HBD Momofuku Ando

Inverse Daily: SpaceX Starship belly flops

Plus: Analysts weigh in on the biggest question in video games.

It has been more than five years since SpaceX landed a Falcon 9 rocket right-side-up after launch. Back in December 2015, the landing was celebrated, and the video still carries a whiff of that this-is-historic feeling.

In the years since, SpaceX has made launching and landing rockets back on Earth — drastically lowering the cost to fly by making rockets reusable — routine. Inverse used to cover every single one of them, in fact. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has his sights now set on the development of Starship, an even bigger rocket that will carry humans further into space.

This week, during the latest experimental test flight, the Starship landed right-side-up for the very first time. (Then it blew up.) "Starship SN10 landed in one piece!" exclaimed Musk on Twitter. It's another step to getting more humans to discover what lies beyond. For more on this story and the bigger saga of SpaceX, be sure to check out the full story below.

I'm Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse, and this is Inverse Daily. Let's dive in. 🚀

A quick request — Let me know your favorite video game by sending an email to newsletter at inverse dot com with "VIDEO GAME STORIES" as the subject line. The reasons could be emotional or counterintuitive. In fact, the more unlikely the story, the better. I'm collecting my favorites for a new project, and I'll publish a selection of responses in an upcoming edition of Inverse Daily.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for March 5, 2021. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

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"There is a growing demand for an enhanced version of the Switch," say video game analysts.

The biggest question in video games — Nintendo has built a reputation for marching to the beat of its own drummer with unconventional offerings like the Wii and Nintendo Labo. The video game giant also has a history of prioritizing accessible and family-friendly innovations over raw processing power. That's partly why the rumors of a souped-up "Switch Pro" are so intriguing. The prospect seems like a deviation from Nintendo's usual playbook.

With the second half of 2021 open for Nintendo, rumors about an upgraded version of the mega-popular handheld gamine device are swirling. In a new feature story by gaming reporter Tomas Franzese, industry analysts weigh in — and even debunk — the biggest question in video games.

What the experts say: “Nintendo will be looking to continue the momentum from 2020 well into this year,” Omdia senior analyst George Jijiashvili tells Inverse. “If it manages to do that, then it will be more than content with the status quo.” Jijiashvili highlights that Nintendo sold over 27.4 million consoles in 2020 alone, which he notes is “truly impressive” for a console in the middle of its life cycle.

What's next for Nintendo? Read the full story here.

More reporting on the video games industry:

SN10 landing in Texas on March 3, 2021.SpaceX

About Starship — SpaceX hosted its third high-altitude Starship launch at its site in Cameron County, Texas, on Wednesday with a prototype called SN10. The goal was to lift off, reach an altitude of 10 kilometers (around 6.2 miles), then land safely.

It technically met all these goals, albeit with some unexpected flames during the descent.

But eight minutes after landing, the ship exploded and launched into the air, crashing down again at an angle.

"RIP SN10, honorable discharge," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on his Twitter page in the aftermath.

Here's staff writer Mike Brown to put the events of Wednesday into context: "The launch is an important step in SpaceX's goal to send humans to Mars. The Starship is a fully reusable ship that uses liquid oxygen and methane as its fuel. The idea is that humans can fly to Mars on the ship and create fuel using the planet's resources and techniques, like the Sabatier process for return trips to Earth or ventures beyond."

Read the full story here.

More on SpaceX:

The Final Frontier — On Earth, we've covered and mapped every nook, putting the images on Google Street View. But that's not so for the ocean, where the pressure in the deep, dark water makes it impossible for humans — and our technology — to venture.

Inverse readers very well know there are few challenges a robot isn't up to. In a new study, roboticists from China reveal a soft robot inspired by deep-sea creatures.

This untethered bot is capable of exploring the deep, pressurized depths of the ocean in areas like the Mariana Trench, the deepest oceanic trench on Earth. Its purpose: to better understand this otherworldly ecosystem.

In her story, Sarah Wells reports we may soon know more about this elusive part of Earth's geography and the inspiration for The Meg.

Read the full story here.

Go deeper into the deep:

An illustration of the newly discovered exoplanet as it orbits around its host star at a close distance makes it a hot, dry world like Venus.RenderArea

Maybe aliens are there — In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, a team of astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy announced the discovery of a nearby exoplanet — Gliese 486 b — that could be an ideal target for the search for habitability.

The reason why is to do with the cloud of gas potentially enshrouding the planet: its atmosphere. Studying the atmospheres of exoplanets in orbit around the smallest and most common kinds of stars in the universe, like this one, could help us find out if any of those planets could sustain life.

What they're saying: "Gliese 486 b is a remarkable discovery, which will likely become the 'Rosetta Stone' for atmospheric investigations of rocky exoplanets, some of which are likely habitable," planetary scientist Trifon Trifonov tells Inverse's Passant Rabie.

Read the full story here.

More on Gliese 486 b:

Au revoir! You can follow me on Twitter @nicklucchesi, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse, Input, and Mic every day. Just yesterday I was thinking about what living on Mars would be like based on a new book about SpaceX.

Happy birthday to Momofuku Ando. If you've not heard of him, you've very likely experienced his delicious invention: instant noodles. Ando was born on this day in 1910 in Taiwan. In 1958, he marketed the first package of instant — as in precooked — noodles. It was the end of a long R&D process that involved flash-frying noodles, but it was just the start of his legacy.

Tasty as the noodles are, the genius lay in how they were packaged — a Styrofoam (polystyrene) cup to keep them warm. It was cheap, simple, and delicious. The price of production dropped, the demand went up, and a college dorm/apartment/quick lunch staple was born.

He lived to be 96 years old and there are two museums about Cup Noodles in Japan.

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