News

The Earth is unique in our solar system: It is the only terrestrial planet with a large amount of water and a relatively large moon, which stabilizes the Earth’s axis. Both were essential for Earth to develop life. Planetologists at the University of Münster (Germany) have now been able to show, for the first time,
0 Comments
For the first time, a cross-disciplinary study has shown chemical, physical, and material evidence for water formation on the Moon. Two teams from the University of Hawai?i at Manoa collaborated on the project: physical chemists at the UH Manoa Department of Chemistry’s W.M. Keck Research Laboratory in Astrochemistry and planetary scientists at the Hawaii Institute
0 Comments
In many social animal species individuals share child-rearing duties, but new research from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, finds that bonobo mothers go the extra step and actually take action to ensure their sons will become fathers. This way bonobo mothers increase their sons’ chance of fatherhood three-fold. “This is
0 Comments
From the toothpaste you squeeze on your brush first thing in the morning to the yogurt you slurp down to the fabric softener that keeps your pajamas cozy and soft, gels are ubiquitous in consumer products, foods, and in industrial applications, too. However, until now, scientists have been unable to explain the microscopic structures within
0 Comments
What if drones and self-driving cars had the tingling “spidey senses” of Spider-Man? They might actually detect and avoid objects better, says Andres Arrieta, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, because they would process sensory information faster. Better sensing capabilities would make it possible for drones to navigate in dangerous environments and
0 Comments
A relatively simple process could help turn the tide of climate change while also turning a healthy profit. That’s one of the hopeful visions outlined in a new Stanford-led paper that highlights a seemingly counterintuitive solution: converting one greenhouse gas into another. The study, published in Nature Sustainability on May 20, describes a potential process
0 Comments
In countless grade-school science textbooks, the Earth’s mantle is a yellow-to-orange gradient, a nebulously defined layer between the crust and the core. To geologists, the mantle is so much more than that. It’s a region that lives somewhere between the cold of the crust and the bright heat of the core. It’s where the ocean
0 Comments
The stark difference between the Moon’s heavily-cratered farside and the lower-lying open basins of the Earth-facing nearside has puzzled scientists for decades. Now, new evidence about the Moon’s crust suggests the differences were caused by a wayward dwarf planet colliding with the Moon in the early history of the solar system. A report on the
0 Comments
A gassy insulating layer beneath the icy surfaces of distant celestial objects could mean there are more oceans in the universe than previously thought. Computer simulations provide compelling evidence that an insulating layer of gas hydrates could keep a subsurface ocean from freezing beneath Pluto’s icy exterior, according to a study published in the journal
0 Comments
Recyclable plastics that contain ring-shaped polymers may be a key to developing sustainable synthetic materials. Despite some promising advances, researchers said, a full understanding of how to processes ring polymers into practical materials remains elusive. In a new study, researchers identified a mechanism called “threading” that takes place when a polymer is stretched — a
0 Comments
In 2020, NASA and European-Russian missions will look for evidence of past life on Mars. But while volcanic, igneous rock predominates on the Red Planet, virtually the entire Earth fossil record comes from sedimentary rocks. Addressing the problem in Frontiers in Earth Science, Swedish scientists have begun compiling evidence of fossilized microbes in underexplored igneous
0 Comments
Conservation decisions based on population counts may fail to protect large, slow-breeding animals from irrevocable decline, according to new research coinciding with Endangered Species Day. “Critical thresholds in so-called vital rates — such as mortality and fertility rates among males and females of various ages — can signal an approaching population collapse long before numbers
0 Comments
The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 shows all the signs of having been involved in a hit-and-run accident with a bypassing galaxy. Rather than destroying the galaxy, the chance encounter is spawning a new generation of stars, and presumably planets. The right side of the galaxy is ablaze with star formation, shown in the plethora of
0 Comments
A genomic collision could explain why many kidney transplants fail, even when donors and recipients are thought to be well-matched, according to a new study from researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. This genomic collision is a genetic incompatibility between kidney donor and recipient, causing the recipient to mount an immune
0 Comments
Computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have taught an artificial intelligence agent how to do something that usually only humans can do — take a few quick glimpses around and infer its whole environment, a skill necessary for the development of effective search-and-rescue robots that one day can improve the effectiveness of
0 Comments
Coating provides extra layer of protection for battery cathodes. Building a better lithium-ion battery involves addressing a myriad of factors simultaneously, from keeping the battery’s cathode electrically and ionically conductive to making sure that the battery stays safe after many cycles. In a new discovery, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National
0 Comments
Yale researchers have pinpointed a key reason why people are more likely to get sick and even die from flu during winter months: low humidity. While experts know that cold temperatures and low humidity promote transmission of the flu virus, less is understood about the effect of decreased humidity on the immune system’s defenses against
0 Comments
Researchers from McLean Hospital and Yale University have published findings of their study of large-scale systems in the brain, findings that could improve understanding of the symptoms and causes of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illnesses. Their paper, “Functional Connectomics of Affective and Psychotic Pathology,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy
0 Comments
Viruses are masterful invaders. They cannibalize host cells by injecting their genetic material, often making thousands of copies of themselves in a single cell to ensure their replication and survival. Some RNA viruses insert their genetic material as a single piece, while others chop it up into pieces. The latter are aptly named segmented viruses.
