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One Mystery of the Two-Faced Moon Might Finally Be Solved




We’re slowly learning about why the moon’s two sides are so different.

David Trood/Getty Images

It’s 9:30 at night. You’re just returning home from dinner, ready to brew an evening cup of chamomile tea. But before sauntering indoors, you make time for a quick glance at the moon. A glowing sphere speckled with vague, smooth, dark designs gazes back. It’s polished, bright and most of all, familiar. 

But this is the only side of the moon you’ve ever seen from down here. There’s a whole other side to the lunar surface, the far side, but we can’t observe it because it doesn’t turn to Earth. It never will. In fact, 1959 was the first time humanity even got a glimpse of the hidden region, thanks to the Soviet Luna 3 probe, and it wasn’t anything like what we’re used to.

It was rugged, spotted with tons of craters, and it lacked those characteristic deep gray patterns. Later missions even revealed it to be filled with totally different elements. In essence, our moon has two faces, and scientists are still trying to solve the mystery of why they’re so different. 

But a paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances might finally have an explanation for one major aspect of this enigmatic lunar duality. It has to do with dark shadows, an impact many billions of years ago, and… lava.

Lunar lava

Basically, those swirly shades we see on the moon are called lunar mare, and they’re the result of ancient lava from volcanic activity on the surface. The far side of the moon doesn’t have such marks, which is pretty surprising because, well, if one side has a volcanic legacy, surely the other should too? 

The team behind the new study had a similar question.


An image of the moon’s far side.

NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

So they used computer simulations to see what might’ve gone on long, long (long) ago, way before any volcanic activity on the moon’s surface. More specifically, they re-created a massive impact that, billions of years ago, changed the base of the moon, forming a gigantic crater that we now refer to as the South Pole-Aitken basin.

“We know that big impacts like the one that formed SPA would create a lot of heat,” Matt Jones, a planetary scientist from Brown University and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “The question is how that heat affects the moon’s interior dynamics.”

What they found is that this huge smash would’ve created a plume of heat that carried a bunch of specific heat-producing chemical elements to the near side of the moon, and not the far side.”We expect that this contributed to the mantle melting that produced the lava flows we see on the surface,” Jones said. 

In other words, those elements presumably contributed to an era of volcanism on the lunar portion that faces us, and left the far side untouched. 


The side we’re familiar with.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University

Strikingly, this hypothesis also aligns with another elusive lunar distinction: Many regions on the near side are known to contain chemicals like potassium and phosphorus and heat producing ones like thorium and other rare earth elements. Collectively called Procellarum KREEP terrane, or PKT, these elements aren’t present on the moon’s far side. It’s peculiar. 

But these are precisely the materials the new study’s researchers found spurring volcanic activity in their simulations, on the near side of the moon and as a result of the impact.

“How the PKT formed is arguably the most significant open question in lunar science,” Jones said, “and the South Pole–Aitken impact is one of the most significant events in lunar history. This work brings those two things together, and I think our results are really exciting.”

They call their solution credible with regard to all the lunar data we have, but it’s still a theory that’ll require more confirmation as the years go on. Regardless, the next time you catch yourself taking in the moon’s beauty, maybe you’ll give the concealed and bumpy far side a little thought too.

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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect



Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.

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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists



Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.

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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor



Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More

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