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A Selfie from Moon by Beresheet

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Content: Abhiramy R

An Israeli spacecraft on its maiden mission to the moon has sent its first selfie back to Earth, mission chiefs said on Tuesday.
The image showing part of the Beresheet spacecraft with Earth in the background was beamed to mission control in Yehud, Israel — 37,600 kilometres away, the project’s lead partners said in a statement.

The partners, NGO SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, launched the unmanned Beresheet Hebrew for Genesis — from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 22 February. The 585-kilogram craft took off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX Company of entrepreneur Elon Musk. The trip is scheduled to last seven weeks, with the Beresheet due to touchdown on 11 April.

So far, only Russia, the United States, and China have made the 384,000-kilometre journey and landed on the moon. For Israel, the landing itself is the main mission, but the spacecraft also carries a scientific instrument to measure the lunar magnetic field, which will help understand the moon’s formation. It also carries a “time capsule” loaded with digital files containing a Bible, children’s drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag.
After China earlier this year, and now Israel, India hopes to become the fifth lunar country in the spring with its Chandrayaan-2 mission. It aims to put a craft with a rover onto the moon’s surface to collect data.

Japan plans to send a small lunar lander, called SLIM, to study a volcanic area around 2020-2021.

As for the Americans, who have not been back to the moon since 1972, a return is now the official policy of NASA, according to guidelines issued by President Donald Trump in 2017. NASA, which has installed equipment on Beresheet to upload its signals from the moon, says it is inviting private sector bids to build and launch the US probes. The US space agency plans to build a small space station, dubbed Gateway, in the moon’s orbit by 2026 and envisages a manned mission to Mars in the following decade.

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Watch videos with your friends: Instagram is testing new feature

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Abhiramy R

Instagram is transforming. Facebook is working on adding a number of new features to the popular photo-sharing app that are aimed at helping users get the best out of the popular app. Earlier this week it was reported that Instagram was testing a new feature that would hide the total number of likes recieved in a post from a user’s followers. Now, a new report suggests that the company is working on a new feature that would enable Instagram users watch videos on the platform with their friends.

According to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who is known for discovering new features in an app by reverse engineering them, Instagram is testing AR effects and co-watching in video calls. This feature would enble users to apply augmented reality stickers on Instagram in addition to watching videos on the platform. To put it simply, users would be able to watch funny dog videos together with their friends in the app as they put on the funny dog face AR stickers.

Notably, the present option, as the researcher demonstrated in simulataneous tweets, appears to be supporting only two users at a time. However, that could change when the photo-sharing app finally rolls out the feature.

Wong had first reported this feature last month when she said that Instagram’s co-watching feature is like Facebook’s Watch Party feature, except that it works for Instagram Direct. Her tweet at the time had indicated that a suggested tab in the app would pull in all the related videos in Instagram Direct and that users could also watch a list of videos that they had selected.

Now over a month later, the feature has surfaced in her research again. However, Facebook hasn’t commented on the availability of the feature yet.

Apart from the co-watching videos feature, Instagram is also working on a new feature that, as I mentioned before, would hide the like count of an Instagram user from his/her followers. As per a separate tweet by Wong, the like count on a post will only be visible to the profile holder while the followers would be able to see who all liked a particular post.

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Triple folding iPhone to beat Samsung and Huawei

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Abhiramy R

Samsung and Huawei have shown off their folding phone design and are finally releasing it to public. However, while their phones can just open up to a larger tablet mode display with a single folding hinge, this company has managed to conceptualize Apple’s iPhone “Z” with a triple folding, dual hinge design.

Apple has shown no interest in a folding phone or foldable display handset as yet, but they could be in the works behind the curtain. However, leaks and rumours always make their way out and concept designers are creating new models for the world to imagine.

Caviar, a Russian firm, has designed a superb concept for the foldable iPhone and also named it as iPhone Z. the design has two folding mechanisms that helps the three 6.6-inch displays open up to a large 10.4-inch tablet. Not only that, the design also helps a person to use it in a laptop mode with one side of the screen doubling up as the keyboard.

Apart from the new design, the firm has also envisioned the hardware to sport multiple cameras in the front and back, an in-display fingerprint scanner and also a USB Type-C port.

Caviar has also imagined a price tag of a whopping 2,900 euros. The Russian firm has also said that they are willing to build this phone with the help of other manufacturers on a joint development. Check out the video where the concept shows off the tri-folding iPhone that could put the other two rivals’ design to shame.

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Amazon launches free music streaming service

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Abhiramy R

Amazon might launch a new free music streaming service soon, reported Billboard. The new streaming service could include a limited catalogue of music and will be marketed through the company’s Echo line of smart speakers.

According to the report, the streaming service will be similar to its Amazon Prime Music service. It will be available across platforms free of cost, but will support ads and will compete against Spotify’s free music streaming service option. The new service will allow users to skip the sign-up process as well.

The new streaming service will rely on music label licenses to stream music. The company will offset the cost this through ad-revenue and the potential increase in the sale of the company’s Echo hardware, says the report.

Currently, Amazon offers its Prime Music streaming service along with Prime Video, shipping benefits and more under its Prime subscription service in India. It offers two types of memberships to customers – a monthly membership priced at Rs 129, and a yearly one priced at Rs 999.

The report does not state when the company will be launching the service or which regions will it be made available in.

In the US, the company provides its customers with various pricing tiers for its music streaming service. The cheapest is the $3.99 (approximately Rs 276) service for people listening to the music on their Echo devices only.

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