Getting up close and personal with the sun is never going to be possible. Not only would the star burn us alive, but just looking at it would blind us. Fortunately, we don’t have to travel light years to get a good glimpse of it, because NASA and the European Space Agency have shared pictures of it closer than ever.
Studying The Sun
Back in February, the two space agencies teamed up to launch the Solar Orbiter. The aim was to learn more about the sun, so the device was packed with half a dozen telescopes and equipment for analyzing the surrounding environment. It took roughly four months for the satellite to orbit the sun once, but judging by the pictures it sent back to Earth, the wait was worth it.
A Lot To Learn
The scientists were amazed when they saw the images, with Daniel Müller of the ESA stating that their hopes hadn’t been high. Fortunately, despite the fear of failure, the satellite managed to provide incredible pictures that can now be used to understand how the sun works. Through these photos, they hope to learn more about the star’s atmospheric layers, and from there, interpret how these impact weather in space.
Closer Than Ever
The images captured by the Solar Orbiter are notable because they’re the closest pictures that have ever been taken of the sun. The satellite was still some 48 million miles away from the star, which put it roughly halfway between there and the Earth. While that might seem pretty far away, attempts to get too close could damage the satellite. After all, the outer layer of the sun is about 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Solar Orbiter’s work is far from done, with the satellite set to reach as close as 26 million miles within two years. If the project continues to be a success, just imagine how incredible those photos will be.
Niantic Has Bought the Competitive Gaming Platform Mayhem
Although Niantic is a company that is best known for making Pokémon Go., it has recently made several acquisitions on the market. The latest purchase of the software developer was Mayhem – a small SF gaming startup aiming to build a league and tournament organization to help gamers form communities around their favorite titles.
Most of the Team at Mayhem Will Be Joining Niantic
With most of the people in Mayhem joining Niantic, the CEO of the startup, Ivan Zhou, landed a position in the Social Platform Product team. Meanwhile, the rest of the team would join the Platform Engineering crew.
Mayhem was in Y Combinator in 2018 and managed to raise $5.7 million in funding. It was also backed by Accel, Afore Capital, and NextGen Venture Partners. The focus of Mayhem had shifted quite a bit since it debuted on YC and announced a service called Visor. Visor would analyze videos of E-sports gameplay to coach users on how to improve their performance. Now, the company has seemingly shifted its focus to community tools that would help gamers organize tournaments and find matches for different games on its platform.
Niantic Didn’t Disclose the Terms of the Mayhem Acquisition
Niantic made a statement to point out that the acquisition of Mayhem has reinforced its commitment to “real-world social” as the centerpiece of its mission. Other recent acquisitions that Niantic has made recently have focused on technologies that use augmented reality, which is why experts were excited to see them buy tech that focuses on community organization.
So far, Pokémon GO is the true cash cow of Niantic, though the viral success of the game could not be replicated by subsequent releases and organic growth has been difficult to come by. The recent purchase of startup building community tools has shown that the company is getting ready to bring in outside tech in an effort to push their own Augmented Reality ambitions forward.