Smart Glasses that Look Normal ~ by Intel

Smart Glasses by Intel

Exclusive first look at Vaunt, which uses retinal projection to put a display in your eyeball

Top 10 Podcasts of 2017

Podtrac’s ranking of top podcasts (below) for 2017 is based on average U.S. downloads per episode across all listening devices for episodes posted in 2017. I have to say however, after listening to each of the podcasts below, as much as I enjoyed each and every one, (especially  S-Town) I have to say that I still disagree and Up and Vanished is by far, hands down, the absolute BEST podcast of all time. I dare to say, even better than Serial! I’m guessing it’s not on this list because it started in 2016 — but it did run for two full years… so technically, the second season was new in 2017. Certainly it got more downloads. Check it out! 

Visit our Top 20 Podcasts of 2017 ranking 

#1. S-Town

S-town.pngS-Town is a new podcast from Serial and This American Life, hosted by Brian Reed, about a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.

 

#2. Dirty John

Dirty john.pngDebra Newell is a successful interior designer. She meets John Meehan, a handsome man who seems to check all the boxes: attentive, available, just back from a year in Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. But her family doesn’t like John, and they get entangled in an increasingly complex web of love, deception, forgiveness, denial, and ultimately, survival. Reported and hosted by Christopher Goffard from the L.A. Times.

 

#3. Pod Save America

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Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency.

#4. The Daily

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This moment demands an explanation. This show is on a mission to find it. Only what you want to know, none of what you don’t. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Powered by New York Times journalism. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.

#5. Up First

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NPR’s Up First is the news you need to start your day. The biggest stories and ideas — from politics to pop culture — in 10 minutes. Hosted by Rachel Martin, David Greene and Steve Inskeep, with reporting and analysis from NPR News. Available weekdays by 6 a.m. ET. 

#6. Ear Hustle

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Ear Hustle brings you stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it. The podcast is a partnership between Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and Nigel Poor, a Bay Area artist. The team works in San Quentin’s media lab to produce stories that are sometimes difficult, often funny and always honest, offering a nuanced view of people living within the American prison system.

#7. 30 For 30

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Original audio documentaries and more from the makers of the acclaimed 30 for 30 series. Sports stories like you’ve never heard before.

#8. Rough Translation

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How are the things we’re talking about being talked about somewhere else in the world? From a Ukrainian battlefield to a Somali prison cell, an Indian yoga studio and a Syrian refugee’s first date, host Gregory Warner tells stories that follow familiar conversations into unfamiliar territory. At a time when the world seems small but it’s as hard as ever to escape our echo chambers, Rough Translation takes you places.

#9. Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

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Awaken, discover and connect to the deeper meaning of the world around you with SuperSoul. Hear Oprah’s personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self.

#10. Snap Judgment Presents: Spooked

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Spooked features true-life supernatural stories, told firsthand by people who can barely believe it happened themselves. Be afraid. Created in the dark of night, by Snap Judgment and WNYC Studios. 

 

 

Podtrac publishes two Podcast Industry Rankings each month: the Top 20 Podcasts and the Top 10 Podcast Publishers. This Rankings uses proprietary and consistent measurement methodology to allow apples-to-apples comparison of podcast audience sizes. You can check out their demographic info and measurements and more info here…

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The best Podcast of all time! Yes, even better than Serial.

Lately, there has been much written about 2018 being the year of the podcast. Even Google is creating a new app so that anyone can publish a local news story.

My absolute favorite podcast of all time is  Up and Vanished  a true-crime documentary.

