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.
NASA says coronal gasses can corrupt signals NASA sends to its automated explorers, so the agency is playing it safe. In the meantime, the two rovers and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will continue collecting data while parked on the surface.
The FAA still hasn’t cleared SpaceX to attempt another Starship orbital launch from its Boca Chica, TX, site after the first one caused significant damage to the pad and surrounding environment. SpaceX’s website and this teaser trailer indicate it’s ready to try again as soon as November 17th.
Those are also popping up on the same day as a report from Reuters documenting 600 injuries to SpaceX workers since 2014.
The records included reports of more than 100 workers suffering cuts or lacerations, 29 with broken bones or dislocations, 17 whose hands or fingers were “crushed,” and nine with head injuries, including one skull fracture, four concussions and one traumatic brain injury.
Musk himself at times appeared cavalier about safety on visits to SpaceX sites: Four employees said he sometimes played with a novelty flamethrower and discouraged workers from wearing safety yellow because he dislikes bright colors.
iFixit did some digging on the new MacBook Pro and found that Apple’s anodization and dying process must have taken “a huge amount of effort, and trial and error,” according to metallurgist David Niebuhr.
Under a microscope, Space Black had higher peaks and lower valleys from an etching process than Space Gray. It still shows light fingerprints, but iFixit gives Apple an “A-for-effort.”
NASA’s free, ad-free, and subscription-free streaming service has officially launched. I’m personally a fan of the “Space Out” series tagged under “NASA & Chill,” which are 30-minute shows featuring incredible shots of planets and space stuff all backed by chill music.
Pictures and videos of the smoke and chemical fire caused by an explosion at Sound Resource Solutions in Shepherd, Texas, look like something out of a movie but are, in fact, real. The explosion took place at about 8:13AM local time in the area northeast of Houston.
According to local news station ABC 13, one employee at the plant was injured in a “freak forklift accident.”
Unlike NASA’s James Webb telescope, which produces high-resolution images by focusing on smaller areas, Euclid can observe large sections of the sky much faster, and in higher resolution than previous survey missions. “We have never seen astronomical images like this before, containing so much detail,” said the ESA’s René Laureijs.
If you’re eager for NASA-produced documentaries and original series or even some good old-fashioned live launch coverage, NASA Plus, which was announced in July, goes live tomorrow, as Space reminds us.
Since it’s NASA, it’s like free ad-supported TV, aka FAST TV, but instead of ads, it’s paid for by your taxes.
...FTST TV? Anyway, here’s a trailer.
This time last year Musk said that Starlink was losing about $20 million a month. Now he says it’s breakeven, which is good news for a service that keeps people connected in remote locations, in times of disaster and war, or while tooling around in a van or boat. Unimpeded growth could be bad for astronomers trying to see past those roughly 5,000 satellites currently operating in low-Earth orbit, with plans for up to 37,000 more.
This spacewalk is a first for Astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara, who are removing a box from a communications antenna and repairing one of the solar arrays.
Bloomberg has a sprawling piece chronicling the history of Apple’s efforts to expand into health care. One revelation is this:
“The work was nearly complete when Project Fennel was canceled, in part because the Apple Watch is a driver of iPhone sales. ‘If you gave up the watch to Android, you would dilute the value of the watch to the iPhone,’ said someone with knowledge of the decision.”
That’s how University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy describes how explosive Hurricane Otis’ growth was right before it slammed into Acapulco, Mexico. It strengthened into a devastating Category 5 hurricane in record time, catching residents and forecasters off guard. The storm killed at least 27 people when it hit Wednesday, and residents are still reeling from what is likely to be one of the costliest storms to hit Mexico. Tropical storms draw strength from heat energy, allowing them to intensify more rapidly with climate change.
The Elon Musk-owned company could launch up to four of the ESA’s Galileo navigation satellites into space next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The deal reportedly involves two US-based launches, each with two Galileo satellites aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets.
This comes as Europe’s Ariane rocket program faces its own setbacks. The European Commission and EU member states will still need to approve the deal with SpaceX, the WSJ notes, which could happen by the end of this year.
The company reportedly told ArsTechnica it’s shooting for 144 launches next year. That’s 12 launches a month, or about every two-and-a-half days.
The goal, writes Ars, is to put many more Starlink satellites aloft to support its satellite-based cell phone service, which is due to launch next year as a texting-only service, with voice and data coming later. That’s not necessarily great news to everyone.
I kid, I kid: it’s the Apollo 16 lunar soil scoop, an awesome vari-angle shovel with spring-loaded buttons, which just sold at auction for $874,998. One of those buttons attached it to an extension pole that’s reportedly still sitting on the Moon.
The Smithsonian has one like this too, though it’s apparently not on display.
The Energy Department announced the ‘largest ever’ investment in the power grid today. That includes funding for microgrids that can protect residents from outages. It’s a solution The Verge wrote about and New Orleans residents have been calling for since Hurricane Ida caused a deadly blackout in 2021. The story was selected for HarperCollins’ The Best American Science and Nature Writing last year, and one of our photos by Avery Leigh White won an American Photography 38 award.
The Silicon Valley and surrounding parts of Northern California just got an alarming message on their phones — a severe earthquake!
You’d be forgiven for assuming it was just a test. But no, the USGS’ ShakeAlert test is scheduled for tomorrow at 10:19AM, not today at 9:29AM, and there really was an earthquake. But it was quickly downgraded to a 4.1 — not a 5.7 as originally detected.
A ban on glitter and microbeads often used for exfoliation in cosmetics goes into effect today. The European Commission also proposed even more measures to stop plastic pellets from winding up in the ocean, wildlife, and people’s bodies. The goal is to reduce that pollution 74 percent by 2030.
Amazon streamlined logistics for moving goods, and Amazon Web Services does the same for many operations on the internet. Now, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has announced (in a brief post not much longer than this one) a familiar approach for its Blue Ring spacecraft platform and In-Space Systems business unit, built to support missions “in medium Earth orbit out to the cislunar region and beyond.”
The platform provides end-to-end services that span hosting, transportation, refueling, data relay, and logistics, including an “in-space” cloud computing capability. Blue Ring can host payloads of more than 3,000 kg and provides unprecedented delta-V capabilities and mission flexibility.