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Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was all set to unveil his first electric pickup truck on Thursday night with a “heart-stopping” design, with better utility than a Ford F-150 and superior performance to a basic Porsche 911.

The launch of the vehicle dubbed as ‘Cybertruck’ will happen at the Tesla Design Centre in Los Angeles, near SpaceX rocket factory.


In June this year, the Tesla CEO said the truck would start at “less than $50,000,” putting it between the starting price of the Model 3 (currently $39,400) and the Model S (currently $79,990) sedans.

Musk originally planned to reveal the truck earlier this year, but extended the launch event to November.

Musk in April 2017 mentioned on Twitter the desire to produce a pickup truck, before the first Model 3 sedans had been handed over to customers. At the time, Musk tweeted that a pickup truck would be unveiled in 18 to 24 months.


Electric Vehicle (EV) maker Tesla has also recently unveiled its first Model 3 made-in-China at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Wikimedia Commons

Pickup trucks are currently the fastest-growing segment in the US.

“Even with direct competition from established players (like Ford’s forthcoming electric F-150) and newcomers (like Rivian), there is a ton of money to be made in pickup trucks,” The Verge reported.

“It’s got to be, like, $49,000 starting price max. Ideally less. It just can’t be unaffordable. It’s got to be something that’s affordable,” said Musk.

Also Read: Snapchat Brings a New Lens Called ‘Time Machine’

There will be a version of the truck that gets 400 to 500 miles of range, meaning the more affordable base model may wind up with closer to 300 miles.

One thing to look for is whether Tesla will make versions of the truck with bigger cabs or wildly different trim levels, said the report. (IANS)


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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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