The world’s largest radio telescope picks up peculiar signals from space
Plus: 10 images capture the destruction of Yellowstone National Park.
Good morning! Congrats to Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors for winning their fourth NBA championship in the last eight years. If you’re reading this from the Bay Area, you can catch the celebratory parade today starting at 11:20 a.m. PT.
This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Monday, June 20, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.
China's search for alien life turns up something suspicious
The world’s largest radio telescope dish has reportedly picked up peculiar radio signals from space — but the details of the reports remain murky.
Having come online in the last several years, FAST (known in Mandarin as Tianyan, which translates to “heaven’s eye”) is a larger counterpart to the famed Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, which closed in 2020 after experiencing structural damage.
And while it has many goals, one of the big ones? The ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence. But no one is calling these signals aliens ... yet. In fact, the story itself is a bit of a winding path.
Astronomers poring over FAST data from 2019 found two sets of suspicious signals. In addition, the telescope also picked up a different signal from a system known to have an exoplanet earlier in 2022.
Reports on those signals come from a June 14 Science and Technology Daily report that was deleted from the outlet’s site but remains posted on WeChat, a Chinese social media app. And so far, those are the only reports — no preprints or published studies have been released on the mystery signals. So what do we know?
10 images capture the destruction of Yellowstone National Park
Torrential rainfall caused historic flooding in Yellowstone National Park last week — a disaster so severe that officials had to temporarily shut the park down.
The last time Yellowstone closed due to a natural disaster was after a series of wildfires in 1988.
Currently, there is no date for when the park will reopen. But the National Parks Service says it will be a “substantial length of time” due to the damaged roads and infrastructure in the park.
Thankfully, there have been no reported casualties or injuries from the floods. But rescue teams had to float some tourists out of the park via raft, ABC News reported.
Click below to see 10 images that capture the extent of the damage.
The answer to the Planet Nine mystery could come sooner than you think
Astronomers know very little about the far outer Solar System — beyond Neptune, Pluto, and the far-flung Kuiper belt. For the past seven years, scientists have observed certain gravitational anomalies in this mysterious region and have theorized that there must be an undiscovered world, dubbed Planet Nine, lurking at the outer edges of our galactic backyard.
If true, this planet would be unlike any other in the Solar System. At 10 times the size of Earth, it’d take some 10,000 to 20,000 years to orbit the Sun.
Two years from now, the fate of Planet Nine, this new space belt, and other alternative explanations will be tested when the Vera C. Rubin Observatory opens for first light. Perched atop a mountain in central Chile, the observatory will begin its Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) in 2024.
Once this next-generation telescope gets to work, it could discover thousands of objects we never knew existed and completely alter everything we know about our Solar System.
How one company’s controversial cloning technique is changing Star Wars forever
Luke Skywalker has been cloned.
It’s not the plot of a Star Wars novel from 1990 or an outlandish fan theory for Mandalorian Season 3. This is real life, and to get a little more specific, it is Luke Skywalker’s voice that has been cloned.
Using artificial intelligence, Ukrainian tech company Respeecher makes a business out of oral mimicry. The ground-breaking process is driving the future of de-aging technology and digital creations in film and other media, including Star Wars.
Essentially, they take what the character (portrayed by an actor, of course) sounded like years ago and manipulate the vocal tones and characteristics to form new lines to use in the present day, years after the actor themselves retired.
To Respeecher, the work they do is art. But accurate replication of someone’s voice and the ability to make the oral clone “speak” also sounds like a handy tool for misinformation peddlers. Amid the war in Ukraine and Russian disinformation campaigns, Respeecher is all too aware of the dangers of this technology.
Inverse sat down with Respeecher founder Alex Serdiuk to learn more about how his company developed and uses this divisive technology to bring past Star Wars characters back to life on screen.
- On this day in history: On June 20, 1975, Steven Spielberg's thriller Jaws was released in theaters. It was a huge success, essentially creating the genre of summer blockbusters.
- Song of the day: “Massive” by Drake.
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