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  • News

    NASA gets ready to launch the first lander to investigate Mars’ insides

    Mars is about to get its first internal checkup. The InSight lander, set to launch at 7:05 a.m. EDT on May 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, will probe the Red Planet’s innards by tracking seismic waves and taking its temperature.

    Finding out what Mars’ interior is like could help scientists learn how the Red Planet formed 4.5 billion years ago, and how other rocky planets...

    05/03/2018 - 07:00 Planetary Science
  • News

    Finger fossil puts people in Arabia at least 86,000 years ago

    A single human finger bone from at least 86,000 years ago points to Arabia as a key destination for Stone Age excursions out of Africa that allowed people to rapidly spread across Asia.

    Excavations at Al Wusta, a site in Saudi Arabia’s Nefud desert, produced this diminutive discovery. It’s the oldest known Homo sapiens fossil outside of Africa and the narrow strip of the Middle East that...

    04/09/2018 - 11:00 Anthropology, Archaeology, Evolution
  • News in Brief

    Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

    Physicist Stephen Hawking, a black hole whisperer who divined secrets of the universe’s most inscrutable objects, died March 14 at age 76. In addition to his scientific research, Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, was known for his popular science books, including the best-selling A Brief History of Time, which captivated readers with lucid explanations of the universe’s...

    03/14/2018 - 10:06 Cosmology, Physics
  • 50 years ago, early organ transplants brought triumph and tragedy

    Kidneys lead the field

    While the drama of human heart transplants has grasped the public interest, kidney transplants are ahead in the field…. Although only three little girls are now surviving liver transplants, the liver is a promising field for replacement…. The donor, of course, must be dead; no one can live without his liver. — Science News, March 2, 1968

    Update

    Kidney...

    02/22/2018 - 07:00 Health
  • Feature

    New fossils are redefining what makes a dinosaur

    “There’s a very faint dimple here,” Sterling Nesbitt says, holding up a palm-sized fossil to the light. The fossil, a pelvic bone, belonged to a creature called Teleocrater rhadinus. The slender, 2-meter-long reptile ran on all fours and lived 245 million years ago, about 10 million to 15 million years before scientists think dinosaurs first appeared.

    Nesbitt, a paleontologist at...

    02/21/2018 - 16:00 Paleontology, Evolution
  • Feature

    How to build a human brain

    In a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.

    When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.

    The...

    02/20/2018 - 15:30 Human Development
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers ask about supernovas, dark energy and more

    Dying light

    Supernova iPTF14hls has erupted continually since its discovery in 2014, fluctuating in brightness at least five times. It may have had two other outbursts in the past, Lisa Grossman reported in “This star cheated death, exploding again and again” (SN: 12/9/17, p. 8).

    Reddit user Bobgushmore wondered if the exploding star might actually be a supernova impostor similar to...

    02/07/2018 - 15:30 Astronomy, Physics, Science & Society
  • Feature

    How to keep humans from ruining the search for life on Mars

    T he Okarian rover was in trouble. The yellow Humvee was making slow progress across a frigid, otherworldly landscape when planetary scientist Pascal Lee felt the rover tilt backward. Out the windshield, Lee, director of NASA’s Haughton Mars Project, saw only sky. The rear treads had broken through a crack in the sea ice and were sinking into the cold water.

    True, there are signs of...

    01/10/2018 - 11:30 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • Year in Review

    Watch our most-viewed videos of 2017

    No story on the Science News website is complete without visuals. And when it comes to videos, those visuals have lives of their own on other platforms. In addition to incorporating videos into some of our articles, we also post videos to the Science News YouTube channel and the Science News magazine Facebook page, where thousands of people watch them each year.

    We tackled all manner of...

    12/29/2017 - 07:00 Science & Society, Physics, Animals, Astronomy
  • Letters to the Editor

    These are the most-read Science News stories of 2017

    The Science News website attracted millions of visitors in 2017. The lists below name the most-read online stories outside of our Top 10 stories of the year, plus the most popular stories for each of our blogs.

    Top stories

    1. The blue wings of this dragonfly may be surprisingly aliveTiny tubes between veins in the shimmery blue wings of morpho dragonflies (shown above) may be respiratory...

    12/13/2017 - 12:00 Science & Society, Astronomy, Animals