Categories
Business

Netflix’s stock has dropped more than 20% after losing 200,000 members in the first quarter

Today’s Netflix news is concerning. The streaming service reported losing 200,000 customers in the first quarter of 2022, its first drop in almost a decade. And the company’s losses are expected to continue, with Netflix forecasting a 2 million global paid subscriber loss in the second quarter.

This loss is higher than the company’s previous forecasts. The business told shareholders that it anticipated to attract 2.5 million net subscribers in the first quarter, down from 4 million the year before. Analysts had predicted that 2.7 million people would sign up.

Netflix’s member base has dropped to 221.6 million, down from 221.8 million in the previous quarter. According to the corporation, its service is used by over 100 million more households, with over 30 million of them based in the United States and Canada.

The company attributed the drop in subscribers to a number of causes. The suspension of its operation in Russia, for example, resulted in the loss of 700,000 subscribers. Netflix claims that if it hadn’t been for it, it would have added 500,000 net subscribers in the quarter. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia may have had a wider impact, since Netflix reported a slowdown in its operations in Central and Eastern Europe in March, which corresponded with the start of the invasion.

Netflix listed a variety of other issues in its shareholder letter as contributing to the loss. To explain why it was doing so poorly with new user acquisition, the streamer cited everything from password sharing to the competitive landscape to Covid and even inflation. Netflix recently began testing a feature that would require members to pay an additional fee if they shared their account with others outside their household, in order to address the password sharing issues.

While the firm is now testing this new function in Costa Rica, Peru, and Chile, it is expected to spread in the future. In a letter to shareholders, Netflix stated:

“There’s a broad range of engagement when it comes to sharing households from high to occasional viewing. So while we won’t be able to monetize all of it right now, we believe it’s a large short- to mid-term opportunity.”

Netflix announced in January that it planned to gain fewer customers in the first quarter than in past years since most of its high-profile content, including as the second season of “Bridgerton” and “The Adam Project,” will be published near the end of the quarter. However, this doesn’t fully explain the impact because, in addition to these high-profile efforts, Netflix aired a number of other popular shows during the quarter.

Netflix has always fought with linear TV, Amazon, YouTube, and Hulu in terms of the competitive landscape, but claims things have changed in the last three years as new entrants have entered the market. This is having an especially negative impact on growth in the United States, according to the company’s shareholder letter:

“…Traditional entertainment companies realized streaming is the future, many new streaming services have also launched. While our U.S. television viewing share, for example, has been steady to up according to Nielsen, we want to grow that share faster.”

The company also indicated that retention was somewhat lower than expected, but that it was still strong and better than its competitors.

The company’s revenue for the quarter was $7.78 billion, which fell short of analysts’ expectations of $7.93 billion. However, EPS came in at $3.53, compared to $2.89 projected.

On the announcement of the subscriber declines, the company’s stock is plummeting in after-hours trade. In after-market trade, shares fell by 23%, wiping off $30 billion in market value.

In the last two years, Netflix’s market share has greatly declined. According to Parrot Analytics, it fell from 55.7 percent to 45.2 percent globally and from 52.4 percent to 42.4 percent in the United States between Q1 2020 and Q1 2022.

Categories
Business

Mobile connectors will no longer be included with every Tesla vehicle

Tesla will no longer include its mobile connectivity with new car orders, instead opting to sell the Gen 2 (Level 1) bundle separately for $200 less, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The mobile connector bundle includes an adapter that lets drivers charge their automobiles using a standard 110v household outlet; additional adapters can be purchased separately.

Tesla changed their support page on Saturday night, indicating that the mobile connector bundle no longer comes with the car, as it was previously advertised as an attachment that “comes with vehicle.” However, it appears that there is a typo on this page: the chart depicts a Gen 2 mobile connector bundle, but the price is for a $400 Gen 1 (Level 2) bundle (which is also available for purchase separately). Other modifications seen by @Tesla Adri and Drive Tesla Canada support the theory that the Gen 2 charger is the one in issue.

Musk acknowledged that the Gen 2 mobile connector will no longer be included with new car orders in response to a user’s reaction to the issue. “Usage statistics were super low, so seemed wasteful,” Musk remarked, adding that “will be including more plug adapters with the mobile connector kit.” It’s unclear which adapters Tesla will include with the kit when it launches.

Musk offered another update a few hours later, claiming that Tesla will reduce the price of the mobile connector to $200 “based on user feedback.” He also stated that Tesla will “make it easy” to order the mobile connector when purchasing a car, and that owners should install a wall charger “well before” their car arrives.

