Inverse Daily

Where does space begin? Explore the history of an experimental military program

Plus: Westworld’s new executive producer isn’t reading your fan theories.

Portrait of American military test pilot Major Robert M. White (1924 - 2010) as he poses with his ha...
PhotoQuest/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Humans have a fabulous capacity for practical reasoning — we can problem-solve our way out of a crisis like no other species we know of yet. But we also have an equally large appetite for wondering: What's around the corner? What's at the edge of the horizon? What is space?

That final question may be put into a little more focus, thanks to today's newsletter. Keep scrolling and travel to the limits of the Earth's skies with us. We're thrilled you are here.

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Where does space begin? Explore the history of an experimental military program

Sixty years ago this week, Robert Micheal White returned from space. But unlike most spacefarers, he didn’t get there in a spaceship. Instead, he took a state-of-the-art rocket plane up, making him the first American astronaut to have arrived in space without a traditional spaceship.

The sky was a deep, dark, blue-black. I could see the San Francisco Bay area and all the way down to the coast of Mexico,” White told Life. “And I could see the curvature of the Earth more clearly than I ever had before. It was a fabulous sight.”

As it turns out, the X-15 program, and White’s historic flight to space, not only paved the way for progress in military domains, but also for space tourism.

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NASA’s newest climate mission will study Earth's dramatic dust cycle

Dust is an incredibly important thing to study.

Scientists know that dust particles waft through Earth’s atmosphere, get picked up by the wind, and then strewn across oceans and continents, far from the deserts that produce them. But its effect on human-generated climate change, for instance, still evades scientists.

This week NASA’s EMIT mission — which is short for Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation — is settling into its new home in space.

From its new 248-mile-high perch above the planet, EMIT can begin the ambitious task of taking a billion unique observations about these “mineral aerosols.” This data will help a research team determine if dust is cooling or heating the planet, and might spring forth a better understanding of climate science.

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Westworld’s new executive producer isn’t reading your fan theories

“We’re actually still making the show right now,” Alison Schapker tells Inverse, “and I’m on set.”

It’s late June 2022 and Westworld’s new executive producer and writer is still hard at work filming Season 4 — despite the fact that new episodes started airing on HBO on June 26.

The HBO prestige sci-fi series starring Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, and Thandiwe Newton has returned after a long hiatus, to mostly positive reviews. But Schapker can’t enjoy the reception just yet.

“When Episode 8 is in the can, I’ll be able to really sit back and peek into the corners of fan theories on the internet,” she says. “It’s gonna be my reward when we’re done.”

Read the full interview

New Star Wars book reveals a pivotal moment in Han and Leia’s romance

Han and Leia’s love story is the first real romance of Star Wars.

But despite their iconic status, we don’t know much about their love story. In the pre-Disney era of Star Wars Legends, there was The Courtship of Princess Leia, a 1994 novel that ends with Han and Leia’s wedding. But that’s no longer canon.

What is canon is the love story coming to bookstores on August 16 in The Princess and the Scoundrel, which follows Han and Leia as they get married and jet off on the Halcyon, a luxury ship which just so happens to be the of the Galactic Starcruiser at Disneyworld (may the Force be with corporate synergy).

The book is written by Beth Revis, author of the hit Across the Universe trilogy, and emphasizes the love between Han and Leia, which we never really got to see blossom. In this exclusive excerpt, Princess and the Scoundrel reveals the moment of Han Solo’s proposal to Leia Organa.

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As Dusk Falls is more Lifetime movie than prestige TV

As Dusk Falls inhabits an unlikely nexus between Life Is Strange and Jackbox, where a solo player or group decides the fate of two families over the course of several decades.

With a rapid-fire barrage of high-stakes decisions, developer Interior/Night’s branching narrative adventure is rarely as profound as it would like to be. That said, it’s a truly gripping – if unintentionally funny — experience that’s best shared with family and friends.

This is a perfect Game Pass experience for a mellow weekend, and probably best enjoyed with an adult beverage in hand.

Read our review

On this day in history: On July 19, 1848, the women's suffrage movement in the United States was launched with the opening of the Seneca Falls Convention.

Song of the day: "Jasper's Song," by Flume

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