This Week In Science! | IFLScience

Table of Contents The Most Distant Object In The Solar System Has Been Confirmed. Meet “Farfarout”. China’s Tianwen-1 Space Probe Successfully Arrived At Mars These Renaissance-Era Italian Beads Traveled To America Long Before Columbus  We Regret To Inform You That Chainsaws Were Originally Invented For Childbirth Sea Cucumbers Poop Out Equivalent Of Five Eiffel Towers Per Reef A Year  The Most Distant Object In The Solar System […]

The Most Distant Object In The Solar System Has Been Confirmed. Meet “Farfarout”. 

Hot on the heels of “Farout”, the previous farthest known object in the Solar System, comes “Farfarout” (we’re not joking), a planetoid that has just been confirmed as the record-breaking most distant object we’ve found yet in our star system. Planetoids are minor planets or asteroids that orbit the Sun. Farfarout orbits our star at a distance of 132 astronomical units – that’s 132 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, and four times further out than Pluto. 

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China’s Tianwen-1 Space Probe Successfully Arrived At Mars 

It was an exciting week for Mars fans as two missions successfully arrived at the Red Planet ready to start a new generation of spying on our rocky neighbor. Just a day after the UAE’s Hope probe reached Mars orbit, China’s own Tianwen-1 probe arrived, and it isn’t just going to view Mars from afar. When it sends down its lander in May it will make history as the second country ever to land a rover on the surface of Mars.  

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These Renaissance-Era Italian Beads Traveled To America Long Before Columbus  

It’s time to re-write the history books again as Venetian glass beads found at multiple archaeological sites in Alaska predate the European colonialists’ ”discovery” of America by decades. These beads, made sometime between 1440 and 1480, made their way from Italy, along the Silk Road to Russia and across the Bering Sea to Alaska, making them the earliest known European goods in the Americas. This means traders from Europe already visited the “New World” long before Columbus rocked up. 

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We Regret To Inform You That Chainsaws Were Originally Invented For Childbirth 

When you see a chainsaw hacking down a tree, the thought probably furthest from your mind is “I bet that would work well for childbirth”. Well, get ready to think that forevermore, because it turns out that chainsaws were first designed for hacking away at genitals, before being applied to oak. Before the (safe) invention of the C-section came the surgical procedure known as symphysiotomy, which essentially involved a hand-cranked chainsaw used to open up the pelvis. Yep.  

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Sea Cucumbers Poop Out Equivalent Of Five Eiffel Towers Per Reef A Year 

There are few scenarios in this life where something pooping out the equivalent of five giant landmarks could be considered a good thing, but “walking colons” sea cucumbers have managed it. That’s around 70,000 tons of sand pooped out on a single coral reef annually, for reference. Why is this good? It helps to air out the upper layers of sediments to release any organic material trapped within, an essential meal service for critters on the seafloor. How kind. 

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