Likely debris from a SpaceX capsule found in Australia

New York
CNN Business
 — 

Chunks of space debris were reportedly found on farmland in the Australia mountains, and on Wednesday NASA confirmed that at least one of the objects is “likely” a scrap of hardware from a SpaceX Dragon capsule that was intentionally jettisoned as the spacecraft reentered the Earth’s atmosphere last May.

SpaceX did not return a request for comment, and typically does not interact with news media.

Local media reports said at least three pieces of debris have been recovered in the mountain range near Australia’s southernmost tip, and according to NASA’s statement, SpaceX confirmed it is likely to be a part of the Dragon’s trunk. The trunk provides electricity and other necessary services to the main capsule during its time in orbit but is discarded as the main capsule slices back through the thick upper atmosphere on its way home.

SpaceX operates two types of Dragon spacecraft: one that is designed solely for shuttling food, research and other supplies to the International Space Station, and another, called Crew Dragon, that’s designed for carrying astronauts. The scraps of the Dragon trunk found in Australia were likely part of a the spacecraft that carried four astronauts home from the ISS on May 2, 2021, according to NASA.

The Crew-1 astronauts — comprised of NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with Japan’s space agency — made a safe return aboard the main portion of the capsule, which splashed down off the coast of Florida before being hauled to safety by nearby recovery ships last year.

Australian media reported that the debris was initially identified by experts with the Australian Space Agency. The agency could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

G’day @elonmusk, I’m a reporter at @abcnews that’s been covering the discovery of @SpaceX debris in Australia. Just wondering, is anyone from your team coming to collect it?Here’s a pic of one of the pieces👇 pic.twitter.com/NcJeuigQzx— Adriane Reardon (@adrianereardon) August 3, 2022

NASA referred further questions to the Federal Aviation Administration, which licenses and oversees commercial spaceflight operations in the United States. The FAA then referred questions to the US State Department, which could not immediately respond to a request comment.

Members of the public that believe they may have found a piece of space debris can reach out to SpaceX’s recovery hotline at 1-866-623-0234 or at recovery@spacex.com.

Typically, discarded pieces of space hardware fall to a watery grave in the ocean. But they do sometimes turn up on land.

Last year, for example, what was believed to be a piece of a SpaceX rocket’s second stage — which powers the rocket after the lower first stage expends all its fuel — washed up on a farm in Washington state.

SpaceX does not attempt to recover the second stage of its rockets, though it does land, refurbish and refly most of its first-stage rocket boosters, which are the largest part of the rocket and give the initial boost at liftoff. Dragon capsules ride to orbit sitting atop the rockets.

Why Animals Aren’t Getting Battered By BA.5 and Omicron Like Humans Are

For more than two years, COVID-19 has had its way with humanity. But humans are not the only victims of the virus. The disease, which leading theories still indicate spilled over from animals to humans in a Wuhan, China seafood wholesale market, has now infected pets and animals from farms, laboratories, and zoos. It has also found its way into the wild, infecting many non-domesticated species.

COVID-19 now appears to be widespread throughout the animal kingdom, according to a recent study in the journal Scientific Data that provides the first global case count of COVID-19 cases in animals. But there’s good news: other research has found that the highly infectious Omicron variant and its multiple subvariants might hit animals less hard than they hit us—transmitting less easily among them and causing less severe disease. “To my knowledge, there is no obvious increase in reporting SARS-CoV-2 in animals after the emergence of BA.5,” says Amélie Desvars-Larrive, an assistant professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in Austria and a co-author of the Scientific Data study. “Still, the kind of active monitoring and surveillance of animals that [has been] conducted is crucial. We should not think ‘human first,’ but rather integrate the knowledge about animals, humans, and their shared environment and develop a holistic approach for surveillance and control of SARS-CoV-2.” In the study, researchers compiled reported incidents of COVID-19 by analyzing two animal health databases: the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases, a reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases; and the World Animal Health Information System, to which veterinarians, wildlife conservationists, and other researchers report diagnoses of COVID-19 in non-humans. From February 2020 to June 2022, there have been 704 SARS-CoV-2 “animal events”—defined as a single case or multiple related cases within a given group, herd, or other population of animals—in 26 different species. The outbreaks have occurred in 39 countries across five continents, with Australia and Antarctica not reporting any cases. As for the total number of sick animals that represents? Just 2,058. But that small number has big implications. Most of the reports indicate only the number of animals that tested positive, not the share they represent of a total number tested, so it is not possible to say what percentage of any animal population is harboring the virus. “Obviously we see only the tip of the iceberg,” Desvars-Larrive says, because animals are tested for SARS-CoV-2 vastly less than humans are. “It’s impossible to answer how many animals are actually infected, but SARS-CoV-2 is a generalist coronavirus. Its capacity of adaptation to new hosts is impressive.”

