NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission begins its 1.4 billion mile journey home from asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has embarked on its 1.4 billion-mile journey back to Earth after spending two years on asteroid Bennu. 

OSIRIS-REx (the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) was the first NASA mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey the surface, and collect a sample to deliver to Earth. 

The craft is carrying 2.1 ounces of rock and dust it collected from the asteroid during its land and  grab mission, which NASA hopes the carbon-rich samples will provide clues to how our solar system formed. 

The spaceship was sent to study Bennu, an asteroid around the size of the Empire State Building and 200 million miles away, between the orbit of Earth and Mars. 

If all goes to plan, OSIRIS-REx will orbit the sun twice and return its samples in Utah on September 24, 2023.  

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will leave asteroid Bennu today, and begin its 1.4 billon mile two year long journey back to the Earth, the space agency confirmed 

The triumphant $1.16 billion mission is the first American effort to take a sample from an asteroid with the hopes to unlock secrets about the origin of life on Earth

The triumphant $1.16 billion mission is the first American effort to take a sample from an asteroid with the hopes to unlock secrets about the origin of life on Earth

BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE MAY BE IN BENNU BOULDERS 

Asteroid Bennu may contain the building blocks of life within its ‘rubble-pile’ surface, and the body was once part of a much larger, water covered world, scientists claim. 

NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission will land on Bennu on October 20 to collect samples of the space rock.

Bennu’s boulders were found to contain a bright vein of carbonate

Bennu’s boulders were found to contain a bright vein of carbonate

As part of the preparations for this mission, six research papers have been published looking at the history and make-up of the near Earth asteroid. 

One of those papers  found evidence of carbon-bearing and organic materials widespread across the surface of Bennu.

These materials were found in veins running through rocks and had to be formed as a result of free flowing water that was on the larger, long destroyed celestial body that created Bennu.

This is the first confirmed detection of these building blocks of life on a near-Earth asteroid.

‘I’ve been working on getting a sample back from an asteroid since my daughter was in diapers and now she´s graduating from high school, so it’s been a long journey,’ said NASA project scientist Jason Dworkin.

‘We have gotten used to being at Bennu and seeing new and exciting images and data coming back to us here on Earth.’

OSIRIS-REx made its historic grab of rock samples in October 2020, dodging boulders the size of buildings to collect samples from the surface for several seconds before safely backing away. It collected 2.1 ounces of rock and dust.

NASA confirmed late Monday afternoon that OSIRIS-REx had left Bennu for its journey back to Earth.

Colorado-based flight controllers for spacecraft builder Lockheed Martin applauded when confirmation arrived of the spacecraft’s departure: ‘We’re bringing the samples home!’ 

There was a 16 minute delay due to the distance between the space rock and the Earth, according to NASA, who said the journey begins 7 minutes after thrusters fire. 

The OSIRIS-REx departure sequence is the mission’s most significant maneuver since it arrived at Bennu in 2018, according to NASA. 

The thrusters must change their velocity by 595 miles per hour for the spacecraft’s path to intersect Earth and achieve a successful sample return.

The samples will land at the Utah Test and Training Range on September 24, 2023.

The precious rocks and dust will be housed at a new lab under construction at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, which is home to hundreds of pounds of lunar material collected by the 12 Apollo moonwalkers from 1969 to 1972. 

There is no straight path back to Earth from the location of Bennu between the orbits of Earth and Mars, NASA explained. 

Like a quarterback in American Football throwing a long pass to where a receiver will be in the future, OSIRIS-REx is traveling to where the Earth will be in two years time, not where it currently is today.

The spacecraft will circle the Sun twice, covering 1.4 billion miles to catch up with Earth, with the two objects meeting up on September 24, 2023.

OSIRIS-REx made history many times during its two and half years of operations on the asteroid, according to the space agency.

This includes breaking its own record for the closest orbit of a planetary body by a spacecraft and the smallest celestial object orbited by a human-built spacecraft.

OSIRIS-REx is brining back the largest sample collected by a NASA mission since the Apollo astronauts returned with moon rocks. 

Scientists plan to analyze the sample to learn about the formation of our solar system and the development of Earth as a habitable planet.

Once recovered, the capsule will be transported to the curation facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where the sample will be removed for distribution to laboratories worldwide. 

If all goes to plan, OSIRIS-REx will orbit the sun twice and return its samples in Utah on September 24, 2023

If all goes to plan, OSIRIS-REx will orbit the sun twice and return its samples in Utah on September 24, 2023

OSIRIS-REx made history many times during its two and half years of operations on the asteroid, according to the space agency

OSIRIS-REx made history many times during its two and half years of operations on the asteroid, according to the space agency 

NASA will set aside 75 per cent of the samples for future generations to study with technologies not yet created.

There will be plenty of material to work with, according to NASA, and there could have been much more, with hundreds of grams stuffed in the sample container.

The container on the end of the robot arm penetrated so deeply into the asteroid with such force in October 2020 that rocks got sucked in and became wedged around the rim of the lid. 

In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

The American space agency confirmed that the craft gathered at least two ounces (60 grams). pictured the is sample container on the end of the robot arm

The American space agency confirmed that the craft gathered at least two ounces (60 grams). pictured the is sample container on the end of the robot arm

A swirl of rocks and dust were seen surrounding the asteroid by NASA officials as the excess samples were shaken out of the container, capable of holding 2.1 ounces. 

The requirement for the $1.16 billion OSIRIS-REx mission was at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of samples for return, which NASA says it has achieved.

The carbon-rich material holds the preserved building blocks of our solar system and could help scientists better understand how the planets were formed and how life originated on Earth.

HOW WILL NASA’S OSIRIS-REX MISSION TO TAKE SAMPLES FROM AN ASTEROID WORK?

Osiris-Rex is the first US mission designed to return a piece of an asteroid to Earth.  

Scientists say the ancient asteroid could hold clues to the origin of life. 

