China has become the first country to successfully land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. The Chang’e-4 probe has also made the first lunar landing since 1972. It has the task of exploring the side of the moon that never faces earth.
The Chinese probe landed in a huge crater 2500 km in diameter and 13 km deep. The crater is one of the oldest parts of the moon and our solar system.
Scientists hope to learn more about the geology of the far side of the moon. The craft has two cameras on board which will send images back to earth. It will also attempt to send signals to distant regions of space, something that cannot happen on earth because of too much radio noise.
Chang’e-4 also has instruments on board to examine minerals as well as a container with seeds which will try to create a miniature biosphere.
Communication with the spacecraft is not easy. Images and other data must be transmitted to a separate satellite because no direct communication with the earth is possible.
For China the Chang’e-4 mission is an important achievement, because the country has successfully done something no other nation on earth has. It wants to become a leading power in space exploration and has announced plans to send astronauts to the moon and set up its own space station.
The dark side of the moon is older and has a thicker crust than the visible side. It takes the moon as long to rotate on its own axis as it does for one complete orbit around the Earth.
achievement = something important that you have done
announce = to make public; to say officially
attempt = try
axis = imaginary line around which an object turns
biosphere = area in which plants and animals can live
crater = round hole in the ground made by a huge rock that crashed into it
crust = hard top part of a planet
data = information
distant = faraway
explore = to go to unknown places and find out more about them
face = look towards
far side = the side of the moon which we never see
geology = study of the rocks that make up the moon
image = picture
lunar = about the moon
mineral = material that is formed naturally and can be dug out of the ground
miniature = very small
probe = unmanned spacecraft
radio noise = unwanted electric signals
rotate = move around a central point
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
seed = small hard objects produced by plants from which a new plant is formed
solar system= our sun and the planets that move around it
space exploration = to send spacecraft into other regions of space in order to find out more about them
space station = large spacecraft that stays above the earth and is the basis for people travelling in space or for tests and experiments
The international airport at Kochi in southern India is the first airport in the world to rely solely on solar energy. Last year it won a top environmental award sponsored by the United Nations .
Five years ago airport authorities started looking for new ways to save energy . At first, they put solar panels on the top of one of the passenger terminals. The initial costs were huge, but as time went on solar panels became cheaper. The airport is expected to get back its invested money within the next six years.
Today, over 40,000 solar panels, placed on wide areas of unused land, produce enough energy not only for the airport but for large parts of the city itself. Currently, more than 29 megawatts are produced and output will rise to 40 megawatts, enough to meet the rising energy demands of the city. In addition, the solar panels absorb as much carbon as the planting of 3 million trees
Kochi’s solar-powered airport is only one of India’s projects to increase the use of solar energy and reduce carbon emissions. By 2022 India is expected to increase its solar capacity to 100,000 megawatts.
The project has received attention from several environmental organisations. Especially African countries are considering moving more of their energy production towards solar power.
absorb = here: to take in; to prevent from escaping into the atmosphere
attention = to get interested
authorities = people or organisations that control or are in charge of an area
award = prize
carbon = chemical element; it is in a gas that causes global warming
carbon emissions = gases that are sent into the air and lead to global warming
consider = think about something
currently = now, at the moment
demands = here: what the city needs every day
environmental = about nature and the world around us
especially = above all
in addition = also
increase = to go up
initial = at first, beginning
invested money = the money that you spend on a project when it starts
output = here: energy production
passenger terminal = big building where people wait to get on planes
place = put something somewhere
reduce =go down
rely = depend on something
rise = go up
several = a few, some
solar capacity = here: the amount of energy that the country could produce
solar energy = energy from the sun
solar panel = piece of metal, usually on the roof of a house, which uses the sun’s heat and light to produce electricity
Voyager 2 has become the second man-made object to pass the boundary of the solar system and enter interstellar space. It is currently 18 billion km from earth. Its sister ship, Voyager 1 reached this boundary in 2012.
According toNASA scientists, the probe can operate for five to ten more years. It is so far away from earth that commands take about 16 hours to reach it.
Voyager 2 has entered the heliopause, an area where hot solar winds do not exist any more and the sun’s magnetic field ends. Interstellar space is the vast emptiness between star systems.
The spacecraft is better equipped than its predecessor, Voyager 1. It has instruments on board to measure speed , density and temperature of solar winds. Voyager 1 stopped sending back this data decades ago. Voyager 2 also sends other useful information back to scientists on earth.
The Voyager missions, which were launched in the 1970s have become a great success for NASA. Both craft have traveled beyond their projected destinations. The two spacecraft were originally created to study Jupiter and Saturn more closely. Later, it turned out that Uranus and Neptune could also be examined before the probes left the solar system.
