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Featuring the latest in daily science news, Verge Science is all you need to keep track of what’s going on in health, the environment, and your whole world. Through our articles, we keep a close eye on the overlap between science and technology news — so you’re more informed.

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Odysseus achieves the first US Moon landing since 1972

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander is the first privately owned spacecraft to reach the Moon’s surface.

How the Supreme Court could gut environmental protections in 2024

The Verge’s guide to key environmental cases before the Supreme Court this year.

The Odysseus lunar lander is laying on its side.

During a NASA press conference Friday evening, Intuitive Machines co-founder and CEO Steve Altemus showed the attitude of its lunar lander, the first from the US to reach the Moon’s surface in over 50 years.

As Swapna Krishna explains, they believe it tipped over after catching a foot on the surface while landing, but fortunately, it’s still getting sunlight to power the battery. Plans for the coming days include deploying a CubeSat it’s carrying called EagleCam to take photos from the surface.

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Withings finally adds cycle tracking to its app.

Withings users can access the feature by pressing the “+” icon in the app’s Home tab and entering some basic questions about their period. You can also add tags for symptoms, and receive trends based on your last three cycles.

Withings is late to the game. Most major wearables started adding period tracking in 2018. That said, the timing makes sense as it recently launched its ScanWatch 2, which has temperature sensors and lets you add cycle data straight from the wrist. Ah well, better late than never.

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander is on the Moon.

After a stressful few minutes of waiting beyond the estimated 6:24PM ET touchdown, the mission director said, “...we can confirm, without a doubt, our equipment is on the surface of the Moon, and we are transmitting.”

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It’s not looking good for the EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor Plan.’

The largely conservative Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday for Ohio v. EPA, and it sounds like SCOTUS is sympathetic to plaintiffs fighting the agency’s Good Neighbor Plan. The plan would force states, including Ohio, to prevent smog-forming pollution from drifting downwind to other states. More than a dozen states are fighting the plan in lower courts, and Ohio wants SCOTUS to force the EPA to pause the plan entirely while those legal battles are ongoing. Whether SCOTUS sides with Ohio now likely points to how it would rule later if any of those cases in lower courts ultimately make their way to SCOTUS.

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Swiss company Vestergaard changed the coating on its malaria bed nets — and now malaria cases are soaring.

The new coating was cheaper, and much less effective. Did Vestergaard disclose the change to malaria control organizations, at least? No.

“This is a huge embarrassment,” [Tim] Freeman said. [He is a program manager for an organization attempting to eliminate malaria.] “They’ve been distributing, for 10 years, lower quality nets than in the past. No one wants to admit that.”

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Staying on Ozempic for weight loss in the long-term is expensive. Now what?

One reason GLP-1 drugs are tough for patients to take long-term is the cost... even without a telehealth subscription (expensive in its own right), the drugs are pricey. Doctors tell The Wall Street Journal that insurers are approving fewer patients’ prescriptions. And it’s not yet clear how to get off Ozempic and its ilk without regaining weight.

Is the US on track to meet its climate goals?

Not yet, but there have been some gains since Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and Inflation Reduction Act into law — two huge investments in clean energy and transportation. EV sales and clean energy additions to the power grid hit record highs last year, according to an analysis by researchers from Princeton, MIT, and Rhodium Group. But progress is expected to slow down unless the US can get rid of red tape that’s getting in the way.

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Do states need to be better neighbors to each other? SCOTUS will decide.

The Supreme Court of the US will hear arguments today over an Environmental Protection Agency plan that would force states to curb smog-forming pollution before it can drift over to their neighbors. Ohio and other plaintiffs want SCOTUS to stay the EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor Plan’ while their case challenging the agency’s legal authority to impose the plan works through lower courts. You can listen in on oral arguments in Ohio v. EPA at 10 AM EST.

‘Burning Man for rednecks’: inside the King of the Hammers off-road race

While the event is known as one of the biggest motorsport events in the world, it’s also a place to showcase technology, land stewardship, and just a tiny bit of nightlife.

Switching to electric vehicles would be fantastic for kids’ health

Fewer asthma attacks, less bronchitis, and healthier lives for millions of kids.

Taylor Swift’s flight tracker has responded to the singer’s legal threats.

Jack Sweeney, a college student who uses public flight data to track jets belonging to celebrities like Swift and Elon Musk, has refuted the singer’s claims that his flight tracking accounts on social media cause her “direct and irreparable harm.”

In a letter to Swift’s legal team, Sweeney’s lawyer says “there is nothing unlawful” about the “use of publicly accessible information to track private jets,” adding that the threats “suggest a groundless effort to intimidate and censor” Sweeney.

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Delta is offering a special flight for solar eclipse fans.

The flight on April 8th has been adjusted for the next total solar eclipse to spend as much time as possible within the path of totality — the duration in which the Moon completely blocks out the sun.

Delta flight 1218 will be specifically operated on an A220-300, which will offer especially premium viewing due to the aircraft’s extra-large windows. The flight will depart from Austin at 12:15 p.m. CT and land in Detroit at 4:20 p.m. ET — timed to give those on board the best chance of safely viewing the solar eclipse at its peak.