Up and Vanished Best Podcast of all time!If you haven’t yet listened, do yourself a favor and download the series right away, its free! Up and Vanished is an investigative podcast that explores the unsolved disappearance of Georgia beauty queen and high school teacher, Tara Grinstead. The 11-year-old cold case is the largest case file in the history of Georgia. Follow along as host Payne Lindsey, a film director turned investigator, examines old case evidence and re-interviews persons of interest to crack the case and determine happened to Tara Grinstead. The podcast has so many unexpected twists and turns as listeners are on the edge of their seats as Payne digs up more and more new evidence by reviewing old leads and uncovering new ones. Up and Vanished quickly expanded from a planned six-episode season to a final count of 24 episodes with numerous bonus episodes. As the people of Ocilla, Georgia began talking about the case again, new leads and stories emerged. In February 2017, the GBI arrested two suspects for Grinstead’s murder.

This podcast has received so much media. Its been featured on Dateline, Inside Edition, USA Today, Nancy Grace and many more. Currently there are discussions of making the podcast into a movie.

Follow @UPANDVANISHED Listen to Up and Vanished on Apple Podcasts

 

 

 

 

2018 will be the year of the Podcast. Is it time to add podcasting to your marketing mix?

One of the most popular marketing topics in 2017 was video marketing. Every marketer was thinking about how to incorporate video into their strategies. After all, a picture tells a thousand words right?

With the growing popularity of smart speakers/personal assistants, maybe it’s time to focus on a new tactic – podcasting.

Podcasting is the new blogging – not

I saw the phrase “podcasting is the new blogging” on a news site, and it made me think about the effort we put into our blog writing. Some of us spend hours researching, outlining and writing blogs and columns, laboring over the right words to say in the right way. Is it possible we may be wasting some of our time? Would we be smarter to develop our ideas and share them through a podcast, leaving the writing part (and the cursed “passive voice) fall by the wayside?

There’s no video involved, so we don’t need to look good, and we don’t have to invest in expensive computer equipment for video creation and editing. Podcasting seems like the perfect way to share ideas.

It’s not that simple. Podcasting is not a replacement for good writing – blogs, whitepapers, and ebooks. And it’s not a replacement for video. It’s also not necessarily cheaper or easy to do. But it could be a great addition to your marketing mix if you approach it with the right strategy and mindset.

Tips for getting started with a podcast

As part of the marketing plan for one of my clients, we have decided to develop a podcast. This is a dip into the waters to see if we can build an audience by offering useful content in the market. There are a couple of other podcasts in this market, but none by a vendor and only one other focused on our particular niche. So there’s opportunity, but there’s also the risk that people won’t want to hear from a vendor.

Why did we decide to try a podcast? The team has a wealth of insights and information they want to share. They also have a lot of connections to experts and customers who are willing to share their expertise – we know the content is there. It’s not about peddling products and solutions. The challenge is now figuring out the best way to implement it.

The Globe and Mail article mentioned above noted that podcasting is a labor-intensive process. You have to plan the podcast, record it, edit it, distribute and market it. The article said it could easily take 10-20 hours per episode. We are hoping to start on a small scale, but that amount of time sounds about right.

There’s a lot of information available on how to run a podcast. Here are a few of those suggestions:

Planning the podcast theme

Before you start working on individual shows, you need to decide on an overall theme for your show. Who is the audience and do they listen to podcasts? Can you generate enough of an audience to make the effort worth it? What’s your goal with the podcast? What type of information do you want to share? What pains are you trying to solve? Have your goals and expected performance metrics understood before you start. They may evolve, but you need that starting line.

Hosting

Where will you host the podcast? There are many hosting options available including Blubrry and PodBean. Pretty much all of the hosting services include the ability to share your podcast show on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Maybe you are considering hosting your podcast on your website directly. Think about the size of the files you will not only be storing, but streaming out to your audience. The bandwidth alone might kill your budget. Plus, you don’t have those automatic integrations with iTunes and Google Play – and they are very helpful in getting your podcast available quickly.

Developing a schedule

One very important thing you need to be is consistent. Decide on a schedule that you know you can stick with and then plan out a few months of topics. This will give you time to pull together the content and the guest hosts you want. You can make the schedule available on your website and share it on social media to generate interest.

