To cover humankind’s first steps on the moon, Science News needed a backup plan.
“We didn’t know what kind of pictures we’d get, when we would get them, who we would get them from,” says Kendrick Frazier, who joined Science News as a writer just two months before Apollo 11 touched down on lunar soil. So the staff took pictures of their home television screens during the July 20, 1969...
Once on the moon, Apollo astronauts had two major goals: get themselves and the moon rocks home safe.
To make space on the cramped lunar modules for the hundreds of kilograms of moon samples, the astronauts had to go full Marie Kondo. Anything that wasn’t essential for the ride home got tossed: cameras, hammocks, boots and trash. Downsizing also meant abandoning big stuff, like moon...
Reviews & Previews
Astronomy lovers are not the only ones excited about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Publishers are also taking note, serving up a pile of books to mark the occasion.
Are you looking for a general overview of the birth of the U.S. space program? Would you rather geek out on the technical details of the Apollo missions? How about flipping through a collection of photographs from...
From the beginning, the moon has been humankind’s perpetual nighttime companion.
Accompanied by innumerable points of light, the moon’s luminous disk hovered overhead like a dim substitute for the sun, just with a shape not so constant. Rather the moon waxed and waned, diminishing to a barely discernible sliver before disappearing and then gradually restoring itself to fullness.
A skull found in a cliffside cave on Greece’s southern coast in 1978 represents the oldest Homo sapiens fossil outside Africa, scientists say.
That skull, from an individual who lived at least 210,000 years ago, was encased in rock that also held a Neandertal skull dating to at least 170,000 years ago, contends a team led by paleoanthropologist Katerina Harvati of the University of...
Look up at the moon and you’ll see roughly the same patterns of light and shadow that Plato saw about 2,500 years ago. But humankind’s understanding of Earth’s nearest neighbor has changed considerably since then, and so have the ways that scientists and others have visualized the moon.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, here are a collection of images that...
The sun’s rhythm may have set the pace of each day, but when early humans needed a way to keep time beyond a single day and night, they looked to a second light in the sky. The moon was one of humankind’s first timepieces long before the first written language, before the earliest organized cities and well before structured religions. The moon’s face changes nightly and with the regularity of...
News in Brief
Hard-won genetic clues from the bones of Philistines, a people known from the Old Testament for their battles with Israelites, have taken some of the mystery out of their hazy origins.
DNA extracted from the remains of 10 individuals buried at Ashkelon, an ancient Philistine port city in Israel, displays molecular links to ancient and modern populations in the eastern Mediterranean,...
Ancient tombs in China have produced what may be some of the oldest known human skulls to be intentionally reshaped.
At a site called Houtaomuga, scientists unearthed 25 skeletons dating to between around 12,000 years ago and 5,000 years ago. Of those, 11 featured skulls with artificially elongated braincases and flattened bones at the front and back of the head, says a team led by...
Reviews & Previews
SlimeRuth KassingerHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, $26
A slew of popular-science books have set out to convince readers that some overlooked, obscure or generally disdained category of thing is actually wildly important, whether it’s salt, garbage or beavers (SN: 8/4/18, p. 28). Slime, all about algae, is one of those books.
If you’re skeptical that algae can sustain such an...