The Gen 2 mobile connector is still listed on Tesla’s website for $275, and you wouldn’t be able to get one even if you wanted to Because the mobile connector, like the Gen 1 connector, is now out of stock. However, it’s unclear how long either attachment has been out of stock or whether Tesla’s choice is influenced by a supply chain shortfall. 

Musk’s choice has generated a mixed response. Although a mobile connector isn’t required because Tesla owners can charge their cars from a wall charger at home or at a charging station, some drivers say having it with them when driving is comforting. The adapter allows drivers to connect their car into a regular outlet, which is useful at campsites or when travelling in an area without charging facilities. The Gen 2 charger, on the other hand, charges at a significantly slower rate, offering around one to three miles of range after an hour of charging.

Some drivers also say that the mobile connector is a far less expensive alternative to the expensive wall charger, while others claim that they hardly ever use it. Other EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Chevy Bolt, and all BMW EVs, include connectors with a 120v or 240v adaptor as standard. The Kia EV6 does not, however, come with a Level 1 or 2 charging cable, as Elecktrek points out.

Apple famously stopped including chargers with new iPhones in 2020, and Samsung and Google quickly followed suit. Although there are many similarities between this situation and Tesla’s, it is far too early to say whether Tesla’s move will have a domino effect on other EV manufacturers.

Categories
Business

Biden administration declares onshore oil and gas lease sales will resume with higher royalty rates

The Department of the Interior stated on Friday that onshore oil and gas lease sales on federal land would resume, with a higher royalty rate for corporations to pay to the government.

On Monday, the Bureau of Land Management will publish notices of upcoming oil and gas projects for sale.

The lease auction had been scheduled by the Biden administration, but it was put on hold after a judge barred the agency from applying a formula to evaluate the economic impact caused by climate change, such as rising sea levels, more catastrophic storms, intense wildfire seasons, and flooding. The Biden administration challenged the verdict, claiming that it required a halt to all of the government’s programmes that used that exact study.

The royalty rate hike comes after the Interior Department released a divisive study in November proposing that charges be raised to give taxpayers a better return. The new royalty rate is 18.75 percent, up from 12.5 percent previously. It’s the first time the federal government has raised the cost of drilling for oil and gas on public lands.

“For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programmes have prioritised the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of tribal nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement, adding that the department would “begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources.”

The bureau will offer around 173 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres of federal land, which is an 80 percent drop from the original amount examined for lease, according to the Interior Department. Following a “rigorous environmental evaluation” and consultation with Native tribes and local residents, the Interior Department lowered the amount of land being auctioned.

The agency also stated that it will prioritise new leases near existing oil and gas infrastructure, and that it would continue to publish greenhouse gas emissions associated with oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

Environmentalists blasted the move, claiming it shows the Biden administration isn’t serious about addressing the climate catastrophe.

“The Biden administration’s claim that it must hold these lease sales is pure fiction and a reckless failure of climate leadership,” Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “These so-called reforms are 20 years too late and will only continue to fuel the climate emergency. These lease sales should be shelved and the climate-destroying federal fossil fuel programs brought to an end.”

Restarting the lease sales, according to Natasha Léger, executive director of Citizens for a Healthy Community, will only result in more climate disasters.

“The West is drying up and going up in flames. Between extreme drought, the shrinking of the Colorado River, and now urban wildfires in the winter, how much more death, destruction and devastation do we have to see before this administration takes action?” said Léger. “It’s time for climate leadership and to stop leasing our public lands for oil and gas development. We need heroes to break through the political and economic inertia that has us on a collision course to inhabitability.”

“it’s never a good sign when the President announces something at 5pm on a Friday,” Sunrise Movement executive director Varshini Prakash said.

“This is why young people are doubting the political process altogether,” Prakash said in a statement. “If Biden wants to solve for voter turnout in 2022, he should actually deliver on the things he promised, not move farther away from them.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute, a prominent oil lobby, praised the move but said it didn’t go far enough to open up federal land to drilling.

“At a time of high energy costs, these changes to long-standing fair and reasonable lease terms may further discourage oil and natural gas investment on federal lands,” Frank Macchiarola, the institute’s senior vice president of policy, economics, and regulatory affairs, said. “We look forward to seeing the additional details of the leasing proposal.”

Categories
Business

Biden will nominate Michael Barr as Federal Reserve’s top regulator

Michael Barr, a former Treasury Department official, will be nominated by President Joe Biden to be the Federal Reserve’s top bank regulator.

