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The Flaming Lips’ singer calls on Elon Musk to help the band become the first to perform on the ISS

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The Flaming Lips, an American psychedelic rock band, is looking to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to help them perform at a venue that’s out of this world – the International Space Station (ISS).

Speaking with Audacy, front man and singer Wayne Coyne shared how he and his bandmates hope Musk could make this dream come true, even if he has to ‘invite his girlfriend Grimes along for the ride,’ Coyne said.

‘I think he’s cool and I think he’s got big ideas that are actually working,’ Coyne said about the billionaire. 

‘We’ve always said that we want to be the first band to play on the International Space Station, and I feel like to even say that on your show, he might be listening.’

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Front man and singer Wayne Coyne shared how he and his bandmates hope Elon Musk could help them become the first band to play on the International Space Sattion

The Flaming Lips first got together in 1983 and has since become a mainstay for their unique music and outlandish acts, with one stunt making headlines earlier this year.

The band held a show during the coronavirus pandemic in January 2021 while inside plastic bubbles.

However, what was even more spectacular was that each audience member received their own bubble upon entry.

The Space Bubble show is no match for the concert that could be held on the ISS – if Musk would be willing to lend a hand, or a rocket.

‘I think he’s cool and I think he’s got big ideas that are actually working,’ Coyne said about Elon Musk (pictured). ‘We’ve always said that we want to be the first band to play on the International Space Station, and I feel like to even say that on your show, he might be listening’

The Flaming Lips held a show during the coronavirus pandemic in January 2021 while inside plastic bubbles. However, what was even more spectacular was that each audience member received their own bubble upon entry.

Coyne said he would be ‘very grateful’ if Musk would actually ferry the group to the ISS using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Although it’s a dream, Coyne also revealed the idea of going to space is ‘more than a little nerve-racking.’

‘I’m scared that it actually could happen, on another level, but yeah, I still have that dream,’ Coyne added.

A bunch of musicians hosting a concert aboard the ISS is no longer a strange request, as movies are set to be filmed in the final frontier and the first MMA competition is set to be held in orbit in 2023.

SpaceX announced a landmark partnership last year with Axiom Space, which is building a privately-owned successor to the ISS (pictured), to transport the tourists along with a commander on one of its Crew Dragon capsules.

Musk is also using his Falcon 9 rockets to shuttle paying customers to space and to the ISS.

SpaceX announced a landmark partnership last year with Axiom Space, which is building a privately-owned successor to the ISS, to transport the tourists along with a commander on one of its Crew Dragon capsules.

Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini described the future collaboration as a ‘watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space.’

Tickets could cost up to $55 million per seat aboard the rocket, but the final amount has not yet been determined for most trips.

This post first appeared on The Sun

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Drone ‘bus’ able to carry 40 people from NYC to the Hamptons for just $85 in 2024

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While Uber Elevate plans to launch an air taxi service for up to four passengers in 2023, a New York-startup is thinking bigger by developing a drone bus that fits 40 people.

Kelekona recently unveiled plans for a giant electric vertical takeoff and landing craft (eVTOL) to transport people between cities, with the first route set for Manhattan and the Hamptons.

This flight would take just 30 minutes and cost flyers $85 – the same price as a train ticket.

The firm is eyeing 2024 for its first passenger flights and plans to expand into different regions soon after that includes London to Paris and Los Angeles to San Francisco. .

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Kelekona recently unveiled plans for a giant electric vertical takeoff and landing craft (eVTOL) to transport people between cities, with the first route set for Manhattan and the Hamptons

Founder Braeden Kelekona told Digital Trends the company’s main competitor is public transportation, as many travelers hit the road, squish into trains or waiting on line for the bus when starting a vacation or weekend getaway.

And it seems fitting that the first route would be in New York.

‘We have a really small airspace in New York,’ Kelekona told the news outlet.

‘It never made sense to us to create a small aircraft that was only able to carry up to six people.

The firm is eyeing 2024 for its first passenger flights and plans to expand into different regions soon after that includes London to Paris and Los Angeles to San Francisco

To achieve one-way, one-hour flights, Kelekona is developing a swappable battery method similar to what Tesla uses in its Model S and Model 3 cars

‘You have to have the kind of mass transit we rely on here in the city. It makes sense to try to move as many people as possible in one aircraft, so that we’re not hogging airspace.’

After Kelekona gets the New York route up and running, the firm plans to add other pathways including Boston to New York; New York to Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The drone bus, which resembles a mash-up of a flying saucer and blimp, is designed with eight thrust vectoring fans with movable propellers to perform all stages of flight: vertical takeoff, forward flight and landing.

And to achieve one-way, one-hour flights, Kelekona is developing a swappable battery method similar to what Tesla uses in its Model S and Model 3 cars.

