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  • News

    New ‘Poké Ball’ robot catches deep-sea critters without harming them

    Like a submarine Poké Ball, a new robotic device gently captures and releases deep-sea creatures without a scratch. This critter catcher could be decked out with cameras and other sensors to give scientists an unprecedented view of life in one of Earth’s most mysterious environments. 

    The contraption, designed to be mounted on a remotely operated underwater vehicle, folds into a 12-sided...

    07/18/2018 - 14:00 Animals, Oceans, Technology
  • Feature

    The brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques during sleep

    Neuroscientist Barbara Bendlin studies the brain as Alzheimer’s disease develops. When she goes home, she tries to leave her work in the lab. But one recent research project has crossed into her personal life: She now takes sleep much more seriously.

    Bendlin works at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a study of more than 1,500...

    07/15/2018 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • Feature

    The ecosystem that controls a galaxy’s future is coming into focus

    There’s more to a galaxy than meets the eye. Galaxies’ bright stars seem to spiral serenely against the dark backdrop of space. But a more careful look reveals a whole lot of mayhem.

    “Galaxies are just like you and me,” Jessica Werk, an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in January at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. “They live their lives in a...

    07/12/2018 - 07:00 Astronomy, Cosmology
  • News in Brief

    Bloodflowers’ risk to monarchs could multiply as climate changes

    Climate change could make a showy invasive milkweed called a bloodflower even more of a menace for monarch butterflies than it already is.

    Monarch caterpillars, which feed on plants in the milkweed family, readily feast on Asclepias curassavica. Gardeners in the southern United States plant it for its showy orange blooms, yet the species “is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare,” says...

    07/10/2018 - 18:58 Climate, Ecology, Animals
  • Science Visualized

    How a particle accelerator helped recover tarnished 19th century images

    With the aid of a particle accelerator, scientists are bringing back ghosts from the past, revealing portraits hidden underneath the tarnished surface of two roughly 150-year-old silver photographic plates.

    Researchers used an accelerator called a synchrotron to produce strong, but nondamaging beams of X-rays to scan the damaged photographs, called daguerreotypes, and map their chemical...

    07/09/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics
  • News

    This invasive tick can clone itself and suck livestock dry

    Tadhgh Rainey has seen his share of bloodsuckers. As an entomologist at the Hunterdon County Health Services in Flemington, N.J., he’s the person to talk to about all things mosquitoes and ticks. But he had never seen anything like the infestation on a pet sheep in September 2017.

    When he and his colleague entered the sheep’s enclosure, “we almost immediately got covered in ticks,” he...

    06/29/2018 - 07:00 Animals
  • Science Ticker

    Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrives at the asteroid Ryugu

    After more than three years’ lonely travel through the solar system, the Japanese spacefaring robot Hayabusa2 has reached its home-away-from-home for the next 18 months: the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu.

    The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency on June 27 confirmed Hayabusa2's arrival at the kilometer-wide boulder, which circles the sun between Earth and Mars. The spacecraft is now...

    06/27/2018 - 14:58 Astronomy, Planetary Science, Technology
  • News

    Mars got its crust quickly

    Mars was a fully formed planet — crust and all — within just 20 million years of the solar system’s birth. That rapid formation means the Red Planet probably got a 100-million-year jump on Earth in terms of habitability, new research suggests.

    Geochemical analyses of crystals of the mineral zircon extracted from Martian meteorites reveal that Mars had formed its earliest crust by 4.547...

    06/27/2018 - 13:00 Planetary Science, Earth
  • Feature

    How to make CAR-T cell therapies for cancer safer and more effective

    This wasn’t 15-year-old Connor McMahon’s first time in the hospital. But the 107° fever he’d been running for three days had his dad frightened. The teen was hallucinating, talking gibberish and spouting curses.

    “I thought he was going to die,” says Connor’s father, Don McMahon, who stayed close as his son received and recovered from an experimental treatment for leukemia. “It was really...

    06/27/2018 - 09:00 Cancer, Health, Clinical Trials
  • Feature

    Why won’t this debate about an ancient cold snap die?

    Around 13,000 years ago, Earth was emerging from its last great ice age. The vast frozen sheets that had covered much of North America, Europe and Asia for thousands of years were retreating. Giant mammals — steppe bison, woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats — grazed or hunted across tundra and grasslands. A Paleo-Indian group of hunter-gatherers who eventually gave rise to the Clovis people...

    06/26/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Earth, Paleontology