In the Elysium Planitia, on Mars, NASA’s InSight lander captured the first audio recording made on the Red Planet’s surface. InSight measured changes in air pressure with its seismological sensors, and scientists used the readings to re-create an eerie rushing noise: the whisper of an alien breeze traveling at 10 to 15 miles per hour across the surface of Mars.
In Tokyo, the government is essentially giving away 8 million houses. An aging population, natural disasters, and the migration of young people to city apartments has left a glut of abandoned homes in Japan. A new program will almost entirely subsidize the purchase of those houses to help young people join the property ladder and to reduce the country’s rural underpopulation crisis.
In Anchorage, Alaska, road crews fixed earthquake-damaged highways in just days. After a magnitude-7.0 earthquake (and its aftershocks) tore up the city’s transportation infrastructure, Alaskan road crews moved with alacrity to complete most of the repairs within a week. Their efficiency is a result of Alaska’s unusually high level of contingency planning for earthquakes, which happen there frequently.