April 30, 2016 | Science News

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April 30, 2016

Editor's Note

Editor in Chief discusses the search for life beyond Earth.
By Eva Emerson | April 4, 2016
Magazine issue: Vol. 189, No. 9 , April 30, 2016 , p. 2

Features

Allen Telescope Array

Feature

People have been fascinated with extraterrestrials for centuries. If only aliens would get in touch.
planets

Feature

Geoscientists imagine the unearthly mechanisms that could keep alien planets habitable.
illustration of current and future exoplanet telescopes

Feature

Researchers are coming up with creative ways to pick up biosignatures in far-away planetary atmospheres.
illustration of alien microbe

Feature

Desert varnish and certain minerals hint that life — here and elsewhere — may defy current criteria.

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Editor's Note

Editor in Chief discusses the search for life beyond Earth.

Features

illustration of alien microbe
Desert varnish and certain minerals hint that life — here and elsewhere — may defy current criteria.
illustration of current and future exoplanet telescopes
Researchers are coming up with creative ways to pick up biosignatures in far-away planetary atmospheres.
planets
Geoscientists imagine the unearthly mechanisms that could keep alien planets habitable.

News

snake illustration
Scientists have reconstructed the skin coloration of a fossilized snake that’s about 10 million years old.
supernova
An exploding star in another galaxy might have been pushed over the edge by a stellar companion.
earthquake map
A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey shows an increased earthquake hazard from human activities such as the disposal of fracking wastewater.
diamond
Most diamonds form from fluids deep inside Earth’s interior that contain carbonate compounds, new research suggests.
the Carina Nebula
Sugar that forms backbone of cell machinery can form on icy grains blasted by ultraviolet light from young stars.
Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica
Sea level rise from Antarctica’s melting ice could accelerate faster and sooner than previously thought.
People socializing
The hippocampus is a multitalented mapmaker.
Gravitational waves
In a few years, LIGO could detect hints of faint gravitational waves from black holes too far away to be seen directly.
Mouse brain cells
Nerve cell connections may be trimmed too much in early stages of Alzheimer’s.
White dwarf and Sirius
A white dwarf that has been stripped of its hydrogen and helium provides a rare peek inside the core of a dead massive star.
cyborg beetle
New beetle biobots come with speed and gait control.
Euphrates soft-shell turtle
Why did ancient Assyrians bury their dead with turtles? The reptiles may have served as symbolic protectors of the dead.
Zika structure
The newly solved structure of Zika offers scientists clues on how to combat the virus.
mouse tumor diagram
Newly designed nanoparticles deliver anticancer drugs and updates on tumor death.
MRI scans
A study on rare patients suggests that fear can take many paths through the brain.
a female burying beetle
While raising their young, burying beetle mothers produce a chemical compound that limits their male partner’s desire to mate.
girl with floating letters
Lipreading prompts activity in the brain’s listening area.
It can take more work to forget something than to remember it.
meat ants
Ants use their antennae to identify nest-mates and potential invaders. But antennae also produce the key compounds that ants use to tell friend from foe.
marijuana
Long-term, heavy pot smoking linked to financial troubles by age 38.
bats in NY with white nose syndrome
For the first time, the bat-killing white-nose syndrome shows up west of the Rockies.
drug fridge
A new drug-making system rapidly produces a variety of medications on demand.
Liang Bua Cave
Tiny Indonesian hominids disappeared earlier than thought, around 50,000 years ago.
snowshoe hare
Shorter snow seasons push climate change ahead of direct habitat loss as menace for Wisconsin snowshoe hares.

Notebook

quasar winds
In a remote galaxy, a cosmic hurricane around a supermassive black hole is driving winds at nearly 20 percent of the speed of light.
cave salamander
Something’s funny in the family tree of pale, slinky cave salamanders.
illustration of a tully monster
The identity of a 300-million-year-old enigmatic creature known as the “Tully monster” is a mystery no longer.
Bt peanut plants
Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria have provided pest-fighting toxins for over 50 years.

Reviews & Previews

Brontosaurus at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History
'House of Lost Worlds' pays homage to Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History and to the colorful scientists who made the museum great.

Science Visualized

map of stars in Milky Way that could see Earth in front of sun
To listen for aliens, two astronomers suggest that we focus on stars whose inhabitants can see Earth periodically cross in front of our sun.