Roundtrip tickets are currently priced at $1,357 in the main cabin, which is more than double the usual fare. Still, that might be worth it since according to NASA it’ll be the last total eclipse visible from North America until 2044.

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High winds over the Atlantic meant at least three planes went faster than the speed of sound.

None of the planes actually broke the sound barrier—there was no sonic boom. Instead winds up to 250 mph gave the planes one helluva tailwind and allowed them to travel in excess of 800 mph.

All three flights arrived safely, and early, at their destination, but those same high winds didn’t just move planes. They’re also to blame for D.C. getting less snow than originally forecasted over the weekend.

Sing to me of the Earth, Muse.

Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander snapped a few selfies with ol’ Mother Earth yesterday while on its way to the Moon.

There are a few more high-res pictures over at Intuitive Machines’ website. If Odysseus succeeds in its mission, it will be the first successful US-launched Moon landing in over 50 years.

A picture of the Earth, with the legs of the Odysseus craft in view in the right side of the frame.
Odysseus takes a look back at the Earth.
Image: Intuitive Machines
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Is this the end for NASA’s Voyager 1 probe?

NASA engineers told Space that “effectively, the call between the spacecraft and the Earth was still connected” after its transmissions stopped making sense last year, “but Voyager’s ‘voice’ was replaced with a monotonous dial tone.”

The scientists are reportedly holding out hope they can fix it, but if they aren’t able to, that would leave Voyager 2 as humanity’s only still-communicating spacecraft in interstellar space.

Here’s the final sample material from the Bennu asteroid.

After the sample was returned last year and NASA scientists went through some tribulation to break into the canister containing it, they say they gathered 121.6 grams of asteroid bits from Bennu.

NASA had hoped to gather at least 60 grams of material from the asteroid when its OSIRIS-REx mission craft punched its surface in 2020.

A picture of eight triangular sample trays, the two right-middle ones perhaps filled with a quarter of that, the bottom left two far less so, and the remaining one with only a few bits of material.
NASA’s final Bennu asteroid sample.
Image: Erika Blumenfeld & Joseph Aebersold / NASA
Scientists are extremely concerned about this rat's “dck.”

And for good reason — this, and several other nonsensical AI-generated images were openly credited to Midjourney in a peer-reviewed science paper published by the Frontiers Journal this week. The gibberish annotations and grotesquely inaccurate images it included are one example of the risks that generative AI poses to the accuracy of academic research.

Frontiers has responded and removed the offending paper:

Our investigation revealed that one of the reviewers raised valid concerns about the figures and requested author revisions. The authors failed to respond to these requests. We are investigating how our processes failed to act on the lack of author compliance with the reviewers’ requirements.

How much electricity does AI consume?

It’s not easy to calculate the watts and joules that go into a single Balenciaga pope. But we’re not completely in the dark about the true energy cost of AI.

Jeff Koons sends his space balls to the Moon.

Attention President Skroob, Moon Phases — an art project from the maker of shiny balloon animals, comprised of 125 miniature Moon sculptures within a transparent cube — is headed to the Moon as a payload aboard Intuitive Machines Nova-C “Odysseus” lander, which was launched by SpaceX this morning.

The lunar surface will become the new home immortalizing Koons’ piece if Odysseus successfully lands on February 22nd.

Go watch this illuminating video about the invention of the blue LED.

The next time you look at the screen on your phone or the RGB on your keyboard, thank Shuji Nakamura, the inventor of the blue LED, who made it all possible and should have received way more recognition for it. His breakthrough is still changing the world.

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SpaceX will dispose of 100 orbiting Starlink satellites because of an undisclosed glitch.

[T]he Starlink team identified a common issue in this small population of satellites that could increase the probability of failure in the future. The satellites will follow a safe, circular, and controlled lowering operation that should take approximately six months for most of the vehicles. 

It’s a small fraction of the 5,828 Starlink sats in orbit, and SpaceX says it’s deorbited 406 sats previously. Unusual to decommission so many at once, though.

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Green roofs save energy.

Rooftop gardens are really cool — literally, they help keep indoor temperatures down because evaporation from plants has a cooling effect. Asphalt rooftops in comparison, absorb and trap heat. New research in Seoul now shows that green roofs actually reduced the energy intensity of buildings by close to 8 percent. That boost in energy efficiency means green roofs are helping to keep the planet cool, too.

The new Twisters trailer is a storm chaser’s dream.

Warner Bros. first Twister movie was very much a public service announcement about how dangerous running towards tornadoes can be. But that message seems to have been lost on everyone in the first trailer for director Lee Isaac Chung’s upcoming sequel Twisters due out July 19th.

Here’s why it took decades to create blue LEDs.

When I was a kid, LEDs were almost always red and largely only used as power indicators on stereo receivers and similar electronics.

The Veritasium YouTube channel tells the story of how the Nobel Prize-winning work of three researchers — Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and, separately, Shuji Nakamura — made blue light-emitting diodes possible in the 1990s.