TIME space

Before/After Photos Reveal Huge New Crater on Mars

New crater discovered on Mars
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univeristy of Arizona

The war like planet has a new battle scar

Photos taken by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed a fresh crater “half the size of a football field,” on the surface of Earth’s galactic neighbor, NASA said Thursday.

Before and after photos of a new crater discovered on Mars.
From left: An image taken on Jan. 16, 2012 compared with the image taken on April 6, 2014 confirms that two adjacent fresh craters appeared during that interval. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The shadowy shape evidently caught scientist Bruce Cantor off guard two months ago. Cantor is in charge of observing Mars weather patterns, and said in a statement that when he investigated older photos of the same place, he was able to determine that the crater first appeared on March 28, 2012.

TIME weather

These Are the Hurricane Names We Could Get This Year

Hurricane Irene Churns Off East Coast Of United States
Hurricane Irene is seen from space from the International Space Station, as it churns off the east coast of the United States on August 26, 2011 NASA/Getty Images

Here's hoping Bertha doesn't get too big

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association released its forecast for hurricane season earlier Thursday, making it a good day to check out the names of the storms that could potentially hit us in 2014 — though NOAA says it’s likely going to be a pretty average year for hurricanes.

For a tropical storm to get a name, its top winds much reach 39 mph; to qualify as a hurricane, those winds must hit 74 mph. These lists are maintained by the World Meteorological Organization, and they get recycled every 6 years. Names of especially devastating storms, like Katrina or Sandy, are cycled out for sensitivity’s sake.

Your 2014 Atlantic hurricane names:


Your 2014 Eastern North Pacific hurricane names:


TIME space

See If You Can Find Yourself in NASA’s #GlobalSelfie

It's probably the biggest selfie ever.

NASA created this giant selfie of Earth using selfies of individuals sent in from around the world. Can you spot yourself? It’s like the ultimate version of Where’s Waldo.

TIME animals

The Kiwi, New Zealand’s National Bird, Isn’t From Australia After All

A keeper holds in his hands two Kiwi chi
A keeper holds in his hands two Kiwi chicks at the zoo on June 19, 2012 in Berlin. Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images

The kiwi is not related to the emu, as scientists originally believed

The kiwi, a bird endemic to New Zealand, was long believed to be an Australian import. However, new research published Thursday in the journal Science found that the kiwi’s origins aren’t so simple.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA discovered that the kiwi is not closely related to Australia’s Emu as previously thought. Rather, its closest relative is the Madagascan elephant bird. DNA extracted from the bones of two elephant birds at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, revealed a genetic connection between the elephant bird and the kiwi despite their physical and geographical dissimilarities.

Scientists say that the connection between the two also means that the kiwi, now a flightless bird, once took to the skies.

“This result was about as unexpected as you could get,” Kieren Mitchell, PhD candidate with ACAD, said in a statement. “New Zealand and Madagascar were only ever distantly physically joined via Antarctica and Australia, so this result shows the ratites (a group of flightless birds) must have dispersed around the world by flight.”


NOAA: Hurricane Season To Be Above Normal in Pacific, Average in Atlantic

40% chance of an above-normal hurricane season in the Pacific, predicts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Central Pacific Ocean will likely experience a normal or busier-than-normal hurricane season this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. The Atlantic Ocean, however, is set for a more subdued season.

In the central Pacific, there’s a 20% chance of a below-normal season, 40% chance of a normal season, and 40% chance of an above-normal season, the NOAA predicted. As for the Atlantic, the outlook is 50% chance of a below-normal season, 40% chance of a normal season, and 10% chance of an ab0ve-normal season.

Both predictions hinge on the behavior of El Niño, a band of warm ocean water that occasionally develops off South America’s west coast. El Niño causes stronger wind shear in the Atlantic, which reduces the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and other storms. Meanwhile, it will decrease vertical wind shear in the central Pacific, which causes more and stronger tropical cyclones, the NOAA said.

The six-month hurricane season begins June 1.

TIME space

Never-Before-Seen Meteor Shower Will Light Up Night Sky This Weekend

Startrails and Meteor
A bright meteor during Perseid meteor shower (Aug. 12) is captured in a startrail image of constellation Orion. Babek Tafresh—Getty Images

100 to 400 meteors an hour will streak across the sky Friday night to Saturday morning

People in the U.S. and Canada will be treated to a never-before-seen meteor shower this weekend, set to peak the evening of Friday, May 23 into early Saturday morning. The sky will be lit with between 100 to 400 meteors an hour in the “Camelopardalids” shower.

“It’s brand new,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Mark Paquette of the Camelopardalids shower.

This weekend’s weather forecast means sky watchers in California, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina will have the best view. Clouds might obstruct the show in the Pacific Northwest, the Rockies, New England and the Great Plains, however.

In case of bad weather, people can live stream the shower via NASA. The shower will hit peak meteor activity between midnight and 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

TIME heart

VIDEO: Here’s How Your Heart Actually Works

In a short video, Edmond Hui explains how the human hearts actually pumps blood

The heart has baffled scientists for centuries, and its inner workings still confuse a lot of people. So Dr. Edmond Hui set out to make a video that would explain it in clear terms once and for all.

In the video above, Edmond Hui retraces how scientists used to think the heart worked compared to how it actually works.

TIME Environment

Top 10 New Species for 2014

The best of the best when it comes to new life

It may seem a bit early to declare the top 10 new species of 2014—after all, the year is less than half over. But keep in mind that scientists discover an average of 40 new species a day, so there have already been plenty of freshly uncovered life to choose from. This year the list is being released by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s International Institute for Species Exploration—and the timing isn’t coincidental. Tomorrow is the 307th anniversary of the birth of the Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus, who laid down the groundwork for classifying life.

And as the list shows, life is diverse. The collection includes a dragon tree, a skeleton shrimp, a gecko and a microbe that likes to hang out in the clean rooms where spacecraft are assembled. But there is still far more life to be discovered—scientists estimate that there are 10 million species remaining to be named and classified, five times the number we already know about. We’d better hurry though—while we discover about 15,000 new species a year, we may be losing up to 100,000 annually to extinction.

TIME celebrities

Wheel of Fortune Host Pat Sajak Backtracks From Climate-Change Tweet

38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards - Arrivals
Game-show host Pat Sajak arrives at the 38th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards held at the Las Vegas Hilton on June 19, 2011 David Becker—Getty Images

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak went into damage-control mode on Wednesday after a tweet that said people who believe in climate change were "unpatriotic racists" caused uproar. He now says he was parodying the name-calling directed at climate-change skeptics

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak claims he was just joking when he tweeted on Monday that only “unpatriotic racists” subscribe to climate change.

Below is the tweet that caused the uproar online, after which the longtime television personality appeared to be trying to dodge the heat generated by his comment.

On Wednesday, Sajak took to his Twitter account and stated he only meant to “parody the name-calling directed at climate skeptics.”

However, Vice pointed out that Sajak has mocked climate change in the past, and regardless of his apology netizens fired back with their own tweets and parodies of Wheel of Fortune in response to Sajak.

The show has not made an official comment.

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