PENZANCE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13:  Clouds clear to allow a view of the final full moon of the year, a so-called 'Cold Moon', as it appears behind lights illuminating Penzance seafront on December 13, 2016 in Cornwall, England. The last full moon of the year was also the final supermoon of 2016. The natural phenomenon occurs when the perigee (closest approach by the Moon to Earth) coincides with it being full (completely illuminated by the Sun).  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
This man discovered a rogue rocket part is on track to hit the moon
02:03 - Source: CNN Business

A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Wonder Theory newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.

CNN  — 

It’s been a tough week.

The world has watched the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfold during a pandemic that still holds the globe within a firm grip after more than two years.

The attacks and the resulting sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe have a far-reaching impact – and even space isn’t off-limits. The crisis is likely to delay the launch of Europe’s first Mars rover slated for this September, and questions linger over cooperation between NASA and Russia regarding the International Space Station.

A relentless cycle of events that spark despair can feel exhausting, but turning to sources of awe in difficult times can be heartening. When the pandemic began, many discovered a passion for the scintillating delights of stargazing.

Fortunately, natural wonders never cease. Let’s keep exploring the inspiring world of discovery – and always keep hope alive.

Lunar update

Impact craters can be seen across the surface of the moon.

I’ll see you on the far side of the moon.

A rocket part was on a collision course with its surface on Friday morning, moving at about 5,500 miles per hour (8,851 kilometers per hour). We may not have confirmation for some time. But what could have been a lunar lemon has turned into a unique research opportunity.

And don’t worry – you didn’t miss a spectacular show since it was expected to hit on the shadowed lunar far side (but we have an idea of what it may have looked like).

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – which did not witness the event – will keep an eye out for a crater that may have formed from the possible collision. The moon has plenty of craters – this could just be the first one created by errant rocket leftovers.

And tracking space junk, especially to avoid unwanted collisions, has become the passion project of none other than Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak.


You know that dramatic showdown between Stegosaurus and T. rex in “Fantasia”? It never happened. The two highly recognizable dinosaurs never coexisted, and the time separating them is greater than the time between T. rex’s reign and humans.

But both dinos share the spotlight this week.

And, as it turns out, Tyrannosaurus rex may be misunderstood. The differences between fossils of the fearsome predator may suggest there was more than one species roaming the planet, according to a new study. This means the tyrant lizard king may have existed alongside Tyrannosaurus imperator and the more slender Tyrannosaurus regina.

Meanwhile, a new fossil may belong to one of the oldest stegosaurs ever discovered. The specimen has a “really weird mix of features” including physical traits that can’t be traced in other stegosaurs, revealing how these armored dinosaurs evolved.

Fantastic creatures

Roo, a Chihuahua rescue, was an amazing comfort for her mom when she hospitalized with Covid.

For many, pets have been the sweet, dependable pals who have helped us through the past two years of the pandemic.

They have brightened our moods, reduced our stress and served as perfect binge-watching companions.

These simple behaviors have funneled down to a practical science level, too. Research on the pet-human bond has boomed during the pandemic.

Pet owners say that their fuzzy best friends have reduced loneliness and provided much-needed emotional support. Given that we’re still living through uncertain times, the most insightful research is yet to come.

The wonder

We asked for your best hiccup cures, and boy, did you deliver.

Then, we turned those creative techniques over to experts and put them to the test to see if science backs them up.

The result? Even some of the wackiest solutions – like thinking about cows, taking a spoonful of sugar or acting out your own “Creation of Adam” moment a la Michelangelo – actually work for various reasons.

Thank you for taking the time to weigh in with so many imaginative responses. Don’t forget to take a bow – and name seven men you know of who are bald if you get the hiccups.

Climate changed

The ruins of Carthage, an ancient city founded in the ninth century BC by the Phoenicians and later conquered by Rome, lie beside the sea in the suburbs of Tunisia's capital.

We’re running out of ways to adapt to the climate crisis. That’s the warning from a new UN-backed report published this week that illustrates the widespread and disruptive impacts of human-caused climate change.

Extreme weather and rising seal levels are changing once familiar landscapes and could even erase enduring historical sites, including about 190 lining Africa’s coasts.

The columns of Carthage, the ruins of Sabratha’s Roman amphitheater and a 125,000-year-old coral reef are just some of the significant treasures at risk of flooding and erosion in the next 30 years.

But there is still time to save these heritage-rich sites – and the solution is more natural than you might think.


Let’s end on these good notes:

– A tiny “flower” formation was spotted on Mars by the Curiosity rover, and it could shed light on the history of water on the red planet.

– This invasive species was named using an ethnic slur. After months of decisions, the moth finally has a new name.

– Stonehenge may have served as an astronomically correct solar calendar. New research illustrates how it worked.

Like what you’ve read? Oh, but there’s more. Sign up here to receive in your inbox the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by CNN Space and Science writer Ashley Strickland, who finds wonder in planets beyond our solar system and discoveries from the ancient world.