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Musk Reads: Neuralink’s big reveal

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Neuralink gets detailed and SAOCOM takes off. What’s happening with Starlink? It’s Musk Reads: Neuralink Edition #199.

Coming soon: Keep an eye out for a special anniversary edition of Musk Reads to celebrate number 200!

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“On a species level, it’s important to figure out how we coexist with advanced AI, achieving some AI symbiosis.”

Neuralink

It’s here. On August 28, Musk gave a rare update on his human-brain linkup firm, Neuralink. During the livestreamed event, the company outlined its technological advancements with a demonstration involving four pigs. Two of the pigs had Neuralink inserts dubbed “Links,” devices that measured about the same size as a large coin at 0.9 inches wide and 0.3 inches tall. These “version 0.9” devices use sensors to detect brain temperature, pressure, and other issues. The Links would offer “all-day battery life,” using an inductive charging system similar to a smartphone.

Neuralink’s initial focus is on medical applications, looking at how its technology could help with neurological conditions. Musk explained that the chips are a marked improvement over the existing Utah Array, which offers the risk of infection with wires and boxes coming out of the head. But over the long term, Musk reiterated that he’s aiming to develop a means of creating a symbiotic relationship with artificial intelligence. Wiring up human brains to computers, Musk reasons, could be a step toward that future. Read more.

SpaceX

Liftoff! SpaceX launched the SAOCOM 1B mission on August 31. The mission marked the first time SpaceX had completed a polar launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. That means the rocket flew south along the East Coast. The Falcon 9 booster used in the mission successfully arrived at Landing Zone 1 after the mission, the booster’s fourth successful landing.

The Starship, SpaceX’s giant rocket in development, is set for a packed couple of months. Musk revealed this week that work has started on the Super Heavy booster that will lift the giant ship away from Earth. This booster could complete a hop test before SpaceX’s next event, which Musk suggested could take place in October. An orbital launch could take place in 2021, potentially clearing the way for Musk’s ambitious goal to send the first cargo ships to Mars by 2022. Read more.

Those giant ships will have to take off from the ocean in the future. Last week, Musk explained that the Starship will have to take off from ocean-based spaceports located about 20 miles away to avoid creating too much noise. Those spaceports could link up to nearby cities using the vacuum-sealed hyperloop pod transport system, as outlined by Musk in 2018. Read more.

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is set to launch the 12th batch of Starlink satellites on September 3 at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time. The mission is set to lift off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Musk Reads mailroom

Adrian Cann writes:

I, like thousands of my friends, are desperate to know how the beta process is going on with Starlink. Any information is like giving food to a starving man. Obviously, I live out in the sticks of Washington, so I’m looking at Starlink as my savior.

Keep your eyes peeled on the Starlink subreddit’s list of speed tests. The community-updated list is designed to show you what sort of speeds people are experiencing during the beta test. Also don’t forget to keep watch for the Starlink satellites as they pass overhead.

Rudy Garcia writes:

Very interested in seeing a SpaceX launch or hop tests in SPI [South Padre Island] facility in Texas. Can you recommend a preferred viewing location? I live in Texas, hence my specific viewing location request.

YouTube account “SPadre,” which provides regular footage from the nearby South Padre Island, shared some top tips in February 2019. The island will be the best place to see launches from Boca Chica as the area itself will be closed on launch days. Isla Blanca Beach Park, located at the southern tip of South Padre Island, may be your best bet. Just keep in mind that although the two locations are close on the map, the drive from Boca Chica to South Padre Island can take an hour!

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to [email protected].

Photo of the week

Falcon 9 and the Moon.

Got any photos or videos you’d like to share? Feel free to send them over to [email protected].

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: Neuralink Edition #199, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

What did you think of today’s stories? Hit reply to this email to let us know. Thanks for reading!

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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