Welcome to Sci-Friday! Every week, we’ll help you head into the weekend by collecting some links from the best real-life science news that happened throughout the week, so you can mix a little reality into your fantasy.
If you get honked off when your phone that’s only a year old slows down and maybe even some of its basic functions stops working, then you’re really going to be frustrated with this story about one of the hardest-working pieces of technology ever made. Launched in 1977, the Voyager 2 space probe was designed to study the solar system during its initial fly-through, and then head on out to deep space to keep relaying information as long as it could. Its course has taken it so far askew of Earth’s plane that only one antenna on the planet can still communicate with it; after 8 months of planned maintenance on the antenna, it came back online recently and picked up chatting with the deep-space probe right where it left off earlier this year. (via Ars Technica)
All right, listen: we don’t necessarily have anything against spiders… but we are unequivocally afraid of them. They just have… so… many… legs. Anyhow, feel free to read this awesome story about huge spiders that are (*fingers crossed*) confined to the isles of Great Britain who surprised researches by being spotted this year for the first time since 1999. That’s the same decade that ‘Arachnophobia’ came out; coincidence? We think not. (via The Guardian)
Everyone is looking for the next big “get rich quick” scheme… but has anyone thought about opening the First Bank of Outer Space? If they do, the first deposit could come from their own cosmic backyard: Asteroid 16 Psyche, a 140-mile-wide chunk of rock in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists believe it’s composed almost entirely of iron and nickel, which would make it worth approximately $10,000 quadrillion. That’s quite a chunk of change for a chunk of space rock. (via CNN)
Sometimes you have a hard day and wonder if your life on this planet could be any worse. Well, it could definitely be worse on a different planet, and a recently-discovered world may be vying for the title of Best Interstellar Hellscape. Entitled K2-141b, it’s a “lava planet” the features wind gusts in excess of four times the speed of sound, in addition to the aforementioned lava pits that are estimated at up to 60 miles deep and the literal rocky rain. Do you think AirBNB has any plans for listings there soon? (via TheCut)
Have a cool science story that we should feature in next week’s column? E-mail it to us and we’ll give it a good look!