Jet propulsion lab hacked; NASA InSight lander listens for ‘Marsquakes’; $500 million for Musk’s net; Popdog launches, gains $9 million.

NASA JPL Hacked by Chinese Spies

An indictment filed on Thursday accuses a Chinese state-backed hacking group of digitally infiltrating companies for more than a decade. According to the paperwork, the hacking group (nicknamed APT 10) gained access to more than 45 companies and agencies – including the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena and the U.S. Navy – beginning at least in 2006 and continuing through this year. Socaltech reports the indictment says the hackers “acted in association with the Chinese Ministry of State Security's Tianjin State Security Bureau.”

Popdog Launches, Raises $9 Million Series A

A new e-sports tools and streaming outfit was birthed in Santa Monica Dec. 19, dubbed Popdog and led by Chief Executive Alexander Garfield. Forbes reports the company secured a $9 million Series A round from investors including the Makers Fund, a Hong Kong-based interactive entertainment venture capital investor. Forbes reports the new venture includes Columbus, Ohio-headquartered e-sports management firm Loaded, which represents popular celebrity gamer Ninja.

InSight Lander Deploys Seismometer

The InSight Mars lander probe developed in Pasadena by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is now equipped to take seismic readings of Mars. On Dec. 19, the lander has placed the seismometer, its first scientific instrument yet, on Mars’ surface with aims of mapping Mars’ interior. GeekWire reports if the seismometer deploys successfully, the next instrument to be used is the HP3, which will burrow under Mars’ crust and take temperature readings.

SpaceX Raising $500M?

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is close to raising $500 million from a group that includes existing shareholders and new Tesla investor Baillie Gifford & Co., according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal, which will help launch Musk’s internet-service business, could be announced by the end of the year, according to the publication.

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