Today's Science News

June 8, 2024

Nasa 'Earthrise' astronaut dies at 90 in plane crash - The photo taken by Bill Anders is one of the most famous images ever snapped in outer space.

Giant viruses discovered in Greenland could slow ice melt - Danish scientists have discovered giant viruses on the surface ice in Greenland.

Brain circuits underlying learning from negative experiences - The brain learns from negative experiences through attention and arousal, controlled by specific neurons and circuits.

We’re Now Just Weeks Away from a Stellar Explosion You Can See With Your Own Eyes - I’ve seen some pretty incredible things using my eyes.. First off of course, is the stunning sight of a dark star filled sky, then there is the incredible sight of the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away.

NASA is commissioning 10 studies on Mars Sample Return—most are commercial - SpaceX will show NASA how Starship could one day return rock samples from Mars.

Sols 4209-4211: Just Out of Reach - Earth planning date: Friday, June 7, 2024 Curiosity is going to have a busy 3-sol weekend.

June 7, 2024

The “Hot Hand” Is Not a Myth - With the NBA Finals upon us, a mathematician revisits the famous paper that claims a player's hot streak is an illusion.

As Earth Sizzles, CO2 in the Atmosphere Accelerates Faster Than Ever - But amidst this concerning news, there are still rays of hope.

NASA Ames Astrogram – May/June 2024 - by Tara Friesen

What’s going on in our brains when we plan? - Scientists discovered neural mechanisms for planning and decision-making using the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus.

People are seizing, being intubated after eating microdose chocolates - "Extreme caution" urged as at least 8 people in 4 states sickened, 6 hospitalized.

NASA wants new ideas for its troubled Mars Sample Return mission - NASA's Mars Sample Return mission has faced quite a few hurdles, and the agency has selected ten studies to try and find more affordable and quicker means of going about the project.

NASA Invites Media to Rollout Event for Artemis II Moon Rocket Stage - NASA will roll the fully assembled core stage for the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket that will launch the first crewed Artemis mission out of

Rare fungal STI spotted in US for the 1st time - A difficult-to-treat form of ringworm can spread via sex and has now been seen in the U.S.

NASA Selects Contractor for Lifecycle Services Support - NASA has selected Amentum Services Inc. of Chantilly, Virginia, to provide program, science, engineering, operations, and project management support at the

James Webb telescope finds carbon at the dawn of the universe, challenging our understanding of when life could have emerged - The James Webb Space Telescope has found carbon in a galaxy just 350 million years after the Big Bang.

Ars chats with Precision, the brain-chip maker taking the road less invasive - Precision tested its BCI on 14 people so far.

Globular Clusters Should Contain More Intermediate-mass Black Holes - Recent studies and simulations of globular clusters suggest the existence of rare intermediate-mass black holes at their hearts.

Lavender’s secret: genetic regulator boosts plant health and fragrance output - Researchers discovered that the LaMYC7 gene boosts lavender's scent and defense against plant pathogens.

What Are You Looking At? - A Florida redbelly turtle looks warily at the camera in this photo from Feb. 29, 2000.

Newly Named Tiny Ape Co-Existed With a Larger Hominid Relative - The discovery of the smallest known hominid plays a role in a much bigger mammal evolution picture.

NASA Exploring Alternative Mars Sample Return Methods - NASA is moving forward with 10 studies to examine more affordable and faster methods of bringing samples from Mars’ surface back to Earth as part of the agency’s Mars Sample Return Program.

Virgin Galactic eyes June 8 for final commercial spaceflight on VSS Unity spaceplane - Virgin Galactic aims to launch its seventh commercial spaceflight mission on June 8 during the final flight of its VSS Unity suborbital spaceplane.

The Internet Might Be Good for Us - One study suggests that, on a global scale, it's associated with greater happiness.

NASA Crew Flight Test Astronauts to Call White House, NASA Leaders - Following their safe arrival at the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will participate in a pair of Earth to space

SpaceX launching 22 Starlink satellites from Florida tonight - SpaceX plans to launch yet another batch of its Starlink internet satellites from Florida's Space Coast tonight (June 7).

