 2020. As amazing as this is, sending a car into space was not the point of the mission. The Falcon Heavy launch was used to show the rocket’s ability to make its booster and head land back on Earth, in hopes of starting a second space race centered around a cheaper and sustainable way to travel in space.