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Science

Featuring the latest in daily science news, Verge Science is all you need to keep track of what’s going on in health, the environment, and your whole world. Through our articles, we keep a close eye on the overlap between science and technology news — so you’re more informed.

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NASA just crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid to see what would happen

The DART spacecraft is gone, but the science is just beginning.

Mary Beth Griggs1:01 AM UTC
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Thomas Ricker6:45 AM UTC
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.


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Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.


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The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.


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Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.


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Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.


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Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


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Jess WeatherbedSep 22
The James Webb telescope has snapped this ghostly image of Neptune’s rings.

NASA describes the image as the clearest view of Neptune’s rings in over 30 years, some of which haven't been detected since Voyager 2’s flyby in 1989. Webb was also able to capture seven of Neptune’s 14 known moons, with Triton appearing so bright it almost looks like a star.

The Ice Giant appeared deep blue in images previously taken by the Hubble space telescope due to methane in its atmosphere, but these images using the Webb telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera give it an altogether more ethereal look.


James Webb image of Neptune and Triton
That ‘star’ on the left is actually Triton, Neptunes largest moon. And see those bright streaks and patches on the planet? Those are methane-ice clouds reflecting sunlight.
Image: Nasa
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Mitchell ClarkSep 20
Satellite-to-phone service is getting closer.

The FCC has given Lynk, one of the companies competing with SpaceX, T-Mobile, and Apple, a license to operate a commercial satellite-to-mobile communication service (though currently it’s only for coverage outside the US).

Lynk will still have to find a mobile carrier to work with and get FCC approval for that specific service, but it’s now cleared an important hurdle — plus, the company’s CEO told Fierce Wireless that it’s currently “working with testing” for two US carriers.


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James VincentSep 20
For every living human there are 2.5 million ants, say scientists, unprompted.

I honestly don’t know what to do with this information, which comes via The Washington Post. This is just one guy’s opinion, but it seems like an awful lot of ants. Like God accidentally maxed out the ant-slider or spilled a bag of “Oops! All ants!” into the biosphere during Creation. What I need is a lie down and to not think about the millions — sorry, 20 quadrillion — of ants out there.


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The United Arab Emirates is shooting for the Moon with plans for a lunar rover.

The country just announced that its first lunar rover is ready to go and will launch sometime in November — the exact date is still TBD. The “Rashid” rover will ride to space on a SpaceX rocket and will be carried to the Moon’s surface by a lander from Japanese company ispace, which has been working toward a Moon mission for years.


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Richard LawlerSep 16
So now what do you do with your old phone?

I’m guessing at least a few of you snagged brand-new iPhone 14s today, and I love that for you, but I’ll keep using my Pixel 6.

But if you still have your old phone and want to avoid creating unnecessary electronic waste, Kaitlyn Tiffany writes in The Atlantic that your best bet — despite recycling programs and flashy robots — is probably to just keep it.


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Please enjoy this moose crash test dummy.

In some places, such as Scandinavia and Alaska, moose are big hazards. (Moose crashes can be fatal for people.) So a master’s student developed a moose crash test dummy to help carmakers improve moose safety. “The crash test results were very pleasing since the demolished cars looked very much like cars involved in real moose crashes,” wrote Magnus Gens, who won a 2022 Ig Noble award for the work.


Moose Crash Test Dummy

[www.diva-portal.org]

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Another space SPAC is in the works.

Intuitive Machines will become the latest space company to go public after merging with a special purpose acquisition company (aka, a SPAC).

Intuitive Machines is one of three companies that was selected to build robotic lunar landers in partnership with NASA. It’s lander, Nova-C, will have its first launch next year.

NASA experiments will be on board, but this is very much a commercial venture too. Riding along will be “Omni-Heat Infinity reflective technology” from Columbia Sportswear, and a Jeff Koons exhibit.


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Adi RobertsonSep 15
We love that tattoos hurt, but hear me out: what if they didn’t.

I’m a fan of these cute semi-permanent tattoos created with stickers covered in tiny needles! They seem promising for people who need skin markers for medical procedures. I’m an even bigger fan of an article explaining this while driving home at every possible opportunity how totally cool pain is during a recreational inking experience. It’s a delicate balancing act, and as someone with a freshly healing tattoo, I appreciate it.


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Nilay PatelSep 15
The FCC is trying to clean up space junk.

The agency is floating a plan to have low-earth-orbit satellites (like Starlink) get de-orbited within five years of mission completion, instead of 25 years as the rule stands now.