New camera design can ID threats faster, using less memory - New system is a mix of traditional camera and one that only highlights changes.

Neanderthals and humans interbred 47,000 years ago for nearly 7,000 years, research suggests - DNA from prehistoric and modern-day people suggests that humans interbred with Neanderthals 47,000 years ago for a period lasting 6,800 years.

Jupiter's raging gas cyclones may actually mirror Earth's oceans. Here's how - Jupiter and Earth's oceans have more in common than you might think.

Earth and space share the same turbulence - Researchers discover similar physical laws governing the wind in the thermosphere and lower atmosphere.

Bizarre egg-laying mammals once ruled Australia—then lost their teeth - Finds may indicate what the common ancestor of the platypus and echidna looked like.

‘Super’ Star Cluster Shines in New Look From NASA’s Chandra - Westerlund 1 is the biggest and closest “super” star cluster to Earth.

Salmonella outbreak tied to cucumbers sickens 162 - A company that ships whole cucumbers from Florida has recalled potentially contaminated produce.

'The difference between alarming and catastrophic': Cascadia megafault has 1 especially deadly section, new map reveals - The Cascadia subduction zone is more complex than researchers previously knew.

Why is Neptune's magnetic field so weird? An exotic molecule may be the answer - An exotic molecule stabilized by intense pressure found in the icy depths of Neptune and Uranus could help explain a long-standing mystery.

Survey of Cascadia Subduction Zone reveals subterranean structure - New data covering the Cascadia subduction zone – a megathrust fault, which are capable of generating the world’s largest earthquakes – has got scientists rethinking the seismic potential of the region.

Do These Fossilized Teeth Belong to the World’s Smallest Great Ape? - Researchers say two teeth and a kneecap belong to a previously unknown species that lived in what is now Germany

NASA to Discuss Upcoming Spacewalks for Station Repairs, Upgrades - NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station will conduct three spacewalks targeted for June.

US military test launches 2 unarmed intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2 days - The United States Air Force and U.S. Space Force conducted two routine test launches of unarmed intercontinental ballistic missiles this week from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

PACE Celebrates National Ocean Month With Colorful Views of the Planet - What do you give to an ocean that has everything?

Explosive 'devil comet' grows seemingly impossible 2nd tail after close flyby of Earth — but it's not what it seems - Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, also known as the devil comet, recently made its closest approach to Earth for more than 70 years.

Banning Fossil Fuel Ads Would Be Legally Difficult in the U.S. - This week U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for bans on fossil fuel ads, but legal challenges would make nationwide restrictions difficult to implement in the U.S.

Indian Ocean surface temperature could help anticipate dengue outbreaks - A global climate indicator based on Indian Ocean surface temperatures predicts dengue outbreaks months in advance.

New contest lets you name Earth's 1st 'quasi-moon' for free. Here's how to enter. - A new public competition will allow a lucky astronomy enthusiast to name one of Earth's tiny "quasi-moons."

Shigir Idol: World's oldest wood sculpture has mysterious carved faces and once stood 17 feet tall - Crafted out of the trunk of a larch tree, this towering figure features several human faces.

Doctor Who 'Dot and Bubble': Why are space slugs eating influencers in Finetime? - In the fifth episode of "Doctor Who," called"'Dot and Bubble," a city has been invaded by giant, human-eating space slugs, and they seem to have a plan.

Bear vs tiger: Watch 2 of nature's heavyweights face off in the wild in India - Visitors at a tiger reserve in India recently filmed an encounter between a tigress and a bear, with the bear charging after the tigress but deciding at the last minute it was not worth the fight.

The Big Picture: Other-worldly effects of infrared photography. - Infrared photography captures unseen light, transforming landscapes and inspiring art while aiding science and monitoring.

Woolly rhinos went extinct partially because of humans - Research shows that sustained hunting by humans played a role in woolly rhinos from accessing favourable habitats as the Earth warmed.

South Korea creates new KASA space agency, sets sights on the moon and Mars - South Korea has announced the creation of a new space agency and is aiming to land its own spacecraft on the moon and Mars in the coming decades.

