quartz spheres with Einstein photo

TESTING EINSTEIN  The Gravity Probe B mission used almost perfect spheres made of quartz to measure two predicted effects of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. 

illustration of Earth's magnetic field

MAGNETIC SHIELD  The planet’s magnetic field isn’t on the cusp of a catastrophic flip of the magnetic poles, new lava analysis suggest. A magnetic reversal would weaken Earth’s magnetic field, causing auroras closer to the equator, as seen in this artist’s illustration. 

E. coli K12 bacterium

LOSS OF APPETITE  Experiments show that helpful gut bacteria like this E. coli K12 produce proteins that could influence the appetite of mice and rats.

Phobos in 1977

DOOMED MOON Stickney crater (left) on Phobos, seen in this 1977 image from Viking 1, helped researchers predict that the moon will crumble into a ring around the Red Planet.

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