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Scientists identify the key to living to be 150 years old

Plus: The hidden history of summer’s favorite fruit.

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What’s your biological age? Since having a kid several months ago, I feel like mine has shot up by about a decade. But other factors — like exercise and diet — are also important.

But what if you could somewhat comfortably live to be 150? Getting there may not have much to do with lifestyle choices like exercise and diet but how you react to the stressors of life (whether it be a new baby or following Arsenal FC). It’s the subject of our lead story today. Keep scrolling to read more on this brand-new research that suggests a dramatic scenario for future generations.

I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse.

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Scientists identify the key to extending human life A study in the journal Nature Communications combines data from blood analyses and information about physical exercise to identify a new measure influencing “biological age”. (People on Apple News apparently loved this one.) Here’s a clip from Sophie Putka:

The idea that we could extend our lifespan far beyond a century conjures images of humans stored in cryogenic chambers and decapitated heads preserved in jars, kept alive by whirring machines. In other words, science fiction.

But if a new study published this week in the journal Nature Communications is anything to go by, such a dramatically extended lifetime is not fantasy at all. The study combines data from blood analyses and information about physical exercise to identify a new measure of “biological age”.

The findings suggest there’s one aspect of human longevity that may be crucial if we are ever to meet our maximum potential. Counterintuitively, it has not to do with disease or a lifestyle choice.

Read the full story here.

More health science:

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The hidden history of summer’s favorite fruit Scientists reveal that the Sudanese Kordofan melon is the likely ancestor to the modern-day domestic watermelon, reports Tara Yarlagadda.

“Watermelons are just fascinating,” biologist Susanne S. Renner earnestly tells Inverse.

She should know. Currently an honorary professor of biology at the University of Washington, Renner is the lead author of a new study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that rewrites the origin story of everyone’s favorite summer fruit.

Renner and her colleagues’ findings reveal how the watermelon got its evolutionary groove and became the sweet, sticky, brilliant superstar of the summer barbecue.

“[Watermelons] have long played a huge role, culturally and biologically,” Renner says. Yet as invested as we may be in these fruits today, their past speaks to another, seedier aspect of America’s culinary history.

Read the full story.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles devastated actual turtles During the height of “Turtle Mania,” red-eared sliders were shipped all over the world as pets, but a lot of them didn’t stay in their tanks. Brian Vanhooker is the writer of this newest feature:

The turtle-dumping problem was never more pronounced than during the height of popularity for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the animated TV series. During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the dumping of pet turtles around the world got so bad it resulted in millions of homeless turtles and changed turtle ecology all over the planet.

In 1975, the turtles-as-pets trend saw a steep decline after the sale of red-eared sliders smaller than four inches was banned in the United States due to salmonella.

Enter Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird who, in 1984, created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Designed as a parody of Daredevil, the Ninja Turtles were an independent comic that caught the attention of a marketing genius named Mark Freedman who brought the Turtles to a toy company called Playmates. Playmates then helped get a cartoon developed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Read the full story.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover in this image taken April 6, 2021, the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission by the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera on the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument, located at the end of the rover's long robotic arm.

Mars rovers: 5 things you don’t realize until you drive one Vandi Verma has been working on Mars time since 2008. Here are five critical life lessons she has learned along the road. Passant Rabie has the story.

The moment she finishes her shift on Mars, Vandi Verma takes a second to reorient herself. She gazes out at the Red Planet, locating the faintly twinkling Sun in the night sky. Then, she comes back to Earth. Verma’s work on Mars is the driving force behind the Mars 2020 rover. As the chief engineer for robotic operations for NASA’s Perseverance rover, she spends her days immersed in a world of Martian terrain.

She even operates on “Mars time” here on Earth. With her feet firmly planted on Earth but her brain on Mars, where she has driven rovers for the last 13 years, she’s gained a rather unusual view of our place in the universe: “You’re literally looking from the rover’s perspective,” Verma says.

Read Verma’s list of five lessons she learned from working “on Mars”.

Related stories:

Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees performs on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England, on November 9, 1978. The musician turns 64 today.

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