One of the world's most exclusive clubs is interplanetary; the number of countries that have visited another planet is small. The United Arab Emirates is planning to enter that club by being the first Arab country to reach Mars with its Hope probe, and you can read about what exactly is so special about UAE's mission in today's lead story.
But first, today in 1996 an epic battle of man versus machine began. It was fought with chess pieces instead of guns, but that made it no less monumental. Today, Garry Kasparov played his first match against IBM's Deep Blue.
Development on Deep Blue had begun over a decade prior in 1985. With a chess Grandmaster as part of the team, Deep Blue used a brute force technique to scan millions of moves for each turn. Capable of moving through 200 million moves per second, Deep Blue shocked the world when it defeated Kasparov in its first game. But Kasparov would win the day, ultimately defeating the computer 4 games to 2.
Looking back on the games, Kasparov has said that “today you can buy a chess engine for your laptop that will beat Deep Blue quite easily.”
Our question of the week: Believe it or not, Valentine's Day is coming up. Real life has been harsh lately, so we were wondering: What's your favorite fictional couple? Love, as comic author Tom King recently mentioned in his Inverse interview, is a powerful driver in stories. Leia and Han, Korra and Asami, Wanda and Vision. Love is a battlefield, and we want to hear which fictional couple has you picking up arms.
Respond in our Google form, and we'll post our favorite answers next week!
Walt Whitman's 1867 poem, “When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer,” talks about an idea that's still relevant centuries later: you don't need to be an expert to fully appreciate the wonders of nature and the Earth. From the depths of the Grand Canyon and the Blue Hole in Belize to the heights of the Himalayas, nature can truly speak for itself.
A new study published in the journal People and Nature reaffirms this intuitive appreciation for nature. The study surveyed migrant farmers in the Amazon about bird species in the area, finding a strong connection to nature despite a lack of formal knowledge about the birds.
What they're saying: “We found that farmers do not need intimate knowledge of local biodiversity to care about nature,” — Katarzyna Mikolajczak, postdoctoral research fellow at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and lead author of the study.
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On February 18, NASA's Perseverance rover will land on the Martian surface and begin exploring the Red Planet to hunt for signs of ancient microbial life. It will be a tremendous moment for the global scientific community, but it will also be a big moment for the growing community of robots on Mars.
It's not a community, exactly, but there are a fair number of robots already on the planet's surface. Perhaps most notable among them is NASA's Curiosity, which, in January 2021, passed Day 3,000 on the Red Planet's surface.
Curiosity first touched down on Martian soil way back in August 2012, and a whole lot has changed since then. Here are seven things that show how unique Perseverance really is, and how it hopes to reach the same heights as the robots that came before it.
What they're saying: “There's a reason we call the robot Perseverance. Because going to Mars is hard.” — Jim Bridenstine, former NASA administrator, just before the rover's launch.
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Inverse Daily isn't the only newsletter our fine website puts out. If you haven't already, you should check out Musk Reads. Our newsletter not only keeps close tabs on the latest goings-on in Elon Musk's various companies but also the competition. Less drama, more tech.
The latest Musk Reads looks at SpaceX, which sent its Starship “SN9” prototype to a height of 10 kilometers, only for the ship to subsequently come crashing back to Earth. In an impressive video, space media team Cosmic Perspective captured the explosion in a slow motion video.
Although the mission ended in flames, the firm is expected to try again with “SN10” within a month — all working toward the goal of creating a rocket that can send humans to Mars and back. As the host of the livestream said, “we've just got to work on that landing a little bit.”
Check out the rest of the latest news in Muskworld in the latest edition of Musk Reads.
What they're saying: “Time to tell the story of Tesla & SpaceX.” — Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, talking about writing a book.
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Coming soon ...
The first great new show of 2021 is undoubtedly WandaVision. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen have not just reprised Vision and Wanda Maximoff but are bringing incredible depth to a surreal scenario. As Eric Francisco wrote in our initial review, their performances are “so textured in this unusual framework that you can and will be fooled into thinking their big screen Marvel roles have been small-screen darlings this whole time.”
And now, as the mysteries of Westview start to come into focus, you can keep up with the latest analysis on Inverse. After Friday's episode, make sure to see the episodes broken down by the experts of Inverse.
Clever girl — Paleontology innovation reveals strange truth about how dinosaurs walked
Who could forget that scene in Jurassic Park where Sam Neill and Laura Dern stare in jaw-dropping wonder at a real-life dinosaur walking amongst them? It's incredible and also, sadly, fiction. For all our movies, figurines, and general obsession over dinosaurs, paleontologists know so little about these creatures' lives.
A new 3D imaging technology called XROMM — X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology — could help bring the lizards back to life. In a paper published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists from Brown University describe a new way to use this tech to recreate the locomotion of ground-treading archosaurs, a group that once included sauropods like Diplodocus and Brontosaurus.
What they found reveals an unexpected connection between these massive lizards and a more pedestrian creature: ducks.
What they're saying: “We've uncovered surprising new information that will improve reconstructions of locomotion in extinct animals.” —Armita Manafzadeh, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University.
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The Arab world is responsible for some of humanity's most astonishing technical achievements. Islamic astrology during the Islamic Golden Age, just to name one example, kept the flames of scientific knowledge burning for centuries and influenced a wide array of scientists worldwide. Now, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keeping that passion alive through a probe called Hope, going places ancient astronomers could only imagine.
After seven months journeying through space, the Emirates Mars Mission's Hope probe arrived at its destination on Tuesday. The mission is historic and brings the Arab world decisively into the space race — an area traditionally dominated by the United States, Europe, and China.
On Tuesday, the Hope spacecraft entered Mars' orbit, a feat accomplished by just 50 percent of all spacecraft sent to Mars. When the UAE announced the plan for the Hope probe in 2014, the country didn't even have a space agency. The success of this mission is a lesson in the power of going big or going home.
What they're saying: “For us, we've never had the science and technology portfolio within the government until this mission was established,.” —Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, the chairperson of the UAE Space Agency and minister of state for advanced technology, to Inverse.
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- Scientists discover a precious resource on Mars for future human exploration
- Why A.I. can struggle to understand Arabic
And if you're looking for more, check out our recommendation for 11 mind-blowing sci-fi movies that are streaming right now.
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