It's Mars month! Three spacecraft arrive at the planet soon

Plus, mysteries galore: Solving the Dyatlov Pass incident, our first interstellar visitor and lingering questions about the coronavirus!
Hello humans!

I hope you have stocks in Mars, because the red planet is going to the moon! Does that make sense? Forgive me, I am not across the whole stock market thing, so let's talk science instead.

It's certainly a big month for Mars with three spacecraft set to reach our cosmic neighbor in February. NASA's Perseverance will be the first touch down, but China's Tianwen-1 and UAE's Hope probe will both have inserted themselves in Mars orbit by Feb. 10. Rest assured, we'll have all the Mars coverage you could possibly hope for, starting with a neat little explainer at the link above.

The rest of this week's newsletter is all about mysteries. Jump into the first story below about the mystery of an intergalactic visitor known as 'Oumuamua, which one scientist believes may have been an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Eric Mack does a great job unraveling that one. Then there's the mystery of the Russian hiking party that went missing 62 years ago -- science may have put that one to bed. And of course, we deal with more mysteries regarding the coronavirus, vaccines and billions of cicadas. That last one's not a mystery, but it rules, so get scrolling, right after you read... the mailbag.

📧The Science Mailbag📧

Moses asks: How come books were written about the virus long before the pandemic in China?

Hey Moses! This is an interesting question, but there's a little confusion here. COVID-19 is a completely novel disease and there aren't any books written about it, but there are some books that seem to describe similar viruses. That's because COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses scientists have known about for decades. Enterprising and imaginative authors like Dean Koontz wrote about a virus starting in Wuhan 30 years ago, but it's just a wild coincidence and doesn't resemble the virus or disease we know as COVID-19 at all. There are still questions over where the coronavirus started with a WHO team currently in Wuhan searching for evidence. Hopefully we'll learn more about the virus's origin soon. Thanks Moses!

If you have a burning question, send me an email or a DM on Twitter and let's get you some answers. Have a great week!

Enim scientia et astra!
Jackson Ryan Jackson Ryan
Science Editor, CNET
Harvard's Avi Loeb believes we were visited by alien spacecraft
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