The drone bus, which resembles a mash-up of a flying saucer and blimp, is designed with eight thrust vectoring fans with movable propellers to perform all stages of flight: vertical takeoff, forward flight and landing

By utilizing swappable batteries, the drone bus can cut turnaround time when flying between hubs, thus eliminating the need to recharge.

The battery pack, according to the New York startup, will also be equipped with 3.6 megawatt hours of capacity, which is enough to power thousands of homes.

Along with taking passengers for joy rides, Kelekona also sees its drone bus transporting cargo for military personal in war zones or assisting as an aerial medical evacuation in the event of an emergency.  

Although Kelekona has a route picked and date set for passenger flights, it has only designed its drone bus in computer simulations.

But Kelekona told Digital Trends that the world should ‘expect to see our aircraft in the air next year.’

Uber Technologies sold its air taxi arm in December to Joby Aviation, but the deal has not pulled the plug on Uber’s initial plans to ferry passengers through the skies by 2023.

While terms of the transaction were not released, Uber has agreed to invest $75 million in Joby Aviation.

This post first appeared on The Sun

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Google’s new artificial intelligence can design computer chips in under six hours

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Google has developed an artificial intelligence that it says is capable of creating computer chips in ‘under six hours,’ according to a new study.

The research, published in Nature, notes that humans can take ‘months’ to design specialized chips for its tensor processing units – a type of chip used in AI – but the reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm is better and faster than humans at creating more complex AI.

‘The RL agent becomes better and faster at floorplanning optimization as it places a greater number of chip netlists,’ the researchers wrote in the study. 

‘We show that our method can generate chip floorplans that are comparable or superior to human experts in under six hours, whereas humans take months to produce acceptable floorplans for modern accelerators.’

Google developed an artificial intelligence that it says is capable of creating computer chips in ‘under six hours’ 

The new process was used in Google’s latest TPU chip, Anna Goldie, one of the study’s co-authors said

The researchers gave the software 10,000 chip floorplans to analyze and it then worked out how to come up with floorplans that did not use more space, wire and electric power than those designed by humans

The chip floorplan is where parts such as CPUs, GPUs and memory have been placed on the silicon.

It could have broader implications for the semiconductor industry, which is struggling with the end of Moore’s Law 

Google’s research should be shared for the greater good, according to an editorial alongside the study

Putting its money where its mouth is, the Google researchers said it is already being used commercially in the latest version of its tensor processing unit chips. 

Google’s researchers gave the software 10,000 chip floorplans to analyze and it then worked out how to come up with floorplans that did not use more space, wire and electric power than those designed by humans.

The chip floorplan is where parts such as CPUs, GPUs and memory have been placed on the silicon.

Since the 1960s, there have been three different approaches to how these parts could be laid out on the silicon: partitioning-based methods, stochastic/hill-climbing approaches and analytic solvers.

None have achieved human level performance, but the RL system is able to do it fairly easily.

‘Our method, on the other hand, can scale to netlists with millions of nodes, and optimizes directly for any mixture of differentiable or non-differentiable cost functions,’ the researchers added. 

‘Furthermore, our method improves in both speed and quality of result because it is exposed to more instances of the chip placement problem.

‘In addition to the immediate impact on chip floorplanning, the ability of our method to generalize and quickly generate high-quality solutions has major implications, unlocking opportunities for co-optimization with earlier stages of the chip design process. Large-scale architectural explorations were previously impossible, because it took months of human effort to accurately evaluate a given architectural candidate.’    

It’s widely considered a remarkable achievement, one that has been hailed by some of the leading AI researchers in the world, including Facebook’s Yann LeCun.

This is considered a remarkable achievement, one that has been hailed by some of the leading AI researchers in the world, including Facebook’s Yann LeCun

It could have broader implications for the semiconductor industry, which is struggling with the end of Moore’s Law, which states the number of transistors on a chip doubles roughly every two years.

There is the concern, however, that the findings should be shared for the greater good.

‘This is an important achievement and will be a huge help in speeding up the supply chain, but the technical expertise must be shared widely to make sure the ‘ecosystem’ of companies becomes genuinely global,’ an editorial published in Nature reads

‘And the industry must make sure that the time-saving techniques do not drive away people with the necessary core skills.’

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO WORRIED ABOUT AI?

It is an issue troubling some of the greatest minds in the world at the moment, from Bill Gates to Elon Musk.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk described AI as our ‘biggest existential threat’ and likened its development as ‘summoning the demon’.

He believes super intelligent machines could use humans as pets.

Professor Stephen Hawking said it is a ‘near certainty’ that a major technological disaster will threaten humanity in the next 1,000 to 10,000 years.

