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April 20, 2021
🍁 Good morning! Happy 4/20.
That flight on Mars

Ingenuity became the little helicopter that could yesterday, the first aircraft to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet.

While the watch-along and confirmation of flight data early yesterday was great, the images and video of Ingenuity rising three meters (10 feet) and hovering for a solid 30 seconds, for 39.1 seconds of overall flight were pretty amazing:

First Video of NASAs Ingenuity Mars Helicopter in Flight In 1

A few other little details:

  • Ingenuity runs on a commercial-grade Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (IEEE), with a few tweaks for speed. Yes, that’s the same chip used in the Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5. (Sorry, you can’t text Ingenuity to see what’s up, AFAIK.)
  • Some other parts were ordered straight from SparkFun, too.
  • NASA Associate Administrator for Science, Thomas Zurbuchen, announced the name for the Martian airfield on which the flight took place will be called Wright Brothers Field, “this first of many airfields on other worlds,” which is pretty wild when it’s put like that. 
  • Five more tests over the next 31 days will be carried out.
  • Should things go well, “the Ingenuity team will consider how best to expand the flight profile,” meaning more flight travel and distance, perhaps.
Apple event today

Apple’s Spring Loaded event happens today at 10am PDT/1pm EDT and this is more of a reminder for you than a deep dive into what we might see. Check the event on YouTube, or via the Apple events site.

Quick fire rumors:

  • The arrival of new iPads, including a refresh of the iPad Pro, likely with a Mini-LED option and new processor at least on the biggest 12.9-inch flagship model. The Apple Pencil will possibly get a new upgrade as well.
  • There may be a new low-cost iPad and the iPad mini might get a refresh too.
  • iMacs are also expected to get an overhaul.
  • And, finally, we might get AirTags?

I’ll be watching with interest around how Apple positions the Mini-LED evolution to displays. Is it the promised land, or just a sidenote? 


📷 Google Photos tweak could make it more useful for storing documents (Android Authority).

Fitbit Luxe announced: A more fashionable fitness tracker for $150 (Android Authority).

🔫 Apex Legends is coming to Android and iOS with a “new but original” approach for touch controls (Android Authority).

💻 Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 review: Nearly perfect (Gizmodo).

🆙 PlayStation Store for PS3, PS Vita will not shut down, Sony announces, after controversy (Polygon).

🔋 Toyota’s first electric vehicle will hit the road in 2022: the bZ4X is the first of seven ‘Beyond Zero’ EVs from the Japanese giant. Also, Mercedes-Benz unveils the EQB, its first electric SUV for the US market in 2022 (Engadget)

🚗 Who will win the self-driving race? Eight possibilities, from Argo to Zoox (Ars Technica).

🛢️ It’s been one year since oil prices went negative. Traders learned that “Oil prices not only hit rock bottom, but they also broke the rock.” (Marketwatch).

🎙️ Mark Zuckerberg wants you to talk: CEO of the social media giant announced a suite of new audio features. Who will use them? (Wired).

🎤 Reddit also announced an audio product: Reddit Talks, a clone of Clubhouse for subreddits (TechCrunch).

🔒 UK invokes national security to investigate Nvidia’s ARM deal, which increasingly looks more unlikely (Reuters).

🛰️ Amazon announced its Project Kuiper satellite constellation, a Starlink competitor, will first be getting to space via ULA Atlas 5 rockets, with nine launches booked (Amazon).

🧠 “ELI5: How does the body decide where to add or take away fat when gaining/losing weight?” (r/explainlikeimfive).

Chart Tuesday

This map shows all of the earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 4.0 on the Richter scale over the last 20 years, using data from the US Geological Survey, and plotted with Python via PythonMaps:

usgs earthquakes
  • As someone said: “Congrats you now have a map of tectonic plates.”
  • But it’s incredible to see the ferocity at the plate edges, and relative stability elsewhere.

All the best,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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