Richard A Lovett

Richard A Lovett

Richard A. Lovett is a Portland, Oregon-based science writer and science fiction author. He is a frequent contributor to COSMOS.

Richard A Lovett is a Portland, Oregon-based science writer and science fiction author. He is a frequent contributor to Cosmos.

  • As satellites in space ramp up, so do concerns

    Astronomical observations and asteroid detection at risk.

    The upcoming launches of large “constellations” of satellites, including 1600 expected to be orbited by the end of th...

    March 24, 2020
  • 70 million years ago, days were shorter

    Fossil exposes how Moon’s distancing is making days longer.

    Scientists studying growth bands in a fossil mollusc that lived shortly before the dinosaurs went extinct have determ...

    March 17, 2020
  • Molten iron rains down on exoplanet

    Planets beyond our Solar System are full of surprises.

    Scientists have found signs of rain on a Jupiter-sized exoplanet 391 light years away.  But it’s not ordinary rain...

    March 12, 2020
  • What’s below the far side of the Moon?

    Chang’E-4 sends back some data from down deep.

    Scientists using data from China’s Chang’E-4 mission are peering beneath the surface of the Moon with unprecedented c...

    February 26, 2020
  • Mars is more seismically active than the Moon

    InSight has detected hundreds of earthquakes in just 10 months.

    NASA’s InSight Mars lander, which touched down in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars on 26 November 2018, has now de...

    February 24, 2020
  • Looking at the sea, then the sky

    NASA picking the brains of oceanographers in its search for oceans.

    NASA is reaching out to oceanographers for help in figuring out how to determine if extraterrestrial oceans are suffi...

    February 23, 2020
  • How planetary building blocks were constructed

    Arrokoth reveals exciting new information.

    Scientists mulling over data returned by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft from a distant worldlet known as Arrokoth hav...

    February 16, 2020
  • New clues to the age of Mars

    Meteorites, mantle and modelling hint at a different timeline.

    Martian meteorites have revealed that the Red Planet may have formed several million years later in the Solar System’...

    February 12, 2020
  • Catching frame dragging in action

    20-year study verifies Einstein’s prediction of general relativity.

    Scientists studying tiny changes in a pulsar’s signal have proven that massive rotating objects drag surrounding spac...

    February 2, 2020
  • Inouye’s moment of truth

    Telescope produces the goods with this close-up of the Sun.

    America’s new Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope has produced the most detailed solar images ever taken, showing structu...

    January 30, 2020
  • So long Spitzer, thanks for all the information

    NASA retires an ‘incredible, unique facility’ after 16 years.

    NASA’s aging Spitzer Space Telescope, which has been using infrared light to study the cosmos for more than 16 years,...

    January 29, 2020
  • Refrigeration chemicals drive Arctic warming

    Montreal Protocol an unsung hero of climate change.

    Chemicals used in refrigerators and freezers may have been responsible for half of Arctic climate change in the past ...

    January 20, 2020
  • Oceans tell us about the end of the dinosaurs?

    An asteroid did do the deed then volcanism shaped life in its aftermath.

    Scientists studying ocean cores have found new clues as to whether it was indeed an asteroid strike that killed off t...

    January 16, 2020
  • Increasing concerns about crowded space

    Astronomers even talking about an ‘existential threat’.

    Space scientists have long known that the cloud of manmade objects circling the Earth pose a risk to space launches a...

    January 14, 2020
  • New findings and hopes for a halcyon era

    Astronomers celebrate dawn of a new decade.

    Last week, while most of us were still trying to remember to write 2020 rather than 2019 on our documents, 3600 astro...

    January 12, 2020
  • The Hubble Constant is constantly perplexing

    Astronomers suggest an entirely different way of measuring it.

    Astronomers looking at ghostly images of the light from distant quasars have deepened one of the biggest mysteries in...

    January 9, 2020
  • We’re going to see a lot more of V Sagittae

    Astronomers are excited by a tiny binary star.

    A faint star named V Sagittae is poised to become the astronomical object of the century.  But don’t hold your breat...

    January 8, 2020
  • Wandering black holes leave galactic cores

    They’re in a class of their own, astronomers discover.

    Rather than staying sedately in the cores of their host galaxies, it seems supermassive black holes may also roam the...

    January 7, 2020
  • Water common but scarce in exoplanets

    Astronomers study patterns in extra-terrestrial worlds.

    Exoplanet atmospheres appear to be unexpectedly low in water vapour scientists say, suggesting these planets may not ...

    January 6, 2020
  • A rather different storm on Jupiter

    Juno finds things have changed at the south pole.

    The new storm can be seen at the lower right of this infrared image of Jupiter's south pole taken by Juno's Jovian In...

    December 19, 2019
  • The Congo is deep, as well as long

    And it’s a great place to study convergent evolution.

    A few years ago, Melanie Stiassny, an ichthyologist at the American Museum of Natural History, plucked a pale, blind,...

    December 17, 2019
  • OSIRIS-Rex marks its spot

    NASA decides exactly where on Bennu the sample-seeking mission will land.

    And the nominations are: the four possible landing sites that made the short list.CREDIT: NASABy Richard A LovettNASA...

    December 15, 2019
  • Was Earth’s oxygenation a gradual process?

    Modelling suggests a string of major events wasn’t necessary.

    By Richard A LovettEarth’s oxygen comes from plants and other photosynthetic organisms. Scientists have long known th...

    December 12, 2019
  • To really recover, maybe hold the ice

    A cold-water bath shouldn’t be the first choice post-workout.

    Cold-water baths – often called ice baths even though the water isn’t always that cold – are a popular post-workout r...

    December 10, 2019
  • When storms become stormquakes

    Geophysicists link wild weather to seismic waves.

    Hurricane Bill, then at Category 4, over the Dominican Republic on 19 August 2009.Jeff Schmaltz, NASA, MODIS Rapid Re...

    December 8, 2019
  • Now that’s an active asteroid

    OSIRIS-Rex catches Bennu throwing rocks around.

    View of Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on 6 Jan 2019, created by combining two images taken by the navigat...

    December 5, 2019
  • Playing ukulele in the key of 3D

    Early attempt to print an instrument falls short of the real thing.

    A 3-D ukulele (left) and a standard modern instrument. Xiaoyu NiuBy Richard A LovettSome musicians are traditionalist...

    December 5, 2019
  • First results from close to the Sun

    Parker Solar Probe data paint a complex picture.

    By Richard A LovettThe first results from NASA’s sun-diving Parker Solar Probe are in, and already they are revealing...

    December 4, 2019
  • Magnets and shock absorbers as medical kit

    Engineers testing innovative way to staunch blood flow.

    Traumatic injuries are the leading killer of people under 40; 30-40% of the deaths come from blood loss.Westend61 / G...

    November 28, 2019
  • Still in its spot

    Jupiter’s famous storm not on the way out yet, expert suggests.

    By Richard A LovettRumours that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is dying may be premature.The giant storm – larger than the ...

    November 26, 2019
  • ‘Ice fossils’ from the desert

    Algerian meteorite offers new insights into early asteroid formation.

    By Richard A. LovettScientists studying an 82-gram meteorite discovered in the mountains of southern Algeria in 1990 ...

    November 21, 2019
  • First full map of Titan assembled

    Now it’s time to find out more about ‘the Earth of the outer Solar System’.

    By Richard A. LovettScientists working with data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have assembled the first planet-wide ...

    November 18, 2019
  • Using sound waves to target tumours

    Researchers trial a clever new way to deliver cancer drugs.

    By Richard A. LovettScientists looking to improve the next generation of cancer treatments have developed a way of us...

    November 12, 2019
  • Voyager’s impact is 1 + 2

    Scientists working to understand the nature of a boundary in space.

    By Richard A LovettIt has now been confirmed that on 5 November 2018, after a 41-year cruise through the Solar System...

    November 5, 2019
  • Small black hole or giant neutron star?

    Discovery touches on two of the key questions in astrophysics.

    Astronomers have found an object that is either a new class of black hole or the largest-known neutron star, circling...

    October 31, 2019
  • Cosmic rays could have produced Titan’s dunes

    New study challenges conventional wisdom.

    Sprawling fields of dark-coloured sand dunes on Saturn’s giant moon Titan may have been produced by eons of irradiati...

    October 17, 2019
  • Star gas reveals clues about planet formation

    It could be the source of their atmospheres.

    Gas flows in a star system 330 light-years away, scientists say, may reveal how giant, Jupiter-type planets acquire t...

    October 16, 2019
  • Beware solar storms, scientists warn

    They could be more regular than thought.

