Plus: A galaxy far, far away.
We have all said things we don’t really mean. Honesty is an admirable policy, but it just isn’t necessary to tell the Trader Joe’s cashier you’re having a bad day when they ask, you know? But honesty becomes more consequential when you’re the richest man in the world and your company wants to receive government approval for a giant rocket you want to launch into space.
In that scenario, full transparency can serve you better than an economy with the truth. But here we are and Elon Musk has, in fact, fudged a few facts. As a result, the launch date for SpaceX’s Starship rocket’s orbital test could be in jeopardy.
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This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Friday, April 8, 2022. Subscribe for free and learn something new every day.
“SpaceX’s giant rocket to Mars and beyond could take its first orbital flight soon — but questions around where it will fly have caused delays in the company’s planning applications,” writes Inverse’s Mike Brown. Though fans and critics alike have waited for years for Starship to take to orbit, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen soon.
“Musk’s comments around the flight led to issues this week, as The Verge reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed an application to expand the company’s Starbase launch facility in Texas,” writes Brown.
“Part of the issue is that Musk publicly stated that the first orbital flight could take place in Cape Canaveral, Florida, rather than Starbase.”
Musk appears to suffer from a foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, which has hurt his companies before. A Florida flight contradicts SpaceX’s existing application for expansion, which claims that Starship would not be able to launch anywhere other than Starbase.
“SpaceX will now have to provide the requested information and provide clarification before it can continue its planned expansion to Starbase,” writes Brown.
Safely distanced from Twitter troubles, scientists have candidate galaxy HD1.
“In a pair of papers published Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, scientists say this candidate galaxy may be the most distant astronomical object we have ever seen,” writes Inverse editor John Wenz.
“HD1 is so distant, in fact, that it extends all the way back to a time when the universe was less than a billion years old.”
Scientists were able to find it from a distance by utilizing high redshift, which indicates that an object in the universe is moving away from us — the higher redshift, the farther away the object is. “The researchers identified two galaxy candidates at extremely high redshift, called HD1 and HD2,” writes Wenz. “Finding them took 1,200 hours of observing the sky using four powerful observatories: The Subaru Telescope, VISTA Telescope, UK Infrared Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope.”
HD1 might be a star-filled galactic wonder, or it could be a matter-munching supermassive black hole ejecting light into the cosmos. Further observations using an X-ray telescope or the James Webb Space Telescope are necessary before making any hard conclusions, but scientists, at the very least, have no doubt that HD1 is a remarkable find.
Who’s a good boy? Years of selective breeding made sure your little puppy fit the description, but researchers at Duquesne University don’t want you to forget where he comes from. In their research, presented this week at the American Association for Anatomy annual meeting, the team suggests that humans made dogs in their image.
Talk about playing God. To determine wolves’ agreeable evolution, the team “studied mimetic muscles, which are the tiny muscles that form quick, nuanced facial expressions,” writes Elana Spivack. After comparing facial muscle samples in wolves and domesticated dogs, researchers “found that dogs had predominantly fast-twitch myosin fibers like humans do.”
Wolves, instead, primarily have slow-twitch fibers, which control sustained movements like long howls. Since both humans and dogs are surprisingly adept at identifying each other’s emotions based on expression, it seems like humans’ “relationship with dogs evolved as both species evolved,” writes Spivack.
Nothing says “relaxing weekend” quite like Sonic the Hedgehog’s ungodly consumption of chili dogs. So, this weekend, you should unwind by reading Inverse’s investigation into why the beloved speedster forsakes his vegetarian roots for the meaty treat.
“What about chili dogs screams “hedgehog” or ‘speedy’?” wonders Zack Kotzer. “I reached out to the Woodlands Animal Sanctuary to double-check my assumption that hedgehogs shouldn’t eat chili dogs.” What Kotzer learned may not surprise you — the Sanctuary confirmed that hedgehogs should definitely not eat chili dogs, but Sonic’s branding suggests otherwise.
“Sega wanted a character who would capture the American imagination, and even polled random passersby in New York’s Central Park in the early ‘90s to finalize his design,” writes Kotzer. “For Sonic’s TV debut, this meant materializing a Gen-X, adrenaline-loving slacker who loved noshing as much as they loved torturing their elders.” Thus, Sonic’s fate was sealed. “Now, no amount of brand control will be able to reverse course,” writes Kotzer. “The hedgehog and the chili dog are inseparable.”
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