Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX is known for making history. It was the first private spaceflight company to transport astronauts to the International Space Station and the first to develop a reusable rocket booster. On September 18, 2021, the American aerospace company did it again by completing the world's first-ever all-civilian mission to space.
The Sequoia National Park in California's southern Sierra Nevada mountains is best known for its namesake giant sequoias. The park boasts 40 groves of the massive trees, which occur naturally only on its western slopes. But the most beloved is the Giant Forest, a collection of 2000 trees that includes half of the Earth's largest and longest-living trees. This past weekend, the ancient wonders came dangerously close to being scorched by the KNP Complex Fire. But thanks to quick-thinking firefighters, the precious grove has been saved.
After years of intense public pushback, the now-shuttered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally announced the retirement of their Asian elephant performers in 2016. While the decision was a resounding victory for animal lovers and activists, it raised a new issue. The mighty pachyderms were raised in captivity and lacked the skills to survive in the wild. Now, thanks to Florida-based White Oak Conservation, the animals have a new home — one where they can roam freely.
The western false asphodel — an herb-like plant found in abundance along North America's West Coast — has been known to science since 1879. But it is only recently that researchers from the University of British Columbia discovered the innocent-looking plant's penchant for insects. The finding is particularly exciting given that this is the first new predatory plant to be discovered in 20 years.
The Henan Province in central China is a treasure trove of dinosaur eggs. However, the odd-looking black orb with a blue tint, presented to Fenglu Han and Haishui Jiang by a farmer in 2018, was unlike any dinosaur egg the experts had encountered before. The paleontologists from the China University of Geosciences initially thought the egg might belong to a new species of the prehistoric giants.
Mattel's Barbie Role Models series, designed to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams, has highlighted the work of many incredible women. On August 4, 2021, the US toymaker revealed the latest additions to the collection — custom, one-of-a-kind dolls modeled after six female COVID-19 frontline workers.
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season began with a bang for the residents of Louisiana. On August 29, 2021, the Gulf Coast state was battered by Hurricane Ida, a powerful Category 4 storm that officials believe was the strongest to hit the area in 165 years. To make matters worse, Ida arrived on the sixteenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina and made landfall twice.
Even those that do not particularly care for math will agree that pi, or “π," is fascinating. The numerical constant — defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter— is recognized by most as 3.14. However, Pi is an irrational number. This means it can't be written as a fraction. Instead, it is infinitely long and never forms a repeating pattern. While individuals attempt to break records by memorizing pi's decimal points, scientists strive to find its most accurate value using new algorithms and powerful computers.