Good Monday morning to you, members of the Inverse community. Hope it's OK that I call you that. I'm Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. Thanks to our 🏆 Platinum Readers🏆 for being so engaged with the topics on which we report and bring to you every day.
It's March 1, 2021. We're about two weeks out from when the pandemic completely shut down New York City, where I live, and signaled the danger that lay ahead for the rest of the country.
As news of more promising vaccines dominates the news, it feels like we're almost out of this mess. So now is the time to stay even more vigilant. You're going to hear arguments that it's a personal choice, or people are following local laws, or whatever, and it's fine go without a mask inside a crowded bar. That's nonsense. This reasoning doesn't account for the vulnerable people at home, and just because it feels O.K. for you to trade neon spit with a stranger, it doesn't mean you won't get the other person's grandma, or your own vulnerable friend sick.
Wear a mask (or two), practice social distancing, and avoid gathering indoors with a bunch of people if you can help it. We're almost there. We'll all get together when this thing is over. In the meantime, get into watching WandaVision.
Let's dive in: Here are the stories that will make you think a little deeper about your world this week.
Make your own moon — Scientists at Brown University this week announced they successfully used pieces of volcanic glass brought back from the Moon more than 50 years ago to reverse-engineer a series of events that likely created the Moon from a massive collision of rocky objects in space 4.5 billion years ago.
Space writer Passant Rabie reports scientists believe a massive object the size of Mars, known as Theia, collided with a young, developing Earth around 4 billion years ago. The cataclysm tossed vaporized particles from Earth into space, so the theory goes, which then bound together through gravity to form the Moon.
What they're telling Inverse — "People are trying to measure everything possible on the Moon, and compare it to the composition of the Earth, and see how similar or different they are." — Alberto E. Saal, the paper's lead author.
More like this:
- Study reveals how the Moon influences our health
- NASA Artemis basecamp on the Moon: 6 images
- The far side of the Moon is a "different world": study
Pics or it didn't happen — The first images of Mars beamed back from the Perseverance Rover are in, and last week, NASA released its first wide-angle view of what it's like to be in the Jezero Crater, where the rover landed on the Red Planet.
The image released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is technically not one continuous image of the kind you might take with your phone camera's panorama mode. Instead, it is an assemblage of 142 images.
Bloody well right — Science editor John Wenz tells me the crater reminds him of "the Mojave High Desert stripped of vegetation and painted in an eerie red palate. It's like drying blood."
More like this:
- Mars 2020 mission landing: Images show expectations vs. reality
- NASA's journey to Mars: A story in 20 images
- The unexpected connection between Lebron James and NASA's Mars landing
Not sports — Jason Garfield is the shockingly ripped president of the World Juggling Federation, a governing body for the sport of juggling formed in 2003. For her latest story in our Not Sports series, Emma Betuel reports that juggling is a showcase of athleticism, even if it’s not apparent right away. A juggler’s heart rate can hover around 150 or 160 beats per minute during an especially intense training session, some of which can last three to five hours.
What they're telling Inverse — "The question of why isn't juggling in the Olympics keeps coming up within the juggling community, and I think the reason for that is simply the same reason why sport juggling competitions were never on ESPN." —Garfield on the outsider status of his sport.
More like this:
Watch you die — How old is the oldest ancestor to humans? Well, hominids first appeared on Earth between five and seven million years ago, but the archaic ancestors of humans go back much farther. New tooth samples found in Montana push the record back even deeper into the ancient world.
The oldest ancestors to humans probably watched the dinosaurs die: The ancient primates emerged 65.9 million years ago, and lived alongside dinosaurs. The finding was published last week in the journal Royal Society Open Science. You have to read this story by Sarah Wells.
What they're saying — "It’s mind-blowing to think of our earliest archaic primate ancestors, they were some of the first mammals to diversify in this new post-mass extinction world, taking advantage of the fruits and insects up in the forest canopy." — Gregory Wilson Mantilla, a co-lead author on the study and University of Washington Biology professor.
More like this:
- Radical theory says something else contributed to killing the dinosaurs
- Ancient DNA study reveals a mysterious "super archaic" ancestor
- Paleontology innovation reveals strange truth about how dinosaurs walked
That's all for this edition of Inverse Daily. While the idea of super-follower for Twitter makes me a little queasy 🥴, you can follow me there at @nicklucchesi, where I share my favorite Inverse stories throughout the day. Finally, I want to welcome John Wenz, our new Science editor, and Josh Wigler, our new TV & Movies editor. Happy birthday, Justin Bieber. The future astronaut and pop singer turns 27 today.