India just launched its first high-definition telescope into orbit

india space observatory astrosat launch
INDIAN SPACE RESEARCH ORGANIZATION
India has been on a roll lately. Just a few short weeks after completing construction on the world’s first solar-powered airport, and also unveiling a big plan to replace all street lights with energy-saving LEDs; the country has now successfully launched its first space observatory — a major milestone for its rapidly growing space program. This launch follows an earlier mission to Mars that sent an unmanned probe last year to study the red planet. India received accolades for its Mars mission, which cost a fraction of similar missions conducted by the US, Russia and other European countries.

India confirmed that a rocket carrying the 1.5-ton mini observatory successfully lifted off on Sunday from the country’s southern spaceport in Sriharikota. “About 20 minutes after a perfect lift-off at 10 A.M. from our spaceport, the rocket has placed Astrosat in the intended orbit,” said mission director B. Jayakumar. The rocket carried both the Astrosat station and five foreign satellites, including one satellite from the US.

Dubbed the “mini-Hubble,” the Astrosat observatory houses a telescope capable of observing distant celestial objects in both visible and ultraviolet light. It also supports the entire X-ray waveband, which will be used to study far off parts of the universe, such as black holes and star magnetic fields. The Astrosat will maintain a low earth orbit of approximately 400 miles for the next five years. In keeping with its reputation for low-cost space engineering, the space observatory cost 1.8B rupees ($26 million) to build.

India’s successful launch was lauded by prime minister, Narendra Modi, who hailed the accomplishment as a sign of the country’s technological progress. During the launch, Modi was in the United States visiting with silicon valley leaders to promote India as a tech-friendly destination.

Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Deals

These fitness deals come just in time to work off those holiday calories

Finding the motivation to work out is one thing. Finding space at home to get in a few sets and reps can be an entire challenge in itself. Luckily for you, Walmart and Amazon both have space saving fitness machines and tools on sale right…
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.