Space Stations, Monkeypox, and Cats

14

Taking Some Space

The Story

Russia’s handing in its two years’ notice.   

And that is about…?

Space. Yesterday, Moscow’s recent space chief said Russia shall be leaving the International Space Station after 2024. The ISS has been jointly run by Russia, the US, Europe, Japan, and Canada because it was first launched in 1998. And it became an emblem of post-Cold War cooperation between the 2 largest space superpowers (the US and Russia). Over the past 20+ years, the space station has given scientists the flexibility to research things like cosmic particles and black holes, and to support responses to Earth’s natural disasters from afar. But now, Russia’s saying ‘peace out.’

Why is that this happening?

Well, Russia has been complaining in regards to the ISS for some time now. There’s drama over which rockets get contracts — lately, that cash has gone more toward US-based SpaceX over Russian Soyuz rockets. And tensions have escalated on Earth. Earlier this yr, Russia said it will stop cooperating with the ISS unless Western countries lifted sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine. Yesterday, Russia made good on that threat — and put the long run of the ISS in jeopardy. 

So what happens now?

It’s unclear how the ISS will proceed. The hope was that it will keep trudging on until at the least 2030. However the ISS relies deeply on Russia — which manages the station’s propulsion, while the US handles the station’s power via solar panels. As one NASA astronaut put it, they will’t pull a Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin and “do a conscious uncoupling.” Meanwhile, NASA’s already handed out contracts to 3 US corporations to make business space stations of their very own. And one may be able to launch in 2024. China’s picking up speed on constructing its own space station — and now Russia says it’s going independent, too. It’s a (space) race.

theSkimm

Russia has been threatening to go away the ISS for months. But now that it’s actually made the announcement, the move will end one in all the last remaining partnerships between Washington and Moscow.

And Also…This

What’s got Americans on high alert…

Monkeypox. The CDC has reportedly ID’d its first case of the virus in a pregnant woman. Children under the age of eight — and anyone immunocompromised or pregnant — face the next risk of severe outcomes from monkeypox. On this instance though, the lady was capable of safely deliver her baby, who didn’t appear to have contracted the disease. The newborn was given an antibody treatment and each are healthy. It comes because the US has reported greater than 3,800 cases — making it the country with the very best variety of known infections. The virus has been identified in two US children to date. Health experts warn that it has the potential to proceed spreading to vulnerable groups.

Who’s pumping the brakes…

The EU. Yesterday, nearly the entire 27-member bloc agreed to cut back their use of gas this winter by 15%. (There are exemptions for some island nations like Ireland and Malta. And Hungary declined to participate.) The agreement was approved just at some point after a Russian energy corporation said it will cut half of its gas flow to Germany — starting today. That sent the EU scrambling, since Russia had already paused or reduced gas deliveries to lots of its member countries. The top of the European Commission called it a step in the best direction to guard the EU’s energy security from Russia. 

Why Little Miss Manners is rethinking the principles…

Three words: open. mouth. chewing. Research from the University of Oxford reportedly found that chewing your food together with your mouth open could make food taste higher. That’s because opening your mouth may help volatile organic compounds reach the back of your nose — which boosts your senses and makes food taste *chefs kiss.* And while the concept could seem intuitive to wine connoisseurs, possibly don’t whip out that factoid on a primary date.

What our wallets are gearing up for…

One other rate of interest hike. The Fed’s expected to extend rates by one other 0.75 percentage point — marking the fourth time rates have gone up this yr. It’s meant to assist keep prices low, but makes borrowing (think: mortgages, personal loans, bank cards) costlier.

Psst…we Skimm’d what rate of interest hikes mean to your funds.

Who’s set to testify today…

Brittney Griner. 

PS: Here’s your refresher on Brittney Griner and her trial in Russia.

While we’re still applauding David Attenborough-saurus…

Cat lovers can have a bone to select.