Even though their power sources will eventually stop, the Voyager probes will continue to move on to places no man-made object have gone before.
according to = as said by ..
beyond = farther than
boundary = a line where one are ends and another one starts
command = instruction
craft = spaceship
currently = at the moment
data = information
decade = ten years
density = the relationship between how big something is and how it is filled
equipped = here: it has instruments on board
emptiness = with nothing in it
even though = while
eventually = in the end, finally
examine = to look closely at something and find out more information about it
interstellar space = the area between star systems
launch = send into space
magnetic field = the area around an object that has magnetic power
measure = to find out how high, fast etc.. something is
man-made object = something that is made by people , not by nature
NASA = the American space agency
originally = at first
power source = where the energy to move on comes from
predecessor = here: the spacecraft that was launched before it
probe = unmanned spaceship that has instruments on board
projected destination = the place they were originally planned to go to
reach = get to; arrive at
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
solar = from the sun
solar system = our sun and the planets that move around it
German sports car maker Porsche has declared that it would no longer produce diesel cars, but instead concentrate on petrol-powered , electric and hybrid vehicles. It is the first German automaker to completely withdraw from the diesel car sector.
The company made the decision in the aftermath of the emission cheating scandal that hit Porsche’s parent company Volkswagen . In an interview, Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume said that Porsche’s image had suffereddue to the scandal.
For luxury car manufacturer Porsche, the production of diesel cars has not been that important. In 2017 only 12 % of all Porsche cars produced were diesel-powered. The company has been making diesel cars for 10 years, but since February has stopped taking orders for them. It has never developed or produced any diesel engines of its own.
Porsche is also reacting to the fact that more and more European cities are considering a ban on diesel vehicles in an attempt to reduce air pollution. In addition, the demand for diesel cars is also decreasing.
Currently, the German car maker is investing heavily in new hybrid and electric car technology. Next year it will launch its first fully-electric sports car, the Taycan. By 2025 Porsche expects that every second car it produces will be an an electric sports car.
aftermath = the period of time that has passed after something important happened
attempt = try
ban = to forbid something
concentrate = focus on
consider = think about
currently = at the moment, now
decrease = go down
demand = the number of cars that people want to buy
due to = because of
emission cheating scandal = in 2015 the United States found out that Volkswagen had lied about emission tests on its cars
declare = to say officially
heavily = a lot
hybrid = here: car that has a petrol engine and an electric motor
in addition = also
launch = to start selling
petrol-powered = engine that runs on petrol instead of diesel
Apple has become the first US company to reach a market value of 1 trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) . The hi-tech firm has beaten its rivalsMicrosoft, Google and Amazon to pass the magical mark. Apple’s stock is now worth $207 per share, an all-time high. If it were a country, Apple would rank 17th in the world, on par with Indonesia.
Before Apple, only China’s oil giant PetroChina made it over the 1 trillion dollar mark back in 2007. It’s valuedeclined sharply shortly afterwards when oil prices collapsed.
Apple was founded in 1976 in a California garage by Steve Jobs. In the first two decades the company was famous for producing computers. Later on Apple developed its revolutionary MP3 player, the iPod, which also saved the company from bankruptcy 20 years ago.
The iPhone, the world’s first smartphone, was introduced in 2007 and has become the company’s flagship product. Up to now over 1.3 billion iPhones have been sold. AlthoughApple is currentlyselling fewer new models, sales and profits are rising. It is also making money by selling music and apps.
In 2017, Apple has made profits in the range of $50 billion, selling over $220 billion worth of products .
Apple may soon be joined in the 1 trillion dollar club by other hi-tech giants . Amazon and Microsoft are close to the mark and may be passing it soon.
all-time high = the highest point ever reached
although = while
bankruptcy = situation in which you have no money left and cannot pay back what you owe to others
collapse = here: to go down very quickly
close = near
currently = at the moment
decade = ten years
decline = to go down very fast
develop = to design and produce a new product
flagship = the best and most important product
found- founded = here: to start a new company
introduce = here: to bring to the market
join = to be together with others
market value = what a company is worth on the market
on par = on the same level
profit = the money you get by selling products and services after your costs have been paid
rank = position
reach = get to a certain point
revolutionary = something completely new and different
rival = another company that wants to be more successful than you are
share = a part of a company that belongs to you
stock = the total value of all the company’s shares
One of the greatest mysteries of aviation history happened on March 8, 2014. Four years ago Malaysia Airlines MH370 went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane left its programmedflight path and headed south towards the Indian Ocean. During the last four years, several search teams have tried to locate the missing plane, but up to now, it hasn’t been found.
The Malaysian Boeing 777 with 239 passengers on board disappeared from ground stationradar screens but flew on for another six hours. Nobody knows what happened during this time. The last known location of MH370 was somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean near Australia. A few parts of the plane were washed up on Africa’s east coast and on islands in the Indian Ocean
Australia, China and Malaysia have taken part in hi-tech search operations that covered a total area of 120,000 square kilometres and cost $200 million. Now, another search is being conducted by an American firm.