Read More: This Is the Phase of the Pandemic Where Life Returns To Normal Of all of the species studied, the American mink, with 787 cases reported, and the white-tailed deer, with 467, lead the pack. To be fair, that’s partly due to sample bias, Desvars-Larrive says. Mink have been extensively tested because they are bred on densely populated farms. (In November 2020, the government of Denmark ordered the killing of 12 million mink on farms when the virus began to spread through the species.) Deer, meanwhile, live near humans and are hunted for their meat, making sampling them for COVID-19 something that is in our own interest. Next on the list are domestic cats, at 338 cases, and domestic dogs, at 208. Further down are lions (68), tigers (62), and western lowland gorillas (23). The list tails off with assorted other animals including the black-tailed marmoset, Canada lynx, ring-tailed coati, and giant anteater, with one case each. Other species of animals that didn’t make the list either have not been tested or may have a natural immunity—or at least resistance—to SARS-CoV-2. “Some animal species are more susceptible to coronaviruses,” Desvars-Larrive says. “This may be related to molecular mechanisms for virus entry or to some genetic mutations in the host.” One question raised—but not answered—by the study is how animals are affected by Omicron and its subvariants, including BA.5, which are so highly transmissible among humans. A handful of other studies to address that question have been conducted or are currently underway, however, and they show that animals are bearing up well against the new strains. Prior to the emergence of the Omicron variant and its numerous subvariants, researchers at Texas A&M University studied infection rates among dogs and cats living in homes in which at least one person had tested positive for COVID-19. Out of a sample group of 600 animals, they found 100 infections—or 16% of the total tested—presumably transmitted from the human to the pet. Some of the positive cases were symptomatic, with the animal coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or acting lethargic; others were asymptomatic. A second phase of the study is now underway, since the emergence of Omicron and BA.5, and while only 100 animals have been tested so far, the difference in results is striking. “With Omicron and its subvariants being the dominant strains in humans, we’ve had only two positive animal infections so far,” says veterinary epidemiologist Sarah Hamer, director of the study. “So it’s definitely a lower infection prevalence now.”

Hamer stresses that the results are preliminary and the researchers have many more animals to test before the second phase of the research is completed—and she does not have a definitive answer as to why animal infection rates might be lower in the era of Omicron and BA.5. “Could it be that there’s something about this virus that’s just not infecting animals as much?: she asks. “Could it be that SARS-CoV-2 has been around for a while, and these animals have developed an immune response? We don’t yet know, but hopefully the test for neutralizing antibodies that we are doing now will help fill in these gaps.” Read More: Why We Don’t Have a Pi Variant Yet—Even After So Much Omicron Similarly, other studies are showing that Omicron tends to cause less severe symptoms among animals than past variants, and researchers have ventured some theories as to why. In one study published in Nature in January 2022, investigators found that the Omicron variant was less pathogenic in laboratory mice and hamsters than earlier strains of SARS-CoV-2, and infected animals lost less weight and harbored less virus in their upper and lower respiratory tracts. The researchers did not determine exactly what makes Omicron less virulent among rodents, but offered some theories: with more than 30 mutations distinguishing the new variant from the original, the virus’s spike protein may engage less effectively with cell receptors in the animals. It’s also possible that changes in other proteins could slow viral replication in rodents, or even that the variant doesn’t multiply as effectively at a rodent’s body temperature as it does at human temperature. A study published in Nature in May yielded similar results with the BA.2 variant. This time, the researchers also noticed a reduced inflammatory response in the lungs of the animals. Yet another study, published in April as a pre-print in bioRxiv, conducted analyses of 28 cats, 50 dogs and one rabbit living in households with humans infected with Omicron and found that just over 10% of the animals were positive for the virus, and none showed any clinical symptoms. Lidia Sánchez-Morales, a veterinary scientist at the University of Madrid and the lead author of the study, hypothesized about what could be protecting the animals.

