A truly strange conspiracy theory involving 'recycled pizza,' an ominous warning from scientists about the possible extinction of all insects on Earth, and the end of the historic Mars Opportunity rover mission were among the odd news items to appear on our radar this week.
While some folks may find insects to be a bit of a nuisance, especially if they've ever had to call in an exterminator or had ants invade their picnic, the diminutive creatures are integral to life here on Earth because they provide food for larger animals and help pollinate vegetation. With that in mind, a new paper released this past week had scientists sounding the alarm about a proverbial 'insect Armageddon' in which the total number of bugs on the planet is plummeting at an alarming rate. Researchers warned that, should this trend continue, our planet may be devoid of bugs within the next 100 years and such a development would be "catastrophic to say the least."
Space enthusiasts were dealt some sad news this week when NASA officially declared that the Mars Opportunity rover has died. The unfortunate news led to something of a celebration of the craft's remarkable achievements, including being integral to the discovery of evidence for water on the Red Planet and traveling the longest distance ever by a man made craft on another world. Perhaps the most astounding aspect of Opportunity's mission was the fact that it lasted a whopping 15 years when the craft had only initially been expected to explore the surface of Mars for a mere 90 days. Hopefully, someday in the future, humans will set foot on the Red Planet and bring the now-beloved rover home so that it can get a proper send-off here on Earth.
Easily the strangest story to come across our desk this week centered around a bizarre viral conspiracy theory which suggested that children's restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese's is secretly feeding their customers recycled pizza cobbled together from leftover slices. Put forward by a popular YouTube star on Monday, the idea seemingly captured the imagination of the public as the video outlining the unsettling assertion racked up millions of views in just a handful of days and spawned headlines around the country. The conspiracy theory became so widespread that the restaurant's corporate office was forced to issue a statement vehemently denying the unseemly rumor and insisting that all of their pizzas are made fresh to order.
You can check out more strange and unusual stories from the past week at the Coast to Coast AM website.