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  • illustration of New Horizons journey to Pluto
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  • Feature

    Rendezvous with Pluto

    View timeline

    Tiny, far-flung Pluto is about to have a visitor — at least for a few hours.

    On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will reach the dwarf planet and try to learn all it can about Pluto and its five known moons. Then the probe will leave Pluto behind, vanishing into the frigid darkness beyond the planets.

    In its wake, New Horizons will introduce Earth to the...

    06/12/2015 - 11:55 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Reviews & Previews

    Catching Particle Fever

    There’s a brilliant dreamlike sequence about halfway through the documentary Particle Fever, when theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed enters his building at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J., looking troubled. Cartoon equations and figures swirl around his head. As he walks upstairs to his office and starts to work, the building’s windows fall away. Shortly thereafter,...

    02/22/2014 - 14:22 Particle Physics
  • Feature

    Deep network

    Gas bubbles effervesce from a mound of muck on the seafloor in a deep submarine canyon off the west coast of Canada. Microbes beneath the sediment belch the bubbles after feasting on the ancient remains of algae, sea critters and their poop: a primordial stew that’s been simmering since long before humans walked the Earth.

    This gassy oasis attracts an odd collection of critters. Worms...

    10/04/2013 - 15:00 Earth, Technology
  • Feature

    Breaking it Down

    Suppose there was a fourth little pig. This one was a physicist. Unlike his brother the engineer, who built a house out of tried-and-true bricks, the physicist pig chose a building material by doing calculations based on fundamental principles. He settled on a substance made from silicon and oxygen, an abundant material with high bond strength and the aesthetic bonus of transparency. It was...

    01/29/2010 - 14:02
  • News

    Isotope crisis threatens medical care

    Within the next two weeks, the vast majority of radioactive-imaging medical tests could be delayed or replaced by less desirable procedures. The reason: temporary shutdowns of Canadian and Dutch reactors that together normally provide some 70 percent of the world’s supplies of the isotope molybdenum-99 and at least 80 percent of North American supplies.

    Each week, U.S. doctors...

    08/14/2009 - 12:39 Technology, Humans & Society, Chemistry, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Science News of the Year 2005

    Science News of Yesteryear

    Anthropology & Archaeology

    Astronomy

    Behavior

    Biomedicine

    Botany & Zoology

    Cell & Molecular Biology

    Chemistry

    ...
    12/20/2005 - 03:53 Humans & Society
  • Feature

    Images from the Edge

    David Schiminovich stared at a gallery of spiral galaxies as though he had never seen anything like them before. Indeed, no one had. He sat downloading the newly collected images in a narrow room overlooking a cavernous space at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In that space, the mirror for the Palomar Telescope—until the mid 1970s, the world's largest telescope—had been...

    02/15/2005 - 18:19 Astronomy
  • Feature

    Infrasonic Symphony

    "Let me start off with a riddle," says NASA scientist Allan J. Zuckerwar. In his office in Hampton, Va., he rattles off items as dissimilar as rhinoceroses, supersonic aircraft, and hurricanes. "Now, what do they have in common?" The answer, Zuckerwar explains, is that each one generates silent infrasound—long sound waves at a frequency below 20 hertz. People can't hear anything below that...

    01/03/2004 - 14:55 Earth
  • Food for Thought

    Calling All Cows

    Last May, tissues from the carcass of a North American cow turned up positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy–the ailment responsible for mad cow disease. Within hours, the Canadian government traced the animal to the Alberta farm where it had been raised for its 8 years of life. In short order, other members of its herd were quarantined.

    What made this...

    10/01/2003 - 16:55 Agriculture
  • Feature

    Great Computations

    Computers at home or in the office often sit idle for minutes, hours, or days at a time. The Internet now allows researchers to take advantage of this enormous reservoir of unused computer power.

    More than 1.6 million people have downloaded software to sift through signals collected by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico as part of a search for signs of intelligent...

    09/06/2002 - 17:54 Numbers