It’s believed to have formed 4.5 billion years ago, a remnant of the solar system’s building blocks.

The spacecraft launched on September 8, 2016 at 19:05 EST aboard an Atlas V rocket.

After a careful survey of Bennu to characterise the asteroid and locate the most promising sample sites, Osiris-Rex will collect between 2 and 70 ounces (about 60 to 2,000 grams) of surface material with its robotic arm and return the sample to Earth via a detachable capsule in 2023.

To capture samples on the surface, the craft will hover over a specific area and ‘will be sent down at a very slow and gently’ 4 inches (10 cm) per second. 

The spacecraft will also carry a laser altimeter, a suite of cameras provided by the University of Arizona, spectrometers and lidar, which is similar to radar, using light instead of radio waves to measure distance. 

‘Living skyscraper’ made from genetically modified TREES wins architecture design competition 

A team of architects from Ukraine took top prize at a prestigious competition with a concept for a ‘living skyscraper’ shaped out of a grove of genetically modified trees. 

Their ‘Living Skyscraper for New York City’ design would mold fast-growing trees into an eco-friendly high rise or office building, with smaller branches forming individual rooms and walls.

The idea – which is only a  theoretical concept at the moment -beat out nearly 500 other submissions from around the world and earned the team a $5,000 cash prize.

And while trees have never been used to develop anything on the scale of a skyscraper, the idea isn’t all science fiction. Designers have already successfully grown trees into tables, chairs, lamps and bridges. 

The ‘Living Skyscraper for New York City,’ a high-rise made from specially modified trees, beat out nearly 500 other submissions to win first place and $5,000 in the evolo Skyscraper Competition

The eVolo Skyscraper Competition started in 2006 to recognize those who use architecture in creative ways to ‘challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.’

The first place entry, designed by Andrii Lesiuk, Mykhaylo Kohut, Sofiia Shkoliar, Kateryna Ivashchuk, Nazarii Duda, Mariia Shkolnyk, Oksana-Daryna Kytsiuk and Andrii Honcharenko of Guess Line Architects, is targeted for New York City.

It aims to address the needs of the city’s growing population while combating the decline in green spaces and the impact of construction on the environment. 

A group of genetically modified hardwood trees would be planted in specially treated soil, with branches grafted at different levels to form a network structure.

A rendering of the view from the 'Living Skyscraper of New York.' The eco-friendly concept would address the needs of the city's growing population while combating the decline in green spaces and the impact of construction on the environment

A rendering of the view from the ‘Living Skyscraper of New York.’ The eco-friendly concept would address the needs of the city’s growing population while combating the decline in green spaces and the impact of construction on the environment

While the concept for a skyscraper made from a living trees is still just theoretical, bridges, chairs and other objects are already being grown from pre-programmed trees.

While the concept for a skyscraper made from a living trees is still just theoretical, bridges, chairs and other objects are already being grown from pre-programmed trees.

As the trees grow, they’re shaped to form the frame of the skyscraper, with smaller branches molded into walls and rooms.

‘We actually program the tree and ‘tell’ it how to grow,’ said team member Andrii Lesyuk.

The branches of nearby trees would be grafted at different levels to form a network structure that strengthens the massive tower.

As the trees grow, they're shaped to form the frame of the skyscraper, with smaller branches molded into walls and rooms

As the trees grow, they’re shaped to form the frame of the skyscraper, with smaller branches molded into walls and rooms

As an organic structure, it wouldn’t require building materials, and would be sustained simply by water and fertilizers.

‘We believe that by integrating genetically modified trees during the stage of their growth and development into architecture, we can restore the balance between the digitalized megacities and the Earth’s resources, which are gradually depleted,’ the team explained in their submission.

‘A skyscraper tree is a separate living organism with its own root system, irrigation, care mechanisms, and features of development focused on its adaptation to use in architecture.’

Lesyuk said his father gave him the idea when he mentioned a documentary about paulownia trees, one of the fastest-growing species on earth: They can grow three feet a year and reach a full height of 30 to 40 feet within a decade.

Half the weight of traditional timber, paulownia wood is known as the ‘aluminum of timber,’ Lesyuk said, ‘because it’s naturally resistant to fire, salt water, termites, decay and rot.’

‘I began thinking that if we could accelerate the growth of these trees, they could reach an even greater height and we could mold them into any shape,’ he told Zaxid.Net. ‘With the help of special guideway systems, we can even grow a skyscraper.’ 

While the concept is still just theoretical, Lesyuk said bridges, chairs and other objects are already being grown from pre-programmed trees. 

‘It’s really quite realistic for the near future,’ he added. ‘Just imagine that scientists can invent a tree that will grow not five times faster than a paulownia, but 30 to 40 times faster! Then you can grow an entire building in 15 years.’

Second place in the competition went to Israeli architects Amit Deutch, Roni Dominitz and Tamar Kerber, whose Lluvioso Skyscraper for Mexico City’s has a 2,000-foot ‘canopy’ that would spread over the entire neighborhood and collect rainwater to refill the city’s dangerously low groundwater supply and reduce damage from flooding. (‘Lluvioso’ is Spanish for ‘rainy.’)

‘As the Aztecs learned to adapt to their environment we hoped to realize a proposal that co-lives with nature and doesn’t seek to tame it,’ the team said. 

Lluvioso Skyscraper's 2,000-foot ‘canopy’ would collect rainwater to refill Mexico City’s dangerously low groundwater supply and reduce damage from flooding

Lluvioso Skyscraper’s 2,000-foot ‘canopy’ would collect rainwater to refill Mexico City’s dangerously low groundwater supply and reduce damage from flooding

Hmong Skyscraper, which incorporates the traditional homes of the Hmong people of China as modular units that can be added to an interconnected grid

Hmong Skyscraper, which incorporates the traditional homes of the Hmong people of China as modular units that can be added to an interconnected grid

Xiangshu Kong, Xiaoyong Zhang, and Mingsong Sun of China took third place with their Hmong Skyscraper, which incorporates the traditional homes of the Hmong people as modular units that can be added to an interconnected grid.

