The search for extraterrestrial life in the water worlds close to home

The search for extraterrestrial life in the water worlds close to home

The discovery of seven exoplanets around a star 40 light years from our Sun has raised the possibility that they could harbour life. Why? Because the astronomers who made the discovery believe some of the planets may have liquid water. And on Earth, wherever there is liquid water, there is life. But we believe we can look much closer to Earth

Read More

Earth-Size Planets: The Newest, Weirdest Generation

Earth-Size Planets: The Newest, Weirdest Generation

Scientists are pondering the possibilities after this week’s announcement: the discovery of seven worlds orbiting a small, cool star some 40 light-years away, all of them in the ballpark of our home planet in terms of their heft (mass) and size (diameter).

Read More

Rising life expectancy and why we need to rethink the meaning of old age

Rising life expectancy and why we need to rethink the meaning of old age

The life expectancy of human beings will soon exceed 90 years for the first time, scientists have predicted. An international study suggests that people will be living far longer in 2030, with the gap between men and women starting to close.

Read More

NASA fires a rocket into the northern lights, for science!

NASA fires a rocket into the northern lights, for science!

Not only is it aurora season in Alaska, its sounding rocket season! NASA started launching a series of five sounding rockets from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska to study the aurora. The first of these rockets for this year, a Black Brant IX, was launched in the early morning hours of February 22, 2017.

Read More

You are living inside a massive, musical instrument – and here’s what it sounds like

You are living inside a massive, musical instrument – and here’s what it sounds like

The ancients believed that the Earth was surrounded by celestial spheres, which produced divine music when they moved. We lived, so to speak, in a huge musical instrument. This may sound silly but modern science has proved them right to a certain extent. Satellites recording sound waves resonating with the Earth’s magnetosphere – the magnetic bubble that protects us from space radiation – show that we are indeed living inside a massive, magnetic musical instrument.

Read More

It might be possible to refreeze the ice caps to slow global warming

It might be possible to refreeze the ice caps to slow global warming

One of the most worrisome aspects of Climate Change is the role played by positive feedback mechanisms. In addition to global temperatures rising because of increased carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, there is the added push created by deforestation, ocean acidification, and (most notably) the disappearance of the Arctic Polar Ice Cap.

Read More

Get ready for the first pictures of a black hole's event horizon

Get ready for the first pictures of a black hole's event horizon

It might sound trite to say that the Universe is full of mysteries. But it’s true. - Chief among them are things like Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and of course, our old friends the Black Holes. Black Holes may be the most interesting of them all, and the effort to understand them—and observe them—is ongoing.

Read More

NASA's Fermi Finds Possible Dark Matter Ties in Andromeda Galaxy

NASA's Fermi Finds Possible Dark Matter Ties in Andromeda Galaxy

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Read More

Sad about Pluto? How about 110 planets in the solar system instead?

Sad about Pluto? How about 110 planets in the solar system instead?

In 2006, during their 26th General Assembly, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a formal definition of the term “planet”. This was done in the hopes of dispelling ambiguity over which bodies should be designated as “planets”, an issue that had plagued astronomers ever since they discovered objects beyond the orbit of Neptune that were comparable in size to Pluto.

Read More

Here's an aerial view of a massive iceberg shearing away from Antarctica

Here's an aerial view of a massive iceberg shearing away from Antarctica

Located along the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula is the Larsen Ice Shelf. Named after the Norwegian Captain who explored the ice front back in 1893, this ice shelf has been monitored for decades due to its close connection with rising global temperatures. Essentially, since the 1990s, the shelf has been breaking apart, causing collapses of considerable intensity.

Read More

Recovering from disasters: Social networks matter more than bottled water and batteries

Recovering from disasters: Social networks matter more than bottled water and batteries

Standard advice about preparing for disasters focuses on building shelters and stockpiling things like food, water and batteries. But resilience - the ability to recover from shocks, including natural disasters - comes from our connections to others, and not from physical infrastructure or disaster kits.

Read More

Planet 9 can't run forever. Two asteroids give up some clues

Planet 9 can't run forever. Two asteroids give up some clues

Last year, Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin found indirect evidence for the existence of a large planet in the outer reaches of our Solar System — likely located out past Pluto — and since then, the search has been on. The latest research continues to show signs of an unseen planet, the hypothetical Planet 9.

Read More

United Arab Emirates has a plan to colonize mars with 600.000 people in 100 years

United Arab Emirates has a plan to colonize mars with 600.000 people in 100 years

Elon Musk has been rather outspoken in recent years about his plan to create a human settlement on Mars. Stressing the need for a “backup location” for humanity, he has dedicated his company (SpaceX) to the creation of a reusable spacecraft (aka. the Interplanetary Transport System) that in the coming decades will be able to transport one-hundred people at a time to Mars.

Read More

Here's something we never thought we'd see on a comet: shifting dunes

Here's something we never thought we'd see on a comet: shifting dunes

The Rosetta mission’s close-up views of the curiously-shaped Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko have already changed some long-held ideas about comets. But here’s more: there’s a ‘wind’ blowing across the comet’s surface, creating moving shifting dunes.

Read More

Drug treatment could combat hearing loss

Drug treatment could combat hearing loss

Within the inner ear, thousands of hair cells detect sound waves and translate them into nerve signals that allow us to hear speech, music, and other everyday sounds. Damage to these cells is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, which affects 48 million Americans.

Read More

Huge news, seven earth-sized worlds orbiting a red dwarf, three in the habitable zone

Huge news, seven earth-sized worlds orbiting a red dwarf, three in the habitable zone

In what is surely the biggest news since the hunt for exoplanets began, NASA announced today the discovery of a system of seven exoplanets orbiting the nearby star of TRAPPIST-1. Discovered by a team of astronomers using data from the TRAPPIST telescope in Chile and the Spitzer Space Telescope, this find is especially exciting since all of these planets are believed to be Earth-sized and terrestrial (i.e. rocky).

Read More