CES 2018, A Cosmos Sequel, and More SpaceX News | Vol. 5 / No. 12

Photo: CES 2018

This week we’ve got some rundowns on the Consumer Electronics Show, news of the recently announced sequel to Cosmos, and two more stories about SpaceX! It’s the top of the news for Sunday, January 14, 2018.

CES 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has just wrapped up, and the “best of” lists are rolling in. The top choices seem to be a Samsung TV calling itself “The Wall,” a pair of AR glasses called the Vuzix Blade that look, well, a lot like regular glasses for once, a $4000 treadmill made by Peloton (makers of an equally-priced fancypants indoor bicycle), and a stuffed duck. You can check out some of the links below for rundowns with, you know, details.


Image: National Geographic / Fox

Cosmos: Possible Worlds

We got word this week that the stunning TV series Cosmos will get another season, set to air in the spring of 2019. The show will bring back the same magical combination of creators, with Ann Druyan, who won an emmy for writing the last series, returning in that role; producers Seth MacFarlane (yes, that Seth MacFarlane), Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark once again acting as producers; and of course Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself reprising his role as the series’s host. From the title—Possible Worlds—one can only assume we’ll be moving out from our own solar system into the search for exoplanets and the potential for life on other worlds. I can’t wait to see what they come up with. You can read more at Variety.


Photo: Elon Musk

SpaceX News

And rounding out the news for the day is two stories out of SpaceX. Earlier in the week we heard accusations and rumours about the possible failure of the classified Zuma payload last launched by Elon Musk’s rocket company. But a statement by the company’s CEO Gwynne Shotwell categorically denied any issues on their part:

“For clarity: after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible. Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule. Falcon Heavy has been rolled out to launchpad LC-39A for a static fire later this week, to be followed shortly thereafter by its maiden flight. We are also preparing for an F9 launch for SES and the Luxembourg Government from SLC-40 in three weeks.”

Others have speculated that the supposed loss of the satellite (which cannot be confirmed because of the classified nature of the mission) may have been due to a fault in the Northrop Grumman payload adapter. If so, then the statements about the failure and those by SpaceX could be true, leaving the US military with a satellite properly launched by SpaceX that nevertheless failed to deploy properly. You can read more details about what happened at the Verge.

The second bit of SpaceX news is that the progress toward the launch of the Falcon Heavy is continuing: today they appear to be performing what’s called a “wet dress rehearsal” (WDR), ahead of a potential hold-down static fire tomorrow. If that all goes to plan, well, we’ll probably have half a dozen scrubbed launches before it goes up, and a good chance it explodes when it does, so… keep checking in.

Anyway, that’s the top of the news for this week. Check back next time for more!


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Richard Ford Burley is a human, YA author, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as Deputy Managing Editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.