    Solar blow-ups like the Carrington Event, a 1859 solar storm long believed to be the largest in the history of modern...

    October 15, 2019
  • New insights into habitability of Venus

    Study finds lava flow didn’t contain water.

    A lava flow on Venus once believed to have been formed under wet conditions early in the planet’s history was actuall...

    October 14, 2019
  • Juno’s near-death experience

    NASA finds a way to save the solar-powered aircraft from certain doom.

    For two years, NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft has been facing a mortal problem. When it arrived at the giant...

    October 13, 2019
  • Traffic-light system can predict repeat earthquakes

    Detecting the size of aftershocks could help manage them. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Earthquake researchers believe they have found a “traffic-light” style warning system that can determine if a big ear...

    October 9, 2019
  • Move over Jupiter – Saturn has more moons

    A Twitter campaign is calling for help to name them.

    Move aside Jupiter. Saturn now has the largest number of known moons of any planet in the Solar System. On 7 October...

    October 9, 2019
  • Curiosity finds ancient salty lakes on Mars

    It could provide insights into impact of climate change.

    NASA’s Curiosity rover has found salt-rich sediments indicating that Gale Crater, which it has been exploring on Mars...

    October 8, 2019
  • Gas emissions discovered from interstellar comet

    This will help scientists work out what it’s made of. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Astronomers have detected gas emissions from a comet streaking into our Solar System from interstellar space.The come...

    October 6, 2019
  • The cosmic web exists

    Viewing gas billions of light years away confirms it.

    Faintly glowing wisps of gas surrounding galaxies 12 billion light-years away have given astronomers their first chan...

    October 3, 2019
  • Drilling down: scientists update estimates of Earth’s carbon reservoirs

    A 10-year study finds that it’s massive, compared to carbon above ground. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Important as carbon is to the earth’s biosphere – and to its climate via carbon dioxide gas – only a tiny fraction of...

    October 3, 2019
  • Nuclear war between India and Pakistan would be a planetary catastrophe

    Modelling highlights the disastrous threat of nuclear proliferation in unstable countries. Richar...

    In 1983, at the height of the Cold War, a team spearheaded by Carl Sagan horrified the world by calculating that a fu...

    October 2, 2019
  • History of Andromeda’s galactic cannibalism

    Findings could shed light on the fate of the Milky Way.

    In a cosmic detective story of interstellar proportions, astronomers sifting through faint signatures in the halo of ...

    October 2, 2019
  • Recovery from last mass extinction

    Good news is they stabilised after 1.8 million years.

    Marine fossils reveal that it took millions of years for ecosystems to recover from the asteroid impact widely believ...

    September 29, 2019
  • A long time ago in 12 galaxies far, far away…

    The most distant known cluster of galaxies discovered.

    Astronomers peering at the most distant parts of the Universe have found the earliest known cluster of galaxies, form...

    September 29, 2019
  • Big planet, tiny star

    Part of the quest to find supermassive black hole origins.

    Astronomers studying nearby stars have found a giant Jupiter-like planet circling a tiny red dwarf star 31 light year...

    September 26, 2019
  • How many interstellar comets are out there?

    Two sightings in two years suggest there could be lots more.

    For the second time in two years, astronomers have spotted an interstellar interloper heading into our Solar System. ...

    September 25, 2019
  • Descent on the dark side of the moon is revealed

    Chinese scientists have worked out where Chang’e-4 landed.

    Earlier this year, on 3 January, China’s Chang’e-4 (CE-4) spacecraft made an historic first by touching down safely o...

    September 24, 2019
  • K2-18b is like Earth, but not

    The significance of finding water in an atmosphere 110 light-years away.

    Astronomers have detected water vapour in the atmosphere of a rocky planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a star (...

    September 12, 2019
  • Enormous bubbles near centre of Milky Way

    Telescopes capture aftermath of a high-energy event.

    Astronomers using radio telescopes in South Africa have discovered a pair of enormous bubbles of high-energy electron...

    September 11, 2019
  • The rocks below a famous crater

    Geologists examine what unfolded after that asteroid hit.

    Scientists drilling into the heart of the Chicxulub impact crater in the Gulf of Mexico have discovered 130 metres of...

    September 9, 2019
  • The case for ‘managed retreat’ in the face of climate change

    It needn’t be as drastic as it sounds, as Richard A Lovett reports.

    As climate change mounts and communities come under increasing pressure from fires, floods, heat and sea level rise, ...

    August 22, 2019
  • There’s plenty of room, but no atmosphere

    Exoplanet still has a few things to offer, however.

    Scientists using a pair of NASA space telescopes have had their first opportunity to peep at the atmosphere of a rock...

    August 19, 2019
  • Take that, Jupiter

    A giant impact gave the planet a fuzzy core.

    Sometime near the dawn of the Solar System, Jupiter appears to have been clobbered by a Neptune-sized planet, in an i...

    August 18, 2019
  • Superdeep diamonds have a story to tell

    Brazilian rocks may be older than anything on the Earth’s surface.

    Tiny imperfections in Brazilian diamonds have revealed a pocket of the Earth’s primordial past, deep in its interior....

    August 15, 2019
  • Can switchgrass make better biofuels?

    It ticks a lot of boxes, but we need to know more.

    Scientists in the US are turning microscopes on grasses in order to take a whack at global warming.  The goal is to ...

    August 12, 2019
  • Wildfire smoke ‘supports nuclear winter theory’

    Plume from intense Canadian fires kept rising.

    Scientists studying wildfire-triggered thunderstorms have confirmed an important element of a nuclear winter theory c...

    August 8, 2019
  • Ryugu samples bound for Australia

    Hayabusa 2 has made its second collection from the asteroid.

    The Japanese space agency’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has collected the second of two samples from near-Earth asteroid 16...

    August 7, 2019
  • China is going to get hot

    Global warming will bring thousands of deaths each year.

    Two months ago, climate scientists studying US cities found that global warming could produce killer heat waves causi...

    August 6, 2019
  • That age-old Moon discussion

    We know how old it is, but is it?

    A study just published in Nature Geoscience confirms a prior study suggesting that the Moon may be 100 million years ...

    August 5, 2019
  • LightSail away

    Successful deployment realises a 40-year dream.

    A small non-profit organisation has achieved a space-travel feat dreamed about for more than 40 years: proving that i...

    August 1, 2019
  • Warming ‘unmatched in the past 2000 years’

    Events are happening globally and simultaneously.

    Climate-change sceptics sometimes argue that there is no cause for concern from global warming because in the past 20...

    July 24, 2019
  • China ready to bring back more Moon rocks

    Plans to leave behind a permanent robotic research station.

    Fifty years ago, when Apollo 11 blasted off from the Moon for its return to Earth, Moon-walkers Neil Armstrong and Bu...

    July 21, 2019
  • Apollo missions impact looking at the Moon

    Thanks to Neil, Buzz and the others, we know a lot more about what they stepped on.

    The Apollo Moon landings, the first of which occurred 50 years ago tomorrow (Australian time), were not just “one gia...

    July 19, 2019
  • Is it time to create artificial blizzards in Antarctica?

    It could save the ice sheet, researchers suggest, but not without great cost and risk. Richard A ...

    In a plan that sounds more like science fiction than something you’d expect in a major scientific journal, researcher...

    July 17, 2019
  • Going caving before going to Mars

    NASA puts a test rover through its paces in earthly California.

    Scientists looking for ways to search for life on Mars – or to explore safe abodes for long-term bases on the Moon – ...

    July 7, 2019
  • Two FRBs nailed in a week

    But Australian and US astronomers took different approaches.

    In less than a week as June became July, two teams of radio astronomers – one in Australia, the other in the US – ann...

    July 5, 2019
  • Going to space probably won’t give you cancer, research suggests

    But there are quite a few issues to consider. Richard A Lovett reports.

    A new study of 418 former astronauts and cosmonauts has found that the time they spent in space doesn’t appear to car...

    July 4, 2019
  • Astrobiologists still have eyes for Enceladus

    Small it may be, but it excites those looking for life out there.

    Although NASA’s new Dragonfly mission to Titan will be the first return to the Saturn system to follow up on the disc...

    July 1, 2019
  • Earth 2.0: same same, but better

    Astrobiologists are thinking beyond just finding a near twin.

    One of the holy grails in the search for extraterrestrial life is to find what astrobiologists call Earth 2.0 – an ex...

    June 30, 2019
  • Looking for signs of life on Titan

    Cheers erupt as plans for the Dragonfly rover are unveiled.

    NASA is returning to Saturn’s moon Titan, this time with a flying, drone-like rover called Dragonfly. In the process...

