Karlheinz Brandenburg has listened to Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" thousands of times and never tires of it. In fact, the song holds a special place in his heart because it was instrumental in the creation of the MP3. The German engineer and mathematician is known as the father of the digital audio format. Brandenburg explains how he found a way to compress Vega's a cappella track into an MP3 file that sounded as good as a CD, forever altering the way music is distributed.
Enlarge / An image of Phobos captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona) Japan's space agency has finalized a plan to send a probe to the Martian moons of Phobos and Deimos, and it includes an ambitious lander to collect samples from Phobos to return to Earth. The agency, JAXA, submitted the plan to the country's science ministry on Wednesday, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. On Twitter, the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) official account also announced that it had formally moved from design into the "development" phase of operations. The space agency estimated that the total cost for the mission would come to $417 million. The current plan calls for a 2024 launch of the probe on an H-3 rocket, a new booster built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and expected to debut late this year or in 2021. The MMX spacecraft would enter into orbit around Mars in 2025 and return to Earth in 2029.