The universe is one of the most fascinating topics we come across. We are intrigued by the possibilities that space travel brings, including the colonization of other planets and the potential discovery of sentient life like our own across the universe. For generations, looking up at the cosmos has nurtured our imagination and even guided our lives and travel. Though our ancestors were often skilled astronomers and mathematicians, their skills and resources only permitted them to go so far in their discovery of the universe. For this list, we have scoured the latest in space news to bring you some of the most recent space discoveries scientists have made.
From a cosmic collision which produced tons of gold to a star which is basically a massive diamond, the space discoveries we have made in the past decade have pushed our understanding to new heights. They also have often invalidated past theories, forcing astronomers to consider alternatives for how we came to exist in the grand universe. From the coldest place in the universe to a comet which produces its own alcohol, put on your space suit as we blast into these 25 Recent Space Discoveries That Blew Our Minds.
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Albert Einstein declared his finding of gravitational waves back in 1916, nearly a century before scientists confirmed their existence. The science world was thrilled by their discovery in 2015, revealing that space-time could ripple just as still water on a pond ripples when a stone is tossed into it.
A volcanic moon forms mountains
New research has revealed how mountains on Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io form. Though mountains on Earth grow in long chains, Io’s mountains are mostly solitary. The moon is so volcanically active that a five inch layer of molten lava covers its surface every 10 years. By looking at this rapid rate of eruption, scientists have concluded that massive pressure on Io’s core causes fractures which head to the surface to release pressure.
Saturn's massive new ring
Astronomers have recently discovered a massive new ring around Saturn. Situated 6-18 million miles (3.7-11.1 million kms) from the planet’s surface, the new ring spins in the opposite direction of the other rings. The new ring is so thinly scattered that you couldn’t tell if you stood inside it, despite the fact that a billion Earths could fit within it. Since the ring is quite cool, about -316° F, it was only recently discovered when using an infrared telescope.
Dying stars produce new life
Once a star burns up all the hydrogen in its core, it expands to many times its normal size. As it expands, it engulfs and consumes nearby planets. Scientists have recently found, though, that more distant planets could warm up and become hotbeds for terrestrial life. In our solar system’s case, the Sun will extend past Mars’ orbit, warming conditions on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn enough to develop life.
Oldest star in the universe
A few hundred million years is junk change in the lifespan of the universe (which is 14 billion years old). The oldest star ever discovered – SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 – is bafflingly nearly as ancient at 13.6 billion years old.