    June 28, 2019
  • Looking for the lights of alien cities

    The search for ET is getting more sophisticated.

    Astronomers looking for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence are ramping up a host of new methods far more sophisti...

    June 27, 2019
  • Planets in multiple-star systems are habitable?

    Maybe, but don’t expect life to be easy – or even stable.

    In a finding that’s great news for fans of Luke Skywalker’s fictional home planet Tatooine, scientists say planets in...

    June 26, 2019
  • There may be a few planets covered in water

    The question remains as to whether they are habitable.

    Planets covered entirely with water – sometimes to depths of hundreds of kilometres or more – may be more common than...

    June 25, 2019
  • Scientists put comet mission on fast track

    Bold plan to intercept a comet as it approaches the sun given high priority. Richard A Lovett rep...

    Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) are working on a new “fast” mission to make the first flyby of a pristi...

    June 24, 2019
  • Crowdfunded lightsail mission readies for take-off

    Science fiction set to become fact as Bill Nye’s solar spacecraft takes to the air. Richard A Lov...

    A US-based non-profit organisation led by science educator Bill Nye is poised to launch a crowd-funded space mission ...

    June 21, 2019
  • New sunspot cycle promises to be mild

    Link between space weather and El Niño comes under the spotlight.

    The sun is nearing the low point of its current sunspot cycle and should start to see an increase in activity again i...

    June 17, 2019
  • New class of quasars and the fate of our galaxy

    Astronomers looking for the blue ones make a key discovery.

    Astronomers peering back in time by studying galaxies so far away that their light has been travelling for more than ...

    June 16, 2019
  • The past and promise of Cassini’s legacy

    Almost two years after it ended, NASA’s most successful probe is still proving answers, and gener...

    Twenty-one months ago, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ended its mission with a fiery dive into Saturn’s atmosphere. For th...

    June 14, 2019
  • Evidence of when two massive things met

    Can the shape of a galaxy point to the nature of dark matter?

    Millions of years, ago, astronomers say, a ball of dark matter with the mass of about five million suns appears to ha...

    June 13, 2019
  • Study raises concern for sun ‘superflare’

    Research finds it’s not just young stars that behave explosively.

    Astronomers monitoring data from thousands of distant stars have come to an unnerving conclusion: every 2000 to 3000 ...

    June 12, 2019
  • ET ‘habitable zone’ much smaller than thought

    Many exoplanets likely have toxic atmospheres, limiting possibilities.

    A large number of extrasolar planets that otherwise lie in a star’s “habitable zone” may have poisonous atmospheres, ...

    June 11, 2019
  • Moonlight and stealth: a myth about a WWII invasion

    Astronomy provides the missing details.

    In an effort to blend history and science, a team of astronomers has used celestial mechanics to correct a long-stand...

    June 6, 2019
  • Warming will cause thousands of deaths in US cities

    Modelling shows that failing Paris targets will have large and lethal consequences. Richard A Lov...

    The human impacts of global climate change aren’t just about rising sea levels, storms, droughts, and floods. If pres...

    June 6, 2019
  • Humans have a metabolic ceiling

    Endurance ability is more about food than fitness.

    The ultimate limits to human endurance-race performance, scientists say, may not be determined simply by strength and...

    June 5, 2019
  • Australia and US lead weakening of national parks

    Two million kilometres opened up to industry – and that’s not including marine sanctuaries.

    Since the first national parks were created in the nineteenth century, nearly 15% of the Earth’s land surface has bee...

    June 2, 2019
  • Evidence of ammonia found on Pluto

    NASA data suggests find suggests a possible life-friendly ocean.

    Scientists studying data from NASA’s New Horizons space mission have found evidence of ammonia on the surface of Plut...

    May 30, 2019
  • Pluto’s insulated underground ocean

    Research suggests subsurface sea has been around billions of years.

    The base of Pluto’s crust, scientists say, may contain a layer of an exotic form of ice known as gas hydrate, insulat...

    May 21, 2019
  • Zapping moon dust produces water

    Experiment suggests source for lunar liquid – and a possible resource for colonisers. Richard A L...

    Traces of water have been found in cold spots on the moon.World Perspectives/Getty ImagesLaboratory researchers have ...

    May 20, 2019
  • Concerns about electric car alert systems

    EV engine might be silent, but an EV traffic jam could be deafening.

    Scientists are sounding the alarm about potential hazards associated with tones, whirs, beeps, or other sonic-alert s...

    May 20, 2019
  • Coal burning blamed for monsoon weakening

    Asian rain system deceasing despite global warming driving theoretical increase. Richard A Lovett...

    In the past 80 years, the summer monsoon in north-central China has been steadily weakening, scientists say — a probl...

    May 20, 2019
  • Cell phones to detect the location of snipers

    Radical revamp of WW1 research uses mobile phone to detect shooter distance and direction.

    Military researchers are closing in on using cell phones to detect the location of snipers from a single shot. The t...

    May 19, 2019
  • Bland, no moons, no craters, no atmosphere

    Ultima Thule looks dull, but that’s what make it exciting.

    In the first published results from the New Horizons spacecraft’s New Year’s Day 2019 flyby of an object officially c...

    May 16, 2019
  • Researchers probe the acoustics of screams

    Researchers work to define a primal human vocalisation.

    Hollywood's most famous scream: Janet Leigh in the shower scene from Psycho. Credit: Bettman/GettyImages When peop...

    May 16, 2019
  • Old gear shows Moon is tectonically active

    Apollo-era instruments reveal frequent and powerful quakes.

    Scientists pouring over decades-old data from seismometers left on the moon by Apollo astronauts have concluded that ...

    May 13, 2019
  • Ride-share companies create, not reduce, traffic congestion

    Study finds cars-for-hire business model does nothing to reduce private vehicle use or ownership....

    In a blow to the image of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft as solutions to traffic congestion, researchers...

    May 9, 2019
  • Asteroid incoming, Bruce Willis little help

    NASA organises war-gaming on Armageddon scenario.

    Deadly asteroid strikes have long been a staple of science fiction. But last week, NASA used an international confere...

    May 7, 2019
  • Biggest danger of an asteroid strike? Lawyers

    Blasting away at incoming space rock raises risks of nuclear war.

    Governments and space agencies seeking to protect the Earth by changing the courses of potentially hazardous asteroid...

    May 6, 2019
  • Scientists gear up for asteroid near-miss

    A one-in-a-millennium close encounter due in 2029.

    Scientists are gearing up for a near miss by the largest asteroid to pass close to the Earth in recent history. The ...

    May 5, 2019
  • Earth hit by 17 meteors a day

    TUS conference talks about the when and the where.

    Every year, the Earth is hit by about 6100 meteors large enough to reach the ground, or about 17 every day, research ...

    May 2, 2019
  • A next-gen speech synthesiser

    The synthesiser could decode brain neural impulses.

    Scientists hoping to construct the next generation of speech synthesisers for the vocally impaired have learned to de...

    April 24, 2019
  • Disney princess inspires dark matter detector

    Using supercooled water could be a nifty way of finding the mysterious substance that makes up mo...

    Elsa, from Disney's Frozen, an unlikely inspiration for dark matter detection.CTRPhotos/Getty ImagesScientists using ...

    April 22, 2019
  • The sands of time are soaked in urine

    Soil salts provides estimates for the beginnings of farming.

    Scientists sifting through dirt from a 10,000-year-old archaeological site in central Turkey are seeking a rare treas...

    April 17, 2019
  • Grid unlock: simple fixes, better modelling are keys to reliable energy supply

    Two presentations at a recent conference point to a more efficient, less expensive power supply. ...

    Everyone who’s ever been inconvenienced by a tree limb falling across a power line or a drunk driver colliding with a...

    April 16, 2019
  • Now let’s find a pair of black holes

    Researchers plan to turn the galaxy into a giant detector.

    Last week, scientists studying black holes reported that they’d managed to turn the entire Earth into a giant virtual...

    April 15, 2019
  • Protests positive tipping points in climate change

    Consumer action as a potential driver for planet-saving strategies.

    Often, the news relating to climate change is unrelentingly bleak. The world appears to be hurtling toward a climate-...

    April 14, 2019
  • A black hole the size of the solar system

    Einstein again proved correct in world-first image across 55 million light-years.

    Scientists using radio telescopes scattered across the globe have created the first-ever direct image of a black hole...

    April 10, 2019
  • Methane on Mars: opposite results in studies just days apart

    Different instruments bring contradictory findings in search for possible bio-signature. Richard ...

    In the latest chapter of the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t-story of the quest for methane on Mars, two teams of scient...

    April 10, 2019
  • Beetle juice anti-freeze?