The more than nine million Hmong living in southern China have their own language, art and architecture. 

But as many are being relocated to suburban areas to provide a better quality of life, the transition has been difficult.

‘Many Hmong cultural customs have disappeared, and even many Hmong people’s houses have been demolished or will be,’ the team said.

‘We tried our best to keep farmers’ memory and lifestyle of their original hometown, and at the same time let them enjoy the convenience of modern urbanization.’

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will leave asteroid Bennu TODAY

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will leave asteroid Bennu today and begin its 1.4 billion mile, two year long journey back to the Earth, the space agency confirmed.   

OSIRIS-REx (the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) was the first NASA mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey the surface, and collect a sample to deliver to Earth. 

The spaceship was sent to study Bennu, an asteroid around the size of the Empire State Building and 200 million miles away, between the orbit of Earth and Mars. 

OSIRIS-REx gathered 2.1 ounces (60 grams) of rock and dust during its land and grab mission to the surface of the giant space rock, filling its storage compartment.

It will begin its long journey home at 21:00 BST (16:00 EDT), with a live broadcast from NASA sharing the moment it fires its thrusters to push away from Bennu’s orbit.

If all goes to plan, OSIRIS-REx will orbit the sun twice, travelling 1.4 billion miles as it lines up with Earth, returning its samples in Utah on September 24, 2023. 

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission will leave asteroid Bennu today, and begin its 1.4 billon mile two year long journey back to the Earth, the space agency confirmed 

The triumphant $1.16 billion mission is the first American effort to take a sample from an asteroid with the hopes to unlock secrets about the origin of life on Earth

The triumphant $1.16 billion mission is the first American effort to take a sample from an asteroid with the hopes to unlock secrets about the origin of life on Earth

BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE MAY BE IN BENNU BOULDERS 

Asteroid Bennu may contain the building blocks of life within its ‘rubble-pile’ surface, and the body was once part of a much larger, water covered world, scientists claim. 

NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission will land on Bennu on October 20 to collect samples of the space rock.

Bennu’s boulders were found to contain a bright vein of carbonate

Bennu’s boulders were found to contain a bright vein of carbonate

As part of the preparations for this mission, six research papers have been published looking at the history and make-up of the near Earth asteroid. 

One of those papers  found evidence of carbon-bearing and organic materials widespread across the surface of Bennu.

These materials were found in veins running through rocks and had to be formed as a result of free flowing water that was on the larger, long destroyed celestial body that created Bennu.

This is the first confirmed detection of these building blocks of life on a near-Earth asteroid.

During the NASA broadcast, scientists will reveal new imagery from the mission’s final flyover of the asteroid and discuss the moments from the sample grab.

OSIRIS-REx made its historic grab of rock samples in October 2020, dodging boulders the size of buildings to collect samples from the surface for several seconds before safely backing away. It collected 2.1 ounces of rock and dust.

Based at the OSIRIS-REx control room at Lockheed Martin in Colorado, NASA will get confirmation at 21:16 BST (16:16 EDT) that the spacecraft fired its main thrusters.

There will be a 16 minute delay due to the distance between the space rock and the Earth, according to NASA, who said the journey begins 7 minutes after thrusters fire. 

The OSIRIS-REx departure sequence is the mission’s most significant manoeuvre since it arrived at Bennu in 2018, according to NASA. 

The thrusters must change their velocity by 595 miles per hour for the spacecraft’s path to intersect Earth and achieve a successful sample return.

The samples will land at the Utah Test and Training Range on September 24, 2023.

There is no straight path back to Earth from the location of Bennu between the orbits of Earth and Mars, NASA explained. 

Like a quarterback in American Football throwing a long pass to where a receiver will be in the future, OSIRIS-REx is traveling to where the Earth will be in two years time, not where it currently is today.

The spacecraft will circle the Sun twice, covering 1.4 billion miles to catch up with Earth, with the two objects meeting up on September 24, 2023.

OSIRIS-REx made history many times during its two and half years of operations on the asteroid, according to the space agency.

This includes breaking its own record for the closest orbit of a planetary body by a spacecraft and the smallest celestial object orbited by a human-built spacecraft.

OSIRIS-REx will bring back the largest sample collected by a NASA mission since the Apollo astronauts returned with moon rocks. 

Scientists plan to analyse the sample to learn about the formation of our solar system and the development of Earth as a habitable planet.

Once recovered, the capsule will be transported to the curation facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where the sample will be removed for distribution to laboratories worldwide. 

During the NASA broadcast, scientists will reveal new imagery from the mission's final flyover of the asteroid and discuss the moments from the sample grab

During the NASA broadcast, scientists will reveal new imagery from the mission’s final flyover of the asteroid and discuss the moments from the sample grab 

OSIRIS-REx made history many times during its two and half years of operations on the asteroid, according to the space agency

OSIRIS-REx made history many times during its two and half years of operations on the asteroid, according to the space agency 

NASA will set aside 75 per cent of the samples for future generations to study with technologies not yet created.

There will be plenty of material to work with, according to NASA, and there could have been much more, with hundreds of grams stuffed in the sample container.

The container on the end of the robot arm penetrated so deeply into the asteroid with such force in October 2020 that rocks got sucked in and became wedged around the rim of the lid. 

In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

In this image taken from video released by NASA, the Osiris-Rex spacecraft touches the surface of asteroid Bennu on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

The American space agency confirmed that the craft gathered at least two ounces (60 grams). pictured the is sample container on the end of the robot arm

The American space agency confirmed that the craft gathered at least two ounces (60 grams). pictured the is sample container on the end of the robot arm

A swirl of rocks and dust were seen surrounding the asteroid by NASA officials as the excess samples were shaken out of the container, capable of holding 2.1 ounces. 