Barr’s selection was predicted after CNBC reported earlier this week that he was the White House’s top candidate for the job. It would make the primary financial law author, the Fed vice chair of supervision, the most powerful bank regulator in the United States.

During the Obama administration, Barr worked as an assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions, where he helped draught the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. That law, which came after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, was one of the most comprehensive overhauls of financial regulation in US history.

Dodd-Frank created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Fed’s vice chair for supervision, among many other regulations aimed at protecting the economy from repeat disasters.

“He was instrumental in the passage of Dodd-Frank, to ensure a future financial crisis would not create devastating economic hardship for working families,” Biden said in a statement released alongside the formal White House announcement on Friday morning.

“He understands that this job is not a partisan one, but one that plays a critical role in regulating our nation’s financial institutions to ensure Americans are treated fairly and to protect the stability of our economy,” Biden continued.

The president also highlighted that when Barr was previously confirmed by the Senate, he got bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans.

That could be an oblique acknowledgement of the administration’s difficulty in getting some of its nominations for finance regulatory roles through the Senate, which is split 50-50.

Last month, Sarah Bloom Raskin, Biden’s original choice for the Federal Reserve’s bank supervisor, withdrew her candidacy. She dropped out after West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, indicated he wouldn’t support her candidacy because of her views on climate change and energy policy.

Last year, Barr was considered by Biden as a candidate to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. But his candidacy was snuffed out by radical Democrats, who were concerned about his intimate links to Wall Street.

After criticism from moderate Democrats Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, the White House nominated Saule Omarova to replace Barr as its choice to oversee the OCC until she was forced to resign in November.

The White House is betting that Raskin’s resignation at Manchin’s hands will persuade progressives — who might have preferred Raskin — to support a more centrist candidate.

Democrats are likely to demand that Barr reveal details of his previous work for financial technology companies such as Ripple Labs, a blockchain-based payments firm, in order to ensure that he is free of corporate interests.

Those familiar with the White House’s thinking say the president’s advisers hope they can persuade senators like Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who previously praised Barr’s work on Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Moderate Democrats, such as Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, the head of the Senate Banking Committee, are seen as more solid allies for the Obama and Clinton administration veterans.

Based on his work establishing what many in the GOP consider unduly burdensome banking rules, a Republican aide told CNBC that Barr would certainly earn many no votes from his party’s ranks.

Barr would be in charge of overseeing the nation’s top banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, if confirmed for the Fed post. The vice chair for supervision is in charge of ensuring that the country’s largest lenders are secure by ensuring that they satisfy capital requirements, assessing risks, and putting banks through regular stress tests.

As one of seven members of the Fed’s board of governors who vote at every central bank meeting, Barr would be a powerful voice on monetary policy.

Last month, the Federal Reserve began the first of what is expected to be a series of interest rate hikes aimed at taming wild inflation. The Labor Department announced on Tuesday that prices in the United States increased by 8.5 percent in the year ended in March, the fastest rate since 1981.

However, even in the best of times, forcing increased borrowing costs on the US economy is a difficult undertaking.

Economists, including Treasury Secretary and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, say the Fed must be careful not to reverse its easy-money policies too quickly, or the United States’ GDP growth will be jeopardised in the face of ongoing supply-chain constraints and the European conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“They have a dual mandate. They will try to maintain strong labor markets while bringing inflation down,” Yellen said of the Fed on Wednesday. “And it has been done in the past. It’s not an impossible combination, but it will require skill and also good luck.”

Barr apart, the White House has four Fed candidates before the Senate: Jerome Powell, Lael Brainard, Lisa Cook, and Philip Jefferson.

Barr is currently the dean of the University of Michigan’s public policy school, a position he took after serving in the Obama administration. He worked as a special assistant to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury, and special advisor to President Bill Clinton during the Clinton administration.

Categories
Business

NASA aims to begin critical Artemis 1 lunar mission testing on today

This weekend, NASA will attempt another vital test of its Artemis 1 lunar mission.

Last Friday (April 1), NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida began the Artemis 1 “wet dress rehearsal,” a practise run of the most crucial prelaunch tasks, including rocket fueling. Everything was scheduled to be finished in about 48 hours, but that didn’t happen because the Artemis 1 crew ran into many complications that caused the test to be delayed.

That pause was requested earlier this week to accommodate Ax-1, a private astronaut trip to the International Space Station that launched today (April 8) from a nearby pad at KSC. The Artemis 1 wet dress may resume operations now that Ax-1 is safely on its way.