The Journey of Early Humans Leaving Africa Reveals a Key Migration Point - New research uncovers the journey of early humans from Africa, revealing the Persian Plateau as a key migration point before spreading to Europe and Asia.

In Highly Connected Networks, There’s Always a Loop - Mathematicians show that graphs of a certain common type must contain a route that visits each point exactly once.

As leaks on the space station worsen, there’s no clear plan to deal with them - "We heard that basically the program office had a runaway fire on their hands."

Scientists find slowest spinning 'radio neutron star' — it breaks all the dead-star rules - Taking almost a full hour to rotate rather than fractions of a second, ASKAP J1935+2148 is the slowest spinning radio-blasting neutron star ever seen.

Why Do Astronomers Look For Signs Of Life On Other Planets? - Hunting for life on other worlds isn’t easy.

Why More Space Launches Could Be a Good Thing for the Climate - A space technology company CEO explains how growing competition in the commercial space industry may help boost climate science

A catalyst's best friend: How neighboring atoms boost CO₂ electrochemical reduction - Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) into valuable chemicals is a key strategy for mitigating climate change and achieving carbon neutrality.

Arctic 'zombie fires' rising from the dead could unleash vicious cycle of warming - Zombie fires that burn underground over winter may be a case of climate change-driven spontaneous combustion, new research reveals.

Peptidomimetics open new opportunities in drug discovery - A relatively simple peptide modification could unlock a whole class of targets for drug discovery, new research shows.

'Sudden, brief, and unexpected:' dearMoon crew laments cancellation of private SpaceX Starship moon mission - Crew members selected for a planned flight around the moon funded by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa shared public feelings of disappointment after the mission's cancellation.

Prime Number Puzzle Has Stumped Mathematicians for More Than a Century - Experts have only started to crack the tricky twin prime conjecture

Elephant Greeting Ceremonies are More Complex Than They Look - How do elephants communicate with one another?

Space snippets: First Chang’e samples, Starship ‘lands’, Starliner docks - Chang’e 6 samples go to space Reports from China indicate the Chang’e 6 mission is heading back to Earth with 2kg in rock samples taken from the far side of the Moon.

Women Are More Likely to Get Drug-Resistant Infections - More countries must recognize how gender affects exposure to pathogens, finds a review by the World Health Organization

Some People with Insomnia Think They’re Awake when They’re Asleep - You say you haven’t slept all night.

Rocket Report: Starliner soars to space station; Starship’s wild flight - "This powerful rocket is the culmination of many years of dedication and ingenuity."

Neuralink’s First User Describes Life with Elon Musk’s Brain Chip - Thirty-year-old Noland Arbaugh says the Neuralink chip has let him “reconnect with the world”

Nature groups launch legal bid over wildlife loss - Countryside and wildlife conservation groups want a judicial review of government action on nature loss.

How Astronomy Helped Create Your Smartphone’s Camera - The next time you snap a selfie, consider thanking an astronomer for your phone’s camera

Analyze This: A recently spotted space object is puzzling scientists - A pulsar’s invisible partner could be an oddly heavy neutron star or a very light black hole.

Do Plants 'Think'? Our Understanding of Consciousness May Be Too Limited to Know - Zoë Schlanger’s new book The Light Eaters explores the surprising science of plant intelligence.

Uncovering the Evolutionary Journey of Ferns’ Sweet Defense Mechanism - Plants and animals coevolve, developing defense strategies like nectar to recruit ant bodyguards for protection.

One Great Shot: Are You Ready for This, Jelly? - Late one spring night in 2021, a nickel-sized driftfish, shielded by a thimble jellyfish, rode the Gulf Stream off Palm Beach, Florida.

Affordable Waste Materials Efficiently Generate Pure Oxygen: A Sustainable Solution - New materials promise faster, more cost-effective oxygen production, challenging traditional methods.

Machine learning helps find advantageous combination of salts and organic solvents for easier anti-icing operations - An Osaka Metropolitan University research team has found a deicing mixture with high effectiveness and low environmental impact after using machine learning to analyze ice melting mechanisms of aqueous solutions of 21 salts and 16 organic solvents.