Podfly.net, a boutique podcasting company that helps companies create podcasts, includes show notes you need for each show:

  • A compelling show title
  • A subtitle
  • A description paragraph
  • Time-stamped key takeaways
  • Links and mentions
  • Tweetables

To script or not to script

There’s a lot of discussion on whether you should script your podcast or not – and what scripting actually means. You could write your script out word for word, ensuring you cover everything you need to. This works when you are doing the show on your own or with an internal team, but if you are interviewing or talking with an expert or client, you can’t script the conversation word for word. You need to think about how you’ll sound when you script word for word. Think about some of the webinars you’ve attended and how stilted they sound – those people are reading off a script.

Reading off a script doesn’t have to sound bad, but it will take practice to make the conversation sound natural. Another option is scripting a complete outline but leave the actual discussion be natural. An outline ensures you are covering all your points and it gives you a consistent structure for the show. The most conversational approach is a flexible, rough list of bullet points around a theme or topic.

You don’t have to stick to one approach only, but it’s important to be aware of each style and what you need to do to prepare. (The Podcast Host provides lots of guidance on scripting, where I found this information)

Engage your listeners outside the podcast

Don’t think of a podcast as the only way to engage with your listeners. To help you build a loyal audience, think about how you can leverage social media to build and continue the conversations you have on your podcast. Consider a Facebook Group and create a Twitter hashtag or specific account to grow the conversation.

Promotion and distribution

Make sure you are promoting and talking about your Podcast on your website – links on the homepage,  blog post summaries of episodes with a link to the podcast, LinkedIn company page notifications, and updates, LinkedIn posts from the host and guest hosts summarizing the conversation and linking to the full podcast are also helpful. Give your guest hosts a way to promote the podcast as well and request the audience sign up for notifications of upcoming episodes so you can email them.

You might also want to consider getting set up with Alexa Skills to have your podcast showing up on Amazon for the Echo or Show.

There are visual components

Although a podcast is audio only, there is some artwork you need for your podcast to brand it. You may decide to brand it closely to your company brand or to keep it completely separate. Make sure you know what you need and make it look professional.

The equipment and software required

You can’t do a podcast with some investment in software and equipment. I think you can start with some inexpensive options and build from there. For recording and mixing, Audacity is a free open source tool that’s pretty easy to use (I’ve used it to add music to the opening of a podcast and to edit out dead zones that don’t add value).

Clear audio is critical. If you are recording a podcast where everyone isn’t in the same space, you want to be sure everyone’s audio and internet connection are solid. For regular hosts, you should have special microphones that improve the quality of your audio. Here’s a post that gives you a range of microphone options.

Finding the ROI in a podcast

Can you determine the ROI of a podcast? The answer depends on the purpose of your podcast. You can offer advertising spots in your podcast, have sponsors and do other advertising tactics that will bring in revenue for your podcast.

IAB did some research on podcast revenues in 2016 and indicated that US ad revenues for podcasts were expected to hit over $220 million in 2017. The latest stats aren’t out to see if we hit that target, but we know it will be up from the $119 million in 2016.

Advertisers need to know they are getting something for their money. Analytics around listeners become important to have, so make sure wherever you host and distribute your podcast includes a way to track audience engagement.

Of course, analytics are important regardless of whether you are trying to determine ROI. You want to know the number of subscribers, how many listened to each podcast, how much of the podcast they listened, and other key statistics.

My take

I am excited to start developing a podcast with my client. But I have no misconceptions about the work that is required to create a compelling story that our identified audience will want to listen to on a regular basis. I also know the budget is not high; we will start small with the financial investment. The sound quality is critical, the topics and conversations even more critical.

I’ll let you know how it works out and what lessons we learn after being active a few months. Until then, share your experiences in the comments. Any advice you can give someone starting up a podcast or looking to grow one in place?

