Connect with us

Tech

This ISRO tech could replace GPS on your smartphone: Key things to know

Published

on

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is bringing its GPS alternative ‘NavIC’ to the common people. The space agency has partnered with Qualcomm, one of the world’s biggest chipset companies, to integrate NavIC on its new processors meant for budget and mid-range smartphones. Xiaomi and Realme have already confirmed plans to launch phones with NavIC-enabled processors.

What is NavIC?

NavIC stands for Navigation with Indian Constellation and is based on the Sanskrit word for navigator or sailor. NavIC essentially refers to Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), a collection of navigation-based satellites that aims to provide accurate position information service to Indian users. The service is quite similar to GPS (Global Position System). At the moment, NavIC consists of seven satellites.

The back story

Back in 1999, India sought GPS data from the US to track Pakistai troops positioned in Kargil. The information, however, was denied by the US. Since then, India had been working on an indigenous satellite system for location services. Almost two decades later, the NavIC system is inching closer to the commercial usage.

It is worth noting that the system aims to provide two types of services. The first “Standard Position Services” (SPS) will be available to all civilian users whereas the “Restricted Services” (RS) will be available to authorised users including defence and intelligence agencies.

NavIC also brings India to an elite club of the nations that have their satellite-based location services – US’ GPS, the Russian Glonass, China’s BeiDou and Galileo of Europe.

Better than GPS?

India’s NavIC, now set to be embedded on millions of Android phones, is said to be much better than the US’ GPS. The NavIC is said to be accurate up to 5 meters, much more efficient than GPS which is said to be accurate up to 20 to 30 meters.

NavIC’s applications

ISRO says the NavIC is mainly aimed at users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500km from its boundaries.

Users can expect their future phones to use NavIC to access location-based services such as Uber, Ola Cabs, Google Maps and more. The space agency says users can expect the satellite system to help provide visual and voice navigation for drivers.

According to the agency, the technology can be used for things such as disaster management, terrestrial navigation assistant to hikers and travellers, vehicle tracking and fleet management, precise timing, aerial and marine navigation, and more.

source

Science

Time To Visit The Neighbour

Published

on

On 14 September 2020, a new planet was added to the list of potentially habitable worlds in the Solar System: Venus. Phosphine, a toxic gas made up of one phosphorus and three hydrogen atoms, commonly produced by organic life forms but otherwise difficult to make on rocky planets, was discovered in the middle layer of the Venus atmosphere. This raises the tantalising possibility that something is alive on our planetary neighbour. With this discovery, Venus joins the exalted ranks of Mars and the icy moons Enceladus and Europa among planetary bodies where life may once have existed, or perhaps might even still do so today.

I’m a planetary scientist and something of a Venus evangelical. This discovery is one of the most exciting made about Venus in a very long time – and opens up a new set of possibilities for further exploration in search of life in the Solar System.

Atmospheric mysteries

First, it’s critical to point out that this detection does not mean that astronomers have found alien life in the clouds of Venus. Far from it, in fact.

Although the discovery team identified phosphine at Venus with two different telescopes, helping to confirm the initial detection, phosphine gas can result from several processes that are unrelated to life, such as lightning, meteor impacts or even volcanic activity.

However, the quantity of phosphine detected in the Venusian clouds seems to be far greater than those processes are capable of generating, allowing the team to rule out numerous inorganic possibilities. But our understanding of the chemistry of Venus’ atmosphere is sorely lacking – only a handful of missions have plunged through the inhospitable, carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere to take samples among the global layer of sulfuric acid clouds.

So we planetary scientists are faced with two possibilities – either there is some sort of life in the Venus clouds, generating phosphine, or there is unexplained and unexpected chemistry taking place there. How do we find out which it is?

First and foremost, we need more information about the abundance of phosphine in the Venus atmosphere, and we can learn something about this from Earth. Just as the discovery team did, existing telescopes capable of detecting phosphine around Venus can be used for followup observations, to both definitively confirm the initial finding and figure out if the amount of phosphine in the atmosphere changes with time. In parallel, there is now a huge opportunity to carry out lab work to better understand the types of chemical reactions that might be possible on Venus – for which we have very limited information at present.

