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Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbours chemical energy for life: NASA

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Washington, April 14: Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus has a form of chemical energy that life can feed on, researchers with NASAs Cassini mission to Saturn have revealed.

“Confirmation that the chemical energy for life exists within the ocean of a small moon of Saturn is an important milestone in our search for habitable worlds beyond Earth,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

In a separate study, scientists also reported additional evidence of water vapour plumes erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Together, the findings suggest that these active ocean worlds in our solar system are worth more exploration in our search for life beyond the Earth.

The study from researchers with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, indicates hydrogen gas — which could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life — is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor.

The presence of ample hydrogen in the moon’s ocean means that microbes — if any exist there — could use it to obtain energy by combining the hydrogen with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water.

This chemical reaction, known as “methanogenesis” because it produces methane as a byproduct, is at the root of the tree of life on the Earth, and could even have been critical to the origin of life on our planet.

Life as we know it requires three primary ingredients: liquid water; a source of energy for metabolism; and the right chemical ingredients, primarily carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous and sulphur.
With this finding, Cassini has shown that Enceladus — a small, icy moon a billion miles farther from the Sun than the Earth — has nearly all of these ingredients for habitability.

Cassini has not yet shown phosphorous and sulphur are present in the ocean, but scientists suspect them to be, since the rocky core of Enceladus is thought to be chemically similar to meteorites that contain the two elements.

The Cassini spacecraft detected the hydrogen in the plume of gas and icy material spraying from Enceladus during its last, and deepest, dive through the plume on October 28, 2015.

Cassini also sampled the plume’s composition during flybys earlier in the mission.

From these observations scientists have determined that nearly 98 per cent of the gas in the plume is water, about one per cent is hydrogen and the rest is a mixture of other molecules including carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia.

At the same time, NASA scientists have also reported additional evidence of water vapour plumes erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The paper detailing new Hubble space telescope findings, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, reports on observations of Europa from 2016 in which a probable plume of material was seen erupting from the moon’s surface at the same location where Hubble saw evidence of a plume in 2014.

These images bolster evidence that the Europa plumes could be a real phenomenon, flaring up intermittently in the same region on the moon’s surface.

Researchers speculate that, like Enceladus, this could be evidence of water erupting from the moon’s interior.
NASA’s will send a probe called Europa Clipper mission, which is planned for launch in the 2020s, to search signs of life on the Jupiter’s moon by flying through those plumes.

“If there are plumes on Europa, as we now strongly suspect, with the Europa Clipper we will be ready for them,” said Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science, at NASA Headquarters.

IANS

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OnePlus 6 beats its 5T’s one-day sales record in 10 minutes

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New Delhi, May 22: Smartphone maker OnePlus on Tuesday said it made a record sale of its newly-launched OnePlus 6 worth Rs 100 crore within first 10 minutes of its preview sale on Amazon India and its own online store–oneplus.in.

Highlighting the enthusiasm of users in the country, Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India, told IANS, “We sold last year’s flagship–OnePlus 5T worth Rs 100 crore in an entire day of sale whereas this time we did the same in just 10 minutes.”

The mirror black colour variant of OnePlus 6 saw a higher demand as compared to midnight black version of the device.

“OnePlus 6 is our best-ever smartphone and we knew that it will do well. The mirror black variant of OnePlus 6 was more in demand during the first sale,” Aggarwal added.

In an attempt to let OnePlus enthusiasts and prospective buyers have the opportunity to be among the first ones to experience and purchase its newly-launched OnePlus 6, the smartphone maker on Monday launched a pop-up sale in eight cities across the country.

Unlike previous years, the company extended the pop-up sale to two days that let users get a hands-on experience of their latest flagship on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The smartphone is priced starting at Rs 34,999 and is offered in three colour variants.

OnePlus launched its flagship OnePlus 6 in India, a first in the OnePlus’ line-up featuring an all-glass design last week.

The device will be available for open sales across all channels, starting May 22, in 6GB RAM+64GB storage and 8GB RAM+128GB options for Rs 34,999 and Rs 39,999, respectively.

Image result for one plus 6

The smartphone features 6.28-inch Full Optic AMOLED display with 19:9 aspect ratio for immersive viewing experience.

“With the OnePlus 6, we challenged ourselves to deliver an external design as smooth and elegant as the work we’ve done inside the device,” said OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau.

OnePlus 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s top-notch Snapdragon 845 chipset which improves performance by 30 per cent while being 10 per cent more power efficient.

OnePlus 6 has a dual-camera system with 16MP main camera, supported by a 20MP secondary camera.

With a f/1.7 aperture, the 16MP main camera features a 19 per cent larger sensor and OIS.

The device also marks the introduction of OnePlus’ “Slow-Motion” mode, which can capture high-definition video frame-by-frame with astonishing detail, ensuring users never miss the action.

The “OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition” device will be available with 8GB RAM and 256 GB storage for Rs 44,999 and will go on sale, starting May 29.

The limited-edition silk white device with 128GB of storage will be available for purchase on June 5 for Rs 39,999.