Boosting Bacterial Genomes to Better Explore the Microbiome - Gang Fang’s new metagenomics method helps sequence rare bacteria.

Speciation Rates: Unraveling the Mystery of Nest-Invading Cuckoo Birds - Cuckoos laying eggs in various host nests lead to higher speciation rates and coevolutionary diversification.

Gene therapy restores hearing to children with inherited deafness - The first clinical trial to administer gene therapy to both ears in one person has restored hearing function to 5 children born with a form of inherited

Astronauts are Practicing Lunar Operations in New Space Suits - Through the Artemis Program, NASA will send astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

After a drama-filled day, Boeing’s Starliner finally finds its way - "I think we’re missing something fundamental that’s going on inside the thrusters."

Why scientists are using a crossbow to study whales - Researchers use the device to take remote biopsies from wild humpback whales to monitor their health.

June 6, 2024

SpaceX’s Starship took a beating but held on for first return from space - "I think we should try to catch the booster with the mechazilla arms next flight!"

HomeoCare Laboratories: Finally, Homeopathy That Does Something, Like Poison You - Homeopathic StellaLife Oral Care Products manufactured in 2024 have been recalled due to FDA finding microbial contamination.

We Are Made of Waves - Everything in the universe, a playful new book argues, vibrates like a guitar string.

These light paintings let us visualize invisible clouds of air pollution - World Health Organization: Air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths per year

Abracadabra! How Magic Can Help Us Understand Animal Minds - By performing tricks for birds, monkeys, and other creatures, researchers hope to learn how they perceive and think about their world.

How an Ancient Human Species Formed Family Ties - Footprints made 80,000 years ago and ancient DNA are among the clues that hint at Neanderthals’ social and community lives.

An Earth-sized Exoplanet Found Orbiting a Jupiter-Sized Star - Red dwarf stars, also known as M-dwarfs, dominate the Milky Way’s stellar population.

AI and satellite imager can spot fires 500x faster than on-ground - Wildfire detection is set to reach new heights – literally – thanks to a special CubeSat in low Earth orbit.

Days of Dragonflies, Fireflies and Fly Fishing - It's time to enjoy and document these fleeting wonders of nature.

A Mission to Uranus Could Also be a Gravitational Wave Detector - Despite being extraordinarily difficult to detect for the first time, gravitational waves can be found using plenty of different techniques.

We’ve just had a year in which every month was a record-setter - Last June was the warmest June on record.

Missed the Auroras in May? Here’s How to See Them Next Time - Three veteran aurora chasers and a NASA scientist share everything you need to know to check these dazzling displays off your bucket list

At 3 Cases In 6 Months, Monkeypox In The US Is Effectively Contained - Monkeypox (Mpox) is an infection transmitted by skin-to-skin contact and causes fever and painful skin blisters.

A Rare Hearing Disorder Can Make Sounds Loud and Uncomfortable - Hyperacusis is a rare condition that makes everyday sounds unbearable.

Success! SpaceX’s Starship Makes a Splash in Fourth Flight Test - SpaceX's Starship earned high marks in its fourth flight test, with both of the rocket's stages making soft splashdowns for the first time.

Forgetting Appointments And Deadlines Is Called Prospective Memory - People tend to lose prospective memory as they age.

We’re Approaching 1.5 Degrees C of Global Warming, but There’s Still Time to Prevent Disaster - Scientists say it’s likely that at least one of the next five years will exceed an average increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures

Younger children in school year are more commonly diagnosed with ADHD than their older classmates, says new study - New research has found that teachers may be attributing signs of age-related immaturity in children, to conditions such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Researchers upend theory about the formation of the Milky Way Galaxy - Research reveals a shocking discovery about the history of our universe: the Milky Way Galaxy's last major collision occurred billions of years later than previously thought.

Exotic black holes could be a byproduct of dark matter - In the first quintillionth of a second, the universe may have sprouted microscopic black holes with enormous amounts of nuclear charge, MIT physicists propose.

