NASA's Flying Saucer, and Everything Else You Missed Yesterday

NASA tests more tech that will help take us to Mars, apps get some important updates, and PlayStation 4 gets a new special edition console. All the news tidbits and rumors you missed yesterday, here on BitStream.


This spinning piece of scifi is NASA’s low-density supersonic decelerator (we’ll work on the name) specifically designed to deliver large payloads to the surface of Mars. Yesterday, NASA preformed an important spin test in Hawaii to make sure everything is good to go for the summer’s upcoming flight test.

This saucer/parachute combo was designed to address the tricky conditions of Mars’ atmosphere, which is too thick for rockets but also too thin for parachutes. NASA says they can only deliver about 1 ton of cargo to the surface of Mars at a time, as demonstrated with the Curiosity mission, but if humans are serious about exploring the Red Planet, NASA will need to do better. [NASA]

  • Apple tried to lure away Tidal’s exclusive artists. But don’t worry. Jay-Z ain’t mad. [9to5Mac]
  • Two industrial giants are battling it out, Highlander-style, over the future of lithium-ion batteries. There can only be one. [Quartz]
  • Charter just bought Bright House Networks as cable companies continue to consolidate. [WSJ]

Apps and Devices

  • Alcatel’s new smartwatch is now available for pre-order for $150, but here’s the kicker—It’s OS-agnostic.
  • Amazon just launched a sleek all-white Kindle, only problem is it’s currently a Japan/China exclusive. Fingers crossed. [The Digital Reader]
  • WhatsApp brings voice calling to Android. Ditch that stock dialer already. [VentureBeat]
  • Todoist is an app with the sole purpose of making your life easier, but with a new massive update, including smarter task creation, it’s now more possible than ever. [TNW]
  • Inbox by Gmail may not have been the email savior you were hoping for, but it’s getting better. This new update will bring custom snooze times on emails. [Android Central]
  • Apple opens the Apple Watch app floodgates and begins accepting submissions from all developers. [MacRumors]


  • Android One, Google’s super-cheap smartphone platform, may be ready to leave Asia. But North America is still an unlikely candidate. [Android Headlines]
  • Rumor: Ants may be aliens. [BBC]
  • This console is the PlayStation 4 we deserve. [PlayStation Blog]
Image for article titled NASA's Flying Saucer, and Everything Else You Missed Yesterday

Great, like I need an irrational fear of something else. Thanks, science.

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I was watching this last night (on my new Roku 3 that I just bought on sale not long ago thanks to a Deals Of The Day post, ty btw). Very interesting stuff. Can’t wait to see this flying for real.