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See photos from the Apollo era like never before

By Ashley Strickland, CNN

Selfies weren’t a common practice when humanity first reached the moon.

Neil Armstrong was the first man and the first photographer on the lunar surface. All the photos he took, including the iconic boot print, were of fellow NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

But Armstrong’s face and other details of the mission were finally revealed in 2019, when photographer Andy Saunders used an enhancement technique called stacking to produce the clearest, composite image of Armstrong’s iconic excursion.

Since then, Saunders has applied his technique to 400 images from the Apollo program. His book of images, “Apollo Remastered,” was published in September.

“I want people to feel like this is as close as they can get to walking on the moon themselves,” Saunders told CNN.

During his 10,000 hours of working on Apollo images, Saunders set himself another task: solving the case of the missing lunar golf ball.

Defying gravity

In 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to journey to space — and 10 years later, he was the first person to play golf on the moon.

The late NASA astronaut, known for his zest for life, smuggled a custom 6-iron clubhead and some golf balls to the moon during Apollo 14.

At the end of a nine-hour walk on the lunar surface, Shepard stuck the head on the end of a sampling tool and literally swung for the moon — one-handed, of course.

Proud of his second shot after an initial slice into a crater, Shepard said the golf ball sailed for “miles and miles and miles.”

Now, Saunders has determined just how far Shepard’s shot traveled and where the golf ball likely still sits on the moon — and it’s not as far as anyone thought.

Meanwhile, the Artemis I mission is ready to take a final lap around the moon before setting a return course to Earth next week — and the Orion spacecraft is providing plenty of glimpses from its historic journey along the way.

Fantastic creatures

In Kenya’s oldest park, rare prehistoric-looking elephants bearing massive tusks stand out among the “theater of the wild.”

Conservationist Joseph Kyalo grew up watching the wandering giants, known as Super Tuskers, along the protected area of the Tsavo East National Park.

These pachyderms have tusks that weigh over 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and are so long they usually graze the ground. But these eye-catching features also make the elephants the prime target of ivory poachers.

Kyalo and other members of the nonprofit Tsavo Trust aim to protect the Super Tuskers and grow their dwindling population.

A long time ago

Thousands of slate pieces shaped and engraved to look like owls have been found in tombs and pits across Portugal and Spain for more than a century.

After puzzling over them for decades, researchers have finally determined the artifacts served a playful purpose: as toys.

Children made and used the adorable owls, which included a spot just right for a tuft of feathers atop the head, around 5,000 years ago.

The slate pieces are in good company with a number of ancient finds that might have once delighted children across the ages.

Other worlds

The James Webb Space Telescope, which can detect incredibly distant galaxies, has been eyeing cosmic objects a little bit closer to home.

The space observatory turned its infrared gaze to Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, to peer through the thick haze of its atmosphere and spy dreamy clouds.

The intriguing world is the only moon to harbor a dense atmosphere and has Earth-like rivers and lakes on its surface.

Meanwhile, during a visit to NASA headquarters in Washington, Vice President Kamala Harris and French President Emmanuel Macron were among the first to see a new Webb image depicting the beautiful chaos of entangled, merging galaxies.

Wild kingdom

Photos of a rare snow leopard, huddling golden snub-nosed monkeys and a playful polar bear cub are just some of the images short-listed for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award 2022.

The 25 powerful images act like a tour of nature’s hidden corners around the world. Endangered species and animals threatened by the climate crisis take center stage, spotlighting their need for help.

One photo shows a fish trapped inside a rubber glove, revealing how discarded items can infiltrate places that should be havens for wildlife.

For ideas on how to minimize your role in the climate crisis and reduce your eco-anxiety, sign up for CNN’s Life, But Greener limited newsletter series.


These stories might make you do a double take:

— Bats aren’t that different from heavy metal singers. Both use the same low-frequency “growling” technique when they vocalize, according to new research.

— A wayward star became a snack for a supermassive black hole, creating a rare cosmic event that splashed a bright flash across our night sky billions of years later.

— The remains of a previously unknown dinosaur with an unusually flat head have been found on an island home to dwarfed prehistoric creatures.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Like what you’ve read? Oh, but there’s more. Sign up here to receive in your inbox the next edition of Wonder Theory, brought to you by CNN Space and Science writers Ashley Strickland and Katie Hunt. They find wonder in planets beyond our solar system and discoveries from the ancient world.

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