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NASA announced the week of May 11–18 that it will shut down its Mars InSight lander, and scientists saw our galaxy’s black hole for the first time.
Scientists revealed the first image ever taken of the event horizon of Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of our galaxy. Observations previously showed stars orbiting something in the area, but the photo of Sagittarius A*’s glowing gas ring is the first visual confirmation.
For the first time, scientists successfully grew plants in lunar soil (or regolith). Learning to reliably grow plants in regolith is important to future long-term missions to the Moon like Artemis.
A total lunar eclipse created a Blood Moon in the sky Sunday night. During a total eclipse, the edges of Earth’s atmosphere reflect red tones onto the Moon’s surface but scatter blue tones, giving the Blood Moon its distinctive color.
Scientists sparked the creation of new neurons by increasing electrical activity in an adult brain’s hypothalamus and the hippocampus. Increasing neurons in these areas could fight the effects of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Researchers demonstrated a process to generate electricity from infrared light the Earth radiates to space at night. The proof-of-concept study generated only a tiny amount of electricity, but future devices that function like solar panels could capture much more energy.
Researchers discovered healing from major bone breakages, like a broken rib, increases the activity of Sonic hedgehog, a gene that helps skeletal development in embryos but is inactive in adults. Treatments that bolster this process could help repair broken bones faster.
Researchers determined a human tooth found in Laos in 2018 likely belonged to a Denisovan, an extinct hominid closely related to modern humans. It’s the first Denisovan fossil found in Southeast Asia, showing the area was home to at least five early human species.
NASA announced its InSight Mars Lander will shut down this year as dust covers its solar panels. Launched in 2018, InSight monitors seismic conditions on Mars, giving scientists information on activity under the planet’s surface.