FUHAI, April 4, 2018 -- This photo taken on April 2, 2018 shows wind-driven icebergs ashore Ulunggur...

Inverse Daily

Scientists just created a type of ice found nowhere else on Earth

Plus: Another wet dress.

Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Water is amazing, I could never condense or evaporate. Of all the kinds of water in the world, my personal favorite is a tie between a blue ocean in the summer, cold and collapsing in on itself, or a perfectly sharp icicle hanging off my roof. A clear ice cube in a glass of whisky isn’t so bad either (sorry, whiskey neat fans, I like mine on the rocks!). But now would be a bad time to declare my favorite — the world just gained a new kind of ice.

The good researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas made this new ice with a high-pressure approach similar to the one used to create diamonds. You can read about the process in today’s Inverse Daily, which will also help you stay updated with news on humanity’s next moon flight, a big comet, and the health effects of psilocybin. Thanks for being here today.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Thursday, April 14, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.

Watch out for your head.Nicholas Klein / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Images

Scientists squeeze water into a new form of matter

Researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas recently created a new ice: Ice VIIt. They were able to accomplish this by using “a mix of high pressure applied by diamond anvils and laser heating,” writes Sarah Wells.

Ice Vllt isn’t really the people’s product. Unlike the ice you use for drinks and bruises, which form in a hexagon shape, Ice VIIt is tetragonal, like a tall cube, and requires pressure to be born. It’s denser than familiar ice, like a rock, and it probably won’t be found naturally anywhere on Earth. “However, icy planets like Neptune and Uranus may be good candidates for discovering this ice in the future,” writes Wells.

But water is good for science, too, not just for human use (though, this is your reminder to take a sip!). In addition to ice experiments, scientists are working on forming “liquid glass,” which “won’t be used to create liquid glass mirrors,” writes Wells, but “could help scientists better understand how to study other types of complex systems, ranging from the movement of cells in a body to matter in the universe.”

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Slow and steady gets to the Moon.Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Artemis-1’s next-generation rocket faces a setback from a pocket-sized valve

The U.S. trip back to the Moon has hit another speed bump, albeit a tiny one. Though NASA’s third wet dress rehearsal for its Space Launch System rocket is scheduled to take place today, April 14, its last rehearsal revealed a pressure vessel with a problematic check valve.

“So, while this is addressed, the rest of the rocket will undergo a repeat wet dress rehearsal on Thursday to test out the fuel-loading systems that would deliver enough power to send the rocket into space, around the Moon, and back,” writes Doris Elín Urrutia. The upper stage will not be a part of today’s test because of its poor functioning valve.

But that’s the beauty of these wet dress rehearsals. They let NASA correct little (literally; check valves are around one and an eighth inch across) unforeseen issues.

Since early April, wet dress rehearsals helped NASA teams to “demonstrate their ability to work through several issues, such as severe weather, delays in getting a gaseous nitrogen supply source provided by a commercial vendor up and running, and fixing systems like fans that did not perform as expected,” writes NASA. Eventually, all these bumps and time spent smoothing them out will help NASA make it to the next phase of its highly anticipated Artemis-1 mission — a launch date.

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Space objects everywhere.Bence Fischer / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

Astronomers finally figure out the size of the largest comet ever found

“New observations by Hubble of the largest comet ever found are confirming its status as a titan of icy space objects,” writes Nathaniel Scharping. “Comet C/2014 UN271 measures about 74 miles across, according to updated data, and weighs in at about 500 trillion tons.”

500 trillion, if you weren’t sure, is a lot, especially when it comes to tons. But Comet C/2014 leviathan body won’t directly impact us, literally or figuratively, really — it’s currently stationed 1.8 billion miles away and is headed near Saturn, not our backyards. Instead of worrying about a sudden mass extinction, we can enjoy its fascinating hugeness from a safe distance.

“Like all comets that get close to the Sun, C/2014 UN271 is surrounded by a coma, or a large cloud of gas that’s sublimating off of the comet’s surface,” writes Scharping. “That cloud is what gives comets their tails, and they can be huge — the part of C/2014 UN271’s coma that the astronomers could see in their images is more than 150,000 miles long.” It’s incredible to imagine the comet firing out of the Oort Cloud, its birthplace. And like us, it’s probably not alone.

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Small but mighty.Photograph © Jon Cartwright/Moment/Getty Images

New brain scans may reveal why psilocybin is such a potent antidepressant

When traditional antidepressants don’t work, people diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder might be willing to explore unconventional channels, like psychedelic drugs. “In recent years, psychedelics like psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, and MDMA have all shown tremendous promise as treatments for people who haven’t responded to traditional antidepressants or other treatments,” writes Inverse health reporter Katie MacBride.

“What is less known, however, is exactly how these substances produce such dramatic shifts.” A new study published this week in Nature Medicine hopes to find out. By carrying out fMRI scans on participants that blindly received either psilocybin or the traditional antidepressant Lexapro, researchers discovered that psilocybin might improve network desegregation.

Visually, on an fMRI snapshot, that looks like “flourishes of activity and heightened connection across many different areas of the brain,” writes MacBride. Though this is exploratory research that requires replications, its results might “help to explain why so many people don’t respond to traditional antidepressants,” writes MacBride.

Continue reading.

It has a ring to it.Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About this newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to newsletter@inverse.com.

  • On this day in history: Going all the way back to April 14, 1629, we revisit the birth of Dutch polymath Christiaan Huygens. In his lifetime, Huygens made a number of contributions to the burgeoning fields of physics and astronomy, like discovering the shape of Saturn’s rings.
  • Song of the day: Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash.
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