The requirement for the $1.16 billion OSIRIS-REx mission was at least 2 ounces (60 grams) of samples for return, which NASA says it has achieved.

The carbon-rich material holds the preserved building blocks of our solar system and could help scientists better understand how the planets were formed and how life originated on Earth.

HOW WILL NASA’S OSIRIS-REX MISSION TO TAKE SAMPLES FROM AN ASTEROID WORK?

Osiris-Rex is the first US mission designed to return a piece of an asteroid to Earth.  

Scientists say the ancient asteroid could hold clues to the origin of life. 

It’s believed to have formed 4.5 billion years ago, a remnant of the solar system’s building blocks.

The spacecraft launched on September 8, 2016 at 19:05 EST aboard an Atlas V rocket.

After a careful survey of Bennu to characterise the asteroid and locate the most promising sample sites, Osiris-Rex will collect between 2 and 70 ounces (about 60 to 2,000 grams) of surface material with its robotic arm and return the sample to Earth via a detachable capsule in 2023.

To capture samples on the surface, the craft will hover over a specific area and ‘will be sent down at a very slow and gently’ 4 inches (10 cm) per second. 

The spacecraft will also carry a laser altimeter, a suite of cameras provided by the University of Arizona, spectrometers and lidar, which is similar to radar, using light instead of radio waves to measure distance. 

Listen to Ingenuity fly on Mars! NASA releases first audio of the hum of the helicopter’s rotors

The world has seen a number of videos showing NASA’s Ingenuity flying above the surface of Mars, but now, for the first time, we can hear the humming of its tiny rotors spinning.

The low hum from blades spinning at more than 2,500 revolutions per minute is barely audible and almost sounds like a low-pitched, far-away mosquito. 

The American space agency released the ‘surprising’ audio captured from its Perseverance rover, which was parked 262 feet from the helicopter as it soared through the thin Martian atmosphere during its fourth flight on April 30.

This is the first time a spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft.

Along with the first sounds of the copter, NASA also share a video of the flight that saw it ‘fly farther and faster than ever before.’

The $85 million drone traveled 872 feet (266 meters) at a height of 16 feet (5 meters) for two minutes.

NASA’s tiny copter is set for its fifth flight Friday, but this mission is different from previous as it will land somewhere outside of the designated ‘Wright Brothers Field.’

Ingenuity is set to retrace the steps of its fourth flight, climbing to 16 feet and heading south 423 feet (129 meters), but instead of turning around and heading back the copter will soar to a new height record of 33 feet (10 meters).

After a total flight time of about 110 seconds, Ingenuity will land, completing its first one-way trip. 

Take off is set for 12:33pm local Mars time (3:26pm EDT) with data coming down at 7:31 pm EDT.

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NAS released ‘surprising’ audio captured from its Perseverance rover, which was parked 262 feet from the helicopter as it soared through the thin Martian atmosphere during its fourth flight on April 30

Ingenuity traveled in the belly of Perseverance as the pair made the 239 million mile to Mars and for days after they landed February 18.

The four-pound copter has shown it can hold its own after conducting four successful flights on Mars, which landed it a promotion as a scout for Perseverance.

The pair has provided NASA with a number of ‘first’ moments on Mars, with the most recent captured April 30.

NASA had Perseverance sit 262 feet (80 meters) from the helicopter’s takeoff and landing spot, Wright Brothers Field, during the copter’s fourth flight.

NASA had Perseverance sit 262 feet (80 meters) from the helicopter's takeoff and landing spot, Wright Brothers Field (pictured), during the copter's fourth flight. Pictured is Ingenuity's flight path

NASA had Perseverance sit 262 feet (80 meters) from the helicopter’s takeoff and landing spot, Wright Brothers Field (pictured), during the copter’s fourth flight. Pictured is Ingenuity’s flight path

It was not clear if the rover’s microphone could pick any sounds of the flight, but that did not stop it from trying.

Thin atmosphere on Mars makes it hard to capture sounds 

Sounds on Mars are slightly different than they are on Earth because of the atmospheric composition and its properties. 

The atmosphere on Mars  is 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen and 1.6% argon, along with a lot of dust.

 Mars has a rarefied atmosphere with ‘just about 1% of the density of Earth,’  according to NASA.

NASA says sounds will be lower in volume because of the low pressure on the Red Planet.

Higher-frequency tones will be strongly attenuated by the carbon dioxide molecules.

Although sound is coming from Ingenuity’s spinning rotors, the sounds is muffled by the thin Martian atmosphere.

It is also disrupted by wind gusts when the copter first takes off. 

While in the air, the helicopter’s blades spin at 2,537 rpm and faint humming is heard throughout the audio clip.

Ingenuity’s flights are challenging because of conditions vastly different from Earth’s – foremost among them a rarefied atmosphere that has less than one percent the density of our own.

And this hinders the ability to capture clear audio on the Red Planet. 

David Mimoun, a professor of planetary science at Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) in Toulouse, France, and science lead for the SuperCam Mars microphone, said: ‘This is a very good surprise.

‘We had carried out tests and simulations that told us the microphone would barely pick up the sounds of the helicopter, as the Mars atmosphere damps the sound propagation strongly. We have been lucky to register the helicopter at such a distance.

‘This recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere.’

Scientists made the audio, which is recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the 84 hertz helicopter blade sound, reducing the frequencies below 80 hertz and above 90 hertz, and increasing the volume of the remaining signal, NASA shared in a statement.

Some frequencies were clipped to bring out the helicopter’s hum, which is loudest when the helicopter passes through the field of view of the camera.

Soren Madsen, Perseverance payload development manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said: ‘This is an example of how the different payload instrument suites complement each other, resulting in information synergy.