“​​Numerous studies have shown that animals are less sensitive than humans to SARS-CoV-2 infection, which may be due to a lower affinity between the cell receptor and the binding viral receptor,” she wrote in an email. Specifically, she says, the ACE2 receptor in human cells to which the virus attaches is found to a lesser extent in animals, and Omicron may be less effective at overcoming this hurdle than the original virus. “This is why we conclude that the susceptibility of the companion animals to this variant seems to be much lower than in the other variants of concern known so far.” But danger remains. The seemingly infinite mutability of SARS-CoV-2 means that new variants are certain to emerge. Desvars-Larrive worries that animals may serve as a sort of lab for the virus to try out new variants, before those novel strains jump to humans. “The introduction and further spread of SARS-CoV-2 in an animal population might result in establishing an animal reservoir that can further maintain, disseminate, and drive the emergence of novel variants,” she says. “This is of particular concern for species that are abundant, live in social groups, and have close interactions with humans.” This fact, Desvars-Larrive argues, calls for much more aggressive testing of wild, captive, and domestic animals. “Active monitoring and surveillance of animals is crucial,” she says. “This is the only way to get more data and to better understand the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2, not only in animals but also at the human-animal interface.” It’s at that interface that our own self-interest comes into play. What the animals catch, we often do, too. Looking out for them is one of the key steps to looking out for ourselves.

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This Is the Phase of the Pandemic Where Life Returns To Normal

At the supermarket, work, schools, restaurants, sports events, and airports we are witnessing a remarkable change. Masks are rarely seen. People are hugging, crowding, traveling. The latest Google COVID Community Mobility Report shows that most forms of activity have returned to near normal relative to the pre-pandemic baseline. But some people are understandably confused and conflicted. Mainstream media and many “experts“ continue to admonish us to avoid exposure. Are we indeed still in the treacherous pandemic phase? Are the throngs being irresponsible? Or are we witnessing a crowd-sourced, rational resetting of risk tolerance based on better information, options, and lived experience?

The current data is not in dispute. But the interpretation, implications and what to do about it is. What’s clear is that the latest Omicron sub-variants are running rampant across the globe. These are the most communicable human viruses on the planet. Vaccines remain highly effective in preventing serious disease, but are far less effective in stopping infections and transmission. The virus is highly adept at circumventing the immune defenses even of those who were previously infected or are up-to-date on vaccinations, or both. The fact is that infections and reinfections are virtually impossible to avoid or contain. We all know many public figures, relatives, neighbors and friends, including ourselves who have had and recovered from recent COVID-19. That’s likely to remain the case. Given the characteristics of SARS-COV-2, the name of the virus that causes the disease, it is unlikely that future variants — or newer vaccines — will change the prospect of waves of infection and reinfection. And there are a lot of them. We are currently experiencing over 100,000 reported infections per day. But with most home testing unreported, the actual U.S. infection detection rate is estimated to be around 14 percent. This means that over three-quarter million Americans are being newly infected every day. That’s 1.5 percent of the entire U.S. population every week. Yet, but for a slight uptick, fatality rates and hospitalizations caused by infection are near their lowest levels of the pandemic, due to the relative mildness of the sub-variants and growing population immunity. A UK study has revealed that severe outcomes from Omicron are far less likely than with the earlier Delta strain, whether people are vaccinated or not. Mortality rates by age cohorts still show the same dramatic upward skew in elders and other vulnerable populations that has been seen since the start of the pandemic. We must face the blunt reality that a significant minority of Americans will choose not to be vaccinated. Despite great efforts to persuade them otherwise, about 20 percent of American adults are currently unwilling to be vaccinated and a further five percent are uncertain. Thirty-one percent of children aged 12-17, and 64 percent ages 5-11 are unvaccinated. However, antibody analysis has revealed that early in the Omicron surge in February of this year, between 70 and 80 percent of all children over the age of one had been infected. With the current even more communicable sub-variants it is likely that nearly all children have already been infected at least once.

