Good morning. It’s Tuesday, August 10, 2021. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief for Inverse. I’m back after a brief vacation, which taught me to respect a proper bedtime once again. Let’s jump into four essential science and innovation stories from our team...
SpaceX is making big moves with small satellites.
On Monday, CNBC announced the spaceflight firm is acquiring Swarm Technologies. The California-based firm claims to have “the smallest commercially operational satellites in space,” with each similar in size to a small book.
The acquisition, noted by CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz following a Federal Communications Commission filing, is its latest move in its growing satellite operations.
It’s unclear at this stage what SpaceX plans to do with Swarm, but it comes as the firm works to build out its Starlink constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit. SpaceX plans to use up to 42,000 satellites to offer high-speed and low-latency internet access almost anywhere with a view of the sky.
- SpaceX Starlink: When is it coming to my area? Data shows rollout boost
- SpaceX: Elon Musk reveals a major Starlink coverage update
- Starlink satellites: SpaceX is becoming the iPhone of low-Earth orbit
Lugging clothes to a laundromat, missing the bus and having to walk, or rushing from room to room tidying up before having people over for dinner aren’t typically fuel for a humblebrag.
There’s actually a name for this kind of undercover physical activity: non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. It’s a broad category that includes everything from walking the dog to shopping for groceries, doing the dishes, and reorganizing the closet.
As one study explains, “activities that create movement will enhance caloric expenditure.”
- This low-impact exercise may be the best for brain health
- One type of exercise reliably lowers your risk of death, scientists say
- Sleep science: Why 10 minutes of brisk walking can make a difference
These arid mineral-rich lands support Australia’s mining and crude oil industries, but they also reveal remarkable geological secrets about ancient Earth long before humans roamed the planet.
According to research released on Monday, the Pilbara Craton — one of the few crusts remaining on Earth from the Archaean era 2.7 to 3.6 billion years ago — could help us understand the emergence of Earth’s most essential ingredient for life: oxygen.
More science about our past:
- 5 surprisingly altruistic reasons ancient humans and dogs came together
- Look: 7 weird things scientists have found in sinkholes
- An ancient Babylonian tablet is rewriting math history
The everlasting gobstopper of cars — The Toyota Mirai is a hydrogen-powered car that is only available in a few counties in California, and that's just the beginning. But is this the future? Jordan Golson reports back after a week in this hydro-car:
It’s one of the strangest cars I've ever driven.
A cerulean luxury sedan, it feels like it rolled out of Willy Wonka’s fantastical factory — and not a boring Toyota manufacturing plant.
It's the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai, and it might be the future, or it might be a research project that will ultimately prove too weird for the public. It's the everlasting gobstopper of cars. While it’s too soon to know its future, the years ahead could be bright.
As a car, the Mirai is lovely. It's built on the same platform as the Lexus LS, and it's comfortable, roomy, quiet, and luxurious. And with a $67,420 price tag, that all makes sense.
More on the future of transportation:
- Toyota Corolla Cross release date, price, hybrid, specs for the exciting new crossover
- 2021 Polestar 1 review: A stunner that will appeal to your inner geek
- Look: The Kia EV6 is an electric spaceship for the road
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- Science Song of the Day: “Mathematics” by Yasiin Bey.
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- Before we go: Today is World Lion Day, according to the Wildlife Conservation Network.
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