While in the air, the helicopter's blades spin at 2,537 rpm and faint humming is heard throughout the audio clip

While in the air, the helicopter’s blades spin at 2,537 rpm and faint humming is heard throughout the audio clip

Ingenuity is set to retrace the steps of its fourth flight, climbing to 16 feet and heading south 423 feet (129 meters), but instead of turning around and heading back the copter will soar to a new height record of 33 feet (10 meters). Pictured is an image taken by Ingenuity during its fourth flight

Ingenuity is set to retrace the steps of its fourth flight, climbing to 16 feet and heading south 423 feet (129 meters), but instead of turning around and heading back the copter will soar to a new height record of 33 feet (10 meters). Pictured is an image taken by Ingenuity during its fourth flight

‘JPL built Perseverance as well as Ingenuity and operates both of them. 

‘In this particular case, the microphone and video let us observe the helicopter as if we are there, and additional information, such as the Doppler shift, confirms details of the flight path.’

Following this first, Ingenuity will perform another later today when it reaches a new height record and lands in a different spot on Mars.

Josh Ravich, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Mechanical Engineering Lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shared in a statement: ‘Ingenuity’s fifth flight is scheduled for Friday, May 7. As always (at least so far), our targeted takeoff time is 12:33 p.m. local Mars time (3:26 p.m. EDT, or 12:26 p.m. PDT), with data coming down at 7:31 p.m. EDT (4:31 p.m. PDT). 

‘Ingenuity will take off at Wright Brothers Field – the same spot where the helicopter took off and touched back down on all the other flights – but it will land elsewhere, which is another first for our rotorcraft.’

NASA MARS 2020: THE MISSION WILL SEE THE PERSEVERANCE ROVER AND INGENUITY HELICOPTER SEARCH FOR LIFE

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on Earth. 

Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover is explore an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600ft deep lake.

It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside – and landed successfully on February 18, 2021.

Perseverance landed inside the crater and will collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis.

A second mission will fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps by the later 2020s in partnership with the European Space Agency.

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's 'sky-crane' system

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s ‘sky-crane’ system

SpaceX launches and LANDS its Starship SN15

Nailed it! SpaceX launches and LANDS its Starship SN15 that is the first rocket to survive the its high altitude test

  • SpaceX launched its Starship Serial Number 15 Wednesday 
  • The massive rocket took off from SpaceX’s testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas 
  • This is the fifth prototype to launch, but none have survived the landing 

SpaceX has successfully launched and landed its Starship Serial Number 15 rocket.

This is the first Starship to land safely on the launch pad at the firm’s Boca Chica, Texas facility.

The Elon Musk-owned company launched SN15around 6:15pm ET, following a day of delays and anticipation.

SN15 ignited its three massive Raptor Engines that shot out streams of white smoke from the base before fire blew out to shoot the rocket into the air.

The prototype climbed through the sky until it reach six miles, where it hovered for a moment and then it perform the infamous sideways flip, dubbed a ‘belly flop’ maneuver by CEO Elon Musk.

‘Starship landing nominal,’ Musk tweet moments after his pride and joy made a safe and successful landing on the pad.

SpaceX has successfully launched and landed its Starship Serial Number 15 rocket.

SN15 is the first Starship prototype that was not blown to pieces after a high-altitude test- although a fire sparked at the base after it touched down, but it was quickly contained.

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Blue Origin: Online auction begins today for seat on Jeff Bezos’s space tourism flight on July 20 

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will take its first paying customer to the edge of space on July 20, the firm announced Wednesday. 

The aerospace company is conducting an online auction for one seat aboard its New Shepard rocket, in which will be awarded to the highest bidder.

The auction opens today with sealed bidding through May 19, which will then show all bids online and allow others to outbid the highest amount.  

And on June 12, a live auction will be held to determine the final winner.

‘We are offering one seat on this first flight to the winning bidder of Blue Origin’s online auction,’ Blue Origin shared in the announcement.

‘The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. 

Blue Origin is also naming its first suborbital trip after astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly into space exactly 60 years ago.  

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will take its first paying customer to the edge of space on July 20, the firm announced Wednesday. The aerospace company is conducting an online auction for one seat aboard its New Shepard rocket, in which will be awarded to the highest bidder 

Previous news had suggested Bezos was set to announcing pricing per ticket, but instead is offering one seat through an auction.

No other details have been provided on training or the process in which the winner will endure prior to launching into orbit. 

Blue Origin, founded in 2000, touts itself as means to provide cheaper access to space through the use of reusable rockets, specifically the New Shepard that has flown 15 times.

The rocket’s sole mission is to take tourists to space, who would travel inside a sleek, white capsule atop the vehicle. 

Blue Origin, founded in 2000, touts itself as means to provide cheaper access to space through the use of reusable rockets, specifically the New Shepard that has flown 15 times

Blue Origin, founded in 2000, touts itself as means to provide cheaper access to space through the use of reusable rockets, specifically the New Shepard that has flown 15 times

The capsule is designed with the iconic Blue Origin feather across the exterior and inside are six reclining seats that mirror those inside a helicopter

The capsule is designed with the iconic Blue Origin feather across the exterior and inside are six reclining seats that mirror those inside a helicopter

The capsule is designed with the iconic Blue Origin feather across the exterior and inside are six reclining seats that mirror those inside a helicopter.

Blue Origin’s plans are to send tourists 62 miles above Earth’s surface and spend at least 10 minutes in orbit.

At this altitude, passengers will experience weightlessness due to the zero gravity and see the curve of the planet with the darkness of space as the backdrop.

Blue Origin also recently conducted its first astronaut rehearsal in preparation for sending the first manned New Shepard into space.

The mock crew traveled the designated path of future spacefaring tourists, which included traveling to the launch pad and climbing up the tower to the passenger capsule. 

While celebrities and the uber-rich appear to be a core market for space tourist jaunts, at least initially, industry sources expect Blue Origin to include some philanthropic component to its ticket strategy.

The idea of sending paying customers to the edge of space was once only a plot in science fiction films, but many companies other than Blue Origin are turning the epic journey into a reality.