    Beetle proteins could revolutionise everything from organ storage to cosmetics.

    Beetles adapted to life at temperatures as low as minus-40 or minus-50 degrees Celsius may hold clues to everything f...

    April 7, 2019
  • Springs may flow on Mars every year

    Two studies suggest vast underground water reserves rising periodically to the surface. Richard A...

    As recently as a billion years ago, scientists say, rivers on Mars were substantially larger than rivers on Earth, po...

    April 2, 2019
  • Saturn: bright clumps and a moon like ravioli

    Two studies add to the intrigue of Saturn’s rings. Richard A Lovett reports.

    A series of flybys by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in the months before its final plunge into Saturn have revealed five ...

    March 28, 2019
  • After 50 years, Apollo’s moon rocks still have much to give

    Some samples brought back by the moon-landing missions have yet to be opened. Richard A Lovett re...

    The world may be fast approaching the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11’s 1969 flight to the moon, but the samples br...

    March 25, 2019
  • Scientists seek to send a drone to Saturn’s moon, Titan

    There are plans to visit the complex-looking satellite, arriving in 2034. Richard A Lovett reports.

    A travel poster, imagining vacations to Saturn's moon, Titan.MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty ImagesScientist...

    March 21, 2019
  • Asteroid Bennu is flinging rocks into space

    OSIRIS-Rex’s target turns out to be very rare, and very active, posing problems for the mission. ...

    Asteroid 101955 Bennu, which NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sample-return mission has been orbiting since 31 December 2018, keeps ...

    March 19, 2019
  • Ryugu latest: asteroid is a partially dehydrated ‘pile of rubble’

    Japanese researchers publish three studies on the object of Hayabusa2’s attention. Richard A Love...

    A one-kilometre-wide asteroid known as 162173 Ryugu, currently being mapped by Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, looks li...

    March 19, 2019
  • Hydro power generates more CO2 than it saves

    Whole system analysis finds hydro dams damage downstream ecosystems.

    In a blow to the image of hydropower as a source of green energy, scientists have found that damming rivers can indir...

    March 13, 2019
  • Next-gen Mars rover may use wheels as feet

    Prototype design can ‘walk’ up steep and slippery slopes. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Robotics engineers are creating new designs for autonomous extraterrestrial rovers that can roll, step, and scuff the...

    March 12, 2019
  • A terrible constancy: the physics of wars

    Surprising, and predictable, similarities to armed conflicts of all sizes.

    Ever since Chinese general Sun Tzu penned The Art of War, some 2500 years ago, military experts have known there are ...

    March 10, 2019
  • Is there life on Mars? Let’s assess the evidence

    Since the nineteenth century, the question has been asked.

    In 1877, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli turned his 21.8-centimetre telescope – one of the finest of the tim...

    March 7, 2019
  • In the Kuiper Belt, a baffling lack of small craters

    Pictures from Pluto and its moon raise questions about the ring of rocks and planetisimals ringin...

    Scientists studying photos snapped by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on its 2015 flyby of Pluto and its giant moon Ch...

    February 28, 2019
  • Did volcanoes help kill the dinosaurs?

    Separate studies arrive at different results.

    Scientists studying lava formations in western India are casting increasing doubt on how important a 66-million-year-...

    February 24, 2019
  • Flashes of inspiration: scientists look to moon impacts to better understand near-Earth objects

    Rocks hitting the moon have excited attention for at least 1000 years. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Scientists are using bursts of light on the moon in an effort to get a better handle on the risk space rocks pose to ...

    February 19, 2019
  • Energy and agony: the last-ditch efforts to save Opportunity

    In the end, the tough little rover, gravely injured, could not be resuscitated. Richard A Lovett ...

    Casting a long shadow in death, the Opportunity rover.NASALike doctors in an emergency ward, NASA scientists tried a ...

    February 14, 2019
  • Ultima Thule latest: less Star Wars, more Star Trek

    Images from New Horizons reveal unexpected aspects of the Kuiper Belt object. Richard A Lovett re...

    Ultima Thule, filmed by New Horizons from 9000 kilometres away.NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwes...

    February 12, 2019
  • Dark flight and debris: lessons from the end of China’s space station

    When Tiangong-1 crashed into the ocean last year, lots of scientists were watching. Richard A Lov...

    Scientists studying the demise of China’s Tiangong-1 space station are uncovering information that can help them unde...

    February 12, 2019
  • Using asteroid science to track space debris

    It’s about the environment as well as safety. Richard A. Lovett reports.

    Scientists trying to track the cloud of space debris that threatens to make it ever more risky to launch and maintain...

    January 30, 2019
  • Craters, bulgy mounds and a collar

    Richard A. Lovett takes a good look at the latest view of Ultima Thule.

    When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft returned its first images from its New Year’s Eve flyby of Kuiper Belt object Ult...

    January 27, 2019
  • US government shutdown threatens lasting space science impact

    95% of NASA employees are unable to work, many fearing long-term consequences. Richard A Lovett r...

    Last week hundreds of space scientists and astronomers were barred from attending major conferences and ordered to ce...

    January 15, 2019
  • NASA’s Ultima Thule mission evokes snowmen, Star Wars and Nazis

    Much of the hard data on the Kuiper Belt object is still to arrive, but the mythology is already ...

    NASAIn the hours before NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sped past a distant object known as Ultima Thule, scientists w...

    January 8, 2019
  • Bennu and Ryugu: a tale of two asteroids

    Comparing and contrasting two worldlets is already proving valuable – and may kickstart the space...

    Successful Japanese and US space missions have given space scientists a unique opportunity to study two near-Earth as...

    December 17, 2018
  • Shingles in space? Research probes immune system risks to astronauts

    Scientists around the world are striving to understand the health risks of space travel. Richard ...

    In new research that delivers a blow to hopes of finding safe ways to send humans back to the moon or on to Mars, sci...

    December 6, 2018
  • On Neptune’s distant moon, the frost moves

    Spring on Triton lasts 40 years, but it’s far from dull. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Scientists using a small telescope in Southern California are detecting seasonal changes on Neptune’s giant moon Trit...

    October 24, 2018
  • Martian brines might sustain life, study finds

    Higher-than-expected oxygen levels could support microbes and more complex organisms – maybe. Ric...

    Martian groundwater could contain enough oxygen to support aerobic life, including simple animals such as sponges, sc...

    October 22, 2018
  • Astronomers cautiously claim the first ‘exomoon’

    Data suggests a moon the size of Neptune orbiting a planet 8,000 light years away. Richard A Love...

    Scientists using data from the Hubble Space Telescope have found what appears to be a gigantic moon circling a planet...

    October 3, 2018
  • Jupiter and Titan findings underpin troubling news about Earth methane emissions

    New modelling suggests estimates for methane’s role in global warming are on the low side. Richar...

    Scientists seeking to refine our understanding of global climate change have found that methane is a significantly st...

    October 1, 2018
  • Key molecular building blocks may have come from space

    Phosphorus, critical for DNA and other biological processes, originated in exploding stars, scien...

    A key molecular building block for self-replicating organisms may have originated in deep space, scientists say. Phos...

    September 26, 2018
  • To Ultima Thule! What NASA’s New Horizons has planned for the holiday season

    A rendezvous with a tiny distant rock has mission scientists biting their knuckles. Richard A Lov...

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is closing in on its second encounter with an alien world — a little one nicknamed Ult...

    September 20, 2018
  • Darkness looms for NASA’s Dawn

    Pioneering asteroid visiting craft is running on fumes and about to shut down. Richard A Lovett r...

    Sometime soon, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been exploring the Asteroid Belt since 2007, will run out of fuel, b...

    September 11, 2018
  • NASA’s Lucy in the sky with Trojans

    The agency prepares to launch a mission to investigate swarms of asteroids orbiting with Jupiter....

    Even as one NASA mission is readying to rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid this December, another is preparing to ...

    September 6, 2018
  • Water worlds are abundant in the universe, researchers say

    With so many oceanic planets, “life could be a universal phenomenon”. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Ocean worlds that would put the Kevin Costner’s 1995 movie Waterworld to shame may be a dime a dozen elsewhere in the...

    August 28, 2018
  • Hot in the city

    Detailed mapping reveals an unexpected picture of temperatures in major urban areas. Richard A Lo...

    Anyone who lives in a big city knows that on hot days some areas are less unpleasant than others.  But an American re...

    August 27, 2018
  • When NASA met Bennu

    Asteroid-sampling spacecraft gets first glimpse of its target, and the excitement notches up. Ric...

    Eyes across a crowded solar system: OSIRIS-Rex spots Bennu (circled) for the first time.NASA / Goddard / University o...