Once more unto the breach

But measurements on and from Earth can take us only so far. To really get to the heart of this mystery, we need to go back to Venus. Spacecraft equipped with spectrometers that can detect phosphine from orbit could be dispatched to the second planet with the express purpose of characterising where, and how much, of this gas is there. Because spacecraft can survive for many years in Venus’ orbit, we could obtain continuous observations with a dedicated orbiter over a much longer period than with telescopes on Earth.

But even orbital data can’t tell us the whole story. To fully get a handle on what’s happening at Venus, we must actually get into the atmosphere.

And that’s where aerial platforms come in. Capable of operating above much of the acidic cloud layer – where the temperature and pressure are almost Earth-like – for potentially months at a time, balloons or flying wings could take detailed atmospheric composition measurements there. These craft could even carry the kinds of instruments being developed to look for life on Europa. At that point, humanity might finally be able to definitively tell if we share our Solar System with Venusian life.

A new dawn for Venus exploration?

Thirty-one years have elapsed since the United States last sent a dedicated mission to Venus. That could soon change as Nasa considers two of four missions in the late 2020s targeting Venus. One, called Veritas, would carry a powerful radar to peer through the thick clouds and return unprecedented high-resolution images of the surface. The other, DaVinci+, would plunge through the atmosphere, sampling the air as it descended, perhaps even able to sniff any phosphine present. Nasa plans to pick at least one mission in April 2021.

I have argued before for a return to Venus and will continue to do so. Even without this latest scientific discovery, Venus is a compelling exploration target, with tantalising evidence that the planet once had oceans and perhaps even suffered a hellish fate at the hands of its own volcanic eruptions.

But with the detection of a potential biomarker in Venus’ atmosphere, we now have yet another major reason to return to the world that ancient Greek astronomers called phosphorus — a name for Venus that, it turns out, is wonderfully prescient.

The writer is associate professor of planetary science, North Carolina State University, US. This article first appeared on www.theconversation.com

source

Continue Reading

Tech

Oracle reportedly in talks to acquire TikTok’s US operations

Published

on

Oracle has entered into the competition to acquire the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok that US President Donald Trump has vowed to shut down unless it is bought by an American firm within 90 days, a Financial Times report said on Tuesday.

As per the report, Larry Ellison’s enterprise software giant has reportedly “held preliminary talks with TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, and was seriously considering purchasing the app’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand”.

According to the report, Oracle was working with a group of US investors that already own a stake in ByteDance, “including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital”.

Oracle was yet to comment on the report.

“ByteDance is opposed to selling any assets beyond those in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” said the report.

Microsoft has been the primary contender to acquire TikTok’s US business following a discussion between the company’s CEO and the US President. However, reports surfaced that the Microsoft-TikTok deal may not happen as odds of the deal are “not higher than 20 per cent”.

The probability of Microsoft buying TikTok is “not higher than 20 per cent” since the initial price offered by the US software giant was akin to “robbing the owner when his house is on fire”, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Earlier reports also claimed that Twitter discussed a “potential combination” with TikTok, currently facing immense political heat in the US.

Apple, however, clarified that it was not interested in acquiring TikTok after some reports surfaced, saying the iPhone maker was willing to buy the China-based app.

The earlier executive order from Trump prohibited the China-based company from doing business with the US firms after 45 days.

TikTok has already threatened legal action against the first executive order.

The new executive order directed ByteDance to “divest any data it obtained from users of TikTok or Musical.ly in the United States”.
It also authorised US officials to inspect TikTok and ByteDance to ensure the safety of personal data of nearly 80 million American users of the short video making app.

The earlier executive orders were issued amid discussion by Microsoft to purchase the US business of TikTok by September 15.

source

Continue Reading

Tech

Google bans these apps for injecting adware, uninstall them right away

Published

on

Google has removed 29 apps from the Play Store which were found filled with adware. These Android apps had over 3.5 million downloads on the Play Store.

White Ops’ Satori threat intelligence team discovered these 29 apps as part of their “CHARTREUSEBLUR” investigation. The word blur in the codename of the investigation is due to the fact that most of the malicious apps were photo editing apps which had a blur feature. As for the word “chartreuse” the team just found it fun to say and that the liquor is tasty.

These Android apps were found running out-of-context (OOC) ads which are said to be used to avoid detection. After the user installs any of these apps, the launch icons would immediately disappear from the phone. This made it difficult for users to remove the malicious app from their phones.

source

Continue Reading

Newsletters

Enter your email address to get latest updates

Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2018 - 2019 Delhi Wire.