The news comes just six days after Blue Origin teased tickets would soon go on sale in a video shared to Twitter, which stated ‘Details coming May 5'

The news comes just six days after Blue Origin teased tickets would soon go on sale in a video shared to Twitter, which stated ‘Details coming May 5′

A college science professor and an aerospace data analyst are among a four-member crew for a launch into orbit planned later this year by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, part of a charity drive billed as the first all-civilian spaceflight in history.

Virgin Galactic also aims to fly private customers in early 2022, after a first flight with Branson on board later this year.

Its zero-gravity experience is anchored by its SpaceShipTwo plane, and the company has ambitious plans to offer point-to-point travel between far-flung cities at near-space altitudes.

Virgin says it will charge more than $250,000 for new reservations but has not announced final pricing. Sales will reopen following Branson’s flight.

Scientists develop £2,700 ‘shoe camera’ that detects obstacles 

Follow your feet! Scientists develop £2,700 ‘intelligent’ SHOE that helps blind people to avoid obstacles

  • Austrian computer scientists created a shoe that pings vibrations to the wearer  
  • It warns blind and visually impaired people of obstacles using ultrasonic sensors
  • They’re now working on an embedded AI camera for future versions of the shoe

Computer scientists have created an ‘intelligent’ shoe that helps blind and visually-impaired people avoid multiple obstacles.  

The £2,700 (€3,200) product, called InnoMake, has been developed by Austrian company Tec-Innovation, backed by Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). 

The product consists of waterproof ultrasonic sensors attached to the tip of each shoe, which vibrate and make noises near obstacles. 

The closer the wearer gets to an obstacle, the faster the vibration becomes, much like a parking sensor on the back of a vehicle.   

Tec-Innovation is now working on embedding an AI-powered camera as part of a new iteration of the product. 

The shoe as it is now already available on the market. The ultrasonic sensor is attached to the toe of the shoe. In the future, a camera plus a processor running the algorithm will be integrated there

‘Ultrasonic sensors on the toe of the shoe detect obstacles up to four meters [13 feet] away,’ said Markus Raffer, a founder of Tec-Innovation and himself visually impaired. 

‘The wearer is then warned by vibration and/or acoustic signals. This works very well and is already a great help to me personally.’ 

The product price includes one device per foot, along with one pair of shoes (or installation on an exiting pair of shoes), as well as a USB charger.  

Markus Raffer, a founder of Tec-Innovation and himself visually impaired is managing director of Tec-Innovation. He's pictured here with his creation

Markus Raffer, a founder of Tec-Innovation and himself visually impaired is managing director of Tec-Innovation. He’s pictured here with his creation 

The system detects two pieces of information that are key to avoiding obstacles, the scientists say – the nature of an obstacle and its directional path, especially if downward facing, such as holes or stairs leading into a subway. 

WHAT IS MACHINE LEARNING? 

Machine learning (ML) is a branch of AI based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions.

ML systems can learn to improve their ability to perform a task without being explicitly programmed to do so.

Such systems can find patterns or trends in sets of data to come to conclusions or help humans make better decisions. 

Machine learning systems get more effective over time as they learn.

‘Not only is the warning that I am facing an obstacle relevant, but also the information about what kind of obstacle I am facing, because it makes a big difference whether it’s a wall, a car or a staircase,’ said Raffer.   

The ‘approved medical device, which is available to buy on Tec-Innovation’s website, is just the first version of the product, however.  

The scientists are working on integrating a camera-based recognition system that’s powered by machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI)

Images captured by the embedded camera will essentially allow it to detect more about each obstacle as the wearer walks around.  

‘We have developed state-of-the-art deep-learning algorithms modelled on neural networks that can do two main things after detecting and interpreting the content of the image,’ said Friedrich Fraundorfer at TU Graz. 

‘They use camera images from the foot perspective to determine an area that is free of obstacles and thus safe to walk on, and they can recognise and distinguish objects.’ 

Tec-Innovation is now working on integrating the camera system into a new prototype so it’s both robust and comfortable. 

David Schinagl in front of three shots from the perspective of shoes. The algorithm developed by TU Graz (excerpts of which are on the screens) recognises and marks areas that can be walked on without danger

David Schinagl in front of three shots from the perspective of shoes. The algorithm developed by TU Graz (excerpts of which are on the screens) recognises and marks areas that can be walked on without danger

The firm also want to combine the information collected while wearing the shoe into a kind of ‘street view navigation map’ for visually impaired people. 

‘As it currently stands, only the wearer benefits in each case from the data the shoe collects as he or she walks,’ said Fraundorfer. 

‘It would be much more sustainable if this data could also be made available to other people as a navigation aid.’  

A funding application is currently being submitted to the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG to bring the navigation map to fruition, which researchers say would likely happen in the ‘distant future’.  

Alexa, what am I holding? Amazon rolls out accessibility feature for blind and partially-sighted people 

Amazon's feature, Show and Tell, helps blind and partially sighted people identify common household grocery items

Amazon’s feature, Show and Tell, helps blind and partially sighted people identify common household grocery items

An Amazon’s feature for its smart assistant Alexa, called Show and Tell, helps blind and partially sighted people identify common household grocery items. 

The feature, which launched in the UK in December 2020, works with Amazon’s Echo Show range – devices that combine a camera and a screen with an Alexa-powered smart speaker. 

With Show and Tell, UK Amazon customers can say ‘Alexa, what am I holding?’ or ‘Alexa, what’s in my hand?’. 

Alexa then uses the Echo Show camera and its in-built computer vision and machine learning to identify the item. 

The feature helps customers identify items that are hard to distinguish by touch, such as a can of soup or a box of tea.

‘The whole idea for Show and Tell came about from feedback from blind and partially sighted customers,’ said Dennis Stansbury, UK country manager for Alexa.

‘We understood that product identification can be a challenge for these customers, and something customers wanted Alexa’s help with. 