    August 27, 2018
  • The Parker Probe: what happens next

    NASA has launched the fastest vehicle in history – and it’s in for a wild ride. Richard A Lovett ...

    NASA’s latest space mission, the Parker Solar Probe, roared off Cape Canaveral at 3:31 US eastern daylight time on Su...

    August 14, 2018
  • Innovate, schminnovate. Homo erectus were lazy folk

    Research suggests our ancient ancestors couldn't really be bothered. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Ancient human ancestors known as Homo erectus may have been both intellectually and physically lazy, scientists say —...

    August 14, 2018
  • Tiny tunnels in gemstones found to be caused by microbes

    Garnet discovery may prompt changes to search protocols for life on Mars. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Microscopic tunnels in garnet crystals from Thailand appear to have been created by microorganisms boring into the ro...

    August 8, 2018
  • Findings suggest domestic violence may increase family size

    Amazon study links partner violence to more births, but researcher warns against concluding spous...

    A study in the journal Nature Human Behaviour finds that women in a remote Amazon Basin culture who are brutalised by...

    August 7, 2018
  • Droughts meant the end for the Maya

    Mexico’s great pre-Columbian civilisation was doomed by lack of rain. Richard A Lovett reports.

    The Maya civilisation, which dominated southern Mexico for hundreds of years, appears to have been brought to its kne...

    August 5, 2018
  • Mars may be safe from terra-ism

    The red planet may never be a green and pleasant land. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Colonists hoping to terraform Mars for human settlement may face an obstacle, scientists say: not enough carbon dioxi...

    July 30, 2018
  • Dark ribbon around Jupiter reveals magnetic mystery

    A painstaking search through historical photos has revealed an unexplained shadowy belt around Ju...

    Planetary scientists studying images of Jupiter taken from some of the Earth’s largest telescopes have discovered a m...

    July 26, 2018
  • Signs of hidden lake found beneath Martian ice caps

    A Mars orbiter has detected radar reflections from what appears to be a 20-kilometre-wide lake of...

    Scientists using ground-penetrating radar from an orbiting spacecraft have discovered what appears to be a 20-kilomet...

    July 25, 2018
  • Is Triton an ocean world?

    Scientists are reevaluating what we know about Neptune’s moon Triton, and sketching plans for a f...

    When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Neptune’s Pluto-sized moon Triton in 1989, it saw a number of strange featur...

    July 24, 2018
  • Juno’s new Jupiter

    The goddess-inspired spacecraft is unveiling new breadths and depths of the planet’s innermost se...

    In ancient Roman mythology, Jupiter, the king of the gods, had the ability to hide behind a veil of clouds. Only his ...

    July 24, 2018
  • Probing the mystery of Pluto’s glaciers

    Glaciers seen on the dwarf planet appear to violate physics, prompting a search for explanation. ...

    When the first photos came back from NASA’s New Horizons flyby of Pluto in July 2015, one of the biggest surprises wa...

    July 22, 2018
  • Planet Nine search finds 12 new Jovian moons

    New discoveries include an oddball and the most distant known object in the solar system. Richard...

    Valetudo, the Roman goddess of health and hygiene. Now also a small moon travelling in the wrong direction.NLM / Scie...

    July 17, 2018
  • The mathematics of flu

    Different cities have different influenza seasons, statistics show. Richard A Lovett reports.

    As Australia braces for what is expected to be an unusually bad flu season, an American researcher has discovered tha...

    July 17, 2018
  • Maths and apps promise help for sleepless nights

    A maths conference hears that fitness tracker data represents a bonanza for sleep researchers. Ri...

    Researchers concerned about disruptions in the body’s day/night cycle, often called its circadian rhythm, are increas...

    July 15, 2018
  • Human aesthetics obstructs tech efficiency

    Letting computers work out design often results in incomprehensible forms – and that’s exactly wh...

    Computer-assisted advances in optics, photonics, and related sciences are producing new designs so different from any...

    July 12, 2018
  • Jupiter’s aurorae put the Earth’s to shame

    Images from Juno surprise planetary scientists with unexpected results. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Planetary scientists studying the upper atmosphere of Jupiter have discovered unexpected details in bright spots in i...

    July 8, 2018
  • Large molecules show Enceladus “clearly is habitable for life”

    New findings support, but do not prove, the idea that life may exist on Saturn’s icy moon. Richar...

    Large organic molecules are spewing into space from the depths of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, scientists say. Exactl...

    June 27, 2018
  • Twist in the tail: ‘Oumuamua was a comet, not an asteroid

    Calculations show solar system visitor was made of ice, not rock, and definitely wasn’t piloted b...

    ‘Oumuamua, humanity’s first known interstellar visitor, may have been a comet, not an asteroid, scientists say.  That...

    June 27, 2018
  • Rare good news: bedrock rise may slow ice melt

    GPS data suggests that geological movement might prevent the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice S...

    In what appears to be rare good news for sea level rise, bedrock underneath parts of West Antarctica is rising at a r...

    June 21, 2018
  • After 99 years, Einstein’s general relativity confirmed at galactic scale

    Measurements of warping spacetime bolster case for dark matter, dark energy. Richard A Lovett rep...

    In 1919, British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington traveled to the West African island of Príncipe to take measurements...

    June 21, 2018
  • White House takes action on asteroid threats

    Major report, announcement, forms policy for detecting and deflecting near-Earth objects, but Don...

    The US Government has announced a 10-year project to increase its readiness for preparing for and preventing catastro...

    June 20, 2018
  • Day rate: winds accelerate the rotation of Venus

    The planet’s dense atmosphere and steep mountains combine to affect the planet’s speed. Richard A...

    Strong winds blowing across the tops of mountains on Venus appear to be causing that planet’s rotation rate to speed ...

    June 18, 2018
  • Giant Mars dust storm – is it all over for red rover?

    NASA’s Opportunity rover is in indefinite shutdown, but researchers are cautiously confident it w...

    A giant dust storm has turned day to night over much of Mars, threatening the Opportunity rover and forcing it to shu...

    June 13, 2018
  • Hawking’s microbot vision for Alpha Centauri edges closer

    Tiny bots and solar sails could travel 4.3 light years in just a quarter-century. Richard A Lovet...

    When humans finally venture into interstellar space, the place we are most likely to go first is the sun’s closest ne...

    June 12, 2018
  • Drilling into Curiosity’s finds

    Richard A Lovett unearths more details of the discovery of organic molecules and seasonal methane...

    NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has hit new scientific pay dirt, unearthing “conclusive” evidence of organic molecules — ...

    June 11, 2018
  • Dust to dust: the mystery of Tabby’s star deepens

    It’s been dubbed the most mysterious star in the universe, and the latest research does nothing t...

    Astronomers using small telescopes around the world are unearthing clues to an enigma once dubbed “the most mysteriou...

    June 10, 2018
  • Juno gets a new lease of life, and New Horizons wakes up

    NASA beefs up and boosts two of its most successful missions. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Two NASA space missions are gearing up for the next phases of their exploration of the outer solar system.One, the Ju...

    June 10, 2018
  • “Planet Nine” not needed to explain outer object orbits, researcher claims

    New hypothesis also potentially explains mechanics of dino-killing asteroid. Richard A Lovett rep...

    Scientists studying the most distant known objects in the solar system have found that their orbits can be explained ...

    June 6, 2018
  • Dark matter may carry electrical charge

    Results from Western Australia may prompt a radical rethink of the properties of the elusive subs...

    Scientists studying the “cosmic dawn” — a time when the first stars ignited in the early universe — have found eviden...

    May 31, 2018
  • High tech palaeontology yields new insights into tetrapod and lizard evolution

    Two papers provide exciting answers to very old questions. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Palaeontologists using high-tech methods more commonly associated with medical or crime-scene labs are prying ever-mo...

    May 30, 2018
  • Despite how it looks, Hawaii’s volcanic eruption is small potatoes

    The images are spectacular, but Kilauea won’t kill anyone, or become a notable eruption. Richard ...

    If you knew there was, say, a 0.5% risk that your dream home would burn up in any given year, would you still build i...

    May 22, 2018
  • Planets in the Goldilocks zone may be snowballs

    Modelling suggests life potential is determined by more than simply distance from a star. Richard...

    Earthlike planets circling other stars may be prone to wild climate fluctuations that could make them uninhabitable, ...

    May 20, 2018
  • Oldest stars ever seen give clue to the end of Big Bang dark age

    Stars that shone just 250 million years after the universe began take astronomy closer to its Hol...

    Scientists studying a galaxy more than 13 billion light years away have found stars that formed when the universe was...

