Assuming nothing went awry when NASA's Phoenix mission descended onto Mars in May, a meteorological station provided by the Canadian Space Agency is now acquiring, processing and transmitting temperature and pressure data back on Earth. Recording the daily weather of the martian northern plains lets scientists understand the martian climate and geology, which will help them answer the age-old question: Did life ever exist?
Sunlight in the martian polar region is even weaker than at its equator, so the battery- and solar-powered systems must feature extremely efficient power management. Radiation-tolerant RTAX-S FPGAs from Actel Corp. are among the components that let this one-of-a-kind instrument meet these requirements.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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