Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, named for the astronomers who found it, is about a thousand times more massive than other comets and between 62 and 124 miles (100 and 200 kilometers) across. This illustration shows Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein as it might look in the outer solar system. - J. da Silva/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA
Originally Published: 31 JUL 21 11:00 ET
By Ashley Strickland, CNN
(CNN) -- Messengers from the past are all around us.
In our solar system, comets are the icy leftovers from when the sun and planets formed. They hold the mysteries of that primordial soup.
The murky beginning of life on Earth is thought to be trapped within the deepest, oldest rocks, but scientists wonder whether everything made it into the record.
New opportunities and research techniques are allowing us to peer into the past and answer questions originating from times so distant that they are difficult to fathom.
Here are some of the revelations made possible by science this week.
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, named for the astronomers who found it, is about a thousand times more massive than other comets and between 62 and 124 miles (100 and 200 kilometers) across.
The unusual comet has been making its way toward our sun for millions of years. It likely came from the Oort Cloud, the birthplace of icy, ancient comets and a place more distant from the sun than anything in our solar system. Just imagine what scientists will learn as they observe it for years to come.
Historians have been able to re-create the home of Thomas Cromwell, notorious chief minister to England's King Henry VIII -- and it turns out that Cromwell and his family lived in a very, very, very fine house (but it's unknown if they kept cats in the yard). Cromwell was instrumental in passing reforms that allowed the King his many infamous marriage annulments.
An artist's impression of the building depicts the luxurious 16th-century London mansion, something that cost £1,600 to build from scratch in 1535 -- can you guess how much that is now?
While studying the urns of an ancient society, researchers stumbled upon the remains of a Bronze Age woman and her twin babies.
The young woman lived along the Danube River in Hungary about 4,000 years ago. Her urn also contained items that suggested she was a high-ranking member in the Bronze Age Vatya culture. An analysis of her bone remnants revealed more surprises.
Previously, cremated remains have been overlooked in the quest to understand ancient societies. But new research techniques are allowing scientists to understand customs, behaviors and even travel patterns of cultures that practiced cremation.
The Arctic may seem like it's permanently chilly, but Greenland is experiencing surging temperatures that have triggered its most significant melting event of the year.
-- Boeing's Starliner spacecraft, designed to carry NASA astronauts, will launch an uncrewed test flight next week after a previous botched attempt -- and a slight delay after trouble on the International Space Station.