“Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” The disturbing news this week is that the James Webb Space Telescope team has announced that a meteorite has hit the giant primary mirror of the Space Observatory. Unexpectedly, however, the introduction of strikes in the mirror segment C3 (the sixth mirror from above is clockwise, in a fairly “south-southeast” position) that occurred in late May was larger than the simulations or test strikes performed on Earth before. It was also not part of any known meteor storm in telescope orbit; If that happened, regulators would be able to maneuver the spacecraft to protect the gold-plated beryllium parts. The rogue space rock has apparently done enough damage to be noticeable on the data coming back from the telescope and has to be adjusted to the position of the mirror segment. While this may not be the last time, it would be nice to see a picture on the web before it starts to hit.
Also in the Space Telescope report, Russia is apparently trying to hack a closed-down telescope into operation again. This is according to their bombastic space chief, Dmitry Rogozin, who said he had instructed Roscosmos to reactivate the German Erosita X-ray telescope on the Russia-built and well-named Specter-RG spacecraft. The Germans put the device in safe mode in February in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, after completing only half of the full-sky survey planned for it. Officials at the Max Planck Institute, where the Erosita was designed and built, are not too excited about the takeover attempt, fearing the device could be damaged in the process.
An Austrian security researcher seems to have discovered a new way to steal Tesla from the “Let’s All Dunk on Tesla” files. Exploit uses recent changes to how Teslas can be started within 130 seconds of being unlocked with the owner’s NFC card, instead of having the card on the center console for second approval. But surprisingly, the car will receive the new key at that interval without approval and without flashing any kind of warning in the dash. This makes it possible for a thief to attach their phone as a recognized key by hiding nearby while unlocking the car with an NFC card. It seems like a simple enough solution, but Tesla doesn’t like to point out these vulnerabilities, let’s talk about them, so Tesla owners should probably avoid NFC cards and choose another method to unlock their car.
If you like uncapped IC shots like us, you can have a treat with the latest op-amp die shots from Zeptobars. The subject is the National Semiconductor LH0042CH, a hybrid low-noise op-amp that actually had two dyes inside the TO-9 can. Shots show large die where most BJT material is present, including a small die housing JFET front-end circuitry. We like the way we think of the deaths of the two as somewhat unreasonably stylish on the substrate, almost as if they were thrown there randomly. The SEM photos are fantastic, especially the blown scene of the bond wire that looks almost organic, like part of an insect or something else. It works beautifully, and a slice of electronics history is a great look.
And finally, from, “Oh, no hell!” File, we present this automated nose-probing robot. The Korean nasopharyngeal sampling robot, apparently designed to assist in COVID testing, has been billed as “naturally safe.” While we see that a small, lightweight robot with a built-in force sensor would be much safer than a large general-purpose industrial robot for such a delicate task, we won’t be queuing up to help prove it anytime soon. Needless to say, we’ve heard enough horrific stories about the test to believe that human swabs are sometimes overworked, under-trained, or angry enough to do some real harm, so the human component may not be taken out of the test. A bad idea