Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news
Plucky space probe survives first Saturn dive
Hours after beginning the first of its 22 dives through the rings of Saturn before heading for a final, planned crash into the surface of the planet, the Cassini probe re-established contact with Earth, said NASA on Thursday.
Any of the 124,000kph dives through Saturn’s rings, which are made of rock and ice, could prove fatal for the probe if it were hit by the particles of the rings, although engineers were hopeful it would make it through the gap successfully. The first dive took the probe to within 3,000km of the tops of Saturn’s clouds.
Earl Maize of NASA said: “No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before.” As a precaution, Cassini, which blasted off from Earth in 1997 and arrived at Saturn in 2004, was oriented so that its 4m-across dish-shaped antenna acted as a shield to protect it from the particles in the rings as it hurtled through them.
The downside of that, however, was that it was out of contact with scientists back on Earth during the dive. “I am delighted to report that Cassini shot through the gap just as we planned and has come out the other side in excellent shape,” added Maize.
Cassini’s next dive is scheduled to take place on May 2.
Mexico bans ISPs from blocking access to pirate sites
In a move that is the antithesis of attempts to block content-pirating resources in countries such as the UK, Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice has ruled that the government can’t order ISPs to block access to sites that provide access to copyright-infringing material because not only is legitimate content also blocked, but also the move violates the public’s freedom of expression.
Torrentfreak reports that the ruling is the result of a court battle that began in 2015 when Alestra, an ISP, was ordered to block access to a music downloads site that was aimed at the Mexican audience.
Alestra appealed, arguing that the order also blocked access to legitimate music. The Supreme Court agreed, and what it now means is that anyone seeking to block Mexicans’ access to content will have to be much more specific and targeted about their legal attempts to do so.
Spooks denied access to Twitter user data
Twitter came under fire from the UK government again on Wednesday when Downing Street accused the social media platform of shirking its responsibility to join the fight against terror.
Downing Street’s protest came after Twitter decided to block intelligence agencies’ access to some user data via a third-party service that other businesses also use to access the data.
The FT reported that the UK government had said that “the government position is that the fight against terrorism is not just a matter for the police and security services – social media and tech companies have a role to play too.”