Home News The Perseverance rover is about to carry out its first major mission to Mars

The Perseverance rover is about to carry out its first major mission to Mars

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A version of this story appeared in CNN’s science newsletter Theory of Wonder. to receive it in your inbox, Register for free here.


Some of our favorite space missions end the year with a bang.

Artemis I cleaned the dust (below) when it successfully returned to Earth on December 11th. Engineers are studying the data collected by the Orion spacecraft now to prepare for the first crewed flight of Artemis 2 in 2024.

Meanwhile, with the latest images and results from the double asteroid redirection test in September, everyone can now see the indelible mark left by DART on the asteroid Dimorphos.

The James Webb Space Telescope has captured a new image of an astonishing array of galaxies you’ve never seen before.

Meanwhile, the Perseverance rover is preparing for its next big step on Mars, and we can’t wait to catch up on where it has wandered off.

Perseverance does not allow dust to gather under its wheels. He wanders around building the first repository on another world as a collection of rock and dust samples falls on Mars.

These samples are part of a matching set that will always be stored in the rover – and the cache could be the set returned to Earth in 2033 via the Mars Sample Return Program.

The rover is also planning a course on the steep bank of an ancient river delta and will begin studying interesting subjects there in February.

When Perseverance was investigating Jezero Crater on Mars in 2021, a towering dust devil passed right into the sky. The rover’s microphone was on at the time, and the robotic explorer captured the eerie sounds in an audio recording released this week.

Wild chimpanzees in Tanzania have given researchers new insights into our ability to walk upright. Bipedalism may have begun in trees.

Previous studies have suggested that ancient human relatives evolved to walk on two legs because they lived in the open savanna—but recent research contradicts this popular theory.

Scientists have spent more than a year observing adult chimpanzees in an environment similar to the one our early human ancestors encountered – a mixture of open land and dense forests. Chimpanzees often walked upright in the trees.

The study doesn’t draw a direct comparison between chimpanzees and our early ancestors, but it does suggest that scientists need to take a closer look at the anatomy of ancient humans and how they moved.

Marine archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved medieval shipwreck lying at the bottom of Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake.

Researchers believe the ship, with its unique stem columns and overlapping planks, dates from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The ship was discovered during a sonar survey, which was used to locate the dropped ammunition.

The freshwater environment of the lake made the ship appear frozen in time apart from a little wear and tear on her iron nails. It is possible that the ship, built by seagulls, sank in bad weather.

The researchers plan to take more photos of the wrecks next year and hope to find more wrecks during the ongoing survey.

How many bags do you own?

My colleague Katie Hunt recently asked this question, and many of us were surprised to learn how many reusable bags we stock in our homes and vehicles.

Reusable bags are preferred over single-use plastic bags, but piles of reusable bags present their own problems. Being aware of how you use your bags, as well as what you put in them, can offset these unintended consequences.

The role of humans is not limited to the environment. New Research Proposal Whales play an important but often overlooked role in tackling the climate crisis.

For ideas on how to reduce your role in the climate crisis and reduce environmental anxiety, sign up for CNN’s Life, But Greener limited newsletter series.

Jennifer Hadley captured this photo of a Magellanic penguin (left) and a Gentoo penguin in the Falkland Islands.

Pictures of a cheeky penguin, a smiling fish and a fallen lion cub win the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

The images are perfect for laughs, but they also raise awareness for wildlife conservation and support the Whitley Nature Trust, a UK-based charity.

During this time, scientists discovered that female snakes have a clitoris. The researchers said this overlooked aspect of their anatomy could serve multiple purposes for snakes – and the findings suggest that females may have a more active role in mating than is commonly believed.

Connect with these new discoveries:

Scientists achieved a milestone for the future of clean energy this week when they produced more energy from nuclear fusion than the laser energy used to power their experiment.

Were dinosaurs capable of making sonic booms when they hit their long tails? The researchers finally settled the dispute with an unexpected discovery.

Jupiter’s moon Io, the most volcanic place in the solar system, is about to become a prime target for NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Wonder Theory will be down next Saturday while the team enjoys the holidays, but we’ll be back with a special New Year’s edition!


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