Editor’s note: for more on the pros and cons of audio content on Alexa, check out Jon Reed’s How to get a halfway decent tech news Flash Briefing from Alexa – tips for enterprise readers. This article was first posted in Diginomica.com

 Image credit – Broadcast © fotomek – Fotolia.com

Uber is aiming to start on-demand Flying Taxi flights in Dallas and Dubai by 2020

Uber is aiming to start on-demand VTOL flights in Dallas and Dubai by 2020

Uber is all for VTOL. The company held its first ever Elevate conference today, that discussed the future of electric vertical take off and landing vehicles. The conference also saw the company announce a slew of new partnerships that will focus on two specific markets, with respect to testing and propagating Uber’s VTOL ambitions.

Uber has announced partnerships with companies like Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pistrel Aircraft, Mooney and ChargePoint. These partnerships are initially aimed towards Dallas and Dubai, with the likelihood of expanding to other markets assuming that the pilot programs prove to be successful. These partners will help Uber in setting up its Elevate Network — yes, a network of on-demand, flying taxis.

Uber said that it wanted to make this dream a reality by the 2020 World Expo that is slated to take place in Dubai. The company wants to use the Expo to launch its flying taxis with a bang. Similarly, Dallas in the United States will also host an event witnessing the launch of the company’s Elevate Network somewhere about the same time.

The choice of locations is pretty obvious. Flying cars are a major disruption and as such, the place hosting their debut must be totally friendly and receptive. After all, how these vehicles perform in their maiden run, will have a huge bearing upon the kind of reception they get once Uber starts expanding its network to other cities, states and countries.

Dubai has already proved itself to be a huge proponent of emerging transport technologies. Whether it is the Hyperloop or flying cars, Dubai has shown that it is ready to take them all in its stride. Funding, regulatory approvals, support of the government, local technical expertise, potential customers able and willing to shell out the undoubtedly higher prices, are all readily available in the city.

Similarly, Dallas has exhibited ample interest in hosting Uber’s flying cars as well. Dallas and Fort Worth’s mayors are both ardent supporters and have been collaborating with Uber, in a bid to make their area the first to host on-demand flying taxis. Meanwhile, the roles Uber’s new partners will be playing in the enterprise are as follows:

  • ChargePoint will create a VTOL charger designed specifically for use with Uber’s VTOL network.
  • Hillwood will create ‘vertiports’ for VTOL pick-ups and drop-offs in Dallas.
  • Embraer, Bell Helicopter and Aurora Flight Science will work towards large scale manufacturing of VTOL crafts.

If Uber succeeds in its mission of launching a pilot program in Dallas and Dubai by 2020, it will be nothing short of a coup. And if that happens, we could actually expect flying taxis to become a common sight by the next decade.

Here is exactly how Elon Musk plans to deploy tunnels to make car travel faster

Here is exactly how Elon Musk plans to deploy tunnels to make car travel faster

We know that The Boring Company is into tunneling. Indeed, that might well be an understatement. The company wants to create a network of tunnel under urban areas that will make travel that much faster. And as far as Elon Musk’s confidence into the premise of his scheme is concerned, he believes that it will outstrip flying cars.

At a recent Ted talk, we got our first in-depth look at exactly how Elon Musk plans the future of travel to be. The Tesla/SpaceX CEO showed off a video in which we get a glimpse of his highly ambitious scheme to revolutionize travel. And it is quite different from what most of us were imagining it to be.

So the idea here is not to create tunnels that would be mirror images of our roads. No. Instead, the surface roads will contain elevator shafts that will actually be a sort of sled that will enable cars to be transmitted from one elevator shaft to the other, all the while being underground.

Even while underground, it won’t be the car that is traveling. Instead, the sled, which we assume to be electric, will be doing the traveling on rails. Everything will be controlled by computers and cars will hurtle along at speeds in excess of 200 Kmph.

And in case you are wondering about where exactly the underground part comes in, well, it comes in because basing everything below the surface of the earth will allow the creation of layers upon layers of these tunnels. So you could have thousands upon thousands of cars traveling inside a tunnel (and those above and below it) at once.

