Fully Charged: NASA aims to capture an asteroid in 2019, Nest acquires Dropcam, and the crazy GoPro-filmed car crash

Start off the week with a diverse hodgepodge of hot tech news
Asteroid Redirect Mission

NASA planning asteroid capture mission for 2019

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been talking about getting its hands on an asteroid for research purposes for a little while now, and late last week revealed new plans that it intends to get underway in just five years.

NASA’s current plan is to launch an Asteroid Redirect Mission in 2019, which will include a capture vehicle that can either collect a small asteroid in open space or otherwise snag a sample from a larger space rock. Either way, the sample will need to be less than 10 metres in size. After that, NASA’s plan is to redirect the asteroid into orbit around the Earth, at which point astronauts will be able to take samples and study it (as visualized above). 

Sounds like science fiction, right? If NASA has its way, it’ll be science fact before long. The benefit is reportedly twofold, as it will help NASA better understand how to deal with potential hazardous near-Earth objects in the future, and also further its plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.

[Source: NASA via Engadget]

READ MORE: Just because they could — asteroid mining

Nest acquires Dropcam for US$555 million


Google just bought smart thermostat company Nest a few months back for US$3.2 billion (RM10.3 billion), and now Nest is making its part of the Google family a little larger with its acquisition of Dropcam for US$555 million (RM1.8 billion). The deal went down on Friday, and Nest tells Recode that the deal was handled on its own independent of Google.

Dropcam’s super-simple security and surveillance cameras are meant for the average consumer, who can set one up inside or outside the home and keep an eye on what’s happening from afar. The standard US$149 (RM479) and Pro US$199 (RM639) cameras also support an optional Cloud Video Recording (CVR) subscription feature, which saves a week or 30 days of footage online for viewing later.

Even if Google didn’t drive the deal, this move gives it an even stronger position within the connected home market, and Nest and Dropcam acting as one will no doubt make the smart home even smarter down the line. We’re curious to see if Google has anything to share about Nest (and/or Dropcam) at its I/O developer conference this week.

[Source: Recode]

READ MORE: Nest Learning Thermostat comes to the UK

Watch a horrific stunt car crash thanks to GoPro

Well, this seems like a slightly odd way to promote a product. GoPro, the leading personal video camera maker, usually builds buzz around its tiny devices by posting awesome moments viewed from incredible perspectives—like, say, Felix Baumgartner's edge-of-space Red Bull Stratos jump from late 2012. But in this case, the moment goes spectacularly awry.

Guerlain Chicherit is a snowboarder and rally driver, and in this clip, he vaults a Mini off of a ramp at nearly 160kph in an effort to clear a 101 metre gap—and an array of GoPro cameras capture every brutal detail as the car flips repeatedly after the botched landing. There’s a happy ending, of course, and a nice motivational quote for the cameras at the end, but it’s still a tough one to watch without cringing.

[Source: YouTube]

READ MORE: GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition review

Nintendo's adding a Mercedes Benz to Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8

Even the colorful Mushroom Kingdom isn’t immune from the pressures of product placement, as Nintendo has announced plans to add a Mercedes Benz GLA-Class kart to Mario Kart 8 on Wii U as downloadable content this summer. It was first announced for Japanese players recently, but Nintendo’s European and North American Twitter feeds have since confirmed a wider release.

As seen above, the luxury vehicle takes a slightly cartoonish demeanor for its series debut, but still looks a bit out of place cruising amongst the clouds on vine roads populated by dinosaurs and mushroom men. It’ll likely be free—and hopefully not a sign of much larger things to come for real-world advertising within the stellar Wii U racer.

[Source: Joystiq]

READ MORE: Mario Kart 8 review