    May 17, 2018
  • Reducing bubbles may help swimmers make a splash

    Underwater recordings offer sports training hacks, and a possible way to avoid shark attack. Rich...

    Humans are noisy swimmers. But just how much noise do we make thrashing around in the water, and is there enough of i...

    May 14, 2018
  • Real-life cloaking devices move one step closer

    Proof-of-concept for sound-confounding tech unveiled. Richard A Lovett reports.

    In science fiction, cloaking devices are designed to keep people from seeing things such as Klingon starships or Harr...

    May 13, 2018
  • Bubbling up: listening to photosynthesis may help reef conservation

    Marine ecosystem health is reflected in the noises made by its plants. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Marine scientists using underwater microphones have managed to eavesdrop on the sound of photosynthesis. The process ...

    May 9, 2018
  • Eavesdropping on a twister

    One scientist believes low-frequency vibrations are the key to a better early warning system for ...

    Each spring hundreds of tornadoes rip across the American heartland — so many that a belt from Texas to southern Cana...

    May 8, 2018
  • Your next holiday might cost the Earth

    New modelling finds tourism accounts for a big slice of global greenhouse gas emissions. Richard ...

    Holidays are for relaxing, adventuring, or pampering yourself. But they can also be large contributors to global clim...

    May 7, 2018
  • Meteorite find boosts hopes for moon water

    A mineral in a moon rock means ice is just below the surface. Richard A Lovett reports.

    A rare mineral in a Saharan meteorite points to the presence of significant amounts of ice not far beneath the moon’s...

    May 2, 2018
  • Firing rocks from a cannon hints at how water reached Earth

    Experiments take the question of water arrival on planets one step nearer to answering. Richard A...

    By firing marble-sized rocks from a giant cannon, scientists have found a way in which the infant Earth might have re...

    April 26, 2018
  • Diamonds from the heart of a lost planet

    Long predicted, scientists believe they now have proof that the solar system once contained extra...

    Diamonds in a meteorite recovered from Sudan’s Nubian Desert have revealed traces of a lost planet, possibly as large...

    April 17, 2018
  • “Nuclear geyser” may be origin of life

    The perfect for conditions for life – including a handy power source – may have been a natural nu...

    Life may not have originated in the primordial soup of an ancient pond, according to scientists, but rather in a “nuc...

    April 17, 2018
  • Evidence mounts for habitability of Venus-like worlds

    Climate models show exoplanets like Venus could hold oceans under the right conditions. Richard A...

    Venus-like exoplanets might not be super-heated hothouses, say scientists. Evidence is mounting that even Venus itsel...

    April 15, 2018
  • Solar superstorms may have helped set stage for life

    Huge solar storms that bombarded the early Earth with radiation could have kept the planet warm a...

    Nasa Gigantic solar storms may have helped strip unwanted gases from the Earth’s atmosphere, while helping to se...

    April 12, 2018
  • Hacking the mind for extreme performance

    Athletes looking for the winning edge must master the space between the ears. Richard A. Lovett i...

    Projected to take as many as 11 gold medals in Rio, the Australian swim team managed just three and was reduced to wa...

    April 8, 2018
  • Venus may have hosted life, researchers say

    The planet was once cool enough to have liquid water.

    The planet Venus may once have been hospitable to life, scientists say — possibly even more so than the early Earth. ...

    April 3, 2018
  • Found: a galaxy devoid of dark matter

    Containing millions of stars, the find has astrophysicists searching for an explanation. Richard ...

    In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists have found a galaxy that appears to contain no dark matter — t...

    March 28, 2018
  • Pluto’s mountains may have slid along a kilometre a day

    Research suggests a mountain range moved on top of nitrogen ice. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Giant mountains of ice up to 5000 metres tall may have broken off the rim of Pluto’s Sputnik Planitia and “sledded” 1...

    March 25, 2018
  • Earth microbes could contaminate space samples, researchers say

    Fungi found growing in a supposedly sterile NASA lab raises concerns about the integrity of mater...

    Scientists studying “clean” labs in which extraterrestrial objects ranging from meteorites to Moon rocks are stored h...

    March 21, 2018
  • Evidence suggests Toba volcanic winter was less lethal than thought

    Researchers find at least one human population thrived during a 1000-year volcanic winter. Richar...

    Scientists studying two archaeological sites near the extreme southern point of South Africa have discovered that ear...

    March 15, 2018
  • Complex organic compounds from dying stars could be life precursors

    Lab experiments reveal carbon-based molecules are a by-product of red giants. Richard A. Lovett r...

    Laboratory experiments designed to recreate conditions around carbon-rich red giant stars have revealed that startlin...

    March 11, 2018
  • Hurricanes over shallow water bring more bad news

    The wind was bad, but Hurricane Harvey’s effects on water were potentially even more disastrous. ...

    When Hurricane Harvey roared off the Gulf of Mexico to pummel Houston, Texas, on 25 August 2017, it looked like a pec...

    February 19, 2018
  • Prevalence and danger of little known tsunami type revealed

    Researchers are finding many destructive wave events are caused by storms, not quakes. Richard A ...

    On 4 July 2003, beachgoers at Warren Dunes State Park, in the US state of Michigan, were enjoying America’s Independe...

    February 18, 2018
  • Robots and computers offer new ways to study sea life

    Scuba diving biologists may become an endangered species as robotics and high-tech imaging revolu...

    Researchers seeking new ways to explore the ocean have developed an underwater “robotic plankton” inexpensive enough ...

    February 15, 2018
  • Drugs and plastics threatening ocean and human health

    Sedatives and diabetes meds among the unwanted toxins being flushed into the seas. Richard A Love...

    In a series of presentations at the recent 2018 Ocean Science Meeting organised by the American Geophysical Union in ...

    February 14, 2018
  • Do massive dark matter “nuggets” lurk in our galaxy?

    On the numbers, there's nothing to stop dark matter condensing into solids 100 million times bigg...

    If dark matter particles can cool down sufficiently, they could coalesce into dark planets many times larger than the...

    February 8, 2018
  • Ancient stars clue to dark matter speed

    Can we learn more about dark matter by studying the oldest stars in the galaxy? Richard A Lovett ...

    Physicists wanting to learn about dark matter may need to look no further than the motions of the most ancient stars ...

    February 4, 2018
  • Galaxy rotations raise doubts on dark matter

    Satellite galaxies orbit in a single plane, contrary to standard model predictions. Richard A Lov...

    An odd distribution in the orbits of small “satellite” galaxies circling a larger galaxy called Centaurus A is making...

    February 1, 2018
  • Mini Ice Age caused by global warming

    Isotope analysis reveals detailed pattern of ancient weather event.

    Geologists studying boulders left behind by the melting of ancient Canadian ice sheets are confirming a theory that a...

    January 30, 2018
  • The seas of Titan communicate with each other

    Measuring liquid seas and lakes on Saturn’s moon to an accuracy of just 30 centimetres reveals su...

    Drawing on data taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as recently as five months before its final plunge into Saturn’s a...

    January 23, 2018
  • Very early galaxies are mature, not turbulent

    Imaging galaxies from 13 billion years ago reveals surprising results. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Scientists using light from far-distant galaxies as a way of peering back to when the universe was young have detecte...

    January 18, 2018
  • Astronomers spinning out over comet rotation

    Researchers observe dramatic changes of speed in a comet’s spin, and find lessons for future NASA...

    A comet known as 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák (or 41P, for short) has astounded planetary scientists by changing its r...

    January 11, 2018
  • Iron-rich stars keep planets close to home

    US conference hears star iron content predicts orbital size for exoplanets. Richard A Lovett repo...

    Small differences in the amount of iron in a star may herald substantial differences in the type of planetary systems...

    January 10, 2018
  • Use new telescopes to scout for ET tech, astrobiologists tell NASA

    Searching for signs of alien civilisations may answer urgent questions about our own. Richard A L...

    Astrobiologists are calling on NASA to use what geologists are learning about a new era sometimes called the “Anthrop...

    January 8, 2018
  • Unlike Hollywood, the universe is full of big stars

    Research finds massive star numbers have been underestimated – affecting calculations for black h...

    Giant stars hundreds of times more massive than the sun may have been much more common in the early universe than pre...

    January 4, 2018
  • Plate tectonics: the hidden key to life on Earth

    Earth’s constantly moving crust helps keep the climate habitable. If circumstances had been only ...

    “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” Carl Sagan was moved to lyricism by the pale blue dot ...

    December 26, 2017
  • Wet Mars “doomed from the start”

    Basalts on the Red Planet sucked away much of the planet’s early ocean, according to new research...