Well, like most of Musk’s other schemes, this is very appealing as well. And Elon Musk has a thing for putting the impossible before you and making you think that it is possible. Reusable rockets? Electric cars that would have people clamoring to buy them? The plan is ambitious, but it sure isn’t as ambitious as a civilization on Mars. Indeed, it starts looking downright achievable. However, it might yet be a few years before we start burrowing underground to travel faster.

Shared from Mudit Mohilay

New York becomes the latest state to begin accepting self-driving trial applications

New York becomes the latest state to begin accepting self-driving trial applications

There’s no doubt we are soon expected to witness a flood of self-driving vehicles on public roads from some of the most popular tech and auto giants across the globe. Such vehicles may already be driving about your streets, collecting data to make the experience even safer for the rider, as well as others on road.

Adding to the list of states welcoming autonomous rides, New York has today announced that it is accepting application to make the public streets available for such test rides. The states joins the likes of California, Arizona, and Nevada in allowing tech bigwigs to test their self-driving vehicles on public roads. They’re each running tests in their own capacity and California even had to confront some trials to operate as per law — which saw some confrontation but eventually came around.

Welcoming the tech and automobile giants to one of the most alive, yet crowded states of the United States, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said,

New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to re-imagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers.

The current state budget allocated for this autonomous driving experimentation is very limited. The companies willing to drive their self-driving vehicles around Times Square (if that’s permitted) should already be prepping their applications to start trials instantly. It will put an end to the trials on April 1 2018, but the duration is expected to be extended further based on budget allocation.

Apart from the usual set of safety instructions, the New York DMV wants these auto and tech giants like Waymo, Uber, and Baidu to cover their autonomous vehicles with a $5 million insurance policy. There should always been a driver behind the wheel at all times, along with a ban on operating near schools and construction sites. At the end of their tests, the automakers will be required to submit a detailed report of their findings and results to the DMV by March 2018. It will then release a summary of their own in June 2018.

New York DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Theresa Egan is not aloof to the concept of self-driving vehicles. She is well-versed with the reality that these vehicles will one day likely be commonplace but there is a long road ahead before they truly replace human drivers. Speaking about the same, she adds,

We need to make sure these vehicles are safely tested on our roads while providing opportunities for the public to become familiar with this technology. This is a balanced approach consistent with New York’s long track record of highway safety as well as innovation.

Shared from Animal Sachdeva

Amazon patents shipping labels with parachutes to make drone deliveries a reality

Amazon patents shipping labels with parachutes to make drone deliveries a reality

Amazon is aggressively working on its drone delivery efforts to further simplify last mile delivery of products ordered from its e-commerce platform. First spotted by GeekWire, the company has now been granted another patent related to this drone initiative.

This patent application was filed way back in August 2015 and has only been granted to Amazon by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Monday. It describes that the e-commerce giant has patented a shipping label design, which also doubles as a parachute — built directly into the label itself.

As is known to all, the company is planning to employ ‘Prime Air’ drones to make deliveries to its customers, where it will hover over/near their houses and drop packages to the ground. The shipping label is an add-on to the existing process and will include sensors and other hardware that’ll detect that the package is falling and activate the parachute to execute a soft-landing of the package at your location.

There is currently no info on whether Amazon is planning to implement this package delivery mechanism into its drone delivery system that’s been under testing for years. The company has already shown off the prowess of the same with successful demos in both the Unites States and the United Kingdom.

The shipping label, however, as the patent describes will be quite complex and it will most likely include a self-adhesive backing, multiple parachute cords, a parachute and a breakaway cover to protect the parachute itself. There is also the possibility that the cords of the parachute will include shock absorbers to further lighten the blow when the package hits the ground. The package is going to be tracked by a host of sensors baked into the drone delivering the package.

The patent mentions that the shipping label, as well as the parachute system, can be adapted based on the delivery item’s size and weight. It means Amazon can also accommodate more than one parachute system on the package to eliminates the chances of any damage. The company hasn’t implemented any such methods of delivery yet. It has only taken off and landed the drone, as well as the package at the destination.