NASA officials announced in a blog post yesterday that the test will resume with a “call to stations” at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) on Saturday (April 9). (April 7). The fueling of Artemis 1’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, as well as multiple practise countdowns, will take place on Monday (April 11) if everything goes according to plan.

However, agency officials cautioned that this deadline is only a guideline.

“Teams continue to troubleshoot and refine the test schedule to account for insights gained during the previous runs and activities,” NASA officials wrote via Twitter yesterday (opens in new tab).

The first flight of the SLS and NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration programme, Artemis 1, will launch an uncrewed Orion capsule on a month-long journey around the moon. The mission is scheduled to launch in June or later; NASA will not specify a target date until the wet dress rehearsal is completed and the data has been reviewed.

Artemis 2 will send men on a similar around-the-moon trip in 2024, and Artemis 3 will land astronauts near the lunar south pole in 2025 or 2026, if all goes well with Artemis 1.

Categories
Business

Jeep reveals that its new electric Wrangler SUV concept can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under two seconds

Jeep has created an all-electric concept version of its flagship Wrangler as the company transitions away from gas-guzzling vehicles and toward zero-emission vehicles.

A year ago, the Stellantis brand debuted the initial version of the all-electric SUV, the Jeep Wrangler Magneto 2.0 concept vehicle. Concept vehicles are one-of-a-kind vehicles created by automakers to assess customer interest or highlight a vehicle’s or brand’s future direction.

According to Jeep, the Magneto 2.0 concept SUV is based on the regular Wrangler Rubicon SUV, but it promises a considerable improvement in performance, including 0-60 mph in two seconds. With a time of 6.8 seconds, it’s faster than the Wrangler Magneto 1.0 and on par with Tesla’s high-performance Plaid models.

The Magneto 2.0, according to Jeep, can provide up to 850 ft-lbs of torque and 625 horsepower to the wheels. The vehicle’s electric range has not been revealed by Jeep.

The Magneto’s most distinguishing feature is its six-speed manual transmissions, which are not required in electric vehicles. According to Jeep officials, the e-transmission combines the greatest features of an automatic transmission with the direct-drive sensation of a manual transmission, which is a major selling point for off-road enthusiasts.

Jeep unveiled the Wrangler Magneto 2.0 online on Friday, just in time for the Jeep Easter Safari, the brand’s annual off-road event in Moab, Utah. Jeep uses the event as a proving ground for its vehicles’ capabilities as well as a barometer of client interest in new goods.

The Magneto is not for sale to the general public because it is a concept. Jeep, on the other hand, is anticipated to release an all-electric Wrangler in the future years.

Stellantis, which was formed last year by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Groupe PSA, sees Jeep as a vital part of its growth and electrification goals. Through 2025, Stellantis plans to invest at least $35.5 billion in electric vehicles and associated technology.

In the next years, Jeep CEO Christian Meunier has stated that every new Jeep will include some type of electrification. All-electric vehicles, as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that mix electrification with internal combustion engines, such as the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler 4xe models presently on the market, are expected to be part of those plans.

For the Moab off-roading event, the Magneto 2.0 was unveiled alongside four other bespoke or concept Jeep vehicles. Other cars featured a modified Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, as well as an off-road Grand Cherokee Trailhawk PHEV prototype.

Categories
Business

Twitter plans to test the concept of an edit button in the next months

Elon Musk may have brought attention to the notion of a Twitter edit button this week, but the feature was already in the works at Twitter.

According to Reports, Twitter announced on Tuesday that it will begin testing a new edit function in the coming months.

The announcement came on the same day that Twitter announced that Elon Musk would join the company’s board of directors.

The Tesla CEO’s interest in the company was discovered earlier this week to be greater than 9%. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission report, Musk holds 73,486,938 Twitter shares.

According to Jay Sullivan, Twitter’s head of consumer product, the company has been working on an edit option since last year.

The button has been “the most requested Twitter feature for many years,” according to Sullivan.

Musk raised the possibility of an edit button Monday, just hours after buying a multibillion-dollar stake in Twitter.

He put out a yes-or-no poll for the edit button, misspelling the options as “yse” and “on” – an allusion to users’ inability to repair errors after they’ve posted their tweets. “yse” was leading with more than 73 percent of the vote as of Tuesday evening.

In the coming months, Twitter will begin testing the functionality within its Twitter Blue Labs paid subscription service to “learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s possible,” according to the firm.