‘Whether a customer is sorting through a bag of shopping, or trying to determine what item was left out on the worktop, we want to make those moments simpler by helping identify these items and giving customers the information they need in that moment.’ 

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Virgin Media is back online following outage

Virgin Media is back online following outage that saw users in the South West left without internet access for two hours

  • According to DownDetector, the problems started at around 08:13 BST
  • Over 2,000 reports have been filed to DownDetector from South West England
  • MailOnline has contacted Virgin Media for further information 

It’s the go-to internet service for millions of people across the UK, but it appears that Virgin Media experienced issues this morning. 

Over 2,000 reports were filed to DownDetector, with issues affecting users in the South West of England.  

While the reason for the outage remains unclear, of those who reported issues, 77 per cent said they were struggling with cable internet, 17 per cent with mobile internt, and four per cent with TV. 

Speaking to MailOnline, a Virgin Media spokesperson confirmed that the issue is affeccted users in the South West. 

They said: ‘We apologise to customers in the South West who experienced issues with their broadband and TV services this morning. The issue has now been resolved.’

Over 2,000 reports have been filed to DownDetector, with issues appearing to affect users in South West England

While the reason for the outage remains unclear, of those who reported issues, 77 per cent said they were struggling with cable internet, 17 per cent with mobile internt, and four per cent with TV

While the reason for the outage remains unclear, of those who reported issues, 77 per cent said they were struggling with cable internet, 17 per cent with mobile internt, and four per cent with TV

While the reason for the outage remains unclear, several users took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. 

One user tweeted: ‘No service in Plymouth. Tried to use Service Status but the page is broken. Can’t get through on the phone lines either. Need internet as I am working from home.’

Another wrote: ‘There’s quite clearly a problem in the devon area. Other people have been given the same advice only to be told there’s no problem when they ring but they still don’t have Internet! I’m on a residential account but if I can’t work I won’t get paid!’

And one vented: ‘Getting beyond ridiculous now. Wifi constantly drops making it impossible to work from home. We pay a lot of money for this!!’

While the reason for the outage remains unclear, several users have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations

While the reason for the outage remains unclear, several users have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations

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Liftoff! SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit aboard a recycled Falcon 9 rocket

Liftoff! SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit aboard a recycled Falcon 9 rocket named after the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars

  • SpaceX launched 60 new Starlink satellites into orbit Tuesday at 3:01pm ET
  • The Falcon 9 rocket took off from Kennedy Space Station in Florida
  • This is the third trip the rocket has made to space to deliver satellites 
  • This is also the seventh landing of a Falcon 9 rocket on a sea-based ship 
  • There are more than 1,500 Starlink internet satellites currently in orbit 

SpaceX launched a new batch of Starlinks Tuesday using a recycled Falcon 9 rocket to ferry the internet satellites to space.

The rocket took off at 3:01pm ET from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida as blue skies covered the area.

Ascent weather at the launch pad and recovery weather over the drone ship were ‘fantastic’ for take-off and landing, the SpaceX host of the livestream said minutes before the rocket launched.

The flight, called Starlink 25, is the 13th mission of 2021 for the Elon Musk-owned firm and the third time this Falcon 9 rocket has ventured into space.

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SpaceX launched a new batch of Starlinks Tuesday using a recycled Falcon 9 rocket to ferry the internet satellites to space. The rocket took off at 3:01pm ET from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida as blue skies covered the area

The Falcon 9 rocket ignited its nine Merlin engines just before take-off that sent a massive white cloud blowing from the base, and then it headed off to space.

After delivery the batch of 60 Starlinks into orbit, the rocket’s first stage made a safe landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Musk, a Star Wars fan, named SpaceX’s Falcon 9 after the Millennium Falcon from the popular film. 

SpaceX has held a number of Starlink launches each month this year, as part of Musk’s masterplan to have a total of 1,500 Starlink devices orbiting Earth by the end of 2021, along with funding his long-held dream of going to Mars.

SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell said during a recent interview: ‘The total addressable market for launch, with a conservative outlook on commercial human passengers, is probably about $6 billion, but the addressable market for global broadband is $1 trillion.’

The flight, called Starlink 25, is the 13th mission of 2021 for the Elon Musk-owned firm and the third time this Falcon 9 rocket has ventured into space

The flight, called Starlink 25, is the 13th mission of 2021 for the Elon Musk-owned firm and the third time this Falcon 9 rocket has ventured into space

Atop the Falcon 9 rocket is the fairing carrying the new batch of 60 Starlinks

Atop the Falcon 9 rocket is the fairing carrying the new batch of 60 Starlinks

‘The total addressable market for launch, with a conservative outlook on commercial human passengers, is probably about $6 billion,’ she said, ‘but the addressable market for global broadband is $1 trillion.’

Musk, a Star Wars fan, named SpaceX's Falcon 9 after the Millennium Falcon from the popular film

Musk, a Star Wars fan, named SpaceX’s Falcon 9 after the Millennium Falcon from the popular film

According to Tesmanian, if SpaceX obtains 25 million Starlink subscribers, it would generate about $30 billion every year.

This is 10 times more than what the company earns as a launch provider, it added.

More than 10,000 users are connected to the Starlink satellite internet, according to a SpaceX filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from February.

The document said the service is ‘meeting and exceeding 100/20 megabits per second (Mbps) throughout individual users’ and many are seeing latency ‘at or below 31 milliseconds.’ 

The Falcon 9 rocket ignited its nine Merlin engines just before take-off that sent a massive white cloud blowing from the base, and then it headed off to space

The Falcon 9 rocket ignited its nine Merlin engines just before take-off that sent a massive white cloud blowing from the base, and then it headed off to space

After delivery the batch of 60 Starlinks into orbit, the rocket’s first stage made a safe landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship in the Atlantic Ocean

After delivery the batch of 60 Starlinks into orbit, the rocket’s first stage made a safe landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship in the Atlantic Ocean

There are some drawbacks for users, however – as well as the hefty cost, there are planned outages due to the limited number of satellites and the fact that Starlink is still in early testing.

