Artist's concept of the Perseverance rover firing up its descent stage engines as it nears the Marti...

Inverse Daily

NASA's Perseverance rover has picky tastes when it comes to Martian rocks

Plus: There’re ghosts at the center of the Milky Way...

Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Last week, we wondered: How do you fight for yourself within the medical system? And you answered! S. Brock advises you “be prepared” and “ask questions.” Cheryl M. finds “a willingness to interrupt to ask clarifying questions, and well as the time and focus to do independent research” boosts confidence. Riley I. says “be your own advocate by owning and understanding your health data.”

All of these tips speak to two invaluable life lessons: Ask questions and seek information. We can at least help you with the latter. Today, we give you the scoop on the Perseverance rover’s latest moves and three other tall but true tales from the world of science. Thank you so much for being a part of this community.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Monday, January 31, 2022. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox. ✉️

Those rocks could not have tasted good.NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

NASA’s Perseverance rover spits out stray rocks ahead of Mars sample mission

Nature is great and all, but get too ahead of yourself and you might end up with a rock or two down your mechanisms. Oh, sorry, that statement was only intended for NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, which new images show ejecting mustard-colored Mars rocks from its hardware. Please disregard if you’re not NASA’s Perseverance rover.

“The images may seem like the machine is having some fun throwing rocks on its new home,” writes Inverse innovation reporter Mike Brown, “but it actually forms part of NASA’s overall plan to help humans visit the planet themselves.”

The information that Perseverance collects on Mars helps researchers plot out future visits to the planet, which could also involve a “bold plan from SpaceX, which aims to build a full-fledged city,” reports Brown.

For NASA, “it took around a week to properly diagnose the issue due to the data latency that restricts the sort of activities the team can perform,” writes Brown. “Although NASA designed the carousel to function with debris, the team didn’t want to leave anything up to chance — it was hard enough getting the rover to Mars in the first place.”

See for yourself.

Speaking of space rocks: What’s the launch status of NASA’s Moon program?

There are always more secrets to spot.Gokul Manoj / 500px/500px/Getty Images

1,000 mysterious filaments discovered at the center of the Milky Way

“The center of the Milky is home to some of our galaxy’s most mysterious high-energy objects,” writes Jennifer Walter, “but it’s tough to document the galactic center in detail.”

We have shadowy gases and dust to thank for that, which hide Milky Way contents away from us, humans armed with powerful telescopes and technology.

“Even with advanced X-ray and radio telescopes, we’re still uncovering new surprises in our cosmic backyard,” writes Walter.

But radio telescopes do have a special knack for photographing the dimmed corners of our galaxy, and they do so with a certain ghostly gusto. Want proof? Take a look at this new image produced by the Meerkat Radio Telescope, which “brings to light mysterious filaments streaking across the Milky Way’s center.”

Scientists have been aware of these thin, magnetic filaments since the 1980s, but they still have no idea what they really are.

See for yourself.

Kim, there are stars that are dying: Visualization reveals the drama of a dying star

This is what peak gut health looks like.Svetlana Foote/500Px Plus/Getty Images

Squirrel gut study could help treat a painful human condition

The sweet thirteen-lined squirrel is striped and dotted like a winter sweater. It’s pink-nosed, round-eyed, and has a gut full of little critters that help it stay buff. That last piece of information comes courtesy of a new study in Science, which discovered that the thirteen-lined squirrel’s gut “plays a key role in preventing muscle breakdown,” reports Tara Yarlagadda.

“The ground squirrel’s hibernation has long puzzled scientists,” continues Yarlagadda, “who wondered how hibernating mammals can avoid muscle wasting — the biological phenomenon when bodies break down muscle protein for energy during long periods of inactivity or starvation.”

Unlike some other hibernating animals, the thirteen-lined squirrel notably emerges from hibernation “just as brawny as before,” a phenomenon researchers hope could help them treat humans suffering from muscle wasting.” According to researchers, “some 800 million people experience malnutrition globally, which leads to significant muscle deterioration,” reports Yarlagadda. Some sufferers include elderly people experiencing “age-related muscle loss” and astronauts in microgravity.

Continue reading.

A tiny gut feeling: Can you have a “super gut”?

She’s working on her mindfulness techniques.Marka/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

How to shut off your brain with 4 science-backed tips

My mind is a little bit like a treadmill always switched on. Sometimes, my thoughts feel overwhelmingly frequent and fast, and a disheartening chunk of them have to do with The Vampire Diaries. Stefan or Damon?! I just don’t know. But quieting this internal noise should be easy…right?

“Wrong,” writes Ali Pattillo. “In the face of life’s curveballs, no amount of meditation or therapy will stop some people’s brains from tipping into overdrive.” It can be difficult to overcome. “When adversity strikes, humans tend to turn inward to work through the problem,” writes Pattillo. “But if we don’t quickly find a solution, our thought patterns can go awry.” Still, there are solutions.

In this article, Pattillo takes readers through simple, actionable steps to tame the chatty monster in your head, which include broadening your perspective, thinking long-term, and distracting yourself. Need the whole list?

Continue reading.

Time to log off: 2021’s best exploration game makes relaxation thrilling

A blast from space history past.ullstein bild Dtl./ullstein bild/Getty Images

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  • On this day in history: NASA celebrates January 31, 1958, as the time “the United States took its first step into space.” Well, it was more of a launch than a step — the U.S. launched the Explorer 1 satellite from Cape Canaveral and set decades of discovery in motion.
  • Song of the day: Soft Sounds from Another Planet,” by Japanese Breakfast.