People feel more connected to 'tweezer-like' bionic tools that don't resemble human hands - Some say the next step in human evolution will be the integration of technology with flesh.

Planet-forming disks around very low-mass stars are different - Using the James Webb Space Telescope, a team of astronomers studied the properties of a planet-forming disk around a young and very low-mass star.

Why Are Bears ‘Friend-Shaped’? - Why are bears both adorable and deadly?

Musk's Starship rocket makes breakthrough ocean landing - The SpaceX rocket descended broadly intact all the way to the sea surface for the first time.

Using Trash to Track Other Trash - Australia’s vast coastline is littered with marine debris.

When did humans start riding horses? - Archaeological research shows that humans first started riding horses about 4,200 years ago, discounting one of the major theories about migration of people across Eurasia.

SpaceX Starship Blasts through Plasma on Return from Ambitious Test Flight - Elon Musk’s SpaceX made a much-anticipated fourth test flight of the world’s most powerful rocket, Starship, a vehicle designed to power human flight to the moon and Mars

New material records mechanical stress through luminescence - Identifying crumbling infrastructure is sometimes as difficult as rectifying it.

A Cellular Roadmap for Fertility - Researchers created a spatial atlas of rare cell types in the ovaries.

Female Giraffes Drove the Evolution of Long Giraffe Necks - Female giraffes drove the evolution of long giraffe necks in order to feed on the most nutritious leaves.

It’s Time for Hardworking Hubble to Slow Down a Little - Thirty-four years is a long time for a telescope.

Can Psychedelics Improve Mental Health? - Research suggests that psychedelic drugs can reopen critical periods of brain development to create opportunities for re-learning and psychological healing.

Should Blood Pressure Guidelines Be Different for Women and Men? - Blood pressure guidelines are the same for men and women despite important sex differences in hypertension risk

How milk proteins interact with caffeine in espresso - The swirl of milk and espresso—a small storm in your mug—doesn't impact the dynamics of the milk proteins, according to research published in ACS Food Science & Technology.

How Baby Orangutans Become Master Treehouse Architects - Most orangutans take seven years to learn to make their own beds

Does AI steal art or help create it? It depends on who you ask - With AI image generators on the scene, artists see both power and peril ahead.

AI image generators tend to exaggerate stereotypes - The racism, sexism, ableism and other biases common in bot-made images may lead to harm and discrimination in the real world.

Molecules derived from sea sponge show promising effects in cancer, mitochondrial function - A groundbreaking study led by the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in collaboration with Dominican University of California explores how small molecules derived from sea sponges affect energy production in mitochondria and details their remarkably targeted effects on various types of cancers.

Enzyme research reveals why some cancer drugs cause severe side effects - Some cancer drugs cause severe side effects because they are not working accurately enough.

Chinese Astronauts Just Repaired Space Debris Damage Outside the Station - A pair of Chinese taikonauts have completed an eight-hour spacewalk repairing damage to the Tiangong Chinese Space Station’s solar panels.

Researchers discover how nature repurposes ammonium transporters as receptors - A team led by Freiburg biochemist Prof. Dr. Susana Andrade has characterized a new membrane protein that allows microorganisms to repurpose ammonium transporters (Amts) as receptors.

Boeing’s Starliner finally soars, but mission control reports more helium leaks - Despite new leaks, mission control says Starliner can still dock with the space station.

Engineering enzymes to break down microplastics in sewage and wastewater - There are over 5 billion tons of plastic waste accumulated across the planet, much of which are microplastics that may harm human health and pose a long-term threat to agricultural productivity and food security.

Taking Out the Trash: An Alternative Cellular Disposal Pathway - Researchers reveal that cellular secretion removes defective mitochondria when lysosomes are dysfunctional.

Starliner Finally Launches, Carrying Two Astronauts Into Orbit - After many delays and two scrubbed launch attempts, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner successfully launched earlier today!

Drug-targetable driver of inflammatory bowel disease discovered - Researchers in the UK have discovered a biological pathway that plays a major role in driving inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and can be targeted using existing drugs.

