Mysterious News Briefly — August 19, 2020
In Japan, a popular, low-maintenance pet for the pandemic shutdown is the Marimo, a large ball of moss that is a rare form of algae capable of rolling around on its own. Before you spring for one, remember that there are shelters filled with abandoned Chia pets.
Astronomers have discovered a mysterious “gamma ray heartbeat” which beats on a regular 162-day cycle and may be linked to an equally mysterious microquasar star system. Or it’s the long-sought heart of cosmic rock-and-roll.
Two Texas teens won first prize in the 2020 national Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition for their plan to use CRISPR gene-editing technology to create biocycling bacteria that will metabolize plastics into greener materials. ‘Biocycling Bateria’ would also be a great name for a band.
Harvard astronomers propose that the Sun once had a binary star companion which may explain the formation and existence of the distant Oort cloud of small space objects and cosmic dust. It wasn’t an evil twin, although that would make a better space soap opera.
A team of MIT scientists proposes that the sulfur-loaded clouds of Venus are filled with microbes that survive being incinerated by bobbing up and down in them like blobs in a lava lamp. No word yet if there are Venetians on the surface looking up and going, “Awesome!”
Residents of Olten, Switzerland, were shocked to find their town covered in a snowy blanket of powdered cocoa due to a ventilator problem at the Lindt & Spruengli chocolate factory. Sounds like an easy cleanup job for people equipped with Swiss Army spoons.
SpaceX broke its own record by reusing a single Falcon first stage rocket for the sixth time to launch 58 Starlink satellites and three Earth-imaging SkySats. The only thing that might stop it is rogue astronomers angry about Starlink satellites blocking their view.
The Backyard Worlds project of more than 100,000 citizen scientists has discovered 100 low-temperature brown dwarfs – too big to be planets, too small to be stars – in our solar neighborhood. Think of brown dwarfs as the stellar equivalent of the middle child.