It’s a Monday in July and this edition has stories about the inside of your head and the inside of Mars. I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. Scroll to the bottom of this email for a newish feature, the heavy metal song of the day that’s based on science.
Why dirt may ruin our best view of aliens — Colette Lepage watches over a clean room that houses the biggest space telescopes, including the James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in October 2021. Passant Rabie explores what it takes to keep a $9.7 billion sat clean:
A single speck of dust or the amino acids, water, and proteins that make up a fingerprint. That’s all it takes.
Minuscule foreign substances can spell disaster for a space telescope; just one mote can throw off a telescope’s sensitive instruments. You can’t wipe a lens clean very easily once the telescope is in orbit, putting the entire mission at risk.
For NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the stakes are even higher: the James Webb will be located a million miles from Earth.
- NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope: Launch date, mission, and the hunt for aliens
- Webb Telescope launch date delayed: Everything you need to know
- James Webb Telescope: NASA “not happy” to announce the reason for new delay
If you’ve ever taken a planetary science course, or maybe just cracked open a book on the Solar System, you may have seen diagrams of the internal structure of the planets, showing their crusts, mantles, and cores.
What you may not realize, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory geophysicist Mark Panning tells Inverse, is that those diagrams “are cartoons and guesses” based on gravitational measurements. The only planet whose structure scientists actually understand in detail is Earth.
We know the innards of Earth through seismology measurements — something that hasn’t been available for other planets. Until recently, this was true. According to a trio of papers published last week, researchers can finally confirm Mars has a large liquid metal core.
Go deeper on Mars:
- NASA's Mars InSight: 10 incredible findings from its first 10 months
- Here's what the NASA InSight Mars lander's first weeks will look like (2018)
- Mars InSight Lander: Images show it with a green glow from space (2018)
Imposter syndrome: The one vital question men have to ask themselves — Katie MacBride reports on “imposter syndrome,” which describes high achieving individuals who have persistent self-doubt and anxiety about being exposed as an “imposter”.
The first time Brian remembers feeling like an imposter, he was in the third grade.
“That was the year we started getting letter grades instead of ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory,’” he tells Inverse.
When he got a B on a test for the first time, it was devastating for him. A teacher asked what was wrong; Brian said it was the B.
“He reassured me that I did well and a B was a good grade,” Brian says. “My response was something like, ‘Yeah, ‘but a B isn’t as good as an A.’”
Brian has imposter syndrome.
More in the Detox series:
- The Detox series homepage with links to all our stories
- Is your workplace toxic? Experts reveal the one thing you can do to fix it
- The one vasectomy side effect men don’t expect
Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest star in the Olympics Opening Ceremony — The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, held on July 23, 2021, featured many epic songs from throughout Japanese video game history. Corey Plante and Jen Glennon report on this irresistible video game connection to the Olympics:
Did you catch yourself imagining Cloud Strife spinning his Buster Sword as the athletes marched by on your screen? That’s probably because you heard the familiar notes of Final Fantasy’s “Victory Fanfare,” which has been a staple of the series for decades.
- Photos: Spectacle endures at Olympics Opening Ceremony (NBC News)
- Tokyo Olympics begin with muted ceremony and empty stadium (AP)
- The Olympic opening ceremony was full of video game music (Polygon)
- About the newsletter: Do you think we can improve it? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to email@example.com. Sound off!
- Today’s metal song loosely related to science: “Higgs Boson Sonification” by Traq. (There’s real science that went into making this one.)
- Before we go: Rapper Stormzy, actor Jason Statham, rock ‘n’ roller Mick Jagger, actor Kevin Spacey, and video game creator Tim Schafer (that’s his work you see above) all were born on this day.