A version of this story appeared in CNN's Wonder Theory newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
(CNN)As a kid, I wanted to be Indiana Jones -- and I know I wasn't alone in that wish.
I would set out with a pail and shovel and a hefty amount of determination, digging in hopes of finding a fossil or buried treasure that belonged in a museum. I dreamed of crisscrossing the globe, as easy as following a red line on the map, to recover artifacts.
Indiana Jones motivated me to stay curious and aspire to uncover the unknown.
No fossils ever appeared in the dirt. But when I uncovered shards of a glass tray, my parents acted like it was the discovery of the century, rather than a remnant from a house that once sat on the property.
Now, I'm endlessly inspired by researchers who make discoveries all over the world, revealing a different kind of treasure that is even more dear: knowledge.
Here are some of the recent eye-popping findings shared by intrepid scientists working in the field.
A long time ago
The largest known cave art ever found in North America has remained unseen for more than 1,000 years -- until now.
Researchers hoping to document the dark, cramped interior of the 19th Unnamed Cave in Alabama -- that's really its name to protect the location from vandalism -- discovered massive Native American drawings on the low cave ceiling while doing some 3D scans.
The giant, mysterious figures include an 11-foot diamondback rattlesnake and four humanlike figures wearing elaborate outfits.
Although the true nature of the figures is unknown, they may depict spirits since the tribes regarded caves as sacred spaces that served as routes to the underworld.
The discovery could provide a greater understanding of the symbolic art created by Indigenous tribes before making contact with other cultures.
Once upon a planet
Deep beneath the ice sheet of West Antarctica, scientists have found a massive amount of water in an unexplored part of the icy region.
Using tools on the surface, researchers were able to image far below the ice.
They were surprised to find enough water to form a lake, parts of which are deep enough to cover the Empire State Building and then some.
The large presence of water in this area could help scientists understand how Antarctica will respond to the climate crisis in the future.
Across the universe
One galactic pair have been dancing for eons -- and it's quite a sight.
The two galaxies, located 60 million light-years from Earth, have been in the process of coming together for 400 million years. This activity has created stunning waves of star formation, captured in detail by the Dark Energy Camera.
The new image shows the larger and smaller galaxy duo appear to swirl around one another in a celestial dance. Eventually, the two galaxies will merge into one larger galaxy.
This phenomenon isn't something you would likely be able to see from one of two space hote