Two days later, the internet is still buzzing over SpaceX’s successful Falcon Heavy launch, and not without good reason; the achievement makes the gargantuan rocket the most powerful in the world.

That said, maybe we should be paying a little more attention to the original “Falcon Heavy” — I am, of course, talking about the gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), which is the heaviest falcon in the world.

Paul Sweet, an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History, confirms to Inverse that the female gyrfalcon is indeed the largest and heaviest of all falcons. This bird of prey lives extremely far north, within the circumpolar arctic and subarctic regions of the world.

“The weight of the female Gyr given as 1396-2000g [brings it to a] mean of 1752g (n=12),” Sweet tells Inverse. That’s roughly four pounds — extremely thicc by falcon standards.

“Gyrfalcons exhibit pronounced reversed sexual size dimorphism,” according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “On average, adult males weigh 1,100-1,300 g, and females 1,700-1,800 g, meaning males typically weigh about 65 percent as much as females.


At this point, everyone’s seen pictures of the Falcon Heavy. But it’s way more difficult to see a gyrfalcon. These birds, though large and spectacular, are rarely seen since they live in such remote and unreasonably cold places. Only lucky birdwatchers typically get a peek at these majestic creatures.

These giant, heavy birds are predictably metal, preying on smaller, less fortunate birds like ptarmigan and waterfowl. They’re expert hunters that typically spot their kill from high posts — and in the high arctic, no one can hear you scream.

So sure, Elon Musk might have won the day with his fancy rocket and expensive space car. But gyrfalcons have been winning in the battle against time, evolution, and humanity.

Please show some goddamn respect.

Mars is kind of a bummer: That place is a hotbed of dynamic dust storms that got so big in recent months that they encircled the entire planet. Those conditions, sure to be a challenge for future Mars colonies, are a buzzkill for NASA’s Opportunity Rover right now: A dust storm forced the droid, which has been roaming Mars for 14 years, to shut down in June, and it’s still turned off today.

Google celebrated the life of Mary G. Ross on Thursday, with a commemorative doodle on what would have been the pioneer aerospace scientist’s 110th birthday. Ross, a Native American female engineer, helped develop some of the first concepts for flyby missions past Venus and Mars, paving the way for humans to explore the stars and visit other planets. Ross proudly described some of her most important moments this way: “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer.”

SpaceX took a big step toward its goal to reuse rockets in record time, after it successfully launched a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket with a Merah Putih satellite on Tuesday. The first stage rocket was first used in May, and it marks the first time that the more reusable “Block 5” design has reflown after a previous mission. It’s a key step toward CEO Elon Musk’s ultimate goal to refly rockets in just 24 hours.

Thank heavens the Parker Solar Probe isn’t made of wax, because its about to fly closer to the sun than even Icarus dared. On August 11, NASA is launching the probe into a part of the sun’s outer atmosphere known as the Alfvén point. If it manages to get past it, we can officially say a human-made object has touched the sun.

SpaceX has brought a Dragon capsule back to Earth, after successfully completing a second month-long stint at the International Space Station. The company shared an image Sunday of the craft after its return to terra firma, two days after its departure from the space station, before its planned handover to NASA to retrieve the cargo inside.