The first time I spied on Mars, it looked like a red star amidst a sea of shimmering white sea. It was an amazing moment when I thought of the many spacecraft that people have sent millions of miles to visit our planetary neighbor.
And this week, the fleet of robots currently exploring Mars revealed even more of its secrets.
Mars may not be the place to raise your kids, but it’s a real playground for a NASA rover, a creative helicopter, and an Insight landing.
Creativity has recently plunged into digging, flying over rugged terrain for the longest and fastest flight ever as an aerial scout – and snapping photos of very interesting geological features. They are changing the trajectory of ongoing rover scientific research.
The persistence team shared some of the rover’s first important observations this week, including: Beautiful exotic rocks that, if ever on Mars, may contain traces of ancient microbial life. Percy will collect his first sample from Mars within the next two weeks, and it will be one of dozens of samples that will be returned to Earth on future missions.
And in an exciting precedent, the InSight hard landing rover has revealed the mysterious interior of Mars thanks to the discovery of earthquakes on Mars that allowed scientists to peer inside the planet.
we are Family
Renaissance scholar Leonardo da Vinci has been mentioned and linked to many things — including now 14 grandchildren, according to new research.
This is an interesting find, since it was not known that Leonardo had children. But researchers traced his lineage in other ways.
Historians hope to use this information to understand more about Leonardo’s genius and gain insight into his health, including: whether or not he suffered from a rare eye condition.
The last of the Xerces blue butterflies fluttered in the sky in the early 1940s. As the first North American insect to become extinct from humans, it has become a conservation symbol for insects.
These pearl-winged insects lived in coastal sand dunes along San Francisco and were first identified by scientists in 1852. But humans have destroyed their habitat.
It’s a stark reminder amid what many scientists call the “insect apocalypse” as species decline worldwide. They may not all be as beautiful as the blue Xerces butterfly, but insects are more important to our lives than most people realize.”
The power of nature
Wildfires in the western United States are so bad that the fires create their own weather and smoke can be seen from space.
These fires are not only a concern for the West. A haze of smoke spread across the United States, causing poor air quality on the East Coast.
Rare formations resembling a mushroom cloud were seen above the flames. These pyrocumulus clouds tower over the ash and smoke from raging wildfires and can be seen for miles.
And it’s not just the United States that has been hit hardest by the devastating wildfires fueled by the climate crisis. Wildfires are burning all over the world, even in the coldest city in the world.
around the universe
It may look like a blazing ring of fire, but this is an actual image of a still-boiling planetary system 400 light-years away, taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Echo Telescope in Chile.
Two Jupiter-like planets orbit a star, but astronomers are spying on a moon-forming disk around one of the planets — this is the first time they’ve seen something like it.
The disk around the planet is 500 times larger than the massive rings around Saturn.
Scientists plan to follow this system to see planets, and possibly even moons, form and grow.
More plots before you go:
Unidentified 15,000-year-old viruses were found in ice samples taken from a glacier on the Tibetan Plateau – unlike anything scientists have seen before.
Meet Wally Funk, the 1980s who trained for NASA’s Women in Space program but has been denied the ability to fly — until now. And that’s what happened next after he made quick voyages to the stars after a billionaire.
For wild cockatoos, opening trash cans is no easy feat. But in Australia there are members of a certain species, and they taught each other how to do it. Leftovers, anyone?
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