The Starlink website reads: ‘There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

‘As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.’

ELON MUSK’S SPACEX SET TO BRING BROADBAND INTERNET TO THE WORLD WITH ITS STARLINK CONSTELLATION OF SATELLITES

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched the fifth batch of its ‘Starlink’ space internet satellites – taking the total to 300.

They form a constellation of thousands of satellites, designed to provide low-cost broadband internet service from low Earth orbit.

The constellation, informally known as Starlink, and under development at SpaceX’s facilities in Redmond, Washington.

Its goal is to beam superfast internet into your home from space.

While satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.

Starlink is different. SpaceX says putting a ‘constellation’ of satellites in low earth orbit would provide high-speed, cable-like internet all over the world.

The billionaire’s company wants to create the global system to help it generate more cash.

Musk has previously said the venture could give three billion people who currently do not have access to the internet a cheap way of getting online.

It could also help fund a future city on Mars.

Helping humanity reach the red planet is one of Musk’s long-stated aims and was what inspired him to start SpaceX.

The company recently filed plans with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 4,425 satellites into orbit above the Earth – three times as many that are currently in operation.

‘Once fully deployed, the SpaceX system will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,’ the firm said.

‘Every point on the Earth’s surface will see, at all times, a SpaceX satellite.’

The network will provide internet access to the US and the rest of the world, it added.

It is expected to take more than five years and $9.8 billion (£7.1bn) of investment, although satellite internet has proved an expensive market in the past and analysts expect the final bill will be higher.

Musk compared the project to ‘rebuilding the internet in space’, as it would reduce reliance on the existing network of undersea fibre-optic cables which criss-cross the planet.

In the US, the FCC welcomed the scheme as a way to provide internet connections to more people.

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TikTok appears to ban accounts after overnight outage 

TikTok users are FURIOUS as the popular video app appears to ban accounts after overnight outage

  • TikTok confirmed a bizarre glitch that made users’ follower counts fall to zero
  • The platform said the issue is resolved but users are still reporting problems
  • Some adult users have allegedly been blocked after being told they’re underage

A bizarre glitch on TikTok appears to have robbed users of their follows – and blocked others from the video sharing platform entirely.

The app confirmed the glitch on Twitter at 22:25 BST on Monday night, which reduced users’ follower accounts to zero. 

‘We’re aware of an issue that is causing some accounts,’ it said. ‘Following and/or Followers count to appear as zero. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve this.’  

About three hours later, it then said: ‘This issue has now been resolved. Your Following/Follower count display should be back to normal. Thanks for bearing with us!’

But frustrated users have taken to Twitter alleging that they have been banned from TikTok outright and can’t access the service. 

TikTok is a Chinese social media app where users can live stream, create short videos and music videos and Gifs with a host of functions (file photo)

The app confirmed the glitch on Twitter at 22:25 BST on Monday night, which reduced users' follower accounts to zero

The app confirmed the glitch on Twitter at 22:25 BST on Monday night, which reduced users’ follower accounts to zero

One user said: ‘I am a creator with more than 2 million followers. I think it was a mistake that I was banned since my content is mostly for children and adolescents. 

‘I have dedicated a lot hours to creating content for this app and I would like get my account back.’ 

Another user was reportedly told in an email from TikTok that they were not old enough to have an account. 

TikTok users who had had thousands of followers previously were reduced to zero followers early Tuesday morning

TikTok users who had had thousands of followers previously were reduced to zero followers early Tuesday morning 

‘A friendly reminder that since there was an indication in your account that you are under 13, your account has been permanently removed,’ TikTok said in the strangely-worded message, which was posted in a screenshot to Twitter. 

‘Per our terms of use, our users under age 13 should be in an age appropriate experience for our younger TikTok users.’ 

The user who posted the screenshot said ‘TikTok believes I’m underage but I’m NOT I’ve sent all my information.’ 

Screenshot from Twitter. The oddly worded reply from TikTok effectively accuses the user of being underage. MailOnline has contacted TikTok for more

Screenshot from Twitter. The oddly worded reply from TikTok effectively accuses the user of being underage. MailOnline has contacted TikTok for more

Another user said: 'My account has had the wrong date of birth put in and been deleted I’m 34 not under 13. How do I resolve this?!'

Another user said: ‘My account has had the wrong date of birth put in and been deleted I’m 34 not under 13. How do I resolve this?!’

TikTok allows users as young as 13 to create an account, although it has a minimum age requirement of 16 to use its direct messaging feature.  

It also prevents users from receiving unsolicited messages from other users who they are not friends with and has a 16-and-over age limit for a user to host a live stream.

As well as this, the China-based social network doesn’t allow videos or images to be shared within direct messaging.  

Yet another user on Twitter said their account had been banned after entering their date of birth incorrectly.

Another tweeted: ‘My account has had the wrong date of birth put in and been deleted I’m 34 not under 13. How do I resolve this?!’

MailOnline has contacted TikTok for comment.  

WHAT IS TIK TOK? 

TikTok is a Chinese social media app where users can live stream, create short videos and music videos and Gifs with a host of functions. 

TikTok’s tagline is ‘Make every second count’.

It was the most downloaded app in the US in 2018 and the world’s fourth most downloaded app in 2018, ahead of Instagram and Snapchat.

TikTok is known in China as Douyin where it was launched in 2016 and then made more widely available around the world in 2017.  

Douyin is still the version of the app used in China, available to download separately to TikTok.

The app was merged with popular music video lip-syncing app Musical.ly, also with headquarters in China. 

Most children use the app to film themselves lip-syncing to chart hits. 

It offers users a raft if colourful modification and editing tools including overlaying music, sound, animated stickers, filters and augmented reality (AR) for creating short videos. 

The Beijing based social network has more than 500 million active users and the company is now worth more than $75 billion (£58 billion). 

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