This technology, however, fits perfectly with Amazon’s overall drone delivery strategy which is also said to involve massive hot air balloons at a later stage. These flying warehouses will be stocked with a certain amount of inventory and make last-mile Prime Air deliveries even speedier. It can be employed to deliver perishable items and groceries to customers on a day-to-day basis, especially where the drones can be sent out for deliveries according to a safe and planned schedule.

Shared from Animal Sachdeva.

Volvo adds automatic steer and braking capabilities to its XC60

Volvo adds automatic steer and braking capabilities to its XC60

Carmakers are all about autonomous technology now-a-days. And considering that over 3,000 people die in road accidents every single day, I would say that it is a worthy pursuit. Along the same, Volvo has announced that its latest XC60 now comes equipped with advanced automated steering and braking systems that is capable of stepping in to prevent accidents as and when needed.

The all new XC60 is making its first public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show. Elaborating on the car’s capabilities, Volvo said that the self-driving software that forms the core of the XC60 is able to take over when it deems a collision imminent and starts implementing preventive measures to avoid the same.

The SUV has a slew of sensors that allow it to alert drivers when their driving threatens to pose a danger to themselves and to others. For instance, the car will alert drivers when it starts drifting out of its correct lane. What’s more, if the vehicle believes that its current path will take it on an imminent collision course before the driver can react, it will take over and steer itself back to the correct lane. The system will kick into operation at highway speeds.

The new XC60 also has a feature that will allow it to alert drivers to the presence of cars that are not in his line of sight, that is, cars that are in his/her blind spot. If the driver appears to be unable or unwilling to react in time, the car will take evasive measures on its own and take itself to safety before transferring control back to the driver.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to see manufacturers moving to the next level of vehicular evolution. First, the pressure was upon creating systems that could respond to alert drivers to danger in time but of late, it has shifted to systems that can take over and prevent the accident from happening without waiting for the driver to act. The systems are certainly needed because one, human reflexes aren’t necessarily fast enough to act on the alerts, and two, if the drivers can ignore what is happening right before their eyes — they can probably ignore warnings and alerts as well.

As such, systems like the one implemented in Volvo’s XC60 could go a long way in preventing accidents from taking place.

SpaceX is sending two people on a trip around the moon next year

Yup, you read that right. And no, the two people aren’t part of  SpaceX’s moon exploration team or anything. They are two regular folks like you and me…..actually, probably throw in a lot of money as well.

Apparently, these two individuals approached SpaceX on their own and requested to be flown around the moon. And if you are wondering if SpaceX sanctions such trips, it does assuming that you have money enough to sponsor it.

The company expects to conduct health and fitness tests and begin initial training, later this year. Meanwhile, the identity of the two highfliers — and they are literally taking the meaning of the word to a whole new level — has not been revealed. SpaceX said that it will reveal them after the individuals pass their health and fitness tests and give their nod to going public.

A SpaceX post on the topic read as follows:

 We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission. Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.

Meanwhile, SpaceX’s behavior is very reminiscent of a private taxi company. Except of course, the turf here is Space. Gone are the days when you had to be a the model human, the one with science geek-iness in addition to a robust physique, and work at NASA in order to observe the moon from anywhere  considerably closer than the rest of the human race. Provided you have the money and that the journey won’t kill you, SpaceX will train you and will send you on your trip.

The trip will deploy the Falcon Heavy rocket — which after the Saturn V, is the most powerful rockets ever built for the purpose of space exploration. The launch will take place once SpaceX performs a manned mission to the ISS for NASA in the second quarter of 2018.

Post the launch, the two private individuals who are presently shrouded in anonymity, will become the humans to have traveled the furthest into space. Imagine the ice-breakers it will give them when they are back “So, I was traveling to the moon and suddenly……….”

Shared from Mudit Mohilay…

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