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⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 180th edition here, with Sony's Bungie purchase, Samsung S22 pricing, and that Wordle sale...


🐯 Happy Lunar New Year this week, to all who celebrate. We cooked up a delicious feast on Tuesday night, and I’m still recovering!

February 5, 2022
Popular news this week

Destiny 2 Google Stadia

Sony:

  • We’d usually put this under gaming news, but here goes: Sony announced plans to buy Bungie for a reported $3.6 billion — the studio’s best known for Halo and Destiny and will remain a multiplatform studio, continuing to develop and publish its games independently following the acquisition, according to Bungie CEO Pete Parsons.

Samsung:

Google:

OnePlus:

Motorola

  • The Motorola Moto G Stylus launched: Good hardware at a good price — Motorola’s newest budget device comes with Android 11 out-of-the-box, mostly low-end specs but good display and 5,000mAh battery.

Apple:

  • Report claims Apple already has the iPhone SE 3 in India for certification, could launch sometime in March or April.
  • And Apple urges lawmakers to say no to App Store bill: The Open App Markets Act, which Apple and Google are fighting, is expected to win Senate Judiciary Committee approval on Thursday. If that happens, both Apple and Google would have to relinquish full control of their app stores and both could be required to allow side-loading and alternative payment processing systems. Apple says the Act “includes measures that will hurt consumer welfare, competition, and innovation.”

Elsewhere:

Space:

Movies/TV:

Gaming:

Reviews
galaxy a03s on table
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Features

Weekly Wonder
The Moon in the night sky, surrounded by stars

Next week you’ll be able to see a huge chunk of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket crash into the Moon. The rocket launched from Cape Canaveral on February 11, 2015.

Moon landings, but not as we know them

The SpaceX rocket won’t actually hit the Moon until 12:25:58 Universal Time on March 4, 2022. The chunk — known as 2015-007B — due to impact the Moon’s surface weighs a whopping four tonnes and will strike the surface of the planet at around 5,600mph. It’s estimated that it will crash into the far side of the Moon, near the Hertzsprung crater.

While you won’t actually be able to see the rocket hit the Moon, the rocket will be visible from Earth on February 7 and 8, 2022 as it rounds the Earth on its night-side. The event will be broadcast at 6 PM UTC on both dates, but the rocket will be at its brightest on February 8, as it will be closer to us at around 28,000 miles from Earth.

Why is this happening?

Satellites are propelled into space by rockets comprised of multiple stages — but the Falcon 9 engine currently on a collision course with the Moon has had a much longer journey than most.

Back in 2015, its purpose was to escort the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, to its spot in deep space — that’s around 1.5m kilometers from Earth, located between us and the Sun.

  • According to ABC Science, DSCOVR is designed to “monitor ebbs and flows in the stream of charged particles that spew from the sun — called the solar wind — and give space weather forecasters warning that a damaging surge might be on its way.”
  • The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket had two stages, the first stage dropping off and heading for Earth when it ran out of fuel (and later crashed into the ocean).
  • The second stage had extra power to steer DSCOVR closer to where it needed to be. This second stage ejected and began its journey tumbling through space, over a million kilometers from us, way beyond the Moon.
  • Over the past seven years, the stage has been pulled this way and that by the Earth, Moon, and Sun’s gravity, sending it into a “chaotic” orbit.

What happens when it hits the moon?

Traveling at around 5,600mph, the four-tonne rocket stage is expected to strike the far side of the Moon. Because the Moon has no atmosphere, the rocket won’t burn up on its way down, so when it hits the surface there’ll be a huge spray of Moon Dust.

  • It’ll create a crater within a crater, expected to be around 19 miles in diameter.
  • Scientists say this will be an opportunity to learn about the geological structure of the Moon, as we’ll get to see the subsurface.

Luckily, the expected crash zone is thought to be far enough away from China’s Yutu-2 probe to not cause a problem.

Could Elon Musk be sued?

People are rightly asking why Elon Musk is allowed to litter in space, but the answer is simple: Nobody owns the Moon, and actual damage has to be caused for there to be any legal action taken. So theoretically, yes, Musk could be sued for littering in space. Practically, it’ll probably never happen — and the space junk problem is far larger than just Musk’s old rocket stage.

How big a problem is space junk really?

It’s estimated there are over half a million pieces of orbital debris, or “space junk” zooming around Earth at around 17,500mph.

  • This includes everything from broken bits of satellite to objects astronauts lost on spacewalks and even crystallized human urine. 
  • NASA is currently tracking around 28,000 pieces of debris larger than 10cm orbiting Earth.
  • And scientists say space debris is becoming one of the biggest pollution disasters. 
  • Even pieces of space junk too small to track could still cause serious damage if they collide with other objects — such as satellites — due to the speed at which they’re traveling. 
  • In November 2021, the Russian ASAT test resulted in the creation of over 1,500 pieces of debris, as well as potentially hundreds of thousands of smaller fragments.
  • According to NASA, junk orbiting below 600km will fall back to Earth in a few years, but any orbiting above 1,000km could continue floating for 100 years or more.

Left unchecked, space junk could threaten future missions and even make space completely inaccessible for future generations (more on that in a moment).

You can see for yourself just how huge a problem space junk is by visiting SATVIEW or Astriagraph.

What is “Kessler Syndrome”?

Picture this: A large piece of a defunct satellite strikes another satellite, which then becomes space junk and strikes another satellite — and so on. This chain reaction, known as Kessler Syndrome, could spell the end of space exploration for all, effectively cutting us off from the rest of the cosmos.

  • Right now the main sources of space junk are old rocket stages still in orbit and debris clouds created by military anti-satellite test.
  • If space junk continues to accumulate at this rate unchecked, the main source of space junk will soon be spacecraft, satellites, and space station remains.

Removal of this space junk is a complex process. There are some natural processes that help clear out space junk. The Sun’s 11-year solar storm cycle makes Earth’s atmosphere a bit denser, which in turn generates more drag on objects orbiting in the lower orbits — but anything in the upper part of low Earth orbit will just keep on traveling.

But actual projects to remove space junk could be tricky to implement, as countries placing objects in space retain responsibility for and authority over all objects, under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Basically, that means you need that country’s permission to remove a piece of space junk that belongs to them.

Space agencies have made some efforts to remove debris, but these projects are only at testing phase, removing around three to four pieces of junk every year. 

Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have planned missions for 2022 and 2025.

Tech Calendar
  • February 9: Samsung Unpacked @ 10AM ET (3PM GMT) — Galaxy S22 reveal, and the S Series
  • February 11: Uncharted released in theaters
  • February 11: Death on the Nile hits theaters
  • February 18: Horizon: Forbidden West launch on PS4/PS5
  • February 24: Samsung Galaxy S22 on sale? (TBC)
  • February 25: Steam Deck hits markets for pre-orders
  • February 25: Elden Ring launches for PS4/PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC
  • February 28-March 3: MWC Barcelona

Tech Tweet of the Week

If you’re not following James Blunt on Twitter yet, you should make that your mission this week 😂

Breaking down the funniest account on Twitter: @JamesBlunt pic.twitter.com/lt0lXzPbRF
— Trung Phan 🇨🇦 (@TrungTPhan) February 4, 2022

Have a wonderful weekend!

Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.

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