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Artemis will start a lunar science revolution

There's so much we have to learn about the Moon.

Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Moment/Getty Images

One hundred twenty years ago today, the world got a whole lot smaller. On this day in 1900, the German theoretical physicist Max Planck gave a lecture to the German Physical Society discussing what was known as "black-body radiation."

What is black-body radiation? Think of a toaster. When the coils inside a toaster start to warm bread, they begin to glow bright red. Before that red warning sign is even visible, electrons on the toaster's surface are being agitated through the heat, and electrons rapidly moving cause a glow. But a toaster is easy. Scientists in the 1800s wondered if they could absorb light and heat completely with nothing leaving. Since nothing could leave, they called the problem "black-body radiation."

What does this have to do with the history of the world? To extremely simplify, Planck's solution was to realize that he was being limited by classical physics as first laid out by Sir Isaac Newton. He realized that oscillating electrons could only lose or gain energy in chunks, and he called these chunks quanta. And thus, quantum physics was born.

Nobody at the time, Plank included, realized the revolution he was starting. But five years later, Albert Einstein would use Planck's idea to change the world again.

As the year ends, we're expanding our question of the week to the rest of December. In one sentence, what's your prediction for 2021? Shoot us an email at newsletter@inverse.com and we'll be publishing our favorites at the beginning of the new year.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for December 14, 2020. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox.

Today on The Abstract Smart clock vs. body block

Nationwide surveys show more than one in five Americans are sleeping worse now than before the pandemic. Research also says a third of young people are facing elevated stress, with too much "screen time" as a contributing factor. It turns out, the antidote to both these problems has been here all along — it just had to get smarter.

In this episode of The Abstract, we explain how the latest science can offer crucial new paths to a good night's sleep.

New year, new you — 4 scientist-approved ways to naturally detox

In the billion-dollar world of wellness, “detoxing” is an annual craze.

During the holidays, this is especially true. People buy into these trends looking for ways to reset, reboot, and lose weight. Juice cleanses, soup diets, laxatives, and liquid fasts all sell the same goal: "rid" the body of potentially harmful toxins. But the science behind these products is dubious.

Doctors tell Inverse they don’t know of any detox program that’s been proven effective in improving human health.

“The human body has mechanisms...to deal with toxins”

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New Pioneers — Janice Chen is building the future with CRISPR

Throughout Janice Chen’s life, a healthy view of failure has helped her more than you'd think

From learning about biology with her dad in their basement to challenging men in chess, to growing organisms in a lab in college, Chen's welcoming of failure has pushed her in developing groundbreaking technologies that will change the way healthcare is provided.

“Scientists face failures all the time, but I don't think of them as failures,” the 29-year-old tells Inverse. “There are times when you set up the experiment and get something that's completely uninterpretable.”

“It really does feel like building a movement.”

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New Moon — First direct study of far side of the Moon reveal a "different world"

Of all China's lunar launches thus far, the Moon lander Chang'e4 perhaps deserves the accolade of the most illuminating mission.

Launched in December 2018, Chang'e4 was China's fourth Moon mission and the first destined for the far side of the Moon: the side facing away from Earth. It landed in January 2019 and made the first direct measurements of the dark side of the Moon ever. This year, the data were released to the world, gifting the scientific community with a treasure trove unlike any they had ever seen. Amongst the gems: clues to the impact history of our natural satellite and the early Solar System.

Here's how Chang’e 4 is making lunar history

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Coming soon ...

One thing you can expect in the 2020s will be a much-needed breaking of the lunar glass ceiling. NASA, as well as other space organizations, has made it a priority to land the first woman on the surface of the Moon. NASA recently announced 9 finalists for the position. But that's the thing about being first — there can only be one. Coming soon on Inverse, a look at the nine women with a chance to make history for all of humanity.

Cruel Intentions — This Australian spider evolved to kill us. Here’s why.

A fear of spiders is so common it consistently ranks in lists of the most common human phobias.

A study published in October in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences gives us yet another reason to be terrified of spiders — or at least, one deadly Sydney funnel-web spider. It seems this particular Australian funnel-web spider has evolved a deadly defense system to target vertebrates.

Specifically humans.

We've had it coming, tbh

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Boldly go — 6 ways NASA's Artemis III will revolutionize lunar science

If we’re lucky, humanity will once again witness humans walking on the Moon. In 2024, NASA plans to land the first astronauts on the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. More crewed missions to the Moon means we can bring home more samples to learn about the Moon’s — and even Earth’s — history.

Here are the six ways NASA's Artemis III can help us understand the Solar System — and universe.

There's so much to learn

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And that's it for the Daily! Make sure to check out our review of what might be the best live-action Disney remake yet.

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter if you want, where I tweet too much.

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