The most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, the Space Launch System is now ready for a final prelaunch test for the uncrewed Artemis I mission. Known as a wet dress rehearsal, the trial includes loading the fuel tanks and conducting a launch countdown.
Ultimately, the plan is to use the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket to land the first woman and person of color on the moon. The SLS will usher in a new era of deep space exploration.
But even as NASA reaches for the stars, I was struck this week by how much of Earth’s surface still remains uncharted and how dramatically it can change without us knowing.
I’m Katie Hunt, standing in for Ashley Strickland in this edition of Wonder Theory.
Mapping of Canada’s Beaufort Sea revealed the dramatic changes, which the researchers said are taking place as a result of thawing permafrost submerged underneath the seabed.
It’s the first time subsea permafrost has been tracked in this way, and scientists said it was surprising to see changes like these occurring in such a short span of time — less than a decade.
Permafrost is a frozen layer of earth, and it covers a quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, including under the sea. Large swaths of permafrost were submerged as glaciers melted and sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age, around 12,000 years ago.
On land, warmer temperatures have led to radical shifts in the Arctic landscape in recent years. Human-caused climate change, however, didn’t induce these shifts in the seabed, the researchers said.
When a pack of giant hornets attacks a honeybee hive, the slaughter is brutal and quick. The marauders — sometimes described as murder hornets — can decimate a hive in hours.
While Asian bees have adapted to protect themselves from the predatory hornets, North American bees have not.
Allergies are far more than a sneezy seasonal annoyance — hay fever can be super disruptive to everyday life. It’s also a problem that’s being exacerbated by the climate crisis.
Typically, different trees such as birch, oak and pine release pollen at different times. But warmer and earlier spring weather means that different pollen varieties will overlap, making the pollen season more intense.
Ewww. It turns out your kitchen sponge can grow bacteria better than a petri dish in a lab.
A sponge’s spatial partitioning — the way it’s divided into different sectors of various sizes — means it’s a paradise for bacteria that thrive in secluded spaces, according to a new study.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the cosmonauts’ arrival at the space station comes at a time of mounting geopolitical tensions that have seen former US astronaut Scott Kelly clash on Twitter with the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
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