The ultimate protection against serious outcomes from any airborne circulating virus is robust population immunity. The level of population protection at any point is a function of many variables related to vaccine coverage, effectiveness and durability. Similar parameters apply to immunity generated by natural infection. For those who develop symptoms and are high risk, oral antivirals such as Paxlovid can ameliorate the illness and significantly decrease hospitalization and mortality, whether immunized or not. This is the landscape in which so much of the public is choosing to return to normal, accepting the risk of exposure and infection. Is that good? Or bad? It’s natural. What we are witnessing is an inevitable phase of societal psychosocial adaptation to living with the virus–an evolutionary arc moving from fear to resignation to acquiescence to normalcy. We will not be able to resume our lives without completing this progression. This is a natural human and societal adaptation, predicated on increased knowledge, experience, and evolution of the virus. Because New York City was seeing an upturn in cases and hospitalizations at the time, Mayor Eric Adams was criticized this summer for discontinuing the color-coded warning system for virus transmission. But changing the settings on the alarm is not upending the system. The public is becoming increasingly “immune” to the daily barrage of uncertainties and warnings from “experts” and the media. In the main this reflects wisdom-of-crowds common sense and rational risk adaptation and not a blind disregard of evolving science and facts. It involves a complex revision of our individual risk calculus. The reality is that current high levels of population immunity will be maintained, and greatly dampen the effects of today’s and likely future variants. This will occur both actively–through ongoing vaccination and boosters–and passively, through relentless cycles of mostly asymptomatic or mild but rarely severe infections. With access to vaccines and antivirals, most people with COVID-19 now face a relative mortality risk comparable to influenza. This is good news. It is not news that applies to the elderly, immunodeficient, or people with specific comorbidities. The vulnerable have a far more serious risk profile that calls for vigilant exposure protection strategies. They must be protected.

But current science supports a much more relaxed policy and risk-tolerant environment, free of most mandates and shaming. We can expect to see progressively less testing, quarantine and isolation as people and institutions recognize that the disruptive downsides of identifying cases in many circumstances far exceeds the benefit of containment measures. This is especially true when ongoing significant community transmission is inevitable and most infections are asymptomatic or mild. This was the rationale for the recent CDC order eliminating the testing requirement for international air passengers entrance into the U.S. We can expect more relaxation of similar mandates. Information, societal trends and cultural norms are undercutting the opinion of experts and the media vanguard. This represents neither pandemic fatigue nor a willful disregard of facts. It’s a natural, messy transition phase supported by increasing knowledge, lived experience and better tools. We have been longing for light at the end of the tunnel since early 2020. If we squint hard enough we can now see it.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world’s leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.

REPORT | New Research Details The Link Between Classical Music, Blood Pressure & Mood

Image by Gerd Altmann (CC0C/Pixabay)
It’s often said that classical music is relaxing, with an implication of the slower pace of times gone by. But, the realm of classical music itself can’t be said to be entirely relaxing at all times, and it turns out our emotional — and physical — responses to it are more complicated than the usual assumption.
Researchers from an Illinois private school, along with a rheumatologist, and lead researcher Amir Darki, Associate Professor of Cardiology at the Loyola University Medical Center, looked into those assumed connections between listening to classical music, blood pressure, and mood. The paper is titled Darki C, Riley J, Dadabhoy D P, et al. (July 27, 2022) The Effect of Classical Music on Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Mood. Cureus 14(7).
The Emotional-Physical Link
The researchers noted that depression and anxiety have negative effects on physical health as well as mental health. There are many studies that back up the links between increased levels of stress and anxiety, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure, leading to heart disease.