For a monthly fee, Twitter Blue members have exclusive access to premium features and app modifications.

Categories
Business

The United Kingdom has announced plans to mint its own NFT in order to ‘lead the way’ in the crypto space

The United Kingdom government announced plans to mint its own non-fungible token on Monday as part of a quest to become a “global leader” in the cryptocurrency field.

City Minister John Glen stated at a fintech event in London that Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has urged the Royal Mint — the government-owned firm responsible for minting coins in the United Kingdom — to manufacture and issue the NFT “by the summer.” “There will be more details available very soon,” he added.

NFTs are digital assets that use blockchain, the technology that underpins many cryptocurrencies, to indicate ownership of a virtual item such as an artwork or video game avatar. They’ve acquired a lot of traction in the last year thanks to celebrity endorsements and corporate sponsorships.

According to Glen, the NFT initiative is part of a larger government attempt to “lead the way” in crypto. The minister stated a number of steps the UK will take to increase regulatory oversight of digital assets, including intentions to:

  • Bring stablecoins into compliance with the UK’s existing electronic payment legislation.
  • Consult on establishing a “world-leading regime” for regulating the trade of other cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin.
  • Request that the Law Commission consider the legal position of decentralised autonomous organisations, or DAOs, which are blockchain-based communities.
  • Examine how decentralised finance (DeFi) loans and “staking,” which allows crypto users to earn interest on their funds, are taxed.
  • Create a Cryptoasset Engagement Group, which will be led by ministers and include representatives from UK authorities and crypto companies.
  • Investigate the use of blockchain technology in the issuance of debt instruments.

Glen stated, “We shouldn’t be thinking of regulation as a static, rigid thing.” “Instead, we should be thinking in terms of regulatory ‘code’ — like computer code — which we refine and rewrite when we need to.”

The government previously announced plans to develop a regulatory framework for cryptoassets and stablecoins, according to report.

Stablecoins, or cryptocurrencies whose value is derived from sovereign currencies such as the US dollar, are a rapidly rising but divisive phenomenon in the crypto industry. Tether, the largest stablecoin in the world, with a circulating supply of over $80 billion. However, it has been chastised for the lack of transparency surrounding the token’s reserves. Stablecoins will now be regulated in the United Kingdom by the government.

Glen said that the government was “widening” its scope to include other areas of crypto, such as Web3, a movement that advocates for a more decentralised internet based on blockchain technology.

“No one knows for sure yet how Web3 is going to look,” Glen said. “But there’s every chance that blockchain is going to be integral to its development.”

“We want this country to be there leading from the front, seeking out the greatest economic opportunities.”

The government’s NFT ambitions were met with scepticism by Mauricio Magaldi, global strategy director for crypto at fintech consultancy 11:FS. In an emailed reply, he claimed the decision “seems to be nothing more than a strategic PR-play.” But, he continued, “talk of the U.K. becoming a ‘crypto hub’ seems to hold much more promise.”

There are mixed signals

As policymakers around the world continue to take a closer look at the $2 trillion sector, industry insiders have been demanding for clarity on the United Kingdom’s position on crypto.

President Joe Biden of the United States signed an executive order last month pushing government-wide coordination on crypto regulation. The move was widely regarded as beneficial to the industry.

Meanwhile, politicians in the European Union recently voted against measures that would have jeopardised the future of crypto mining. They did, however, approve new restrictions prohibiting anonymous crypto transfers.

Regulators in the United Kingdom have taken a hard line on digital assets.

The Financial Conduct Authority has turned down the great majority of crypto companies that applied for registration, citing concerns that too many “financial crime red flags” are going unreported.

Last week, the FCA extended a vital deadline for crypto firms on a provisional register to acquire full permission, including Revolut and Copper. Copper has former UK finance minister Philip Hammond as an advisor.

After failing to make it onto the final register, some organisations, including Blockchain.com, B2C2, and Wirex, have been forced to shut down their U.K. crypto activities and relocate offshore. The FCA has only approved 33 companies.

Categories
Business

Scientists find a massive exoplanet nine times Jupiter’s size that is still ‘in the womb’

In a discovery that challenges existing understanding of planetary formation, scientists have discovered a massive planet around nine times the mass of Jupiter at a relatively early stage of formation – describing it as still in the womb.

The planet, a gas giant orbiting exceptionally far from its young host star, was discovered and studied using the Subaru Telescope, which is perched atop the peak of an extinct Hawaiian volcano, and the Hubble Space Telescope, which is orbiting in space.

