The Download

What's up in emerging technology

February 22, 2019 Timelapse image of SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral

Israel’s first lunar lander is on its way to the moon

The craft was successfully deployed from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket yesterday.

The news: Israel-based organization SpaceIL had its lander, Beresheet, launched successfully at 8:45 p.m. on February 21, starting its 40-day journey to the moon. During SpaceX’s… Read more

Image credit:
  • SpaceX

Subscribe and get the bimonthly magazine and unlimited access to online articles.

Starting at $35.95/year

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo

The US threatens to stop sharing intelligence with allies if they use Huawei

The US will stop sharing intelligence with countries that use Huawei hardware in their core communication systems, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

The threat: “If a country adopts this [Huawei equipment] and puts it in some of their critical… Read more

Image credit:
  • Flickr | Gage Skidmore

Editor's Pick

Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from.

In 2014 researchers at the MIT Media Lab designed an experiment called Moral Machine. The idea was to create a game-like platform that would crowdsource people’s decisions on how self-driving cars should prioritize lives in different variations of the...

Read the full story →
February 21, 2019 Uighur Protest

How US experts helped China build a DNA surveillance state

China has been leaning on American know-how to build a sprawling surveillance program in Xinjiang province, according to the New York Times

Crack down: Chinese authorities have created “a vast Chinese campaign of surveillance and oppression” targeting… Read more

Image credit:
  • Flikr
February 20, 2019 A Russian soldier in uniform talking on a smartphone

Russia is going to ban soldiers from using smartphones and social media on duty

Active-duty Russian soldiers have been turning up in some awkward places—so the country’s parliament has voted to curtail their use of location-broadcasting devices and apps.

The new law: It states that military personnel are banned from posting about… Read more

Image credit:
  • Associated Press
Image of President Donald Trump signing the new space directive.

President Trump has signed a directive to establish Space Force

Rather than becoming its own new department, as the president originally announced, the directive the signed yesterday intends to make the Space Force a sixth branch of the military, overseen by the Air Force.

Some background: What the Space Force is,… Read more

Image credit:
  • Mark Wilson / Getty Images
Lab-grown meat in a petri dish

Lab-grown meat could be worse for the climate than beef

Lab-grown meat may do more lasting damage to the climate than beef, according to a new study.

High impact: Proponents of lab-grown meat say it could one day supplant livestock—particularly cattle, a huge source of greenhouse-gas emissions.

The problem:… Read more

Image credit:
  • DAVID PARRY | REUTERS | COURTESY OF GOOD FOOD INSTITUTE

Editor's Pick

Photo of Ingvild Deila as Princess Leia

How acting as Carrie Fisher’s puppet made a career for Rogue One’s Princess Leia

Ingvild Deila had one of the most talked-about roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but she was only on screen for about 15 seconds. No one even saw her face. Yet she can now claim on her IMDB page that she was once Princess Leia.

In reality, she was...

Read the full story →
February 19, 2019

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to fire bullets into an asteroid

Some space mining is set to take place, courtesy of Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft.

The news: Touchdown on the 3,000-foot-wide Ryugu asteroid is planned for February 22 at 8 a.m. local time in Japan. Then comes the bullets: Hayabusa 2 will fire into the… Read more

Image credit:
  • JAXA
A building in Moscow believed to house the hacking units for Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU

Russian hackers are eight times faster than North Korean groups

Russian hackers are way ahead of the next-fastest state-sponsored hackers, North Korea, who themselves are nearly twice as fast as Chinese groups, according to a new report by US cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike.

“Breakout time”: Speed is one of the most… Read more

Image credit:
  • Associated Press