You have arrived at a fresh Monday — brew yourself an equally fresh pot of your hot beverage of choice and settle in with me, Claire Cameron, for a new day full of wonderful science and innovation storytelling from Inverse. Let’s start by re-emphasizing what I said about a “fresh pot” — don’t just throw your mug in the microwave without thinking about it!
If you want to know why you should think twice (other than the sense of accomplishment such self-care can bring), then you need to keep scrolling for our lead story today.
Blue Origin vs. NASA: 4 facts you need to know about its lunar lander suit — A redacted court document reveals Blue Origin’s objections to NASA’s lunar lander decision. John Wenz has the juicy details:
The court document, posted in PDF form on CNBC, reveals Blue Origin believes NASA cut corners in order to grant SpaceX a contract, and shut Blue Origin and competitor Dynetics out. It accuses the agency of flouting rulemaking regulations in an “arbitrary, capricious, and irrational” way, and allowing SpaceX to address potential problems and skimp on Flight Readiness Reviews.
The suit stems from a bid for lunar lander concepts as part of NASA’s Artemis program, which will see humans return to the Moon. Congressional appropriations cut the funding from two possible proposals to one. SpaceX was the lowest bidder, with Alan Boyle at GeekWire listing the respected proposal prices at $2.9 billion for SpaceX — $3 billion less than Blue Origin’s concept.
A key complaint: “Historically a staunch advocate for prioritizing safety, NASA inexplicably disregarded key flight safety requirements for only SpaceX” the filing says.
- Inspiration4 has the same glaring problem as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic
- Blue Origin pulls off a successful launch
- SpaceX: Why Blue Origin’s brain drain is good news for Elon Musk
Life on Mars: A scientist ranks 10 futuristic depictions of human colonies — From domed cities to aliens: what would life on the Red Planet actually look like? Geophysicist Mika McKinnon weighs in on the feasibility of 10 artistic depictions for Jennifer Walter:
Concept art of life on Mars is not new. Whether we’re exploring Mars or attempting to colonize it, futurists have some tantalizing visions of what our lives on the Red Planet could look like. Imagine grandiose cities made up of geodomes, flying vehicles, and plants growing from the otherwise barren ground.
It may not all be as fantastical as it seems. Domes, for example, may be a realistic solution for keeping out Martian dust storms —while making sure residents have air to breathe, McKinnon explains.
Want to know what realistic human colonies on Mars look like?
- SpaceX Starship: This new hurdle stands between Musk and his Mars City
- Mars: Why a new discovery could change future missions
- Terraform Mars: After Inspiration4, Elon Musk hints at his long-term goal
Is reheating coffee bad for you? A scientist reveals the pros and cons — We're all guilty of letting our coffees go cold now and again, but does that mean we should just throw it out? A chemist explains the science of reheating to Sarah Wells:
Referred to by colleagues and students as “Dr. Coffee,” Christopher Hendon is no stranger to the chemical inner workings of this caffeinated brew. Hendon is an assistant professor of computational materials chemistry at the University of Oregon. In this article, he helps Inverse lay to rest these rigid coffee rules once and for all.
“Coffee goes into the roaster with a finite amount of caffeine available,” explains Hendon. Once it’s extracted in the water “caffeine isn’t going anywhere,” he says.
Well, thank the powers that be for that. But also maybe reconsider re-heating your coffee if you actually like coffee.
Key quote for caffeine addicts: “Caffeine is not really that reactive. It's a pretty stable organic molecule that is produced in the biological process of the maturing of a coffee seed.”
More Check, Please!:
- Are hot dogs bad for you? The truth behind the controversial report
- Are brown eggs healthier? Science debunks a pervasive myth
- Hangover cure: Scientist debunks a popular drinking myth
Covid-19 vaccine ingredients: Exactly what is and is not included in the jab — Katie MacBride has a simple breakdown of every ingredient in the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines — use this knowledge wisely. Let’s start with the mRNA vaccines. MacBride explains:
In both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the only active ingredient is mRNA, which stands for ribonucleic acid.
Although the Covid-19 vaccines are the first time mRNA technology has been in an approved vaccine, the technology is something that scientists have worked on for decades. The pandemic just gave the scientists the resources and energy to get that work over the finish line.
Think of the mRNA molecules in the vaccine as a mail carrier. They contain specific instructions for our immune system. The instructions tell the cells in our arm (because that’s where you get the shot) how to make a viral protein. The viral protein then triggers a natural immune response in our body, just like it would if we were infected with the virus. Because these instructions are so specific, our immune system mounts a more robust antibody response than it would if we’d actually contracted the virus.
More Covid-19 reporting:
- Covid-19 booster shot: Schedule, side-effects, concerns, and usefulness
- This psychological trick could get people to follow Covid-19 rules
- Covid-19 breakthrough infections: 4 reasons some people get them
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- Notable birthdays: Gwyneth Paltrow (49), Meat Loaf (74), Lil Wayne (39), Avril Lavigne (37), Mike Schmidt (72)
- Song of the Day: “Mars,” by Kelis.
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