Investigatorsspeculate on what may have happened on board MH370. Some experts state that there may have been some kind of mechanical failure while others consider a suddenloss of oxygen in the cabin and cockpit. Officials do not rule out the possibility of the pilot crashing the plane deliberately in unknown waters.
Aviation inspectors say that it is important to find out what happened to MH 370 in order to prevent such an accident from happening again.
aviation = the science of flying an airplane
conduct = carry out
consider = think about
cover = stretch = reach from one place to another
deliberately = on purpose; if you really want to do something
disappear = here: to be lost; not seen
firm = company
flight path = the course an airplane takes
ground station = here: building that watches and has contact with planes
head = to go in a certain direction
inspector = person who checks to see if something is done the way it should be
investigator = person who has the job of finding out what caused the accident
hi-tech = with the best and most modern technology
locate = to find out where something is
loss = to lose something
mechanical failure = an object or a machine on board the plane did not work the way it should have
official = person in a high position in an organisation
oxygen = element that is in the air and which we need to breathe
possibility = here: something may have happened
prevent = stop from happening again
programmed = here: the course it should have taken, according to flight computers
radar = machine that uses radio waves to find where something is and watch its movements
several = some
speculate = to guess about the possible causes or effects of something without knowing all the facts and details
sudden = something happening quickly
unknown = not known
wash up = when something drifts from the open sea to the coast
The world of technology has got one step closer to creating quantum computers. Dutch scientists have recently created a 2-qubit (quantum bit) processor running on a silicon chip.
While standard computers work with bits of information that can have only two states, 0 or 1, quantum processors are based on the fact that bits can exist in both states at the same time. As a result, they have tremendous computing power and can do things that no classical computer can do. Quantum computers can be used for solving complex problems and can manage much larger number of calculations at once.
Scientists explain that they are still in the early stages of developing a real quantum processor. Hardware manufacturer IBM has already built a 50-qubit computer, but with superconductive materials that need extreme cooling. Putting a quantum processor on a silicon chip, which is already used in the computer industry, may be the first step toward mass production.
In such quantum processors, electrons can be in many states at once. This is called superposition. In the lab, scientists have managed to keep electrons between both positions at the same time, however, such electrons are not stable and quickly fall apart. By linking these electrons together on a silicon chip qubit hardware manufacturers could produce quantum processors for commercial use.
bit = the smallest unit of information that a computer uses
calculation = when you use numbers to find out something
classical = here: normal; the ones we have today
commercial use = here: something that is produced so that people buy it
complex = very complicated
electron = very small piece of matter with a negative electrical charge that moves around the central part of an atom
hardware manufacturer = company that producers computers
however = but
lab = laboratory
link = connect with each other
manage = work with; succeed in doing something
mass production = products that are produced in factories in large numbers so they can be sold cheaply
processor = central part of a computer that deals with commands and the information it is given
quantum = unit of energy in physics
qubit= quantum bit = piece of information that can exist in two states at the same time
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
silicon chip = small piece of silicon that has electrical connections and can store information
stable = steady; something that does not change
stage = phase, time during which something happens
superconductive = when electricity can flow through a material very easily, especially at low temperatures
SpaceX, a private space transport company owned by American billionaire Elon Musk, has launched the world’s most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. It is the larger version of the Falcon 9 rocket, which has successfully been putting payloads into space for years. The booster is made up of three rocketsstrapped together for combined thrust.
The Falcon Heavy was developed over a period of 7 years and cost about $500 million. It is 23 stories tall and has 27 engines. The rocket’s thrust equals that of 18 Boeing 747 jumbo jets.
The new rocket is designed to send large satellites into earth orbit. It can carry 64 metric tons, twice the payload of other rockets, into space at a lower price. The rocket can also transport spacecraft to destinations further away from earth. In addition, its starting boosters are reusable.
The first flight was set to travel as far as the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The rocket had an electric sports car, Elon Musk’s privateTesla Roadster, on board.
SpaceX has been flying NASA cargo missions to the International Space Station for a few years. The company wants to compete with other business in carrying payloads to space. Musk’s company has several commercial customers and has been receivingcontracts to fly government payloads. The first manned mission to space is planned for the end of 2018.
asteroid belt = large rocks that move around the sun between Mars and Jupiter
billionaire = person who has a billion dollars, euros etc.. or more
booster = a rocket that gives you the power to leave the earth
cargo mission = here: a trip that carries goods and other products into space
commercial = here: private
compete = be as good as or better than others
contract = an agreement to do a job for someone
design = the way something should work
destination = place you want to go to
develop = to design and create a new product
equal = the same as
in addition = also
International Space Station = ISS = space station that was built by scientists from 16 countries; it is mainly used for scientific experiments
launch = to send an object into space
manned mission = here: trip that sends people into space
orbit = move around an object in a circle
payload = the goods or products that a machine transports to a place
receive = get
reusable = you can use it again
several = some, a few
stories = floors
strapped together = bind together so that it works as one
successfully = if something works the way it should
thrust = power of an engine that makes a rocket move upwards
Amazon has opened its first automated store to the public. Amazon Go is a grocery store located on the ground level of the corporation’s Seattle headquarters.
