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NASA Uses NASA to Explain This Decade-Old Moon Dome Mystery

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NASA Uses NASA to Explain This Decade-Old Moon Dome Mystery
Astronaut standing on the lunar surface.

Dima Zel/Shutterstock

In 2017, almost five decades after the last manned mission to the moon as part of Apollo 17, NASA announced the launch of its Artemis program. This program had multiple goals. It was short-term in nature and aimed to revive the U.S. Space Program by resuming manned missions on the moon. The Artemis program would allow further exploration of the moon to scientific purposes and thus lay the foundation for establishing a long-term sustainable human presence at the lunar surface.

The Artemis program will not only help NASA prepare for future manned missions to Mars, but also include multiple scientific missions to the Moon. These missions would help scientists unravel the mysteries of lunar surface that still puzzle them to this day.

One such mysterious aspect of the moon involves the Gruithuisen Domes. Named after Franz von Gruithuisen, a Bavarian (present-day German) scientist from the 1800’s who believed that the moon was habitable, the origins of these lunar features have remained a mystery ever since these were first discovered two centuries ago.

The mystery behind the formation of these domes has been so perplexing that NASA just announced that it would send a probe to the moon to study them exclusively. Let’s look at why this mission is so important and how NASA plans to use its probe in order to solve a long-hidden mystery.

What’s so mysterious about the Gruithuisen Domes?

NASA considers the Gruithuisen Domes a “geologic mystery” and with good reason. Studies have previously shown that these domes, made of silica rich magma, are completely different from the terrain that surrounds them. This is basaltic magma based.

The key difference between the two types of material, is that silica-based magma travels slower and is viscous while basaltic lava is thinner and more runny. The silicic lava’s viscous nature prevented the lava from escaping and creating the domes on the moon’s surface.

However, what makes the presence of silicic magma on the moon perplexing is the fact that this type of magma typically requires both water and plate tectonics to form. At this point, there is no evidence of water or any type of plate tectonics on the moon. The big question for lunar geologists has been the origin of the features found on the moon’s surface.

What is NASA doing to solve this mystery?

Artist's impression of the Earth as seen from the moon.

Dima Zel/Shutterstock

The Artemis mission involves unmanned probes, rovers and rovers that will study the lunar surface and collect samples. NASA has created a dedicated probe to solve the mystery of the Gruithuisen Dome. It will be one of five instruments in a suite. NASA refers to this study as the Lunar Vulkan Imaging and Spectroscopy Explorer investigation (Lunar VISE).

NASA’s current plan involves getting these instruments on the lunar surface by 2025. The probes for studying the Gruithuisen Domes will be mounted on a mobile rover, which will climb to the top of one of these domes to collect samples. NASA estimates that this entire process will take approximately ten Earth days. The data from the samples will then be sent back to Earth for further research.

If all goes according to plan, NASA scientists will be able conduct the most thorough study of the Gruithuisen Dome since their discovery nearly two centuries ago. This will allow humanity to begin to unravel the mysteries.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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