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  • The Science Life

    Balloons will broadcast the 2017 solar eclipse live from on high

    Only a lucky few have watched a solar eclipse from above the Earth. Angela Des Jardins wants to bring that view to everyone.

    On August 21, Des Jardins, an astrophysicist at Montana State University in Bozeman, will help broadcast the first livestream of a total solar eclipse from the edge of space. She and more than 50 groups across the United States will launch high-altitude balloons to...

    07/26/2017 - 13:30 Astronomy, Networks, Science & Society
  • August 5, 2017

    07/26/2017 - 13:17
  • Editor's Note

    Expert eavesdroppers occasionally catch a break

    In July of 1972, NASA launched the first Landsat satellite into orbit around Earth. Since then, the spacecraft and its successors have transformed our understanding of Antarctica (and the rest of the planet, too). In the first year following the launch, Landsat’s images of the faraway continent showed “uncharted mountain ranges, vast ice movements and errors in maps as little as two years old...

    07/26/2017 - 13:15 Earth, Science & Society
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question hominid family tree

    Hominid hubbub

    In “Hominid roots may go back to Europe” (SN: 6/24/17, p. 9), Bruce Bower reported that the teeth of Graecopithecus, a chimp-sized primate that lived in southeastern Europe 7 million years ago, suggest it was a member of the human evolutionary family.

    “Is it appropriate to use the terms ‘hominid’ and ‘ape’ as if the two are mutually exclusive categories?” asked online...

    07/26/2017 - 13:04 Anthropology, Physics, Animals
  • Feature

    Perovskites power up the solar industry

    Tsutomu Miyasaka was on a mission to build a better solar cell. It was the early 2000s, and the Japanese scientist wanted to replace the delicate molecules that he was using to capture sunlight with a sturdier, more effective option.

    So when a student told him about an unfamiliar material with unusual properties, Miyasaka had to try it. The material was “very strange,” he says, but he...

    07/26/2017 - 12:00 Materials, Sustainability, Chemistry
  • News

    More hints of Martian hot springs may hold promise for Mars 2020 mission

    Ancient hot springs may have bubbled up at a spot just south of the Martian equator. Left-behind mineral deposits described in a new study are not the first evidence of such features on Mars. But if confirmed, the discovery could affect where NASA’s Mars 2020 mission rover lands to start its hunt for signs of life.

    The spot scrutinized in the new study is called Margaritifer Terra. This...

    07/26/2017 - 11:10 Planetary Science
  • News

    Quantum tunneling takes time, new study shows

    Quantum particles can burrow through barriers that should be impenetrable — but they don’t do it instantaneously, a new experiment suggests.

    The process, known as quantum tunneling, takes place extremely quickly, making it difficult to confirm whether it takes any time at all. Now, in a study of electrons escaping from their atoms, scientists have pinpointed how long the particles take...

    07/26/2017 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Most football players who donated their brains to science had traumatic injury

    A majority of football players whose brains were donated for research suffered a degenerative brain disease during their lives, according to the largest sample of players ever studied. The finding provides more evidence that the repetitive injuries to the brain sustained while playing American football are associated with the disease, researchers say.

    Of 202 deceased former football...

    07/25/2017 - 16:28 Mental Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Add penis bacteria to the list of HIV risk factors

    Out-of-whack microbes in the vagina can raise HIV risk — and now there’s evidence that the makeup of the penis microbiome matters, too. The greater the number of anaerobic bacteria tucked under the foreskin, the more likely an uncircumcised man is to become infected with the virus, researchers report July 25 in mBio.

    “This mirrors what’s been seen in women, but it’s the first study of...

    07/25/2017 - 12:33 Health
  • Feature

    How earthquake scientists eavesdrop on North Korea’s nuclear blasts

    On September 9 of last year, in the middle of the morning, seismometers began lighting up around East Asia. From South Korea to Russia to Japan, geophysical instruments recorded squiggles as seismic waves passed through and shook the ground. It looked as if an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 had just happened. But the ground shaking had originated at North Korea’s nuclear weapons test site...

    07/25/2017 - 12:00 Earth