Users can avail cashback of Rs 2,000 while using SBI debit and credit card during the first week of launch, the company said earlier.

IANS

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OnePlus 6 with all-glass design now in India

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Mumbai, May 17: With the aim to make a dent in the premium smartphone market, Chinese player OnePlus on Thursday launched its flagship OnePlus 6 in India — a first in the OnePlus’ line-up featuring an all-glass design.

The device will be available for open sales across all channels, starting May 22 — in 6GB RAM + 64GB storage and 8GB RAM and 128GB options for Rs 34,999 and Rs 39,999, respectively.

The smartphone features 6.28-inch Full Optic AMOLED display with 19:9 aspect ratio for immersive viewing experience.

Image result for one plus 6

“With the OnePlus 6, we challenged ourselves to deliver an external design as smooth and elegant as the work we’ve done inside the device,” OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau, told reporters here.

OnePlus 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s top-notch Snapdragon 845 chipset which improves performance by 30 per cent while being 10 per cent more power efficient.

“The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 LTE is designed with new architectures for AI, immersion, and blazing fast download speeds, allowing users to do even more with their mobile device”,” said Keith Kressin, Senior Vice President of Product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

“It was purpose-built for premium user experiences like immersive gaming, cinema-grade video capture and long-lasting battery life,” Kresain added.

Coupled with Adreno 630 GPU, which is 30 per cent faster than the previous generation, the OnePlus 6 is a powerhouse for everything — from streaming HD video to playing graphically intense games.

With up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, the device switches between multiple apps running at the same time without lag.

OnePlus 6 has dual-camera system with 16MP main camera, supported by a 20MP secondary camera.

With an f/1.7 aperture, the 16MP main camera features a19 percent larger sensor and OIS.

The device also marks the introduction of OnePlus’ “Slow-Motion” mode, which can capture high-definition video frame-by-frame with astonishing detail, ensuring users never miss the action.

The “OnePlus 6 x Marvel Avengers Limited Edition” device will be available with 8GB RAM and 256 GB storage for Rs 44,999 and will go on sale, starting May 29.

The limited-edition silk white device with 128GB of storage will be available for purchase on June 5 for Rs 39,999.

OnePlus 6 customers can avail cashback of Rs 2,000 while using SBI debit and credit card during the first week of launch, the company said.

The smartphone will be available for purchase on OnePlus.in, Amazon.in, OnePlus Experience store as well as all other OnePlus offline stores.

IANS

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Xiaomi tops smartphone market, Jio leads 4G handset segment in India: IDC

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New Delhi, May 14: While the smartphone market in India saw a healthy shipment of 30 million units in the first quarter of 2018, Xiaomi maintained its lead with 30.3 per cent market share, with Samsung at second place with 25.1 per cent share, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said on Monday.

The 4G feature phone market continued to grow at more than 50 per cent quarter-on-quarter, driven primarily by Reliance JioPhone which led the market with 38.4 per cent share.

The operator disrupted the market by introducing aggressively priced data plans at Rs 49 in the initial weeks of the quarter, acting as catalyst for growth.

According to the IDC’s “Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker”, the India smartphone market maintained a healthy year on year (yoy) growth of 11 per cent. However, the market remained almost flat compared to the previous fourth quarter of 2017.

Xiaomi increased its share of total online shipments from 32 per cent a year ago to 53 per cent in Q1.

“Xiaomi is in a unique position with a diversified channel approach and strong demand in each of the channels. Huawei’s Honor 9 Lite also made into the top 5 online models in its debut quarter 2018Q1,” said Jaipal Singh, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India.

Xiaomi maintained its lead in the market for second quarter in a row with further expansion in the offline channel and popularity of its models such as Redmi 5A and Redmi Note 5.

Commenting on local manufacturing of smartphones, Upasana Joshi, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India, said: “The recent import duty hike on PCBs, camera modules and connectors by the Indian government, definitely puts cost pressure on the smartphone companies, till such time that they set up lines for CKD (Complete Knock Down) type of manufacturing to reduce this impact.”

“This will increase the challenges for smaller companies even more,” she added.

Samsung remained at the second spot with flat annual growth in Q1.

“Samsung’s two-pronged approach with the focus on low-to-mid range J series and the latest flagships Galaxy S9 series along with Galaxy S8 series and Note 8 in the premium segment drove shipments for the vendor,” said the IDC.

OPPO climbed to third spot from fifth in the last quarter. Vivo slipped to fourth position as its shipments declined by 29.4 per cent year-over-year in Q1.

However, the brand grew by 2.1 per cent as compared to the previous quarter. The Y series of Vivo continued to generate close to 70 per cent demand.

China-based Transsion Group made its debut in the top 5 with more than threefold annual growth in shipments in Q1. The China-based group has four brands under its umbrella – itel, Tecno, Infinix and Spice.

“The government push for high-end electronics local manufacturing and accompanying duty hike puts most of the mobile phone vendors under further margin pressure. However, a vendor looking to establish itself for long term will have to show commitment by setting up the SMT units here,” Singh added.

IANS

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