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  • News

    Bennu and Ryugu look like spinning tops and scientists want to know why

    WASHINGTON — New up-close images of Bennu have confirmed that the asteroid is shaped like a spinning top. That look, characterized by a raised equatorial ridge, is shared by other similarly sized asteroids in the solar system including Ryugu, currently being explored by Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft (SN Online: 6/27/18). NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at Bennu on December 3 (SN Online: 12...

    12/18/2018 - 14:04 Astronomy
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    12/18/2018 - 13:25
  • News

    New Horizons gears up for its close encounter with Ultima Thule

    Ultima Thule is one of the solar system’s most hermitlike homebodies. In the 4.6 billion years since the small icy world formed, astronomers think that it has never moved from its original orbit about 6.5 billion kilometers from the sun. And no other large object has ever come calling.

    That’s about to change.

    Just after midnight eastern time on January 1, NASA’s New Horizons...

    12/18/2018 - 10:00 Planetary Science
  • Science Visualized

    Erosion has erased most of Earth’s impact craters. Here are the survivors

    When it comes to impact craters, Earth is the pauper of the solar system.

    Even with a recent, still-to-be-confirmed crater discovery under Greenland’s ice, there are fewer than 200 known impact craters on the planet. Mars, for comparison, has hundreds of thousands.

    Produced by falling space rocks, most impact craters on Earth have been wiped away over time by wind, rain, shifting...

    12/18/2018 - 06:00 Earth
  • News

    These sound waves can levitate and move particles in new ways

    A new machine uses ultrasonic waves to make particles dance in midair like marionettes on (invisible) strings.

    Unlike other devices that also use sound radiation to manipulate matter, the new system can move several objects in different directions at once (SN: 4/19/14, p. 8). This kind of levitation technology, described online the week of December 17 in Proceedings of the National...

    12/17/2018 - 15:00 Physics, Technology
  • News

    Tumor ‘organoids’ may speed cancer treatment

    SAN DIEGO — Collecting cancer cells from patients and growing them into 3-D mini tumors could make it possible to quickly screen large numbers of potential drugs for ultra-rare cancers. Preliminary success with a new high-speed, high-volume approach is already guiding treatment decisions for some patients with recurring hard-to-treat cancers.

    “Believe it or not, for some rare cancers...

    12/17/2018 - 12:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Cells
  • Feature

    Top 10 stories of 2018: Climate change, gene-edited babies, hidden craters and more

    In 2018, we saw just how much power science has to make a real impact. 

    Science News’ top stories of the year include a literal impact — the hidden contours of what appears to be a massive crater created when a meteorite slammed into Greenland long ago. That discovery ranks among our Top 10 partly because it’s just cool, but also because it raises the tantalizing prospect of solving a...

    12/17/2018 - 08:36 Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    Half a degree stole the climate spotlight in 2018

    The grim reality of climate change grabbed center stage in 2018.

    This is the year we learned that the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming won’t be enough to forestall significant impacts of climate change. And a new field of research explicitly attributed some extreme weather events to human-caused climate change. This one-two punch made it clear that climate change isn’t just...

    12/17/2018 - 08:36 Climate, Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm

    A Chinese scientist surprised the world in late November by claiming he had created the first gene-edited babies, who at the time of the announcement were a few weeks old. Scientists and ethicists quickly responded with outrage.

    In an interview with the Associated Press and in a video posted November 25, Jiankui He announced that twin girls with a gene altered to reduce the risk of...

    12/17/2018 - 08:34 Genetics, Science & Society
  • Year in Review

    Crime solvers embraced genetic genealogy

    Every week, Ellen Greytak checks DNA profiles in a genealogy database. She’s not searching for long-lost relatives. She’s out to find family members of unknown assailants in rape and murder cases.

    Greytak is director of bioinformatics at Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Va. Since May, the company has used genetic genealogy, a forensic technique for tracking down suspects through their...

    12/17/2018 - 08:32 Genetics, Science & Society