Ever since humans began venturing into space, 227 astronauts have left the spacecraft to perform some sort of extravehicular activity (EVA). While 14 of those have been women, the female astronauts have always been accompanied by a male counterpart. On October 18, 2019, US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first all-female team to conduct a spacewalk to replace a failed battery controller.
Japan, which gets hit by an average of three typhoons annually, is no stranger to the powerful tropical storms. However, Typhoon Hagibis, which made landfall in the Shizuoka Prefecture at about 7:00 pm local time on October 12, 2019, is the worst storm experienced by the island nation in almost 60 years. Dropping as much as 35 inches of rain in some areas, it caused massive landslides, flooded rivers, and damaged homes and businesses in eight of Japan's 47 prefectures.
Though not as mainstream as devices like smartphones and fitness trackers, more companies are now experimenting with the concept of connected garments. Among the pioneers is London-based CuteCircuit, which has been creating fashionable smart clothing since 2004. The company's latest innovation is the "Sound Shirt," which allows deaf people to "feel" live music by transforming the tunes into touch sensations in real time.
Any doubt that Simone Biles is one of the greatest athletes of all time was laid to rest at the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. The 22-year-old dominated the competition, which took place from October 4 to October 13, 2019, winning gold in five of her six events. Biles' career total of 25 medals, 19 of which are gold, now exceed Belarus gymnast Vitaly Scherbo's 23 medals, making Biles the most decorated gymnast — male or female — at the World Championships.
An Australian dog is still recovering from a hilarious case of mistaken identity. On October 6, 2019, Tony was out in his yard in Adelaide, South Australia, with his owner Henry when a baby koala leaped onto his back. The bewildered pooch squirmed around to nudge the adorable joey, which was clinging to its fur, off his body. Every time he thought he had succeeded, the smart koala found a way to clamber back on.
In 1893, Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen deliberately lodged his wooden ship in the sea ice north of Siberia, hoping that its natural drift would take him to the North Pole. Though the Norwegian scientist failed to reach his desired destination, his three-year-long, 2,000-kilometer journey into the North Atlantic Ocean revealed important data about the then-mysterious Arctic Ocean. Now, an international team of researchers have embarked on a similar journey for a groundbreaking climate change study of the Arctic.
Mini robots that can roll, fly, float, swim, and even come together to morph into a single machine, may seem like something straight out of a science fiction movie. However, if a team of NASA scientists has its way, the self-assembling Shapeshifter may soon be exploring treacherous distant worlds in search of alien life.
Celebrated annually on the second Monday in October, Columbus Day honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. However, the federal holiday, which will be observed on October 14, 2019, has long drawn criticism due to the European settlers' brutal treatment of the Native American people. It has also been argued that America had already been "discovered" by the indigenous people when Columbus arrived.