In the Dec. 23 & Jan. 6 SN: Our top stories of 2017, grounded pterosaur hatchlings, protectors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a counterintuitive metamaterial, neutron star sizing, arrow of time reversed, E. coli in flour and more.
ICY INTERIOR The solar system’s first interstellar visitor might be a comet rather than an asteroid. The object, seen in this artist's representation, may have an icy heart surrounded by an insulating crust, researchers suggest.
Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF image by Joy Pollard
THIRD ROCK The keen eye of an AI program discovered that the star system Kepler 90, illustrated here, has an eighth world (dubbed Kepler 90i), which was previously overlooked in exoplanet searches.
Wendy Stenzel/Ames Research Center/NASA
BABY FACE Saturn’s rings (shown in an image taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on August 12, 2017) are relatively young, a few hundred million years old at most, astronomers say.
New telescopes and spacecraft will soon help researchers scour our galaxy for signs of extraterrestrial life. But what might aliens look like? And if they do exist, why haven’t they returned our calls? These are just some of the questions addressed in the Science News special report “In Search of Aliens” (SN: 4/30/16, p. 24).