The store, which offers food, salads and boxed meals could revolutionize our shopping experience in the future.
As soon as you arrive at the store, a cell phone app connected to an Amazon account registers your presence. Everything that happens in the store is tracked by hundreds of infrared cameras. When you pick up items from the shelves they are automaticallyput into yourvirtualshopping cart. The cameras also detect when you put an item back on the shelves and remove it from your cart. The moment you walk out your account is charged without making any physicalpayment.
The technologies used at Amazon Go are the same as with driverless cars – computer tracking, weight sensors on shelves and complicatedalgorithms.
The 1,800 square foot store has been open to Amazon employees for a year. Now the public can also shop there.
However, not everything has been running smoothly in the store’s opening year.There were hardships to overcome. For example, it’s hard for cameras to distinguish between different flavours or products that look the same. They also have problems handling people who move around or identifying shoppers with similar body sizes and clothes.
Even though there are no checkout counters and cashiers who make you wait in line, there are shop assistants who restock goods and help customers find their way around.
account = here: the services of a company that you use
algorithm = set of instructions that are followed in a fixed order and used for solving problems
automated = using computers, cameras and machines
boxed meal = meal that has already been cooked and is ready to eat
cashier = person who you pay money to in a shop
charge = you have to pay money for the goods you buy
checkout counter = place where you pay for products when you leave a store
complicated = difficult
connect = link
corporation = big company
detect = discover, notice
distinguish = find the difference between two things
driverless = without a driver
employee = a person who works there
even though = although, while
flavour = the taste of something
hardships = problems, difficulties
headquarters = place from where a company operates
however = but
identify = find out the name of someone
infrared = light that gives out heat but cannot be seen
item = product
located = to be found; situated
overcome = solve
physical payment = real money you pay with in a store
presence = someone is present
public = here: everybody
register = record
restock = bring in more items to replace those that have been bought
revolutionize = to change completely the way you do something
shopping experience = the way we shop
similar = almost the same
smoothly = here: the way it should; without any problems
track = watch closely
virtual = not real; here: your Amazon account
weight sensor = small object that finds out if there is something on the shelf or not
The Ford Motor Company has revealed plans to invest over $11 billion dollars in the development and production of electric cars by 2022. The announcement was made public at the Detroit Motor Show.
The American carmaker plans to produce 16 fully battery-driven vehicles and 24 hybrid cars by 2022. At the moment the Focus is the only Ford car that can be driven by batteries alone.
Apart from producing electric-driven cars for the North American market, Ford also aims at increasing sales to China, the largest growing car market in the world. In addition, it wants to become the world’s leader in fuel-efficient trucks. The car producer also plans to bring a battery-drivenSUV on the market by 2020.
Instead of creating completely new electric vehicles from scratch, Ford wants to electrify cars that are already popular because people will know what they get and buy more easily.
Automobile manufacturers around the world are under pressure to develop electric cars because many large countries, including China, India, France and the U.K. have said they would phase out vehicles powered by internal combustion engines within the next two decades. They also face fiercecompetition from companies like Tesla, a car-maker that specialises in innovative technologies.
As battery costs are going down rapidly, carmakers may find it easier to produce electric cars with higher mileage and at cheaper prices.
aim = target , plan
announcement = official statement
apart from = other than
battery-driven = run by a battery
billion = a thousand million
competition = trying to be more successful than other companies
decade = ten years
development = working on a new product
electrify = make electric
fierce = here: strong
from scratch = to start something from the beginning without using anything that has existed before
fuel-efficient = car that burns fuel in a more effective way than usual; it does not need as much fuel as others do
fully = completely
higher mileage = here: to make an electric car that can travel more miles or kilometres before you have to recharge it
hybrid car = a car that has both a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor
in addition = also
innovative = new way of doing something; often better than existing methods
instead of = in something’s place
internal combustion engine = engine that produces power by burning petrol or diesel; it is used in most cars
invest = spend money on …
make public = to say something for everyone to hear
manufacturer = producer
phase out = to slowly stop using or producing something
popular = well-known and liked by many people
production = here: making cars
rapidly = quickly
reveal = announce to many people
sales = selling cars
SUV = sport-utility vehicle = car that is bigger and is made for travelling over rough ground; mostly with a 4-wheel drive
under pressure = to make someone do something by using arguments and threats
vehicle = a machine with a motor that is used to take people or things from one place to another