The nervous system links to the cardiovascular system — that’s how the effects are created;
Along with heart disease, stress and anxiety have been linked to diabetes, strokes, respiratoryproblems, and drug abuse.

In short, listening to classical music can help.
The Study
Previous studies have documented the psychological effects of listening to music, particularly when it comes to managing conditions such as chronic anxiety and depression. However, the paper notes that many of the older studies used small sample sizes, where the participants were very similar.

100 participants were enrolled, including 53 males and 47 females with a mean age of 39.8 years old +/- 17.8;
40% were musicians; 35% were on medication; 62% said they enjoyed classical music;
They used two pieces, both by Beethoven: Symphony of Fate or his Fifth Symphony, and the Moonlight Sonata;
The two pieces were chosen to present contrasting tempos — one slower, one faster;
Resting heart rate and blood pressure were taken before;
BP was measured 40 seconds into listening to No. 5, then after the end;
After a minute of rest, the exercise was repeated with Moonlight Sonata after 90 seconds, and at the end of the performance.

The Results
As expected, listening to classical music has positive physical and emotional effects.
Physically:

Listening to fast music increased heart rate, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure;
Listening to slow music decreased heart rate, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure.

Emotionally:

83% said fast music created positive emotions;
56% said slow music created positive emotions;
98% said that fast music helps manage stress;
99% said that slow music helps manage stress;
Only 3% said that fast music created negative feelings, and 9% of subjects said the same about slow music.

The results were analyzed by age group, gender, and by whether the listeners were themselves musicians.

The physical and emotional effects were similar across the board;
The only exception were musicians, whose systolic blood pressure after listening was lower than the others by a statistically significant measure.

The researchers discuss the concept that the body responds rhythmically to the music you are listening to, speeding up when the tempo is faster, and slowing down when it’s slower. They found that the level of arousal was proportional to the actual speed, i.e. the effect is greater the faster/slower the music.
They also note that the vagus nerve, which controls the heart rate as part of the body’s autonomic system, is located near the eardrum, and it may respond directly to musical vibrations. Listening to music can also help the body to produce dopamine, the feel-good hormone.
The study adds interesting results to the growing body of research into music and its influence on our lives.
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Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn. Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see all)

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn. Latest posts by Anya Wassenberg (see all)

How the Monkeypox Virus Does—and Doesn’t—Spread

Until recently, monkeypox rarely spread from person to person. In 2005, a study declared a cluster of six cases in the Republic of Congo “the longest uninterrupted chain of human monkeypox fully documented to date.” That has changed, to say the least. So far this year, more than 25,000 monkeypox cases have been recorded across 83 countries—and human-to-human transmission is clearly happening at large scale. How does monkeypox spread among people? Research is ongoing, and findings around monkeypox transmission may develop over time. But here’s what the latest science suggests.

