Best places for meteorite craters + NASA could teach Tesla about autopilot’s Limits

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Big Boom: The Best Places to See Meteorite Impact Craters

EXCERPT: Early in the morning of October 6, 2008, astronomers at the University of Arizona detected an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. When other sightings cropped up across the world, the astronomers’ suspicions were confirmed—the asteroid was going to hit our planet. It was the first time in history an asteroid had been observed before impact. Within hours, the asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere (and thus became a meteor) and broke up into tiny pieces. These fragments—known as meteorites—landed in a remote location in northern Sudan. Luckily for Earth, this meteor wasn’t the big one that NASA scientists are warning could one day crash into our planet (and that Bruce Willis once blew up in a movie). But throughout history, meteorites have left their beautiful—if destructive—scars upon the globe. Here are some of the best places to see meteorite impact sites this summer...

What NASA Could Teach Tesla about Autopilot’s Limits

EXCERPT: Tesla Motors says the Autopilot system for its Model S sedan “relieves drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel.” The second part of that promise was put in doubt by the fatal crash of a Model S earlier this year, when its Autopilot system failed to recognize a tractor-trailer turning in front of the vehicle. Tesla says the driver, Joshua Brown, also failed to notice the trailer in time to prevent a collision. The result? In Tesla’s own words, “the brake was not applied”—and the car plowed under the trailer at full speed, killing Brown.

Since news of Brown’s death broke in June, the public has been debating where the fault lies: with the driver, the company or the automation technology itself. But NASA has been studying the psychological effects of automation in cockpits for decades—and this body of research suggests that a combination of all three factors may be responsible. “If you think about the functionality of a cockpit, that could mean in an airplane, a space shuttle or a car,” says Danette Allen, director of NASA Langley Research Center’s Autonomy Incubator. “NASA, perhaps more than any other organization, has been thinking about autonomy and automation for a long time.”

Stephen Casner, a research psychologist in NASA’s Human Systems Integration Division, puts it more bluntly: “News flash: Cars in 2017 equal airplanes in 1983....”

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