Alien rocks, good dogs, beautiful cars
Plus: May the fourth be with you.
“May the fourth be with you.” Today is the unofficial holiday for Star Wars fandom, one that began a decade ago in Canada. While there are multiple ways to spend the day, and nearly as many memes, you could do worse than playing Star Wars video games (or board games). Anything is better than waiting around for Vader.
But first, let’s get you caught up on a mix of science and innovation news stories that have just been published by the reporters at Inverse. There are alien rocks, astronauts splashing down, beautiful electric cars, explanations of why dogs are good for us, and a very good endorsement for getting on a bicycle ASAP.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse. Let’s dive in like we’re falling into a Star Wars pit — which is to say, very fast while also yelling.
Watch astronauts splash down — NASA and SpaceX's Crew-1 Dragon returned to Earth Sunday in an early morning splashdown after six months aboard the International Space Station. Bryan Lawver reports on the historic return and what it means:
On Sunday, May 2, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission quietly made history. Crew-1 marked NASA’s first operational, long-duration commercial crew mission.
The crew traveled in a SpaceX Crew Dragon carried by a Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. The nearly six-month stint on the ISS broke the record for the longest crewed spacecraft mission, previously set by Skylab in 1974.
An alien rock on Earth reveals a violent history — A chunk of Vesta, a large object in the asteroid belt, has a harried story to tell, writes Erika K. Carlson:
Vesta has a rocky history. For the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, the evidence of its tumultuous past is in two giant scars on the surface of the world.
“It got hit by something pretty big that sort of took out parts of the southern polar region,” astronomer Peter Jenniskens tells Inverse. “And there are two big impact basins there — one sits on top of the other.” Jenniskens is a senior research scientist at the SETI Institute, a scientific organization that searches the cosmos for extraterrestrial life.
2021 Polestar 2 review — It's a five-door “fastback” (basically a fancy hatchback, sorta) that starts at $59,900 and sports a 78-kilowatt-hour battery. It also has a 233-mile range, writes Jordan Golson:
I have spent a lot of time behind the wheel of a lot of electric cars.
Tesla, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and now Polestar — the new electric car brand from Volvo.
Polestar began life as a racing team that later built speedy versions of Volvo's wagons and sedans for folks looking for a more performance-oriented ride. Then Volvo bought the whole company and spun it off as a separate premium brand focused on EVs. It's not quite the Lexus to Volvo's Toyota, given that both marques are rather premium, but there are certainly differences — even with a lot of shared DNA.
Why are pets so good for mental health? — It's been a rough year. Here's how our pets got us through it, according to the people who know best, writes Tara Yarlagadda:
It’s no secret this past year has taken a toll on our collective mental health. Between lockdowns that shut down social life and the uncertainty of a world racked by Covid-19, it’s been a lot.
But for millions of people around the world, there’s one factor that’s helped keep them afloat: their pets. Humans have forged stronger bonds with existing pets and adopted new animals at a rapid pace during the pandemic.
The benefit of a pet is something you might feel, but it’s harder to explain exactly why you feel that way. To remedy that, Inverse spoke with pet owners and animal behaviorists to explain just how animals helped some emotionally survive the pandemic.
This 10-minute workout has surprising benefits — Cycling for very short bursts is enough to impart better performance and fitness, reports Sophie Putka:
Between long hours at work, trying to keep your home in order, and trying to give love to family and friends, time set aside for exercise can seem like a distant dream.
That is until you realize the last time your heart rate went up was two months ago when you forgot to turn the gas off before leaving the house. But there is good news: If you’ve made up your mind to fit a workout into your schedule, there’s no need to block off hours.
Research presented last week at the annual conference Experimental Biology makes a compelling case for the health benefits of (very) short bursts of high-intensity interval training during 10-minute workout sessions. You might have heard of this type of workout referred to as HIIT before. This is HIIT — but with a bike.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK of this daily dispatch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow me on Twitter at @nicklucchesi, where I share some of my favorite stories from Inverse every day.