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Tim Berners-Lee is Creating the New Internet

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web, plans to take the internet away from money-grubbing corporations and return its control to its most valuable public – its users. He’s building the new internet.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Boston, MA, United States (4E) – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web, plans to take the internet away from money-grubbing corporations and return its control to its most valuable public – its users. He’s building the new internet.

The iconic British engineer said work is advancing fast on a project that will yield the “next era of the Web.” Berners-Lee and the nerds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been developing “Solid,” an acronym for “Social Linked Data.”

He explained that Solid aims to drastically change the way Web applications work. It will result in true data ownership, and vastly improved privacy. It’s basically a web decentralization project.

The development of Solid is being guided by the principle of “personal empowerment through data.” Berners-Lee believes personal empowerment through data is critical to the success of the next era of the web, which Solid will bring about.

In Berners-Lee’s own words, Solid will give every person complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way. It’s an open-source project that aims to restore power and agency on the web to individuals while removing it from corporations.

“I’ve always believed the web is for everyone,” said Berners-Lee. “That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas.”

On the technical side, Solid is a proposed set of conventions and tools for building decentralized social applications based on Linked Data principles. Solid is modular and extensible and relies as much as possible on existing W3C standards and protocols.

Solid will realize these aims by developing a platform for linked data applications that are completely decentralized and fully under users’ control, rather than controlled by other sources such as tech or internet corporations.

Solid is being built using the existing web. It gives users a choice over where data is stored. It also enables a user to choose the people or groups that can access certain elements of his data. Solid allows users to link and share data with anyone they select. It permits users to look at the same data in different apps at the same time.

“Solid unleashes incredible opportunities for creativity, problem-solving and commerce. It will empower individuals, developers and businesses with entirely new ways to conceive, build and find innovative, trusted and beneficial applications and services. I see multiple market possibilities, including Solid apps and Solid data storage,” said Berners-Lee.

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U.S. Has Two More Astronauts Courtesy of Virgin Galactic

The United States has two new astronauts and they come from space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Mojave, CA, United States (4E) – The United States has two new astronauts and they come from space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic pilots Mark Stucky and “Rick” C.J Sturckow earned their U.S. astronaut wings by flying the rocket-powered spacecraft named Unity to an altitude of 83 kilometers or 51.4 miles. The flight on Dec. 13 was Virgin Galactic longest rocket-powered flight ever.

Stucky and Sturckow are also Virgin Galactic’s first astronauts.

The U.S. military and NASA consider pilots that have flown above 80 kilometers to be astronauts. The Federal Aviation Administration said both pilots will receive their commercial astronaut wings at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. early 2019.

“Many of you will know how important the dream of space travel is to me personally,” said Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson. “Ever since I watched the moon landings as a child I have looked up to the skies with wonder. This is a momentous day and I could not be more proud of our teams who together have opened a new chapter of space exploration.

Slung underneath the jet-powered mothership named Eve, Unity took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert. Eve released Unity upon reaching an altitude above 40,000 feet.

Stucky and Sturckow then piloted Unity in a thunderous boost that lasted 60 seconds. The flight pushed Unity to a speed of Mach 2.9 (3,580 km/h) as it roared into a climb toward the edge of space, but far short of the Karman Line, which is the boundary where space begins.

After doing a slow backflip in microgravity, Unity turned and glided back to land at Mojave. This was the company’s fourth rocket-powered flight of its test program.

Unity also carried four NASA-funded payloads on this mission. NASA said the four technology experiments will collect valuable data needed to mature the technologies for use on future missions.

“Inexpensive access to suborbital space greatly benefits the technology research and broader spaceflight communities,” said Ryan Dibley, NASA’s flight opportunities campaign manager, in a statement.

In October, Branson said Virgin Galactic was “more than tantalizingly close” to its first trip to space.

“We will be in space with people not too long after that so we have got a very, very exciting couple of months ahead,” he said.

