A new moon of excitement and rovers on the red planet
Humanity's connection to the moon
Recently, a commercial moon lander mission failed, and NASA delayed its upcoming Artemis missions aimed at putting humans back on the moon. But despite these delays and setbacks, interest in the moon is still full.
Rebecca Boyle, acclaimed journalist, and author said the urge to get back to the moon is from curiosity and our human connection to the moon.
“I think humans have always felt a deep connection to it," Boyle said. "And it's there's something both otherworldly and yet so familiar about the moon. And I think it's just a natural place for us to project ourselves."
Her newest book Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made us Who We Are explores her fascination with the moon and the way it influences humanity. Boyle said she feels a deep connection to the moon.
"I come at this from just my personal point of view on the moon, which is that when I look at it, I feel like a sense of homesickness is probably the closest word I can think of to describe it," Boyle said. "It's this feeling of longing, like it's right there, but it's so far away, but it's not it's right next door, and kind of the push and pull of those competing ideas just really compels me to think about it and to wonder about it."
Searching for life on Mars
Our robotic explorers on Mars are back to work after a brief and planned pause in communication.
For three weeks, the red planet entered a phase called conjunction and scientists couldn't communicate with any of the rovers on Mars.
Now, the rovers are back online, and NASA’s Perseverance rover is exploring a region on Mars once thought to contain water in the search for signs of ancient life.
Amy Williams, an astrobiologist at the University of Florida and scientist on NASA's robotic missions on Mars, said by finding more signs of water, scientists are one step closer to figuring out just how abundant life was on Mars.
“We have that really great evidence for water, which of course is one of the things that we look for," Williams said. "We talk about a habitable environment on Mars, a place where life would want to live if it had been there. So, as we traverse the margin, you know, it's really interesting to see these new geography and geology.”
The discovery of water also led to the rovers looking at rocks in the crater. Williams said the rocks were influenced by the water physically and chemically.
"As water flows through over geologic timescales, you can change the chemistry and that's what we're observing," Williams said. "And that's what's so cool about these missions in general is that you can reconstruct eons of history on another world just by looking at the chemicals in these rocks."