In this week’s Science Saturday, we look at the latest science and technology news from the past two weeks, ranging from China’s space station to new AI software.
China space station
China sends the first crew to its new space station. The Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, carrying three astronauts, took off last week from northwest China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The crew will spend three months in orbit to help build the Tiangong space station. Once completed, Tiangong will have a mass of about 90 tonnes and is expected to have at least a 10-year lifespan. It’s due to be commissioned in 2022.
Google is using Artificial Intelligence to design chips. This new model can reportedly design a chip in under six hours, saving engineers months of work. Experts say the reduced time will be a huge help in speeding up the supply chain. The semiconductor industry is currently rocked by a global shortage of chips affecting sectors ranging from consumer electronics to cars.
Bitcoin slumps further as China tightens its crackdown on cryptocurrencies. It tumbled to a two-week low at the start of the week. That amounted to a more than 10% dip in the value of Bitcoin. But China is not the only country cracking down on the cryptos. The U.S. Treasury Department is also actively seeking to tighten regulations, including imposing a tax on cryptocurrency transactions.
Microsoft unveils its latest operating system – Windows 11. The release comes almost six years after Windows 10 was launched. The new system is said to incorporate a major re-design of the user interface. It also promises optimized experiences for touch-screen users and multi-taskers. Microsoft is also working to revamp its app store, to compete with Android and iOS in the near future.