There’s a planet just next door that could explain the origins of life in the universe. It was probably once covered in oceans (SN Online: 8/1/17). It may have been habitable for billions of years (SN Online: 8/26/16). Astronomers are desperate to land spacecraft there.
No, not Mars. That tantalizing planet is Venus. But despite all its appeal, Venus is one of the hardest places in the...
No anniversary list is ever complete. Just last month, for instance, my Top 10 scientific anniversaries of 2018 omitted the publication two centuries ago of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It should have at least received honorable mention.
Perhaps more egregious, though, was overlooking the 125th anniversary of the physics journal Physical Review. Since 1893, the Physical Review has...
Power within 30 years
Controlled thermonuclear fusion is moving so well that full-scale development could begin within five years, says Dr. David J. Rose....It might take 20 to 30 years beyond that before fusion could move into the power grid, though, he predicts. — Science News, February 17, 1968Update
Governments and private-sector start-ups are still trying to wrangle...
Letters to the Editor
Dying light02/07/2018 - 15:30 Astronomy, Physics, Science & Society
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...
I know a lot of adults who don’t like to cook, but I’ve never met a child who doesn’t enjoy playing with a toy kitchen — or one who doesn’t want to help chop vegetables for dinner. Other versions of practical play: A cousin, at the age of just 4 or 5, asked for only one thing for Christmas — a snow brush. And on a beach trip last year, I witnessed a duo of 2-year-olds squealing with...02/07/2018 - 15:30 Science & Society, Psychology, Anthropology
Like sailors and spelunkers, physicists know the power of a sturdy knot.
Some physicists have tied their hopes for a new generation of data storage to minuscule knotlike structures called skyrmions, which can form in magnetic materials. Incredibly tiny and tough to undo, magnetic skyrmions could help feed humankind’s hunger for ever-smaller electronics.
On traditional hard drives,...
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Campus life typically challenges students with new opportunities for learning, discovery — and intimacy with germs. Lots of germs.
That makes dormitories and their residents an ideal natural experiment to trace the germs’ paths. “You pack a bunch of college kids into a very small environment … we’re not known as being the cleanliest of people,” says sophomore Parker...
View the video
Toad versus bombardier beetle is almost a fair fight. Toads are hugely bigger, can tongue-strike in an eyeblink and swallow all kinds of nasty stuff. But bombardier beetles can shoot hot steam and noxious chemicals from their back ends.
In a lab face-off, 43 percent of Pheropsophus jessoensis bombardiers escaped alive after being swallowed by toads, a pair of...
What looks like a spider, but with a segmented rear plus a long spike of a tail, has turned up in amber that’s about 100 million years old.
Roughly the size of a peppercorn (not including the tail, which stretches several times the body length), this newly described extinct species lived in forests in what is now Myanmar during the dinosaur-rich Cretaceous Period.
Spiders as their...
Young children travel to fantasy worlds every day, packing just imaginations and a toy or two.
Some preschoolers scurry across ocean floors carrying toy versions of cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. Other kids trek to distant universes with miniature replicas of Star Wars robots R2-D2 and C-3PO. Throngs of youngsters fly on broomsticks and cast magic spells with Harry Potter and...