Science Stories

By Vitskapsdama | Interesting, intriguing and remarkable science stories

Welcome to the Meghalayan Age - a new phase in history

<b>The official history of Earth has a new chapter - and we are in it.</b><p>Geologists have classified the last 4,200 years as being a distinct age in the story of our planet.<p>They are calling it the Meghalayan Age, the onset of which was marked by a mega-drought that crushed a number of civilisations …

Climate Change

How urban vegetation can store as much carbon as rainforests

Most people would never think of London as a forest. Yet there are actually more trees in London than people.<p>Now, new work by researchers at …

Who Is Georges Lemaître? Big Bang Theory Physicist and Priest Honored by Google Doodle

Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was a priest, physicist and astronomer whose controversial “cosmic egg” theory became the most prominent …

Galileo Would Be Stunned: Jupiter Now Has 79 Moons

More than 400 years after Galileo Galilei discovered the first of Jupiter's moons, astronomers have found a dozen more — including one they've dubbed "oddball" — orbiting the planet. That brings the total number of Jovian moons to 79.<p>The team of astronomers originally wasn't even looking for the 12 …

Astronomy

'Truly scary': researcher wants to brighten clouds to rescue the Great Barrier Reef

Sea water would be pumped through a filter and sprayed out of small nozzles that produce minuscule water droplets.<p>A fan would propel the droplets …

Great Barrier Reef

These living solar cells make energy, even in bad weather

When it comes to generating energy from sunlight, unusual solutions have been shown to make the process more efficient.<p>Now, a team of researchers …

Clean Energy

In Ireland, Drought And A Drone Revealed The Outline Of An Ancient Henge

A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland's Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.<p>Photographer and author Anthony Murphy …

Archaeology

Drought Reveals Ancient Sites in Scotland That Can Only Be Spotted From the Air

Typically rainy Scotland is in the middle of an unusually dry summer—and local archaeologists are taking advantage of it. As the BBC reports, the …

Archaeology

Discovery of Massive Granite Sarcophagus Presents Mystery of Who Is Inside

The coffin, discovered in Alexandria, Egypt, is a rare example of an unopened tomb

Archaeology

Billion-Year-Old Rocks Reveal the First Color Ever Produced by a Living Thing

Billions of years ago, before there were plants and animals on Earth, there were rocks, tiny organisms, water, and not much else. It’s hard to …

Mayo Clinic

5,300-year-old Iceman's last meal reveals remarkably high-fat diet

In 1991, German tourists discovered, in the Eastern Italian Alps, a human body that was later determined to be the oldest naturally preserved ice …

Innovation

The source of the mysterious ozone-killing emissions is confirmed: China

There is often very little good news about the environment. The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, is considered an exception.<p>The protocol bans the use of chemicals that created a hole in the ozone layer and caused an alarm among environmentalists. The layer made up of ozone gas protects life on …

Pollution

How whale corpses feed ocean floors

What happens when a whale dies?<p>Whales that end up on the beach make headlines. But those that sink to the bottom of the ocean make new homes for sea life. The brawn, blubber, and bone of these unlucky cetaceans—some 70,000 of which perish during harrowing seasonal migrations each year—nourish a …

Biology

Sunlight Might Be the Key to Turning Our Oceans Into Drinkable Water

The Department of Energy is betting big on a new technology to turn saltwater into freshwater.<p>Two-thirds of the world is water, but only a fraction …

Water

This virus actually may boost our immune system

Our immune system is at its peak when we’re young, but after a certain age, it declines and it becomes more difficult for our bodies to fight off new …

Immune System

Frigid polar oceans, not balmy coral reefs, are species-formation hot spots

Tropical oceans teem with the dazzle and flash of colorful reef fishes and contain far more species than the cold ocean waters found at high …

Global Warming

Enceladus’ water plumes contain life clues

Does the subsurface ocean of Saturn’s moon Enceladus contain any kind of life? Newfound complex organic molecules in its water vapor plumes hint we …

Astronomy

Scientists Just Found The Cause of Earth's First Global Warming That Triggered Mass Extinctions

We can learn from this.<p>The emergence of life on Earth was obviously a time of great change for our wee blue marble. Plants and algae had evolved some …

Climate Change

A Baby Planet Is Born

In a rare discovery, astronomers have spotted a world swirling into being around its star.<p>In 2003, Donald Pettit, a NASA astronaut, sprinkled some salt into a ziplock bag for an experiment. Pettit was living on the International Space Station, about 200 miles above Earth. The station was just a few …

Universe

Headless Pompeii Victim Wasn't Crushed to Death, After All

A surprising new discovery reveals the truth about what really happened to an unfortunate man in 79 A.D.<p>He was an unlucky person in an ill-fated place: A man whose head was seemingly crushed by a massive boulder as he fled Pompeii during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Now, his head has …

Archaeology

Turns out the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua is a comet after all

Last October, researchers spotted a long, skinny object speeding through our solar system, and they initially pegged it as a comet from another solar system. But as they continued to observe the object, dubbed 'Oumuamua, its properties -- namely a lack of gas and dust surrounding it -- pushed it …

Astronomy

How we discovered three poisonous books in our university library

Some may remember the deadly book of Aristotle that plays a vital part in the plot of Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel The Name of the Rose. Poisoned by a …

Libraries

Something much weirder than a ‘supervolcano’ is brewing under New England

No, there isn't a supervolcano brewing beneath New England, despite what some media outlets are saying.<p>That said, something weird is going on about …

Geology

Japan probe arrives at asteroid after nearly four-year space odyssey

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese space probe named after a falcon arrived at an asteroid 300 million kilometers from Earth on Wednesday after a three-and-a half year journey on a mission to seek the origins of life.<p>The Hayabusa 2 blasted off in December 2014 for the asteroid Ryugu on a pioneering …

Space

We Just Found The Missing Matter In The Universe, And Still Need Dark Matter

For over 40 years, scientists have argued over dark matter’s existence.<p>Big questions arose from the motions inside galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and along the cosmic web.<p>From their gravity, we can infer the total mass in the Universe.<p>Yet multiple sources indicate that only 15% of that mass can be …

Dark Matter

Researchers discover volcanic heat source under major Antarctic glacier

"The volcanic heat sources were found beneath the fastest moving and the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica, the Pine Island Glacier," Loose said. …

Antarctica

Fragments found for small asteroid that exploded over Russia last week

The meteor was seen over Russia on June 21. Now scientists from Ural Federal University are reporting finding meteorite fragments from the event. …

Puerto Rico

Martian dust storm has become 'planet-encircling,' NASA says

<b>(CNN) —</b> Last week, a giant dust storm on Mars took up about a quarter of the Red Planet. Now, it's officially "planet-encircling" global dust event, according to NASA.<p>The solar-powered Opportunity rover stopped communicating with NASA engineers after June 10 because it didn't have enough energy to …

Mars Rover

Nursery For Giant Manta Rays Discovered In Gulf Of Mexico

Sometimes it takes an outsider to notice that something that seems commonplace is actually spectacular.<p>That's what happened at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico, when Josh Stewart took his first dive into the protected waters and identified what has now become …

Manta Rays