Science & Environment

Meet the lunar rover that will venture to the moon’s south pole

Editor’s Note: A model of this story appeared in CNN’s Wonder Theory science publication. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.


At the coronary heart of human nature is a need to discover. Nowhere is that extra evident than our quest to journey past Earth.

This week, the AX-2 mission carried 4 vacationers to the International Space Station, together with former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and stem cell researcher Rayyanah Barnawi, the first woman from Saudi Arabia to travel to space.

Virgin Galactic additionally returned its supersonic plane to the edge of space for the first time since 2021, with two pilots and a crew of 4 Virgin Galactic staff aboard the check flight.

And preparations are underway as people put together to return to the lunar floor in 2025 — and so they’re going to get a bit assist from some robotic explorers.

Arno Rogg/NASA

Engineers check a prototype model of VIPER at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

Engineers are busy setting up a rover set to land at the lunar south pole in 2024.

About the measurement of a golf cart, VIPER, or Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, will seek for ice, acquire and analyze samples, and map how a lot ice could exist beneath the moon’s floor. A hardy, intelligent design will permit the robotic to deal with the excessive situations of a spot people have but to discover.

The rover’s findings may assist maintain a human presence on the moon by permitting astronauts to acquire ingesting water and uncover different sources. And it’s not the solely lunar rover in the works.

Meanwhile, a NASA orbiter captured photos of what seems to be the influence website of the Ispace Hakuto-R Mission 1 lunar lander after it failed to contact down safely in April on the moon’s floor.

Ancient latrines unearthed in Jerusalem have revealed one in every of the health points Iron Age folks confronted 2,500 years in the past.

Traces of dysentery-causing parasites had been discovered by a world crew of archaeologists in cesspits beneath two stone toilets installed in elite households.

The findings are the earliest proof of a illness known as Giardia duodenalis, recognized for inflicting diarrhea, belly cramps and weight loss.

The Middle East area is the place a few of the first massive cities appeared as people established settlements and started to farm and cultivate animals. But this development additionally meant that bustling cities equivalent to Jerusalem had been a hotbed for germs.

Henrik Bringsoe/WWF UK

The Cambodian blue-crested agama adjustments shade as a defensive mechanism.

Scientists have uncovered almost 400 new species in Southeast Asia’s Greater Mekong area, however this wildlife could already be beneath risk of extinction due to human exercise.

Researchers labored throughout the area, which incorporates Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, China, Cambodia and Vietnam, from 2021 to 2022, in accordance to a brand new report from the World Wildlife Fund.

Among the discoveries is an orchid that resembles a character from “The Muppet Show,” a gecko named for a legendary tree nymph from Thai mythology and a color-changing agama lizard.

Meanwhile, new analysis discovered that the international loss of wildlife is “significantly more alarming” than beforehand thought as almost half the planet’s species expertise speedy inhabitants declines that may lead to a “sixth mass extinction.”

Around 250 million years in the past, mammalian ancestors reigned supreme earlier than the dinosaurs — and so they struggled to survive throughout “the Great Dying.”

Massive volcanic eruptions created catastrophic local weather change that led to the worst mass extinction on Earth. Over the course of 1 million years, 90% of life disappeared.

A brand new fossil discovery has revealed one in every of the uncommon creatures that lived throughout this upheaval.

The saber-toothed Inostrancevia was a tiger-size animal that had the pores and skin of a rhino or elephant and appeared reptilian. And the prehistoric predator made an unbelievable trek to survive quickly altering environments.


A mosaic of latest and unprecedented photo voltaic photos was captured by the Inouye Solar Telescope throughout its first yr of operations.

A photo voltaic telescope has captured otherworldly glimpses of the sun’s surface in a shocking set of latest photos.

The National Science Foundation’s Daniel Ok. Inouye Solar Telescope, on the island of Maui in Hawaii, took extremely detailed photographs of sunspots over the previous yr.

The photos showcase photo voltaic phenomena equivalent to “light bridges” that span throughout sunspots in addition to the high quality, glowing constructions inside and surrounding these cool, darkish areas.

Meanwhile, new analysis has urged that Saturn’s iconic rings could disappear inside the subsequent few hundred million years — and the astronomically younger rings may need shaped whereas dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

You have to see these tales to consider them:

— New York City is sinking beneath the weight of its million-plus buildings — in addition to a mystery cause that researchers have but to unravel.

— Hvaldimir, a beluga whale sporting a particular harness that can maintain cameras and believed by some specialists to be a “spy” trained by the Russian navy, has appeared in a densely populated a part of Norway.

— A man with paralysis can walk again greater than a decade after his bike accident, thanks to Swiss scientists who developed a brand new medical implant.

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