The Daily Dose: China launched its Mars mission; Doctors do their part against healthcare costs

It’s been a busy week in missions to Mars. First the United Arab Emirates launched its first mission on Sunday, after a series of inclement weather delays. Now, China is joining in the fun after a successful launch from their space facility on Hainan Island. As per Nature, “Tianwen-1 is now coasting through space before it reaches its destination in February. The craft will then spend several months positioning itself for the landing. In April, the orbiter will release the lander and rover into Martian atmosphere, which will touch down somewhere on Utopia Planitia — a vast Martian plain littered with volcanic rocks within a large basin, and where NASA’s Viking 2 lander touched down almost three decades ago. If successful, China will be only the second country after the US to softly land a rover on Mars, says Flannery. The six-wheel, solar-powered rover will explore areas of scientific interest.” The Tianwen-1 is the Asian country’s second attempt at reaching Mars. Their 2011 collaboration with Russia failed to clear earth’s orbit.

Keeping on the issue of outer space, a recent paper investigated whether those massive mineral boulder hurtling through space possessed any superconducting properties. Turns out their hunch was right. According to the authors, “In this paper, we report the presence of superconducting material in two meteorites. We further characterize these phases as alloys of lead, tin, and indium. These findings could impact our understanding of several astronomical environments. Superconducting particles in cold environments could affect planetary formation, shape and origin of magnetic fields, dynamo effects, motion of charged particles, and other processes.” Further proof that planets and asteroids will cause a mining boom.

If you live in the United States, you know how ridiculously expensive and inaccessible healthcare is. In an opinion piece, a group of practicing doctors call for a change in how doctors approach patients, keeping in mind the expenses of medical treatment. According to the authors,“Today more than ever, it’s important for physicians to know the actual cost of the care they provide. Doing so makes it possible to offer more holistic care, care that factors in not only the customary considerations, such as drug risk and benefit, but also financial suffering and sacrifice. It isn’t something physicians are trained to do, or were ever expected to do, but now should be called upon to do.” They go on to document specific changes they’ve made to their routines in order to become more patient finances friendly.

And lastly, the Chiquihuite Cave in Mexico’s Zacatecas state is making the case that humans inhabited the Americas long before the current consensus. According to Science, “…in the soil below the cave’s floor, a team led by archaeologist Ciprian Ardelean of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, University City Siglo XXI, dug up almost 2000 stone objects that researchers think are tools. By combining state-of-the-art dating methods, the team argues that humans were at the site at least 26,000 years ago—more than 10,000 years before any other known human occupation in the region. ‘Chiquihuite is a solitary dot’ of human occupation, Ardelean says.”

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