Nourishing roots: Why women’s health matters for all - Support for innovation and health workers must go hand in hand to end inequalities in child and maternal health.

ESA Sets the Launch Date for Ariane 6: July 9th - The European Space Agency has retired its Ariane 5 rocket, and all eyes are on its next generation, Ariane 6.

June 5, 2024

Vaccines don’t cause autism, but the lie won’t die—in fact, it’s getting worse - Vaccine misinformation persists as measles cases are soaring.

Mystery object waits nearly an hour between radio bursts - Unlike earlier object, the new source's pulses of radio waves are erratic.

How Schrödinger’s Cat Got Famous - Fifty years ago, science-fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin popularized physics’ most enigmatic feline.

Is It Safe To Buy Food At A Farmers Market? - There is populist rhetoric about Buy Local but what few in the public realize is that the definition is subjective.

If Neanderthals Were Able to Speak, They May Have Had High-Pitched Voices - Researchers debate if Neanderthals really had high-pitched voices or if they were able to speak at all.

A cracking discovery: Eggshell waste can recover rare earth elements needed for green energy - A collaborative team of researchers has made a cracking discovery with the potential to make a significant impact in the sustainable recovery of rare earth elements (REEs), which are in increasing demand for use in green energy technologies.

NASA Rejects Hubble Space Telescope Rescue Mission and Trims Its Science - Failing hardware on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope may lead to less science, officials say, but the space agency isn’t ready to pursue a private repair mission

Oral insulin drops offer relief for diabetes patients [UPDATED 2024-06-07] - Diabetes rates continue to rise.

Scientists identify 'missing piece' required for blood stem cell self-renewal - Blood stem cells -- key to transplants that are used as life-saving treatments for blood cancers and blood and immune disorders -- have the capacity to self-renew, but quickly lose their ability to do so in a lab dish.

AIs are irrational, but not in the same way that humans are - Large Language Models behind popular generative AI platforms like ChatGPT gave different answers when asked to respond to the same reasoning test and didn't improve when given additional context, finds a new study.

Blood sausages and yak milk: Bronze Age cuisine of Mongolian nomads unveiled - Bronze cauldrons were used by the inhabitants of the Mongolian steppe around 2,700 years ago to process animal blood and milk.

New Gene therapy trial shows restored hearing and speech in children born deaf, treated in both ears - A new clinical trial of five children with inherited deafness found administering gene therapy in both ears led to restored hearing and speech, and additional gains including sound source localization, ability to hear in noisy environments, and for two children, abillity to appreciate music.

Babies use 'helpless' infant period to learn powerful foundation models, just like ChatGPT - Babies' brains are not as immature as previously thought, rather they are using the period of postnatal 'helplessness' to learn powerful foundation models similar to those underpinning generative Artificial Intelligence, according to a new study.

Poor quality diet makes our brains sad - Eating a poor quality diet might lead to brain changes that are associated with depression and anxiety.

AI approach elevates plasma performance and stability across fusion devices - Fusion researchers have successfully deployed machine learning methods to suppress harmful plasma edge instabilities without sacrificing plasma performance.

Breaking ground: Could geometry offer a new explanation for why earthquakes happen? - Researchers are adding a new wrinkle to a long-held belief about what causes earthquakes in the first place.

Myelination in the brain may be key to 'learning' opioid addiction - Scientists have found that the process of adaptive myelination, which helps the brain learn new skills, can also promote addiction to opioids.

Electrified charcoal 'sponge' can soak up CO2 directly from the air - Researchers have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient method for making materials that can capture carbon dioxide directly from the air.

'Missing' early sea sponges discovered - Geobiologists reported a 550 million-year-old sea sponge that had been missing from the fossil record.

Father's diet before conception influences children's health - A recent study provides new insights into how fathers' diets and overweight can affect their children's health even before conception.

'Weird' new planet retained atmosphere despite nearby star's relentless radiation - A rare exoplanet that should have been stripped down to bare rock by its nearby host star's intense radiation somehow grew a puffy atmosphere instead -- the latest in a string of discoveries forcing scientists to rethink theories about how planets age and die in extreme environments.