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View of Earth from the Moon

The Lunar Xprize challenge isn't just meant to reward the first team that lands a private rover on the Moon -- it's there to give some encouragement along the way, too. Accordingly, Google and Xprize have just handed out a total of $5.25 million to five competitors for hitting milestones in imaging, mobility and landing technology. Astrobotic Technology is the big winner, having scooped up $1.75 million across all three areas. Not that the others are exactly hurting. Hakuto, Moon Express, Part-Time Scientists and Team Indus all snagged between $500,000 to $1.25 million each.

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When Navid Khonsari left Rockstar Games after working as the cinematic director on several Grand Theft Auto titles, he was sure he wouldn't make another video game. Instead, he returned to his first love, documentary filmmaking and, in the process, stumbled upon the creation of 1979 Revolution. "A culmination of doing games, falling in love with narrative storytelling and now this new fascination with documentary really became the seed for 1979," he says. "That combined with my personal experience of growing up in Iran and experiencing the revolution firsthand."

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Virtual currency bitcoin is starting to get its act together. A startup funded with $106 million from the New York Stock Exchange as well as banks and venture capital firms, is set to launch the first licensed US bitcoin exchange. Coinbase reckons it'll add increased security to traders as well as monitor real-time pricing of the world's foremost cryptocurrency. If you've forgotten, unlike normal currencies, bitcoin is traded virtually and isn't backed by a central government: reasons why the currency often fluctuates severely. The collapse of Mt. Gox last year stung investors, both professional and otherwise, for a total sum of around half a billion dollars. As the WSJ notes, the value of a bitcoin is currently around $240: it was stood at $1,200 per 'coin.

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Ford wants you to know that it's more than just trucks and cars. It wants to be seen as a technology innovator too. Of course, the Detroit automaker has long had a friendly relationship with technology, what with its Sync infotainment platform, its support for third-party apps and, obviously, its investment in autonomous vehicles. But with its new Research and Innovation Center located in Palo Alto, Ford is hoping to accelerate its relationship with technology even further.

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Sling TV, a $20-a-month service for cord-cutters, made quite the debut earlier this month, winning our Best of CES award amid a flood of attention from press and customers alike. But can the app really live up to its promise to "Take Back TV"? I've had access to the beta for a few days, allowing me to get an early look before the first batch of invitations for pre-registered customers goes out tonight at midnight ET. As far as I can tell, the answer is both yes and no. Internet TV is finally real, but it has a lot of strings left over from the old days of pay-TV, and not just because it's coming from the folks at Dish Network. Getting must-have content from the likes of ESPN has its costs, and those might make the $20 entry fee higher than you're willing to pay.

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MIT's flexible fiber brain implant

Brain implants are limited right now -- they typically measure just one thing at a time, and their stiff wiring can wreck tissue if the device stays in place for long enough. Neither of those problems will matter if MIT's flexible fiber implant becomes a practical reality, though. The school's researchers have developed very thin (almost nanoscale), flexible polymer fibers that have customizable channels for carrying chemicals, electricity and light. These strands could not only treat a patient with drugs and light stimulation, but measure the response with electrodes; you'd know whether or not your medicine is working. The bendy, unintrusive design should also be safe for your body, making it possible to tackle long-term illnesses.

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Nexus 6

Motorola's Nexus 6 almost had a fingerprint sensor, but Apple spoiled the idea. In an interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph, former CEO Dennis Woodside (who now leads Dropbox) reveals that the handset's dimple was supposed to play home to a discreet recessed sensor, but its supplier couldn't meet its quality demands. "Apple bought the best supplier," Woodside explains, "so the second-best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren't there yet." At least Moto didn't just, y'know, throw one in anyway.

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When a group of scientists drilled through 2,430 feet of ice in Antarctica to get to the water underneath, they only expected to find a few microbes here and there. Instead, they discovered a thriving community of fish and crustaceans -- all thanks to a remote-controlled robot that could one day also be used to explore one of Jupiter's moon. It took the tubular robot called Deep-SCINI (Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging) 45 minutes just to traverse the hole made by pumping hot water through the Ross Ice Shelf. It eventually settled three feet above the very bottom, where up to 20 and 30 fish swam close to gaze at its lights.

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NASA's proposed Mars Helicopter drone

Rovers have a tough time getting across Mars' vast, unforgiving landscape. They can't see very far ahead, and the crew back home can only offer so much help by looking at orbital imagery. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory may have a clever solution to that problem, though: an aerial robot scout. Its proposed Mars Helicopter drone would fly ahead of rovers and give operators a much better view of the Martian terrain, helping them plot the quickest route to interesting locales. It could even find a safe spot to deposit samples that future rovers would pick up.

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Samsung will reportedly power the majority of the next-generation iPhone according to Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper. The report says that the Korean company will claim 75 percent of processor chip production for Apple's next smartphone: Samsung one of a few companies that have the scale to provide high-end processors in the numbers that Apple needs for its iPhones. The Korean company was the one responsible for crafting the A7 SoC powering the iPhone 5S two years ago, although an apparent exclusive deal with TSMC meant that wasn't involved in Apple's two new phones in 2014. It's unlikely that Samsung and Apple are all-of-a-sudden BFFs, but, well, business is business. We've reached out to both companies for a response.

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