This year, NASA will launch a mission to a precious and unexplored world

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I carry with me the optimism of “Back to the Future” at the start of each new year. This quote rings all the more true as I look at the possibilities that lie ahead on the horizon.

If you thought 2021 was an exciting year for discovery, buckle up: 2022 should bring even more wonder.

As Doc Brown reminds us in the 1985 film, “If you think about it, you can accomplish anything.” It is an appropriate mantra for the coming year.

Happy New Year from the CNN Space and Science team. We wish you a safe and spectacular year 2022.

Defy gravity

This year is going to be out of this world.

We’ll see a new mission designed to study an uncharted world, cheer on Europe’s first planetary rover as it heads to Mars, and watch a NASA spacecraft deliberately crash into an asteroid moon.

The Psyche mission, launched in August, will set course for a metallic asteroid of the same name, which could be very valuable.

These are just a few of the new missions to look forward to. Several countries are also planning to send robotic explorers to the moon as they prepare to return humans to the lunar surface.
And don’t miss our outlook for all the full moons, meteor showers and eclipses to see in 2022, including the quadrantid meteor shower this weekend.

Dig that

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of an ancient mystery in a quarry.

The bones of five mammoths were discovered alongside Neanderthal stone tools. Together, these findings offer a revealing glimpse into life in Britain during the Ice Age 200,000 years ago.

The excavation site and its findings, the subject of a new documentary on Sir David Attenborough, appear to represent a gigantic graveyard – but investigation is ongoing.

The bones and tools were also found near other surprisingly well-preserved remains from a period that researchers are still trying to understand.

Fantastic creatures

This image represents beautiful iridescent beetles, with the male (left) and female (right) side by side, found in India.

Scientists haven’t let the pandemic stop them from discovering new examples of our planet’s diverse life in 2021.

Shrimp-like creatures, an extinct dinosaur called a ‘hell heron’ and colorful beetles are among 552 new species described this year by researchers at the Natural History Museum in London.

Species, brand new to science, include those that are both alive and extinct.

It is a reminder that all creatures, large and small, contribute to the survival and success of Earth’s myriad ecosystems.

We are a family

Scientists took a digital peek under the envelopes of the mummified pharaoh Amenhotep I without removing a single item.

The 3,500-year-old mummy, decorated with a wooden face mask and flower garlands, was deemed too fragile to be opened. The research team took a non-invasive approach to learn more about the life and death of the Egyptian king.

Amenhotep I, who commissioned the construction of many temples during his largely peaceful reign, was around 35 when he died.

Researchers are still trying to determine what led to his disappearance, but they have discovered treasures in his connections and learned more about his appearance.

Consequences

This is Kulusuk, Greenland, where winter now begins several weeks later and ends earlier.

Winter is disappearing, even when it shouldn’t, as our planet warms.

In Greenland, the 660,000 square mile (1.7 million square kilometers) ice cap has melted past the point of no return, and winter is now starting late and ending sooner than before. And the largest island in the world is not alone in this case.

Porter Fox, author of “The Last Winter: The Scientists, Adventurers, Journeymen, and Mavericks Trying to Save the World,” toured 10,000 miles (16,093 kilometers) around the northern hemisphere in search of the snow and ice disappearing. .

This large melting allows the planet to absorb more heat and release greenhouse gases, eventually leading to even greater warming.

“I think back to all the days I’ve been in the cold this year – hiking glaciers, skiing up to my neck in powder, climbing lonely mountains,” Fox wrote. “I no longer see these snowy landscapes as individual places. Rather, they are knitted together in a protective white blanket, isolating the stable climate in which human civilization had flourished.”

Curiosities

Stay curious, my friends:

– Donut-shaped beads made from ostrich shells have revealed a 50,000-year-old social network in Africa.
– An incredibly rare Asian sea eagle has been spotted thousands of miles from his home in Massachusetts.
– The James Webb Space Telescope comes to life in space by deploying a tennis court-sized sunshade and unfolding the largest mirror NASA has ever built.
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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