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China’s Lunar Probe Will Take a Month to Land on the Moon

A launch vehicle carrying a Chinese lunar probe that will attempt mankind’s first-soft landing on the Dark Side of the Moon blasted-off Dec. 8. Its payload spacecraft will reach the Moon by Jan. 1, 2019 at the earliest.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Beijing, China (4E) – A launch vehicle carrying a Chinese lunar probe that will attempt mankind’s first-soft landing on the Dark Side of the Moon blasted-off Dec. 8. Its payload spacecraft will reach the Moon by Jan. 1, 2019 at the earliest.

The puzzling question is why will it take a month for this probe named Chang’e-4 to land on the Moon when it only took U.S. astronauts of the Apollo Program only three days to make the same journey?

China hasn’t given an official explanation, but Western scientists have their theories. The Smithsonian Institution said the Chang’e-4 space craft will make a few course corrections along the way to prepare for a landing at the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

Chang’e-4 will consist of a lander and a rover. The lander will deploy a ramp to allow the rover to access the lunar surface. The rover has dimensions of 1.5 × 1.0 × 1.0 meters and has a mass of 140 kg.

The Chang’e-4 lander will carry scientific payloads to study the geophysics of the landing site. Among the more intriguing payloads on the lander is a 3 kg container with potato and Arabidopsis thaliana seeds (among others), and silkworm larvae (or eggs) to test if plants and insects can hatch and grow together.

Chinese scientists hope that if the eggs hatch, the larvae will produce carbon dioxide. On the other hand, the germinated plants will emit oxygen through photosynthesis. The plants and silkworms will together establish a simple synergy inside the container. A camera will take pictures of this experiment.

This will be the first time humans have tried to grow plants and raise insects on the Moon.

The lander will also deploy the Lunar Lander Neutrons and Dosimetry (LND), a neutron dosimeter developed by Kiel University in Germany.

If China can pull it off, it will become the first country to land a probe on the Dark Side of the Moon. The South Pole-Aitken Basin is a vast basin in the southern hemisphere of the far side. It extends from the South Pole to Aitken crater.

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Massive SpaceX Ride Share Mission Finally Blasts-Off

Finally, after a delay of three weeks to avoid a spectacular failure, SpaceX has successfully placed 64 small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Cape Canaveral, FL, United States (4E) – Finally, after a delay of three weeks to avoid a spectacular failure, SpaceX has successfully placed 64 small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The mission dubbed SS0-A: Smallsat Express was originally set to launch on Nov. 19.

The company called the mission largest-ever “rideshare” mission by a U.S.-based launch service provider. Interestingly, SS0-A is the third voyage to space for the same Falcon 9 first-stage re-usable rocket booster. This achievement is another milestone for SpaceX’s re-usable rocket technology that has significantly slashed the cost of space travel.

The Falcon 9 blasted-off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 18:34 GMT on Dec. 5 carrying satellites from 34 different companies, government agencies and universities. It carried cube satellites (CubeSats) and microsatellites (microsats).

This spacecraft range in size from a refrigerator to those as small as a smartphone. The missions of this odd assemblage of spacecraft are even more diverse. There are cutting-edge technology demonstrators for communications and Earth observation.

Also on the manifest are advanced propulsion systems; formation flying spacecraft; university experiments; high school projects; art and even tomatoes. There’s also a capsule containing the cremains (cremated remains) of a 100 persons that will be buried in LEO.

This space burial mission called “Star II Mission” from San Francisco-based Elysium Space will involve lifting into LEO a representative sample of cremains for 100 people from around the world. Star II is called a “memorial spacecraft.” Elysium said Star II will be the first dedicated satellite ever launched for space burials.

After the launch, the Falcon 9’s first-stage booster returned to Earth, landing on a ship off the coast of southern California. The Falcon 9’s payload fairing missed a landing net on the barge and splashed into the ocean.

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