Most cases were once linked to infected animals The first human case of monkeypox was identified in a baby living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). For decades after, cases were fairly rare and often linked to contact with infected animals. The U.S. experienced a small outbreak in 2003, with 47 cases in people linked to contact with pet prairie dogs. Things changed in 2017, when a fairly large human outbreak began in Nigeria. Doctors there diagnosed cases among young men who hadn’t been exposed to infected animals and had lesions on their genitals, as NPR reported. Nigerian researchers published a 2019 study on the outbreak and raised the possibility of sexual transmission, but the theory gained little traction at the time. “There’s a tendency for people to latch [onto] what is tradition, and the tradition is that monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans,” says study co-author Dr. Dimie Ogoina, president of the Nigeria Infectious Diseases Society. Most monkeypox cases in the ongoing outbreak are linked to sex As the current outbreak shows, human-to-human transmission of monkeypox does happen—and sexual activity plays a significant role. “Right now, most transmission is occurring in queer and gay sexual networks, and most transmission is occurring through sexual or intimate contact,” says Joseph Osmundson, a clinical assistant professor of biology at New York University. Ogoina says monkeypox primarily spreads among humans through close, skin-to-skin contact—especially with the disease’s hallmark blister-like rash. Researchers are still studying whether people can be asymptomatically contagious, but individuals are considered infectious at least until their rash has fully healed and fresh skin has formed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study on the current outbreak, published in July in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that, of more than 500 monkeypox cases across 16 countries diagnosed as of June, 95% were linked to sexual activity and 98% were among men who have sex with men. In July, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised men who have sex with men to temporarily reduce their number of partners to minimize their risk. Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? Any form of skin-to-skin contact—not just sexual activity—can potentially spread monkeypox. As a result, monkeypox is not considered a “traditional” STI, according to Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of infectious disease at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. The CDC also says monkeypox is not considered an STI.

Most cases in the current outbreak have been linked to male sexual activity, but Osmundson says the virus could also spread in settings where there’s lots of close non-sexual contact, such as on sports teams, in spas, or in college dorms. Can you get monkeypox from surfaces? It is possible to contract monkeypox through exposure to items, such as clothing or bedding, that have touched an infectious person’s rash. In 2018, a health care worker in the U.K. contracted monkeypox most likely after handling a sick person’s bedding, according to one study. But there’s little evidence to suggest that “incidental” contact frequently spreads the virus, says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. “You have to be exposed to enough virus to actually get infected with it,” she says. That might be possible after sleeping in the same bed or sharing a bath towel with an infectious person, but it’s much less likely after fleeting encounters like touching a shared doorknob, she says. With the vast majority of cases so far linked to sexual activity, it’s important to communicate that there is a “spectrum” of risk associated with monkeypox, says Dr. Müge Çevik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. “Every single exposure [doesn’t carry equal] risk,” she says. “People really need to know where to be vigilant. For example, reducing new [sexual] partners may be more useful than cleaning chairs you’re sitting in in a coffee shop.” Is monkeypox airborne? It’s possible to catch monkeypox through exposure to an infectious person’s respiratory fluids, but the WHO says that usually requires close, sustained face-to-face contact. Researchers are still studying how often that type of transmission occurs, according to the CDC. Scientists have demonstrated that it is possible, under specific experimental conditions, for monkeypox to spread via aerosols, or tiny particles that can stay suspended in the air—but so far, there’s not strong evidence to suggest that’s happening under real-world conditions outside of the lab, Rasmussen says. “This is spreading primarily in communities of men who have sex with men, and that really suggests the primary mode of transmission is direct, prolonged skin-to-skin contact,” she says. If airborne transmission were common, she says, we would likely see far more cases among people from other demographic groups.

In the shadow of COVID-19, people are understandably concerned about monkeypox potentially being transmitted through aerosols. But ​​”the epidemiology is very different,” Rasmussen says. “These are very different viruses.” Can kids get monkeypox? More than 80 children around the world have been sickened by the virus so far, largely as a result of household transmission. A pregnant person can also pass on the virus to their fetus, according to the CDC. In the 1970s, monkeypox mostly affected young children—but by the 2010s, the virus was more frequently diagnosed among adults, according to a study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases in February. That’s in part because routine smallpox vaccination (which also protects against monkeypox) ended as smallpox was eradicated, the study’s authors write. Several decades ago, only little kids were young enough to have been born after smallpox vaccination ended. Now, a larger chunk of the population is vulnerable. Pediatric cases have raised concerns that schools and daycares could become monkeypox hotspots. But Ogoina says that hasn’t happened during Nigeria’s outbreaks, which is a promising sign. “I’m not sure whether it’s something we need to worry about,” he says. “But we need to tread cautiously and look for the evidence.”