They could steal jobs 

More than 60 percent of people fear that robots will lead to there being fewer jobs in the next ten years, according to a 2016 YouGov survey.

And 27 percent predict that it will decrease the number of jobs ‘a lot’ with previous research suggesting admin and service sector workers will be the hardest hit.

As well as posing a threat to our jobs, other experts believe AI could ‘go rogue’ and become too complex for scientists to understand.

A quarter of the respondents predicted robots will become part of everyday life in just 11 to 20 years, with 18 percent predicting this will happen within the next decade. 

They could ‘go rogue’ 

Computer scientist Professor Michael Wooldridge said AI machines could become so intricate that engineers don’t fully understand how they work.

If experts don’t understand how AI algorithms function, they won’t be able to predict when they fail.

This means driverless cars or intelligent robots could make unpredictable ‘out of character’ decisions during critical moments, which could put people in danger.

For instance, the AI behind a driverless car could choose to swerve into pedestrians or crash into barriers instead of deciding to drive sensibly.

They could wipe out humanity 

Some people believe AI will wipe out humans completely.

‘Eventually, I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this,’ DeepMind’s Shane Legg said in a recent interview.

He singled out artificial intelligence, or AI, as the ‘number one risk for this century’.

Musk warned that AI poses more of a threat to humanity than North Korea.

‘If you’re not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea,’ the 46-year-old wrote on Twitter.

‘Nobody likes being regulated, but everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc) that’s a danger to the public is regulated. AI should be too.’

Musk has consistently advocated for governments and private institutions to apply regulations on AI technology.

He has argued that controls are necessary in order protect machines from advancing out of human control

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Spaceport Cornwall could launch Virgin Orbit probes to Mars, Venus and the moon within three years

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Spaceport Cornwall could be used to send probes to Mars, Venus and the moon within the next three or four years, Virgin Orbit’s chief executive has said.

Sir Richard Branson’s rocket company is aiming to open the Newquay-based spaceport by spring 2022, when the first satellites will be launched from British soil.

It had been hoped the horizontal launch site would be operational by October this year, but delays brought about by the coronavirus pandemic caused the date to slip.

Despite the setback, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart told MailOnline he was optimistic the company’s LauncherOne rockets would be delivering payloads into orbit next year, with interplanetary probes likely to follow before the end of the decade.

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Future: Spaceport Cornwall could be used to send probes to Mars, Venus and the moon within three years, said Virgin Orbit’s chief executive Dan Hart (pictured centre with Boris Johnson)

Sir Richard Branson’s rocket company is aiming to open the Newquay-based spaceport (shown in an artist’s impression) by spring 2022, when the first satellites will be launched from UK soil

Mr Hart was speaking a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps visited the Cornish spaceport to see Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket (pictured)

VIRGIN ORBIT LAUNCHERONE SPECS

Destination: Earth’s lower orbit

Speed: 20 times the speed of sound

Payload: Small satellites (660lb/300kg)

Launch method: Modified Virgin Atlantic aircraft

Flights begin: 2021

Weight: 57,000lb (25,800kg)

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‘Lunar missions and smaller craft bound for Venus and Mars could be launched [from Spaceport Cornwall] within the next three or four years,’ he said.

‘We’re not going to launch a Perseverance rover (currently being used by NASA to search for signs of ancient life on Mars), for example, but smaller interplanetary probes that explore or carry out landing missions are a possibility.’

However, despite there being talk the Cornish site could one day launch fee-paying space tourists on suborbital pleasure flights, the Virgin Orbit chief said human spaceflight was ‘not currently part of the company’s plans’ for the facility. 

Nevertheless, Mr Hart said he envisioned the spaceport having a Cape Canaveral-like effect on the Cornwall community, with people knowing when a launch is coming and being inspired that their friends and neighbours have worked on it.

He was speaking a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps visited the Cornwall spaceport to see Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, ahead of a G7 summit of world leaders beginning on Friday.

‘It was terrific to talk about the transformations going on in space and the opportunities for growth in the UK,’ Mr Hart said. 

‘The PM was very eager to see our technology – he studied all the data and graphs we showed him and was keen to hear about the partnership between the US and UK, as well as how satellites can enhance national security.’

When asked whether Mr Johnson had mentioned going into space himself, Mr Hart said: ‘He did not, but I’m pretty sure Grant Shapps would be very interested being the aviator that he is.’