    Scientists have long known that Mars once had water, probably filling an ocean in its northern hemisphere. But today,...

    December 21, 2017
  • Art meets astronomy: the JunoCam experiment

    A camera on NASA’s Juno craft is a attracting a lot of attention from amateur astronomers and art...

    A unique citizen-science project associated with NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting Juno mission has produced dazzling images of...

    December 19, 2017
  • Scientists cautiously back Trump’s moon plan

    A surprise White House announcement caught experts on the hop, but many see its potential. Richar...

    In a White House announcement early last week, US President Donald Trump startled space scientists by issuing a direc...

    December 18, 2017
  • Citizen sciences and jet power combine to study eclipse

    Several projects extract new details and confirm old models in multi-pronged investigation. Richa...

    The total eclipse of the sun on 21 August 2017 lasted less than three minutes for observers on the ground. But eclips...

    December 14, 2017
  • NASA’s Juno finds surprise radiation on Jupiter

    Geophysical conference hears of new findings about the atmosphere and the roots of the Great Red ...

    Scientists using data from NASA’s Juno mission have found zones of unexpected radiation on Jupiter and have been able...

    December 13, 2017
  • New Tongan island offers clues to water on Mars

    Geophysicist conference hears of similarities between Pacific Ocean island and Martian volcanic f...

    The Earth’s newest island is a geological treasure trove that may, among other things, hold clues to questions about ...

    December 12, 2017
  • Shredding plasma sheets could solve solar flare puzzle

    A new theory may explain how stars release powerful, unstable bursts of energy. Richard A. Lovett...

    Giant sheets of plasma bursting into pieces may help produce high-energy magnetic reconnections that set off the enor...

    December 10, 2017
  • Where will the next wave of space exploration take us?

    One epic period of space exploration has come to an end. Richard A. Lovett looks forward to the n...

    The past few years have been a halcyon era for space exploration. In the span of little more than a decade, NASA’s Ne...

    December 4, 2017
  • Slowing down the stars

    Astronomers probe why stars still form so long after the Big Bang. Richard A Lovett reports.

    Astronomers studying a spiral galaxy in the constellation Fornax have found a clue not only to why stars are still fo...

    December 3, 2017
  • Radical dark matter theory prompts robust rebuttals

    The idea that dark energy and dark matter aren’t needed to explain the properties of the universe...

    In 1887, physicists Alfred Michelson and Edward Morley set up an array of prisms and mirrors in an elegant attempt to...

    November 30, 2017
  • Measuring the heat beneath the ice

    NASA team combines data to uncover temperatures deep underground in Antarctica. Richard A Lovett ...

    Scientists studying magnetic signatures in Antarctic rocks are peering beneath the frozen continent’s ice sheets to m...

    November 22, 2017
  • Dying star blows aluminium, silicon into space

    Research adds clues to how old stars supply the building blocks for new planets. Richard A Lovett...

    Astronomers using a giant telescope array on high in the Chilean desert are mapping how solar winds blowing off a dyi...

    November 19, 2017
  • Probing the mysteries of the Cosmic Snake

    It sounds like a creation myth, but the Cosmic Snake is more like a trick of the light. Richard A...

    In a study, the subject matter of which sounds like a topic for a New Age journal, astronomers using the Hubble Space...

    November 15, 2017
  • Galaxy produces ‘molecular forests’

    New imaging reveals a surprising array of chemicals in massive clouds surrounding new-born stars....

    A team of Japanese radio astronomers using a giant radio telescope in Chile has found a startling array of molecules ...

    November 12, 2017
  • GPS satellites “the largest dark matter detector ever built”

    Physicists pull the global positioning system into the search for the universe’s elusive missing ...

    In an effort to solve one of modern physics’ deepest mysteries, scientists have found a way to use GPS satellites as ...

    November 9, 2017
  • Visitor from outside the solar system passed us at high speed this week

    The scramble is on to learn about a high speed mysterious object before it fades from view. Richa...

    A cosmic interloper — perhaps a comet, perhaps an asteroid — hurtled through the solar system last week, stunning ast...

    October 30, 2017
  • Fermi’s Paradox finished? Perhaps ET is abundant and we just can’t see it

    NASA’s Pluto chief suggests aliens may thrive in subsurface oceans – but be blind to the universe...

    Life may be abundant and unseen on planets with subsurface oceans, according to NASA’s Pluto chief.Victor Habbich Vis...

    October 22, 2017
  • New evidence for the mysterious Planet Nine

    Kooky orbits on the outskirts of the solar system point to the existence of a large undiscovered ...

    Scientists studying eight of the most distant known objects in the solar system have concluded that many of them woul...

    October 18, 2017
  • Warm weather and wet snow may have doomed Scott of the Antarctic

    New climate modelling reveals clues to the explorer’s fate – and to the future of the ice sheet. ...

    A new model that allows scientists to reconstruct Antarctic weather from more than 100 years ago has revealed atmosph...

    October 15, 2017
  • “Astounding”: the Moon once had an atmosphere

    New study finds that not once, but twice, volcanic eruptions left the Moon blanketed by gases for...

    Three to four billion years ago, the giant volcanic eruptions that created the Man in the Moon also gave the Moon an ...

    October 8, 2017
  • Water found near Martian equator

    In a surprising outcome, re-analysing old data finds ice where none was thought to survive, repor...

    Scientists taking a new look at old data from NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mars since 2001...

    October 4, 2017
  • Zircons: How tiny crystals open a window into the early history of Earth

    Sandgrain-sized zirconium crystals offer scientists time capsules from more than 4 billion years ...

    Zirconium is the eighteenth most common element in the Earth’s crust – more common than such well-known substances as...

    September 11, 2017
  • How thick is a continent? Seismic waves and diamonds hold clues

    Seismologists studying the reflection of seismic waves inside the Earth have measured the thickne...

    Seismologists studying the reflections of seismic waves from the thickest parts the Earth’s lithosphere (the layer th...

    August 10, 2017
  • What science can learn from a total solar eclipse

    160 seconds is a long time in heliophysics

    On August 21, when the first total eclipse of the Sun to hit the continental United States in 38 years cuts a swath o...

    August 8, 2017
  • Black hole collision reveals clues to early cosmos

    A new observation of colliding black holes by LIGO confirms that the era of gravitational-wave as...

    Colliding black holes first spiral in towards each other, throwing off ripples in spacetime as they do.R. Hurt / Calt...

    June 2, 2017
  • Cassini survives first dive beneath Saturn’s rings

    The NASA spacecraft has sent back images from its closest approach ever to the gas giant’s atmosp...

    A raw image from Cassini’s dive showing a vortex at Saturn’s North Pole.all images NASA/JPL {%recommended 4917%}NASA’...

    April 28, 2017
  • Cassini mission’s final performance a fiery plunge to Saturn

    NASA has revealed plans to send the Cassini spacecraft into a death spiral,allowing it to capture...

    An artist’s impression of Cassini breaking up in Saturn’s atmosphere.NASA/JPLNASA’s 20-year-old Cassini mission is ab...

    April 5, 2017
  • Solar jet stream promises better flare forecasting

    The earth's jet stream has a major influence on weather. Now, it seems like the sun has one, too....

    This NASA Solar and Heliospheric Administration (SOHO) image shows a solar flare erupting from a giant sunspot.NASA/G...

    March 28, 2017
  • Solving the mysteries of the dino-killing crater

    Chicxulub provides clues that might help understand life on Mars.

    Scientists drilling into the floor of the Chicxulub impact crater in the Gulf of Mexico are working to increase our u...

    March 23, 2017
  • NASA, ESA aim to ram asteroid

    A joint mission by NASA and ESA is set to smack into an asteroid in a rehearsal for saving the Ea...

    Artist's impression of the binary asteroid Didymos, the ESA satellite watching, the NASA satellite heading in for imp...

    March 22, 2017
  • Rosetta makes startling ice discovery on comet

    67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko's close encounter with the sun is giving investigators much to study. R...

    Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko continues to intrigue and surprise researchers.Maurizio de Angelis/Science Photo Libr...

    March 21, 2017
  • Ancient Earth leaves a fading signature

    Rare-earth isotopes are providing clues to the nature of the Earth's first crust. Richard A Lovet...

    Granite such as this along the eastern shores of the Hudson Bay reveal remnants of the Earth's crust.Rick CarlsonScie...

    March 17, 2017
  • “Time crystals” latest quantum weirdness

    US scientists have fashioned crystals that seem to defy the laws of physics. Richard A Lovett rep...

    PixabayTwo American teams of scientists have independently created the world’s first “time crystals”, but don’t order...

