The legend of Apollo 11 dies and 5 more great space and science stories this week

And then there is the Earth. When we think of space, we rarely consider our own planet, a “blue ball” against the dark void. Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who we lost this week, reminded us of how wonderful it is.

“Oddly enough, it looks fragile one way or another,” he says. “You wanna be good with it. All the beauty, it was wonderful.”

Defy gravity

It’s hard to lose our heroes. This week we say goodbye to Collins, the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission. He leaves behind a legacy that will inspire future space explorers to “carry fire. “He died Wednesday at the age of 90 from cancer.
Collins was often referred to as “the loneliest man” because he stayed in Columbia’s command module, orbiting the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin used the Eagle lander to land and walk on the lunar surface. .

But Collins never felt that way. He called Columbia a “happy home” which reminded him of a cathedral and the whole mission as “a long and very fragile garland”. Every link in this garland worked. The three men marked a story that still inspires the spirit of space exploration more than 50 years later.

Fossils and fireballs

When meteorites land on Earth, scientists often wonder where they came from in our solar system.

Now scientists have been able to accurately map an asteroid’s flight path for the first time and trace it back to its point of origin. The rock-sized asteroid’s journey to our planet began 22 million years ago, new research shows.

Scientists discovered a total of 23 fragments after the fireball lit the sky above the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana on June 2, 2018.

Fantastic creatures

These bright orange amphibians secrete a poison that can be dangerous to humans.
Pumpkin toad may seem like a trendy fall-themed food. Instead, it is a new species of tiny neon orange amphibian discovered in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.

Scientists first thought it was an extant species when they found it in the Mantiqueira mountain range in 2016.

Pumpkin toads are poisonous, secreting the same toxin found in fugu, or pufferfish. So you can watch, but don’t touch.

Long ago…

Glimpses of the struggle between an Ice Age predator and its prey have been revealed by the latest research on fossils unearthed in the Friesenhahn Cave outside of San Antonio.

Saber-toothed cats stalked 2-year-old mammoths – and likely brought the victims back to their cave to eat, the study suggested.

A team of geologists and paleontologists studied the fossilized teeth belonging to the scimitar-toothed cat, or Homotherium serum. The cave specimens included several baby mammoths alongside the cats.

But these formidable feline hunters did not play with the biggest mammoths. Even saber-toothed cats had a limit.

Across the universe

Astronomers used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to study the remnant Cassiopeia A supernova and discovered titanium, shown in light blue, when it exploded.  Colors represent other detected elements, such as iron (orange), oxygen (purple), silicon (red) and magnesium (green).

What looks like a cotton candy explosion in space is actually a portrait of the elements – including those we use on Earth like iron and titanium – that remain after a star explodes. The first of its kind, the photo represents the moment after the creation of stable titanium.

Titanium has been found in the striking remains of the Cassiopeia A supernova about 11,000 light years away. The discovery could help scientists understand what causes some giant stars to explode, according to a new study.

The climate has changed

The glaciers are melting even faster than expected.

Satellite data collected by NASA has helped researchers determine that glacier melt has doubled in the past two decades.

Data revealed that glaciers lost about 5,073 gigatons – or 11,180,000,000,000,000 pounds – in mass between 2000 and 2019. Can you guess roughly how many Eiffel Towers that equates to?
The melting of glaciers is a direct consequence and an indicator of climatic crises. It may sound disastrous, but understanding this phenomenon will help researchers calculate sea level rise correctly for water management.
Do you like what you read? Oh, but there is more. register here to receive the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to your inbox, brought to you by writer CNN Space and Science Ashley Strickland, which finds wonders in planets beyond our solar system and discoveries of the ancient world.

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Travis Durham

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