Fully Charged: Instagram hits 200 million users, Apple sells half a billion iPhones, scientists create mini-Mars simulation

Have a nice cuppa and relax with this evening's tech news

Hundreds of millions of selfies!

Well, thanks to selfies and possibly many, many cat photos, Instagram is now 200 million users strong, the service says on its blog. Even more impressive is that 50 million of them joined up in the last six months.

How many photos have been shared of late? Instagram claims at least 20 billion Instagram photos, filtered and unfiltered, have been uploaded on the site.

Now, the big question is: how will Instagram find a way to monetise this?

[Source: Instagram]

More after the break...

Halfway to a billion iPhones!

In 2007, Apple said 'surprise!' And the iPhone was born, with the rest of us looking on quizzically. Who knew that years later, by the end of 2013, Apple would have sold 487 million iPhones.

Analysts have estimated that from then until now, another 38 million iPhones have been sold (at least). So it's likely that earlier this month, Apple quietly passed this new milestone of half a billion iPhones.

Puzzling that Apple has as yet to crow about the success, as it is quick to celebrate similar sale achievements like oh, a billion apps on the App Store. But perhaps it'll be during the next refresh of the device.

[Source: Forbes]

Hello, mini-Red Planet

Apparently the dust on Mars is so fine and loaded with tiny silicates, it could potentially affect machinery not specially made to withstand it.

That is why scientists over in Spain have created a simulator of Mars' environment, recreating conditions on the planet including pressure, temperature, atmosphere, radiation levels and, oh, that pesky dust.

It is not a very big simulator - it sits on an a platform that is eight-inches square and made primarily of copper. But the 'MARTE Machine' manages to simulate an atmosphere that has temperatures ranging from -129  degrees celsius to 149 degrees celsius, with less than 100 times the atmospheric pressure of earth. Then there's the gaseous mix - 95 per cent carbon dioxide - that's definitely not the kind we can breathe without help. 

[Source: CNet]

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