When asked whether Mr Johnson had mentioned going into space himself, Mr Hart said: ‘He did not, but I’m pretty sure Grant Shapps would be very interested being the aviator that he is’

Ready for launch: LauncherOne is a two-stage, air-to-orbit rocket that can carry small satellite payloads weighing up to about 660 pounds (300 kilograms) into low-Earth orbit

The rockets are carried up into the atmosphere on a carrier aircraft, dubbed ‘Cosmic Girl’, a Boeing 747-400 (pictured) converted from its former role as a Virgin passenger airliner

Mr Shapps is a keen pilot who often flies around the country on ministerial business.

Virgin Orbit will use Spaceport Cornwall to launch small satellites into space on LauncherOne, a two-stage, air-to-orbit rocket that can carry payloads weighing up to about 660 pounds (300 kilograms) into low-Earth orbit.

The rockets are carried up into the atmosphere on a carrier aircraft, dubbed ‘Cosmic Girl’, a Boeing 747-400 converted from its former role as a passenger airliner in the Virgin Atlantic fleet. 

Spaceport Cornwall’s development is expected to create around 150 jobs and allow the UK to compete in the global market for deploying small satellites into Earth orbit — an industry expected to be worth £3.9 billion by 2030 which Branson is hoping to tap into.  

In January, Virgin Orbit succeeded in putting its first satellites into space, after launching ten payloads from under the wing of a 747 which launched from California’s Mojave desert.

Success: Virgin Orbit put its first satellites into space in January after launching in California

The company announced on Tuesday that the next launch is planned for the end of June and will be live streamed for the first time.

Mr Hart would not be drawn on recent speculation that Branson might try to beat Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos into space by launching on his VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane next month. 

Unity is operated by Virgin Galactic — a separate company to Orbit — but despite saying he was in the dark about the billionaire mogul’s plans, Mr Hart did acknowledge that Branson was ‘anxious to go there’.  

A report on Wednesday claimed the Virgin founder planned to make a suborbital flight two weeks before Bezos, who announced on Monday that he and his brother would fly to the edge of space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft on July 20.

THE BILLIONAIRE SPACE RACE: HOW BRANSON, MUSK AND BEZOS ARE VYING FOR GALACTIC SUPREMACY

Jeff Bezos in front of Blue Origin’s space capsule

Dubbed the ‘NewSpace’ set, Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk all say they were inspired by the first moon landing in 1969, when the US beat the Soviet Union in the space race, and there is no doubt how much it would mean to each of them to win the ‘new space race’.

Amazon founder Bezos looks set to be the first of the three to fly to space, having announced plans to launch aboard his space company Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft on July 20. 

The billionaire mogul will travel with his younger brother Mark, a former advertising executive and volunteer firefighter, and the winner of a multi-million pound auction.

However, a report has suggested Branson might beat him to it, by making a suborbital flight two weeks before Bezos and his brother. The suggestion is the Virgin Galactic founder would travel on his VSS Unity SpaceShipTwo rocket plane on the July 4 weekend.

Although SpaceX and Tesla founder Musk has said he wants to go into space, and even ‘die on Mars’, he has not said when he might blast into orbit. 

SpaceX appears to be leading the way in the broader billionaire space race with numerous launches carrying NASA equipment to the ISS and partnerships to send tourists to space by 2021.  

On February 6 2018, SpaceX sent rocket towards the orbit of Mars, 140 million miles away, with Musk’s own red Tesla roadster attached. 

Elon Musk with his Dragon Crew capsule

NASA has already selected two astronauts who will be on-board the first manned Dragon mission. 

SpaceX has also started sending batches of 60 satellites into space to help form its Starlink network. 

Musk hopes this will provide an interconnected web of satellites around Earth which will beam down free internet to people worldwide.  

Branson and Virgin Galactic are taking a different approach to conquering space. It has repeatedly, and successfully, conducted test flights of the Virgin Galactic’s Unity space plane. 

The first took place in December 2018 and the latest on May 22, with the flight accelerating to more than 2,000 miles per hour (Mach 2.7). 

More than 600 affluent customers to date, including celebrities Brad Pitt and Katy Perry, have reserved a $250,000 (£200,000) seat on one of Virgin’s space trips. 

Branson has previously said he expects Elon Musk to win the race to Mars with his private rocket firm SpaceX. 

Richard Branson with the Virgin Galactic craft

SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.

The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.

It climbs to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier craft, White Knight II, once it has passed the 50-mile mark.

Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere.

The spaceship will then make a suborbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 1.5 hours.

Bezos revealed in April 2017 that he finances Blue Origin with around $1 billion (£720 million) of Amazon stock each year.

The system consists of a pressurised crew capsule atop a reusable ‘New Shepard’ booster rocket.   

Bezos is one of the richest men in the world and Blue Origin has successfully flown the New Shepard rocket 15 times.

At its peak, the capsule reached 65 miles (104 kilometres), just above the official threshold for space and landed vertically seven minutes after liftoff.  

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