This Week in Science: NASA Is Checking Out Uranus from Behind

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.  “NASA Wants Your Help Studying Uranus From Behind.”  That was an actual headline this week.  A probe called New Horizons passed Uranus years ago.  And next month, NASA is spinning it around to check out Uranus from the backside.

They’re asking amateur astronomers to also train their telescopes on Uranus next month.  They say every bit of data they collect . . . even from people in their backyards . . . could help unlock the mysteries of Uranus.

2.  In other space news:  The James Webb telescope took a photo of what looks like a question mark floating out in space.  It was released last month, but went viral this week.  Scientists think it’s actually two or more galaxies colliding.

(The term for seeing patterns in objects is “pareidolia.”  It’s the same reason we see shapes in clouds.)

3.  In brain news:  Neuroscientists were able to reconstruct part of a Pink Floyd song just using people’s brain waves.  The song is “Another Brick in The Wall”, and the results are rough.  You wouldn’t recognize it if you didn’t know, but they posted the audio.  (Here’s a clip.  It starts at 1:00.)

4.  We might be getting new organs from farm animals soon.  Doctors in New York transplanted a genetically engineered pig kidney into a patient who’s brain-dead and donated his body for research.  Now it’s still functioning over a month later.  Experts say it could be a major breakthrough for organ donation.

5.  In other animal news:  Colombian researchers published a paper on a tiny beetle with really big junk . . . a study found fruit flies enjoy spinning in circles, just for fun . . . and a team at USC figured out how lizards regenerate their tails.  It could lead to new treatments for arthritis, since both involve damaged cartilage.