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Neato Science

Wow

Yesterday, I learned of two very cool, kind of mind-blowing events in the world of space travel and science.

The first is a newly-released photograph of a black hole. A photo was released in 2019; this is a follow-up image. What’s special about this newest photo, aside from the fact that an image of a supermassive black hole is pretty wow in and of itself, is that it reveals the activity of the magnetic fields surrounding the void.

Scientists who analyzed the image discovered that some of the magnetic fields are doing what’s expected, meaning they loop around the black hole, influenced by enormous gravitational pull. Other magnetic fields, however, are pointing away from the center. This is the surprising part.

These magnetic fields must be incredibly strong to be able to compete against and resist the black hole’s overwhelmingly strong draw. This knowledge is not only fascinating; it creates brand-new perspective about what’s going on out there, billions of miles away. Who knows what other discoveries could come from this new information?

The second piece of news I learned yesterday is that a small piece of fabric from one of the wings on the Wright brothers’ plane is on Mars right now, waiting to fly again. It’s attached to the underside of a solar panel on the space helicopter, Ingenuity, that traveled to Mars with the rover, Perseverance.

Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18 and is currently doing its Mars investigation work along with prepping for Ingenuity’s launch. The goal is for Ingenuity to fly in early April. If everything goes as planned, it will make a total of five short aerial trips on Mars. And on those trips, the first of their kind on another planet, it will carry a tiny piece of material from the first airplane flight here on Earth. The thought of it gives me goosebumps.

Here’s to scientific discoveries and historic parallels and all the moments of wow they provide.

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