    March 10, 2017
  • Humans have created at least 208 new types of mineral

    Large numbers of long-lasting new minerals created by human activities may provide an eduring geo...

    Simonkolleite [Zn5(OH)8Cl2·H2O] is an anthropogenic mineral, found on a copper mining artifact, Rowley mine, Maricopa...

    March 1, 2017
  • Australian rocks suggest early Earth may not have had plate tectonics

    Evidence from a remote part of Australia has re-energised debate about the role of plate tectonic...

    The outer layer of modern Earth is a collection of interlocking rigid plates, as seen in this illustration. These pla...

    February 28, 2017
  • Dwarf star hosts seven possibly habitable planets

    All bunched in close together, orbiting a tiny star, a newly discovered cluster of rocky planets ...

    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. NASA/JPL-Caltech Just when we w...

    February 22, 2017
  • Dwarf planet Ceres is flush with water

    ... but probably as ice crystals and hydrated minerals, new data from the Dawn spacecraft suggest...

    Comparison of hydrogen content on asteroids Vesta (left) and Ceres (right). On Ceres, hydrogen is concentrated near t...

    December 15, 2016
  • Jupiter’s ammonia plumes run deep, Juno finds

    With each flyby, the NASA spacecraft tells us more about our solar system's biggest planet. But i...

    Artist's concept of the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. It made its third flyby on Sunday 11 December, skirting 4,1...

    December 14, 2016
  • Rosetta spied shifting dunes on Comet 67P – so how did they form?

    Gas whooshing along the surface combined with very low gravity kicked up moving ripples in the co...

    Evidence of dune-like structures in the surface dust of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.ESA / Rosetta / MPS for OSIRI...

    November 29, 2016
  • New blood spatter models will better reconstruct crime scenes

    Current calculations don't take air resistance and gravity into account. But an American team hop...

    Forensic teams reconstruct a crime scene using, among other cues, patterns of blood sprayed on walls and furniture. N...

    November 29, 2016
  • The quest for the two-hour marathon

    Crossing the finish line in two hours would make history. But is it possible? Richard A. Lovett i...

    Runners compete in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21. Eliud Kipchoge of Ken...

    November 27, 2016
  • Bizarre bubbles: sinking air, floating steel and soapy behemoths

    Stuck for an activity this weekend? Defy gravity with a tub of hair gel and blow big, stable bubb...

    Reinforce your soap and water with guar gum and bingo! Massive stable bubbles.Robert Daly / Getty ImagesIn ordinary l...

    November 25, 2016
  • Why cat tongues make great hairbrushes

    A 3-D printed plastic brush inspired by their raspy spines hooked snags and tangles out with ease...

    A 3-D printed brush based on a cat tongue was like a 'heat-seeking missile for snags'.Erika Matsuo / EyeEm / Getty Im...

    November 24, 2016
  • Deadly molasses flood surged faster than Olympic sprinters

    When a tank of the sticky syrup burst in Boston in 1919, it produced a tidal wave that moved fast...

    The molasses flood of 1919 destroyed buildings and killed more than 20 people.The Boston Globe / Getty ImagesWhen Ame...

    November 22, 2016
  • Juno in safe mode after engine malfunction

    Glitch means the probe is still in its 53-day loop, but NASA scientists and engineers say it's no...

    An artist's impression of the Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter. We'll have to wait until a...

    October 19, 2016
  • New Horizons hints at Plutonian clouds and dynamic Eris

    The NASA probe just keeps on giving, with more intriguing insights into the outer solar system – ...

    New Horizons is set to fly past 2014 MU69 – a Kuiper belt object currently about 1.6 billion kilometres beyond Pluto ...

    October 19, 2016
  • Comet-chaser Rosetta ends its mission with a soft thud

    After two years keeping Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko company, the European Space Agency's miss...

    An artist's impression of Rosetta shortly before its collision with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.ESA / ATG mediala...

    October 2, 2016
  • Hubble spots water plumes spurting from Jupiter moon Europa

    As the moon moved around its gas giant host, the Hubble Space Telescope captured images of what l...

    Suspected plumes of water vapour erupting at the 7 o’clock position of Jupiter’s moon Europa.NASA / ESA / W. Sparks (...

    September 26, 2016
  • NASA’s bold plan to capture an asteroid rock

    Slinging a boulder into lunar orbit will let astronauts take samples and practice skills needed o...

    An artist's impression of an Orion spacecraft docking with the robotic asteroid redirect vehicle for astronauts to ta...

    September 15, 2016
  • ‘We conquered Jupiter’: Juno successfully slots into orbit

    Everything hinged on a 35-minute engine burn, but NASA's spacecraft arrived safely and manoeuvred...

    Nearly five years and 2.8 billion kilometres later, NASA's Juno probe is orbiting the biggest planet in our solar sys...

    July 5, 2016
  • Juno’s risky rendezvous with Jupiter

    If the spacecraft's rocket doesn't fire at the right time, its 2.8-billion-kilometre journey will...

    As Juno approached its gas giant destination, the Hubble Space Telescope snapped this combined optical and ultraviole...

    July 1, 2016
  • Transgender runners at no advantage, study finds

    It's a matter of time before trans female athletes compete in the Olympics, but they'll not have ...

    A year after gender reassignment surgery, trans women have no edge over the rest of the field.MIKE POWELL / GETTY IMA...

    May 24, 2016
  • Humidity could be the killer with climate change

    Conditions so severe that the human body can no longer cool itself could make some parts of the w...

    A road sign at Marble Bar in Western Australia celebrates the town's brutal climate. But heat may not be the dangerou...

    January 27, 2016
  • Watching a baby planet’s birth

    Planetary scientists have spotted an infant gas giant hatching from a cloud. Richard A. Lovett re...

    The first glimpse of a new baby is a happy event. Just ask the astronomers who spotted a Jupiter-like baby planet – t...

    November 30, 2015
  • Maths confirms Pluto’s not a planet

    A new formula seeks to define a planet. As Rick Lovett reports, 99% of the exoplanets found so fa...

    Images of Pluto taken by New Horizons have awakened affection for the distant body. But should sentiment determine wh...

    November 23, 2015
  • Beyond Pluto – New Horizons’ next target

    The space probe is now heading to a far more distant Kuiper Belt Object. By Richard A. Lovett.

    An artist's rendition of Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 which New Horizons will visit in January 2019. – NASA, ESA, Sw...

    September 14, 2015
  • Pluto’s atmosphere, icecaps and other surprises

    The dwarf planet is a weird cross between icy Antarctica and smoggy Los Angeles. By Richard A Lov...

    New Horizons wowed us with images of giant mountains and glaciers made of frozen gases on Pluto. Now its snapshots ha...

    August 10, 2015
  • Pluto: an enigma in close-up

    Discovering more about the size, surface and geology of Pluto and its moons hasn’t lessened the m...

    Only a month ago, Pluto was one of the most mysterious objects in the Solar System — so remote scientists weren’t eve...

    July 20, 2015
  • The end of space exploration?

    Plutonium powers New Horizons' study of Pluto but our stocks are running low. Richard A. Love...

    NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will fly close to Pluto this week. On the way it will take hundreds of observations be...

    July 13, 2015
  • Wild ride for Pluto and its moons

    Shifting gravitational forces around Pluto and Charon created the solar system's oddest orbit...

    This composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, at the centre. Pluto’s...

    June 22, 2015
  • Knocking on Pluto’s door

    After nine long years in space, the New Horizons spacecraft will soon fly past Pluto. Richard A. ...

    When I was in primary school my parents gave me a book called All About Famous Science Expeditions. I devoured the ta...

    May 25, 2015
  • The search for planets beyond Pluto

    Some scientists are convinced more planets exist in our Solar System. By Richard A. Lovett.

    Artist's concept of the New Horizons spacecraft during its planned encounter with Pluto and its largest moon, Charon....

    April 20, 2015
  • How satellites can help prevent illness

    Space-based observatories can help scientists forecast the places on Earth most vulnerable to an ...

    Using weather satellites scientists may be able to save East Africans and their livestock from Rift Valley Fever. The...

    March 2, 2015
  • Shrinking rivers threaten Australia’s super shrimps

    Giant river prawns from northern Australia face threats from dams to climate change. Richard A. L...

    Daly River is home to Macrobrachium spinipes, a giant freshwater prawn. – Amy Kimber A town of 454 people, ...

    June 9, 2014
  • Man-made earthquakes cause seismic rumblings

    Once dismissed as a ludicrous notion, scientists now say human activities such as mining, dam-bui...

    Sparks, Oklahoma, isn’t a place where you would expect a big earthquake. It’s prairie country, smack-dab in the middl...

    March 24, 2014

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