0 Comments
Almost everyone agrees that most store-bought tomatoes don’t have much flavor. Now, scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) may have spotlighted the solution in a paper just published in Nature Genetics. Molecular biologist James Giovannoni with the ARS Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Laboratory and BTI bioinformatics scientist
0 Comments
The Moon is shrinking as its interior cools, getting more than about 150 feet (50 meters) skinnier over the last several hundred million years. Just as a grape wrinkles as it shrinks down to a raisin, the Moon gets wrinkles as it shrinks. Unlike the flexible skin on a grape, the Moon’s surface crust is
0 Comments
Mario Wannier, a career geologist with expertise in studying tiny marine life, was methodically sorting through particles in samples of beach sand from Japan’s Motoujina Peninsula when he spotted something unexpected: a number of tiny, glassy spheres and other unusual objects. Wannier, who is now retired, had been comparing biological debris in beach sands from
0 Comments
Repetition can be useful if you’re trying to memorize a poem, master a guitar riff, or just cultivate good habits. When this kind of behavior becomes compulsive, however, it can get in the way of normal life — an impediment sometimes observed in psychiatric illnesses like Tourette’s syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Now, Rockefeller scientists
0 Comments
A team of researchers has identified 25 U.S. counties that are most likely to experience measles outbreaks in 2019. Their analysis is based on international air travel volume, non-medical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, population data, and reported measles outbreak information. The predictions were published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. “There has been a resurgence
0 Comments
The earliest known light in our universe, known as the cosmic microwave background, was emitted about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. The patterning of this relic light holds many important clues to the development and distribution of large-scale structures such as galaxies and galaxy clusters. Distortions in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), caused by
0 Comments
Statistical analysis of fossil data shows that it is unlikely that Australopithecus sediba, a nearly two-million-year-old, apelike fossil from South Africa, is the direct ancestor of Homo, the genus to which modern-day humans belong. The research by paleontologists from the University of Chicago, published this week in Science Advances, concludes by suggesting that Australopithecus afarensis,
0 Comments
Several hundred million years after the Big Bang, the very first stars flared into the universe as massively bright accumulations of hydrogen and helium gas. Within the cores of these first stars, extreme, thermonuclear reactions forged the first heavier elements, including carbon, iron, and zinc. These first stars were likely immense, short-lived fireballs, and scientists
0 Comments
While sifting through the bacterial genome of salmonella, Cornell University food scientists discovered mcr-9, a new stealthy, jumping gene so diabolical and robust that it resists one of the world’s few last-resort antibiotics. Doctors deploy the antibiotic colistin when all other infection-fighting options are exhausted. But resistance to colistin has emerged around the globe, threatening
0 Comments
Today’s hipster creatives and entrepreneurs are hardly the first generation to partake of ayahuasca, according to archaeologists who have discovered traces of the powerfully hallucinogenic potion in a 1,000-year-old leather bundle buried in a cave in the Bolivian Andes. Led by University of California, Berkeley, archaeologist Melanie Miller, a chemical analysis of a pouch made
0 Comments
Hypersaline brines — water that contains high concentrations of dissolved salts and whose saline levels are higher than ocean water — are a growing environmental concern around the world. Very challenging and costly to treat, they result from water produced during oil and gas production, inland desalination concentrate, landfill leachate (a major problem for municipal
0 Comments
Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have developed something akin to a “Google Maps” approach for more accurately computing and visualizing the structural and functional blood vessel changes needed for tumor growth. By pairing high-quality 3D imaging data of tumor specimens from animal models with sophisticated mathematical formulas, the researchers say they now have a
0 Comments
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session
0 Comments
A distinct strain of canine distemper virus, which is a widespread virus of importance to wildlife and domesticated dogs, has been identified in wild animals in New Hampshire and Vermont, according to pathologists with the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of New Hampshire. No virus in this distinct subgroup of canine distemper
0 Comments