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The 12 Coolest Scientific Discoveries Of March 2022

Written by Nuel

Every day the world keeps turning, orbiting around our parent star, and slowly churning around the center of our galaxy according to the laws of motion. Those laws weren’t always known. In fact, in the grand scheme of the human experiment, they’re practically breaking news. That’s the benefit of science, its incredible ability to illuminate and change the world around us.

As most of us go about the business of living our daily lives, science continues the work of uncovering new knowledge, making new discoveries, and breaking new ground. Every day, scientists and researchers in laboratories and field sites all over the world are chipping away at the vacuum of knowledge we came into this world with.

It would be impossible for us to report every discovery, advancement, or invention made in even a single day, let alone a month, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. Science is at its best when it is understood or at least appreciated. To that end, here are twelve of the coolest scientific discoveries from March 2022.

Is Stonehenge a solar calendar?

Stonehenge has been a source of mystery and awe for centuries and there have been all kinds of explanations for how it was made and what it was for. Now, according to a recent analysis, we might finally have an answer.

Professor Timothy Darvill, an archaeologist from Bournemouth University, suggests that Stonehenge operated as a solar calendar, with parts of the structure corresponding to days or weeks.

The ancient calendar is structured slightly differently from what we might recognize today. Each of the stones represents a single day in a month and is broken up into three weeks, each consisting of ten days. That simple setup worked for day-to-day tracking, but they had to make some adjustments so that it lined up with the movements of the Sun, (per Bournemouth University).

A brief, additional “month” of only five days was added in, as well as stones to track an additional day every four years, accounting for leap year. The result is that the winter and summer solstices are framed by the same pair of stones every year. This would have given neolithic Europeans a reliable frame of reference to correct for any errors in the tracking of days throughout the year.

Underwater robots uncovered a 100-year-old shipwreck

In 1915, the ship Endurance was on an expedition across Antarctica when it vanished into the inky depths of the Weddell Sea. Luckily, the entire crew complement of 28 people survived the sinking. Despite knowing approximately where the ship went down, it remained unrecovered for more than 100 years, until now.

Finding the ship was an incredible challenge, owing in part to the less-than-ideal conditions in Antarctic waters. Sea ice covers vast portions of the frigid ocean waters, preventing explorers from using conventional investigatory methods. It seems that finding the sunken ruins of the Endurance had to wait for technology to be up to the task.

The crew of the salvage expedition, dubbed Endurance22, rode out aboard the S.A. Agulhass II, to a position where they thought they might find the ship. Once there, they deployed autonomous underwater robots called Sabertooths, which scoured the ocean floor using a laser scanner and sonar, as well as cameras to document anything they might find. And find something they did.

 

Artemis inches closer to its first launch

The Apollo missions first sent human beings to the lunar surface in the late ’60s and early ’70s, marking the most celebrated era of human spaceflight. December of 2022 will mark 50 years since the last time humans walked on another world and NASA has set its sights on returning.

The Artemis missions, so named for Apollo’s twin sister in the Greek canon, were initially slated to return boots to the Moon’s surface by 2024, though that timeline has since been extended. Still, the program is moving forward with the first mission on the near horizon.

Artemis I, an uncrewed test mission, will send the Orion Spacecraft around the Moon aboard NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS). The total mission will last between four to six weeks before the craft returns home.

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Nuel

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