This Week in Science: What Twitter Would Name the New Uranus Probe


It’s time for “Nerd News,” covering the most important news for your brain.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week in science . . .

1. How do you get people more interested in the space program? Just ask them to name the new probe heading to Uranus. Someone asked Twitter. Suggestions include: “Bootylicious” . . . “Enema” . . . “Seymour Butts” . . . “Mission Colonoscopy” . . . “B.U.T.T.”, which stands for Better Uranus Telemetry Tracking . . . and “P.O.O.P.”, short for Planetary Orbital Observation Probe.

2. In other space news: We might finally know how Saturn got its rings. A moon strayed too close 160 million years ago and got torn apart by its massive gravity.

3. Researchers in Japan are trying to train A.I. robots to laugh at jokes appropriately. Like, just a chuckle, or a big belly laugh if it’s REALLY funny.

4. Galileo’s 400-year-old theory that a bowling ball and feather fall at the same rate in a vacuum got confirmed with the highest level of precision yet. A satellite called “Microscope” did an experiment . . . not with an actual bowling ball though.

5. And in health news: A team in England figured out how air pollution causes cancer. Instead of damaging cells, they think it wakes up OLD damaged cells. It could lead to new drugs that stop cancerous cells from forming in the first place.