Tokyo Olympics Conclude Successfully as NASA Simulates Habitat for Mars

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics concluded successfully as Paris prepares to host the 2024 Olympics. NASA is looking for volunteers to spend a year living in a 3D-printed Martian habitat in Texas. Biden has proposed new electric vehical goals. Google announces the new Pixel lineup with a new chip. Hiring in the US surged in July, while the unemployment rate remains high despite a worker shortage. Here are this week’s stories.

1. 2020 Tokyo Olympics conclude

Photo by Erik Zünder on Unsplash

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have concluded, wrapping up two weeks of extraordinary athletic competition. The US dominated the games, with 39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze medals for a grand total of 113 medals in 28 different sports. 257 of the 626 athletes of Team USA won a medal, including 164 women and 93 men. China finished second with 88 medals, followed by the Russian Olympic Committee with 71 medals. A record 94 nations won medals at the Tokyo 2020 games, and numerous nations, including Turkmenistan, San Marino, and Burkina Faso, claimed their first medals. Japan, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, New Zealand, Turkey, and India are just some nations that set their new records for most medals secured at a single Olympic Games. 430 people associated with the Tokyo Olympics have tested positive for coronavirus, including 29 athletes, but none of the events were canceled. The athletes in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics persevered through the pandemic and the one-year delay, and they all performed extremely well. In three years, these athletes will again compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

2. NASA is looking for volunteers to spend a year living in a 3D-printed Martian habitat in Texas

NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking for volunteers to join a year-long mission in a simulated Martian habitat in Texas. The missions will include four crew members living inside a 1,700-square-foot on Mars Dune Alpha, a 3D-printed habitat, for 12 months. During the simulation, the crew will face multiple challenges, including limited contact with their families and friends, restricted resources, equipment failures, communication delays, and environmental stressors. These missions are crucial to understanding the challenges of living on another planet. Recently, the space agency has ramped up its plans to eventually set up a station on the Moon and send people to Mars as part of its Artemis program. In the program, NASA will also land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and collaborate with commercial and international partners to explore space.

3. Biden’s electric vehicle goals

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

President Biden has signed an executive order for 50 percent of all new cars sold in the United States in 2030 to be an all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen-powered. Biden’s goal won the support of major US and foreign carmakers, but carmakers asked for billions of dollars in government funding for the change. They also said the federal government must take real action to create public demand, so the companies can meet their revenue goals. Biden has called for $174 billion in government spending to increase electric vehicles, including $100 billion in buyer incentives. A Senate infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion for EV charging stations, but it does not include money for new public incentives. In addition to the executive order, his administration will propose new fuel economy and emissions standards. Although these changes will be good for the environment, the price of cars should not spike. The cost of the average new car topped $41,000 in July, up 17% from last year.

4. Google announces new Pixel Phones

Google Pixel 6

Google announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on Monday, and it might be their first competitive flagship phone. The new Pixel phones will host Google’s first smartphone chip, the Tensor processor, which will replace Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips. The new Tensor processor will allow Google to control both the hardware and software and take advantage of all onboard components. This upgrade will improve every aspect of the phone, including cameras, artificial intelligence, smart assistant, speed, battery life, security, and the longevity of the device. Apple has done the same thing using its A-series chips in iPhones, allowing the device to be efficient and long-lasting. Google hopes to be successful and competitive with its new Pixel lineup. The phones will launch in the fall with Android 12 at around $700.

5. Hiring surged in July

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Over 943,000 jobs were added to the US economy in July, exceeding analysts’ forecasts. Leisure and hospitality again led the hiring surge, with 380,000 jobs, while the government added 240,000 jobs and Education added 87,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, the lowest since March 2020, when the economy plunged into a short but steep recession. The coronavirus recession only lasted two months and ended in April, when the US economy reached its lowest point and started recovering. Over 8 million Americans are still unemployed, despite nearly 10 million job openings. These Americans are relying on enhanced unemployment benefits, which expire in September. The Federal Benefits pay $300 per week on top of state benefits, so companies are having to use a variety of techniques, including signing bonuses, higher salaries, and flexible working arrangements to entice workers. Hopefully by September, when the unemployment benefits expire, people will go back to work and the labor market will recover.

Above were my top stories for the week of August 8th, 2021. I hope you enjoyed them. Thank you and see you next week!

Curious High Schooler, who loves to share new and exciting stories. Email: lakshya5jain@gmail.com