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Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.This easy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken recipe is kid-friendly, lighter and healthier than your typical fast-food version!
Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken
Popcorn chicken is a fun, snackable way to get your protein fix (30 grams per serving!). Originally developed in Taiwan in the 70s and then introduced in the US at Kentucky Fried Chicken in the 90s, popcorn chicken is small bites of crunchy chicken you can eat like popcorn. It’s traditionally deep fried and delicious but obviously, not the healthiest option on the menu. Making this from scratch is easy and another healthy way to enjoy air fryer chicken breast. More of my favorite air fryer fried chicken recipes are these air fryer chicken nuggets, air fryer chicken tenders, and air fryer chicken sandwiches.

Healthy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken
I loved the idea of making popcorn chicken healthier with much less oil in the air fryer. After testing several batches, I found the breading wouldn’t brown in the short time that it took the chicken to cook (five minutes), so I had to get creative.
The solution: Toasting the panko crumbs in a little oil before breading the chicken. It adds about five minutes to your prep time but eliminates the often- messy task of spritzing oil on each piece before air frying. The result is juicy little bites of guiltless, crispy chicken.
What is popcorn chicken made of?
You’ll need to set up a dredging station with the popcorn chicken ingredients:

Flour: Put all-purpose flour and salt on a large plate.
Egg: Whisk one egg with a teaspoon of water in a bowl.
Seasoned Panko: Toast the panko in olive oil and then mix it with garlic powder, onion, powder, oregano, cayenne (if using), and black pepper on a large plate.
Chicken: Cut a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces – about the size of a dice – and season with salt and pepper.

How long do you put popcorn chicken in the air fryer?
Since popcorn chicken is so little, it cooks fast.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
Spray the basket with olive oil and place about 30 pieces in the basket, leaving space between each.
Cook the chicken for five minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.

How to Freeze Popcorn Chicken
This popcorn chicken is easy to freeze and perfect to pull out when you need a quick snack, appetizer, or lunch.

Let the chicken cool completely after it’s cooked, and then flash freeze on a baking tray.
Once frozen, transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 3 months.

Your comments are helpful! If you’ve tried this popcorn chicken recipe or any other recipe on Skinnytaste, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts, variations, and feedback. And if you took a photo of what you cooked, share it with me on Instagram so I can reshare it on my stories.
More Fried Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken
5

283 Cals
30 Protein
21 Carbs
8 Fats

Prep Time: 30 minsCook Time: 10 minsTotal Time: 40 mins

This easy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken recipe is kid-friendly, lighter and healthier than your typical fast-food version!
1 tablespoon olive oil1 ½ cup panko breadcrumbs1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts2 tablespoons all-purpose flour1 large egg2 teaspoons garlic powder2 teaspoons onion powder1 teaspoon dried oregano1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optionalFreshly ground black pepperOlive oil spray
Add oil to a medium skillet over medium low heat. Add the panko and ½ teaspoon salt.Toast panko for about 4 minutes or until just golden, stirring every 30 seconds to evenly brown.  Transfer crumbs to a plate.Cut chicken into ¾-inch cubes (about the size of a small dice), season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste, then set up your dredging station. You should have about 60 cubes.To set up dredging station:Place flour and ¼ teaspoon salt on a large plate. Place egg in a bowl, add 1 teaspoon water and beat until uniform.Add the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and cayenne (if using) and black pepper, to taste, to the toasted panko and place the plate on the other side of the egg bowl.Working with about 15 pieces at a time, dredge in flour, lightly coating all sides.Then, egg, allowing excess to drip off (I like to use tongs and wipe the excess off on the side of the bowl).  Next add the pieces to the panko mixture and coat all sides evenly, pressing crumbs to make sure they adhere evenly. Repeat with remaining pieces.Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F. Spray the basket with olive oil.Add about 30 pieces to the air fryer basket, making sure to leave space between each piece so they get crispy. Spray the top with oil.Cook for 5 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through cook time.  Serve immediately.

Serving: 15 pieces, Calories: 283kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 385mg, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugar: 2g

Keywords: Air Fryer Chicken, air fryer chicken breast, airfryer popcorn chicken, popcorn chicken