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The Christmas launch sends the most complex telescope into space




This is the last glow of comet Leonard’s glory before it disappears forever, and the rare celestial spectacle is now something we share with our first human ancestors, who probably witnessed it 80,000 years ago.

No matter how different we are, shared surprise is a real gift. While watching holiday movies with my family, I was surprised to hear that feeling echoed in the 1947 film “The Bishop’s Wife.”

“We all come from our little planets,” says Cary Grant character Dudley. “That’s why we’re all different. That’s what makes life so interesting.”

This year, all the little planets have revolved around awesome finds and discoveries. Reflect with the CNN Space and Science team as we look back on the past year, as we greet our journey into the future.

Defying gravity

This artist's illustration shows the James Webb Space Telescope and its giant golden mirror in space.

The telescope took off from French Guiana with an Ariane 5 rocket at 7:20 am ET on Christmas Day.

The next major space observatory in the world will be used to look inside the atmospheres of exoplanets and act as an infrared detector by observing the first galaxies in the deep universe.

Webb could change our understanding of what happened right after the Big Bang that created the universe and finally determine how we got here and whether we are really alone.

For more information on the telescope, watch the CNN movie “The hunt for planet BThe documentary offers a privileged look as scientists build and plan the release. It also analyzes the search for life on planets outside our solar system.

We are a family

Intriguing New chapters have been added to human history this year. Fossils, footprints, and ancient DNA revealed much more about our distant ancestors and how they lived.

A cap introduced us to a completely new type of human being, known enigmatically as the Dragon Man, who lived between 138,000 and 309,000 years ago.

Footprints in New Mexico that seem freshly made were printed on Earth thousands of years ago. We even got a new insight into the fashion of our Stone Age ancestors.

While the dirt in the cave does not seem to be a haven for innovative information, scientists have discovered that it contains DNA from the first humans we would never expect to find otherwise, and is rewriting history.

A long time ago

This gold and amethyst ring was used to prevent hangovers.
An old hangover prevention ring, a lost Rembrandt painting, and an entire 3,000-year-old city. These were just some of the ones the most exciting art and design discoveries of 2021.

Excavations and expeditions also revealed some of the oldest examples of rock art, ornamental gold masks and even fragments of a Dead Sea Scroll.

These are the kinds of findings that not only excite researchers, but can change history and how we understand it.

It is revealing to see how long humans have been leaving their creative mark on the world.

The weather changed

Come and sail with these Saildrones, which have marked an open course for the rough sea.

The six unmanned ships will spend half a year enduring some of the most hostile ocean conditions. The results could help scientists improve weather forecasts and climate change models.

If they are relatives, the Saildrones captured the first video of the interior of a major hurricane at sea level, facing winds of 120 miles per hour (193 kilometers per hour) and waves of 50 feet (15 meters) from Hurricane Sam.
Dangerous hurricanes were just one of many weather events this year to highlight the growing climate crisis.

Through the universe

Chandra discovered the X-ray telescope "violent energy"  in the heart of the Milky Way.

The Milky Way like we’ve never seen it before. Mysterious cosmic explosions reaching Earth. Awesome video of the landing on Mars and the first motorized flight to another planet.

We live in a golden age of discovery that this year has allowed us to know the universe a little better.

Astronomers discovered secrets about extreme objects such as black holes and found the first planet outside our galaxy. A spacecraft even “touched the sun.”

Check all wonderful space discoveries made in 2021. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

The wonder

Here are the headlines that caught our attention this week:

“That.” Perfectly preserved baby dinosaur he was found curled up inside his egg.
– The first sample collected from a carbon-rich asteroid and returned to Earth is shedding secrets about our solar system.
– Find yourself “the biggest mistake he has ever experienced“, more than 100 million years before the appearance of dinosaurs. It weighed 50 kilos (110 pounds).
Do you like what you read? Oh, but there are more. Register here to receive in your inbox the next edition of Wonder Theory, presented to you by CNN writer Space and Science Ashley Strickland, which finds wonders on planets beyond our solar system and discoveries of the ancient world.