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  • Science Ticker

    MESSENGER mission ends with crash landing on Mercury

    The MESSENGER spacecraft crashed into the surface of Mercury on April 30, bringing its four-year exploration of the innermost planet to a meteoric finale. The planned rendezvous with the surface of the sun-scorched world came after the probe exhausted the last of its fuel and succumbed to gravity’s pull.

    Launched in 2004, MESSENGER is...

    04/30/2015 - 15:44 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Pluto’s landscapes come into view as New Horizons closes in

    The landscapes of Pluto are starting to take shape. Bright and dark regions rotate in and out of view in new images from the New Horizons spacecraft, scheduled to buzz Pluto on July 14. A bright spot at Pluto’s north pole might be a never-before-seen polar ice cap, researchers reported at a April 29 news conference. Mission scientists won’t know...

    04/29/2015 - 18:28 Planetary Science
  • Wild Things

    Your toy stegosaurus may be a girl

    Are your toy dinosaurs boys or girls? One Science News editor decided her plush stegosaurus was male and named him Franklin. It was as good a guess as any since there’s really no way to tell a dinosaur’s gender just by looking at it. Even paleontologists can’t always determine gender. Female...

    04/22/2015 - 14:00 Paleontology, Evolution
  • Wild Things

    Growth of mining on land may promote invasions at sea

    Some 90 percent of the world’s trade spends at least part of its journey at sea. Ships carry everything from oil to...

    04/21/2015 - 19:46 Animals, Oceans
  • Feature

    Weather forecasting is getting a high-speed makeover

    In late January, a massive snowstorm drifted toward New York City. Meteorologists warned that a historic blizzard could soon cripple the Big Apple, potentially burying the city under 60 centimeters of snow overnight. Governor Andrew Cuomo took drastic action, declaring a state of emergency for several counties and shutting down the city that never sleeps. For the first time in its 110-year...

    04/17/2015 - 13:35 Climate
  • Science Visualized

    How to reconstruct the face of an extinct human ancestor

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    Cícero Moraes is adding new portraits to the human family album. The 3-D designer based in Sinop, Brazil, has digitally reconstructed the faces of over 15 extinct hominid species, including Paranthropus boisei, a distant cousin to modern humans. The faces are on display at the University of Padua in Italy (see "...

    03/24/2015 - 11:00 Anthropology, Human Evolution
  • Exhibit

    The expressive face of human history on display

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    One bust depicts a gaunt-faced man with a beaked nose and angular chin. Nearby, another has rounded cheeks and a softer nose and chin. But the two faces were both created based on the skull of one man, St. Anthony of Padua.

    The gaunt face, a reconstruction made 20 years ago, is closer to how St. Anthony appears in religious artwork. The...

    03/24/2015 - 11:00 Ancestry, Human Evolution, Science & Society
  • News

    Quantum links provide clues to causation

    In the quantum world, correlation can imply causation.

    A new experiment using particles of light shows that identifying a simple association between two variables is sufficient to determine whether one influences the other. This process to determine causality, described March 23 in Nature Physics, is surprisingly simple. In...

    03/23/2015 - 12:00 Quantum Physics
  • Feature

    Sam Ting tries to expose dark matter's mysteries

    In the near vacuum of outer space, each rare morsel of matter tells a story. A speedy proton may have been propelled by the shock wave of an exploding star. A stray electron may have teetered on the precipice of a black hole, only to be flung away in a powerful jet of searing gas.

    Since 2011, the International Space Station has housed an experiment that aims to decipher those origin...

    03/06/2015 - 12:27 Particle Physics, Cosmology
  • Wild Things

    Where an ant goes when it's gotta go

    Most of us think ants are unsanitary; it certainly seems that way when they’ve invaded our homes. But scientists have spotted ant behaviors that show that the insects are cleaner than you might think. Some ant species are known to form “kitchen middens” outside their nests, full of waste and fecal material. And in some species of...

    02/24/2015 - 12:17 Animals