last night joanna and i watched a few programs on the national geographic channel - the first one was about discoveries made in space from the Hubble Telescope. The second was about advances in the medical field related to reviving people after they've died - using extended periods of induced hypothermia. they were both really good programs that were fun and interesting to watch. needless to say we ended up going to bed WAY too late.
anyway, the Hubble Telescope program was fascinating. it touched on new discoveries like 'dark matter' (the invisible, cloudy structures that hold together galaxies) and 'dark energy' (one scientist called it the Dr. Hyde of gravity - which is causing the universe to expand at an exelerated rate). Supposedly this dark energy is pulling the universe apart at an exponentially excelerated rate that will eventially rip apart all atomic matter (that's the hypothesis - they referred to it as "the big rip").
they're getting ready to send a new telescope out that will be positioned between the earth, moon, and sun. it will be able to point to areas of space that we have not been able to look at and they're specifically going to be searching the universe for Earth-like planets that exhibit signs of life.
here's a link to an article about the way the black and white hubble images are interpreted scientifically to create these beautiful images. An art historian did her thesis on the artisitic qualities of the images.