Planets comprised primarily of hydrogen and helium, such as Jupiter and Saturn in our solar system, have whirling gases encircling a tiny solid core.

“We think it is still very early on in its ‘birthing’ process,” said Subaru Telescope and NASA-Ames Research Center astrophysicist Thayne Currie, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.

“Evidence suggests that this is the earliest stage of formation ever observed for a gas giant”.

9.5 trillion kilometres from the Earth

It’s embedded in an expansive disc of gas and dust that surrounds a star named AB Aurigae, which is 508 light years away from Earth and contains the material that produces planets.

When this star’s image featured in a scene in the 2021 film ‘Don’t Look Up,’ it received a brief burst of renown.

Exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system, number around 5,000. This one, AB Aur b, is one of the biggest. It’s getting close to being large enough to be recognised as a planet rather than a brown dwarf, a body halfway between a planet and a star. Gas and dust dropping into it heat it up.

Only one other star has been discovered with planets in the process of development, known as protoplanets.

Almost all known exoplanets have orbits around their stars that are less than the distance between our solar and its furthest planet, Neptune. However, this planet orbits the sun three times as far as Neptune and 93 times as distant as Earth.

It appears to have formed in a way that differs from the usual planetary formation paradigm.

‘Discovery challenges our understanding’

“The conventional thinking is that most – if not all – planets form by slow accretion of solids onto a rocky core, and that gas giants go through this phase before the solid core is massive enough to start accreting gas,” said astronomer and study co-author Olivier Guyon of the Subaru Telescope and the University of Arizona.

In this scenario, protoplanets trapped in the disc encircling a young star progressively evolve from dust to boulder-sized solid objects, and then begin gathering gas from the disc if the core reaches several times Earth’s mass.

“This process cannot form giant planets at a large orbital distance, so this discovery challenges our understanding of planet formation,” Guyon added.

Instead, the researchers believe AB Aur b is forming in a scenario in which the star’s disc cools and fragments into one or more large clumps that produce planets due to gravity.

“There’s more than one way to cook an egg,” Currie said. “And apparently there may be more than one way to form a Jupiter-like planet.”

The star AB Aurigae is over 60 times brighter and 2.4 times more massive than our sun. It’s just roughly 2 million years old, a child by stellar standards, compared to our 4.5 billion-year-old sun. Early in its life, the sun was also encircled by a disc, which gave birth to Earth and the other planets.

“New astronomical observations continuously challenge our current theories, ultimately improving our understanding of the universe,” Guyon said. “Planet formation is very complex and messy, with many surprises still ahead.”

Categories
Business

NASA postpones dress rehearsal of new megarocket

The final major test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket was called off today due to pressurisation concerns that prohibited technicians from securely loading propellants into the rocket. NASA said on the Artemis I live blog that the test, known as a wet dress rehearsal, has been postponed until at least Monday, April 4th.

“Teams have decided to scrub tanking operations for the wet dress rehearsal due to loss of ability to pressurise the mobile launcher,” NASA noted. Some fans on the mobile launcher — the platform that supports the rocket until launch — were unable to sustain positive pressure, which is necessary for preventing harmful gases from entering the rocket. NASA technicians were unable to “safely proceed” with the fuel-loading operation as a result.

Because it’s essentially a run-through of all the operations NASA will have to carry out when the first actual launch of SLS goes place, including fueling the 322-foot rocket with 700,000 gallons of propellant, this type of dress rehearsal is dubbed “wet.” NASA said in a press conference on Sunday evening that its crew is now on the launchpad troubleshooting the problem. The wet dress rehearsal will resume tomorrow, according to the agency.

The test was slated to start on April 1st and end on Sunday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Lightning damaged the towers around the SLS launchpad on Saturday night, causing NASA to experience some bad weather. One of these strikes was one of the strongest NASA has witnessed since installing the lightning protection system, according to Jeremy Parsons, deputy programme manager at NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems. In a message from the EGS Twitter account, Parsons stated, “It hit the catenary wire that runs between the 3 towers.” “System performed extremely well & kept SLS and Orion safe.”

As part of the Artemis programme, the SLS is expected to transport the Orion spacecraft on an uncrewed voyage around the Moon, dubbed Artemis I. That trip, which is provisionally scheduled for this summer, is intended to prepare the rocket — and NASA — for the journey that would eventually transport humans to the lunar surface.

On NASA’s live blog, as well as the agency’s Twitter account, you can stay up to speed on the test.