An early victory in the first Space Race was notched today in 1966 by Luna 9, an uncrewed lander sent by the Soviet Union to land on the Moon. Before the Apollo missions, both NASA and the USSR were trying to figure out anything they could about the Moon. This meant sending a series of probes to report back, at times just slamming into the lunar surface and seeing what happened.
Luna 9 was an unqualified success, becoming the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing (meaning that it didn't crash) and transmit data back to Earth. After proving that spacecraft landing on the Moon wouldn't sink into the surface, the U.S. landed Surveyor 1 around four months later.
Our question of the week: Do you have Mars fever? Out with the green and the blue, in with the red? Here's a question about your commitment: Would you live in a city on Mars? For the sake of the question, this city can look like whatever you want: aboveground, underground, domed, or terraformed. But would you make the big jump? Respond on our Google form and we'll publish our favorite answers next week!
Monkey business — Neuralink: Elon Musk reveals monkey can mind control video games
If it's a day that ends in “Y,” there's a decent chance that Elon Musk is doing something newsworthy. And if not newsworthy, then memeworthy at the least. And if he's not going into space or discussing Tesla production numbers or making deals to eventually dig tunnels, he's looking at brains. Neuralink has successfully enabled a monkey to play video games through a brain-computer linkup system, Elon Musk claimed.
Speaking in a livestreamed event on social networking site Clubhouse Sunday, Musk said the monkey “looks totally normal and happy.”“We've already got a monkey with a wireless implant in their skull, and the tiny wires, who can play video games using his mind,” Musk said. “It does not look like an unhappy monkey. And you can't even see where the neural implant was put in, except that he's got like a slight like dark Mohawk. He's not uncomfortable, and he doesn't look weird.”
What they're saying: “He's not uncomfortable, and he doesn't look weird.” —Elon Musk, Neurolink CEO, on the monkey that plays video games.
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Odds are high — What causes risky behavior? 12,000 brains may reveal the answer
Pre-Covid, the ultimate social faux pas was to show up late, again, to your BFF's birthday drinks. (Now, of course, the faux pas is to show up at all.) A common excuse: The traffic is abysmal. If you've been there, you know how tempting it is to just hit the gas when a green traffic light turns to amber.
Do you speed up, hoping to make it through the light safely? Or do you hit the brakes and wait for the red light to play out? According to a recent study, what you actually decide to do in these little, everyday moments may be more telling about how your brain is structured than you think.
Assuming you're not in a self-driving car, there are a number of factors that will play into these split-second decisions, but all of them add up to one question — is it worth the risk?
A new study is trying to figure what makes one person answer “yes” to this question and put their pedal to the metal, while another person says “no” and slows down while waiting for the red. The answer could be genetic, and it could start in our heads.
What they're saying: “If I look at a group of people, I can, on average, predict [a tendency to take risks],” Gideon Nave, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, to Inverse.
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Coming soon ...
If you haven't read the Daily sibling newsletter, Musk Reads, you're missing out on some of the best tech reporting online. The newsletter takes a close look not only at Elon Musk, but also at the industries that he is helping to shape. Soon, on the deluxe Musk Reads+, Inverse interviews Maximilian Missoni, the head of design at electric car brand Polestar. Missoni might not be a household name yet, but Inverse's Mike Brown describes what's in store:
“The electric cars of yesteryear were anything but conventional. Outlandish designs like the wedge-shaped CitiCar stood in contrast to serious gas guzzlers. Firms like Nissan and Tesla brought more everyday stylings, and the EV has gained a foothold among mainstream consumers.
In this week’s Musk Reads+, Missoni tells Inverse how a new generation of design students is taking this foundation and using it to build a more ambitious future. The firm’s recent design competition may give a glimpse of what’s to come next. Electric car design could be on the verge of becoming radical again.
Sticky situation — Video captures the cunning way spiders catch prey 50 times their weight
The spider's web has long fascinated — and terrified — humans for its sheer strength.
We love to watch Spiderman fly around on his elastic silk strands and trap massive bad guys in his web, but we cringe when a spider crushes the hero, Frodo, in a venomous cocoon in The Return of the King. There's a reason there's a bestselling and beloved children's book called Charlotte's Web and not one called The Ant's Anthill.
But as it turns out, these exaggerated pop culture depictions aren't that far from reality. Using their webs, spiders really can trap foes up to 50 times bigger than themselves — and science can explain how they get the job done.
What they're saying: “[The study] is interesting because this study is another example of how spiders use their silks as external tools to overcome muscle limits.” —Gabriele Greco, a co-author on the study and a researcher in the engineering department at the University of Trento, to Inverse.
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Racism and prejudice can take many forms, but one of the most pernicious lies within the health system. A new study of 22,997 adult heart transplant recipients reveals evidence of significant health care disparities driven by systemic racism.
Young Black adults are twice as likely to die in the first year after a heart transplant when compared to non-Black transplant recipients of the same age. Across all age groups, Black heart transplant recipients had a 30 percent higher risk of death.
Black Americans have a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases and resulting complications, a reality associated with a number of driving factors including socioeconomic status, inadequate access to healthcare, lower-quality care, and implicit bias from medical providers.
This fascinating and crucial study was explored by Inverse senior science editor Sarah Sloat, and it's worth your time today.
What they're saying: “If clinical research moving forward focuses on targeted interventions for young Black recipients during this period, we could reduce overall racial disparities in heart transplantation.” —Dr. Eroll Bush, an associate professor of surgery and surgical director of the Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Program at Johns Hopkins University, to Inverse.
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- Black Birders Week responds to racism with a celebration of Black naturalists
- Better urban biodiversity can't happen without fighting racism — study
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