Getting up close and personal with Patagonia's pumas

By Ashley Strickland, CNN

    (CNN) -- When things feel overwhelming, an escape into nature is just the ticket.

That's what happened for the film crew and scientists who worked on the CNN docuseries "Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World" after the pandemic began.

"I think it kept us dreaming that we could go and actually do it," Chilean director and producer René Araneda said.

For some members of the team, stepping into the wilds of Chile and Argentina was the first time they had left their homes in months. But nothing had changed for the diverse species that call the ice fields, mountains and forests home.

Mindful of their role as visitors, small film crews kept a respectful distance -- and that's when they captured cinematic magic.


Fantastic creatures


If you've been enjoying the breathtaking views of CNN's "Patagonia" series, things were even wilder behind the scenes.

During filming in Chile's Torres del Paine National Park, a curious male puma wandered extremely close as a crew was waiting for a well-known female puma called Supermom to appear. Pumas don't see humans as prey, but the team kept still until the animal focused on some guanacos in the distance.

In sheltered waters off the Gulf of Corcovado, marine biologist Carla Christie witnessed elusive Chilean dolphins as they swam in front of her boat. Rare underwater footage shows affectionate moments between the shy dolphins, such as a female and her calf.

Learn more during Sunday's final episode at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The series finale will be available Monday on CNNgo. You can also access CNNgo via our CNN app.


Across the universe


One of the brightest stars in our sky is having a tough time.

Betelgeuse, a red supergiant that looks like a ruby in the Orion constellation, suddenly began to dim in 2019 -- an event that puzzled astronomers.

Now, data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories has revealed the star experienced a massive eruption and lost a big chunk of its visible surface. Astronomers have never seen anything like it before.

Betelgeuse is on the slow road to recovery, and while its surface seems to be returning to normal, the star's interior is "bouncing" as it struggles to rebuild.


Curiosities


A 2,300-year-old text that had perplexed scholars now has one less secret.

The Kao Gong Ji was written around 300 BC and is the oldest known technical encyclopedia. Inside are six chemistry formulas for mixing bronze and instructions for how to make items such as swords, bells, axes, knives and mirrors.

But researchers couldn't decipher a linguistic riddle in the text for more than 100 years, namely the identity of two ingredients called "jin" and "xi."

Thanks to a new chemical analysis of ancient coins, two scientists may have finally solved the mystery of the missing metals.


Wild kingdom


Make way for the wolves.

Researchers from across the United States have proposed sanctuary space dedicated to gray wolves and other animals such as beavers. The protected regions, across 11 Western states, would include Yellowstone National Park and the Northern and Southern Rockies.

The goal of this project, known as the Western Rewilding Network, is to create protected places for keystone species critical to ecosystems across the American West.

Gray wolves and beavers were once the victims of overhunting. Both animals make incredibly valuable contributions to their environments -- which becomes even more apparent when they disappear.


Climate changed


The climate crisis is heating up at both ends of the globe.

The Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, according to new research. Heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels cause this phenomenon, called Arctic amplification.

And a first-of-its-kind study on Antarctica from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has shown the world's largest ice sheet is crumbling more rapidly than previously thought.

Meanwhile, a band of billionaires are on a treasure hunt in Greenland as ice melts -- and their quest could provide a solution. Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, among others, believe mineral deposits there are significant enoughtopower hundreds of millions of electric vehicles.


Explorations


These stories might blow your mind:

-- A new image captured by the Gemini North telescope shows the cosmic dance of the Butterfly galaxies as they merge over millions of years.

-- Archaeologists have uncovered a treasure trove of artifacts and fertility statuettes steps away from one of Italy's hot spring destinations.

-- This summer is flying by, and we've got the science to prove it. Researchers have recorded the shortest day on Earth since the invention of the atomic clock.

If you snapped photos of the last supermoon of the year on Thursday, share them on social media with the hashtag #NASAMoonSnap -- the phrase NASA is using to track lunar-inspired content leading up to the launch of Artemis I in late summer. Let the countdown begin!

The-CNN-Wire
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