Elon Musk’s Boring Company finishes digging Las Vegas tunnels

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The Boring Company’s test tunnel in Hawthorne, California. Image: The Boring Company

 The city’s Convention and Visitors Authority is still planning to open the ‘Loop’ in January 2021

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has completed digging a second tunnel underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, marking the end of the first phase of the $52.5 million project to build a “people-mover” system to shuttle visitors from one side of the venue to the other. The first of the two tunnels was finished in February.

Workers will now turn their attention to completing the above-ground passenger stations on either end of the tunnels, as well as a third underground station in the middle of the system. The people-mover, which is being formally called the Convention Center Loop, is still scheduled to open to the public in January 2021 in time for the next Consumer Electronics Show — if CES happens, that is.

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Elon Musk reveals when Starlink internet service will go live

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SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service will begin private beta testing in around 3 months, with a public beta opening in around 6 months.

Elon Musk revealed this tentative timeline in a tweet after the Wednesday launch of 60 new Starlink satellites.

On Wednesday afternoon, SpaceX sent one of its Falcon 9 rockets into space. It was carrying 60 shiny new satellites that will eventually become part of the company’s Starlink communications network. SpaceX has been launching the pint-sized satellites into space for months already, with over 400 of them now in orbit around Earth.

The long-term plan is for Starlink to serve high-speed data to just about every corner of the globe, but with an estimated 40,000 satellites needed to fulfill the company’s most grand ambitions, it was unclear exactly how long it would take before the system was up and running in any capacity. Thanks to some tweets by SpaceX boss Elon Musk, now we know.

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Check out these images that reimagine what Tesla’s Cybertruck camper add-on could look like

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 Tesla’s electric Cybertruck has more than 600,000 pre-orders and is scheduled to be released in late 2021, but in the meantime, a Canadian concept artist reimagined what Tesla’s camper attachment could look like.

The design renderings, which we first saw via Robb Report, take Tesla’s general camper design and run with it. Instead of imagining a more temporary camper with a pop-up topper or a tow trailer, the artist’s redesign depicts overhead space incorporated into the body of the vehicle. The renderings also showcase two different options for either a single or dual sleeper.

“So I’m liking something a bit larger, like this insert camper that you can add to the vault of the Cybertruck,” the artist wrote on Cybertruck Owners Club, a fan website. “These renders need work, but I want something in the vault so no need to tow and can travel almost anywhere all the time.

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SpaceX’s first manned flight gets a launch window

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When will SpaceX’s first manned flight launch? No earlier than mid-to-late May, the company declared via its Twitter account Wednesday. The “Demo–2” Crew Dragon flight will see astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley fly to the International Space Station. A successful mission will enable SpaceX to send NASA astronauts to the space station, giving the agency a new means of ferrying crew.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX: Now 1 million Starlink user terminals OKed for US internet service

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The Federal Communications Commission has approved SpaceX’s application to roll out a million user terminals in the US to connect with its growing Starlink satellite broadband network.

The approval gives SpaceX a 15-year “blanket license for the operation of up to 1,000,000 fixed earth stations that will communicate with its non-geostationary orbit satellite system”.

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Human settlements in space are closer than we think. Here’s what it will look like

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From vast spaceships orbiting close to Earth to tunnels the size of Los Angeles under the surface of the moon

 European Space Agency’s plan for the Moon Village.

“We already have, or at least understand, the technology needed for a moon base,” says Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist from the University of Westminster in London. “The time frame could be in a matter of years,” he adds, “if money were no object and nations around the world were to decide that they needed to build a lunar base together.”

Prof. Dartnell is not alone in his optimism. Many scientists, space engineers and industrialists believe that humanity is on the brink of a breakthrough in settlement. Recent developments could advance the realization of this vision.

For example, a report published last month stated that the radar used by the Chinese spacecraft that was the first to reach the far side of the moon is particularly useful for locating subterranean ice layers. One day, that ice may make it possible for people to remain on the moon for lengthy periods.

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Elon Musk has made 250,000 scarce N-95 masks. Sending them out tomorrow

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Elon Musk has shifted his work and is making ventilators and N95 masks at a time when they are in greatest need in the fight against Covid-19.

Ventilators are needed, but the N95 masks are in short supply and desperately needed by health care workers all over the country. In fact, the lack of N95 masks is called one of the biggest bottlenecks in the fight to treat patients and prevent vital workers from becoming carriers.

So news that Elon Musk has made these, using his Tesla and SpaceX businesses, could not have come at a better time.

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Elon Musk says he’s ‘definitely going to be dead’ before humans ever reach Mars — unless the pace of innovation picks up

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An illustration of a woman orbiting Mars inside a SpaceX vehicle. Elon Musk/SpaceX

Elon Musk said he’s “definitely going to be dead” before humans reach Mars unless innovation speeds up.

The SpaceX CEO made the comments on Monday while speaking to attendees of the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, DC.

Musk said the biggest obstacle is designing and building a large and “rapidly reusable” rocket.

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Tesla produces its 1 millionth electric car

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Tesla announced that it produced its 1 millionth electric car — becoming the first automaker to achieve the milestone.

 Only a few years ago, many people didn’t believe that Tesla could produce electric vehicles in any meaningful numbers, but the automaker managed to ramp up three electric vehicle programs: Model S, Model X, and Model 3.

Now it is about to launch its fourth electric vehicle, the Model Y, and it is doing it on the momentum of a new milestone.

Today, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla produced its 1 millionth car and released a picture of the car, a Model Y, and the team who made it:

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You can now book an all-inclusive 10-day trip to the International Space Station for $55 million

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The trip is expected to launch during the second half of 2021.

It may not be a trip to the moon, but Axiom Space is offering deep-pocketed customers a trip to space. And no, we’re not talking a quick little jaunt into orbit either. Instead, the company is offering an all-inclusive stay on the International Space Station for the humble sum of $55 million.

On Thursday, Axiom announced it had signed a contract with SpaceX that will allow a trained commander and three private astronauts the chance to hitch a ride to the space station aboard one of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsules, reports the New York Times. Expected to take place next year, the trip could very likely be the first fully private human spaceflight to orbit.

Currently scheduled to launch during the second half of next year, the trip will give customers the chance to “experience at least eight days of microgravity and views of the Earth that can only be appreciated in the large, venerable station,” according to a press release from Axiom. In addition to the two days of travel and room and board on the ISS, the company will also provide training, planning, life support, medical support, crew provisions, certifications, on-orbit operations and overall mission management.

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Elon Musk’s million-mile battery dreams are about to come true

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Researchers have developed a new battery for electric vehicles that can last 1 million miles.

Researchers have been working on increasing the power and life cycle of the batteries we use in electric vehicles while maintaining safety standards for years. A battery reaching its end of life, with diminishing returns, would be a long term nightmare for both customers and companies.

A team in Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center claims to have developed a powerful battery that can last for 1 million miles. Elon Musk promised last year that Tesla cars would at some point have batteries that last a million miles, and it seems this battery can do just that.

As Tesla learned years ago, a lithium-ion battery that has a high energy density can catch fire or even explode in certain circumstances. That’s obviously something any electric vehicle manufacturer wants to avoid, but we also want our electric vehicles to have batteries that are powerful and long-lasting. Researchers at Penn State appeared to have created a battery that’s stable, powerful and has a very long life using a counterintuitive approach.

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Terraforming Mars might be impossible… for now

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Making Mars more Earth-like would be a gargantuan task. From giant mirrors to tiny microbes, here’s the thinking behind making Mars habitable for humans.

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

At the end of 1990’s sci-fi adventure Total Recall, all it takes is the push of a button. In a matter of minutes, Mars’ sky transforms from a hellish red to an Earth-like blue. After nearly suffocating on the Martian surface just moments before, Arnold Schwarzenegger takes in lungfuls and lungfuls of that sweet, sweet breathable Martian air.

This is terraforming, the concept of making a planet more hospitable to humans, and it’s been cropping up in pop culture since the early 1900s, everywhere from books to movies to video games. Once upon a time, the idea of turning Mars into Earth 2.0 might have been merely a fanciful notion, as theoretical as actually going to the planet at all.

But in 2020, Mars is very much on the agenda. NASA, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic — they all want to put space boots on the ground, and in some cases as soon as the 2030s. But as scientists work toward blastoff, the concept of terraforming will most likely be a case of “failure to launch.”

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