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36,978 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

Target Venus not Mars for first crewed mission to another planet, experts say

Despite its ‘hellish’ environment, scientists argue there are good reasons to focus on ‘Earth’s sister’With a surface hot enough to melt lead, crushing atmospheric pressure and clouds of sulphuric acid, Venus might not sound like the most enticing destination for human exploration.But a group of experts are advocating that our other nearest neighbour, rather than Mars, should be the...

Nasa’s Dart probe to smash into asteroid in first Earth defence test

Aim is to see whether space rocks can be deflected should one threaten humans with same fate as dinosaursMost mission scientists would wince at the thought of their spacecraft being smashed to smithereens. But for those behind Nasa’s Dart probe, anything short of total destruction will be chalked up as a failure.The $330m (£300m) spacecraft is due to slam head-on into an asteroid about 11m...

Nasa delays Artemis 1 moon rocket launch again as tropical storm Ian looms

Third delay in the past month for test flight as technical issues and weather hamper US effort to return to the moon after five decadesNasa is skipping Tuesday’s launch attempt of its new moon rocket over concerns about a tropical storm headed to Florida that could become a major hurricane.It’s the third delay in the past month for the lunar-orbiting test flight featuring mannequins but no...


SATURDAY 24. SEPTEMBER 2022


Want to get a good night’s sleep? First of all, stop trying

Seven expert and unexpected tips for people who have already tried everythingAs a sleep coach, I regularly meet people who have “tried everything” to get more sleep. They have read every article on the subject and devoured every tip on the internet and then adjusted and readjusted their routines based on the advice they have found. Many of them are doing all the right things – spending time...

HRT: inside the complex global supply chain behind a $20bn market

As demand for menopause drugs soars, we trace the oestrogen production line from Chinese soya bean fields to European pharmacy shelvesIn the centre of the factory stand 31 reactors: giant metal globes that can hold up to 10,000 litres of liquid each. Every week, gleaming stainless steel drums arrive by truck at this plant on the outskirts of Oss, in the Netherlands. Their contents are poured into...


FRIDAY 23. SEPTEMBER 2022


Forensic anthropologist Sue Black: ‘The body is really just layers upon layers of memory’

Exclusive: The professor chosen to deliver Royal Institution Christmas lectures talks about a fascination with anatomy that goes back to plucking pheasants as a childFrom a solitary set of finger bones to a fragment of skull in a washing machine, the cases Dame Sue Black has helped solve may seem too gruesome for the joyful spectacle that is the Royal Institution Christmas lectures.But it is not...

Little evidence screaming helps mental health, say psychologists

Experts question long-term benefits of therapy for mental and psychological disordersPopping into a room on your lunch break to have a good scream may seem like a helpful way to let off steam, but experts say there is little evidence the approach offers long-term benefits for mental health.Primal scream therapy (PST) was created by psychologist Arthur Janov in the late 1960s. It is based on the...

Will we ever see pictures of the big bang? We ask an expert

Dr Matthew Bothwell, public astronomer at the University of Cambridge, on whether humans will one day be able to observe the origin of the universeThe pictures from the James Webb telescope – described by Nasa as a “time machine” because the light has taken billions of years to reach us – raise the question: will it be possible to someday see the big bang itself? I asked Dr Matthew...

Dozens starstruck at Northumberland dark skies mass trespass

Participants view Milky Way and Andromeda galaxy as campaigners bemoan restrictions on right to roam“Welcome to the night,” beamed a right to roam campaigner welcoming a coach load of city dwellers to the pitch dark stillness of remote Northumberland countryside on a chilly September evening.The passengers had been attracted by a secretive offer spread on Instagram and by old-school posters...


THURSDAY 22. SEPTEMBER 2022


Water found in asteroid dust may offer clues to origins of life on Earth

Discovery offers new support for the theory that life may have been seeded from outer spaceSpecks of dust that a Japanese space probe retrieved from an asteroid about 186 million miles (300m kilometres) from Earth have revealed a surprising component: a drop of water.The discovery offers new support for the theory that life on Earth may have been seeded from outer space. Continue...

New plagiarism claims against sport concussion guru Paul McCrory

Exclusive: Expert who has downplayed link between concussion and traumatic brain injury is accused of 10 more cases of plagiarismGet our free news app, morning email briefing or daily news podcastThe world-renowned concussion expert Dr Paul McCrory has been accused of 10 more cases of plagiarism, prompting experts to question how much original research the neurologist has produced and whether he...

‘Father of quantum computing’ wins $3m physics prize

David Deutsch, who proposed an as yet unbuildable machine to test existence of parallel universes, shares prize with three othersA theoretical physicist who has never had a regular job has won the most lucrative prize in science for his pioneering contributions to the mind-bending field of quantum computing.David Deutsch, who is affiliated with the University of Oxford, shares the $3m (about...

Covid vaccination rates in US children under five lag despite effectiveness

Biden’s recent announcement that the pandemic is ending could slow process further, as parents question the necessity of shots It’s been three months since the US authorized Covid vaccines for kids under five, yet uptake in this group has been extremely low. Meanwhile, Joe Biden said on Monday that the pandemic is ending – a message that could result in a continued lag.More than 1,400...

Taste of kale makes unborn babies grimace, finds research

First study to look at facial responses of foetuses to tastes shows crying expression twice as likely for kale than carrotIf the taste of kale makes you screw up your face, you are not alone: researchers have observed foetuses pull a crying expression when exposed to the greens in the womb.While previous studies have suggested our food preferences may begin before birth and can be influenced by...

Why is the NHS in crisis, and can it be fixed? - podcast

The UK’s new health secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has not taken on an easy job. Almost two-thirds of trainee GPs plan to work part-time just a year after they qualify, reporting that the job has become too intense to safely work more. A record 6.8 million people are waiting for hospital treatment in England, and 132,139 posts lie vacant across the NHS in England. Ian Sample hears from acute...


WEDNESDAY 21. SEPTEMBER 2022


Neptune and its rings shown in striking new light by Webb telescope

Farthest planet from sun and its satellites revealed in unprecedented detail by space telescope’s infrared imagerThe James Webb space telescope has turned its gaze away from the deep universe towards our home solar system, capturing an image of a luminous Neptune and its delicate, dusty rings in detail not seen in decades.The last time astronomers had such a clear view of the farthest planet...

Experimental drug shows signs of slowing motor neurone disease

Biogen drug Tofersen showed promising results when taken for six months beyond previous trialAn experimental drug for motor neurone disease (MND) has shown signs of slowing the progress of the devastating illness in a landmark trial.The results provide fresh hope after a phase-three trial of the same drug had previously failed to make a meaningful difference to patient outcomes after six months of...

‘What are they thinking?’: toxic ‘forever chemicals’ found in school uniforms

More than a third of children’s clothing tested in a study detected PFAS, which are used to make textiles stain resistantToxic PFAS chemicals are frequently used to make children’s clothing and textiles resist water and stains, but exposure to the compounds in clothes represents a serious health risk, a new peer-reviewed study finds.The study, published in the Environmental and Science...

Bad dreams in middle age could be sign of dementia risk, study suggests

Research finds people who had them at least once a week were four times more likely to experience cognitive declinePeople who experience frequent bad dreams in middle age may experience a faster rate of cognitive decline and be at higher risk of dementia as they get older, data suggests.If confirmed, the research could eventually lead to new ways of screening for dementia and intervention to slow...

‘Alien goldfish’ may have been unique mollusc, say scientists

Researchers think they may have solved enduring mystery of where Typhloesus wellsi sits on tree of lifeThe mystery of a bizarre creature dubbed the “alien goldfish”, which has baffled fossil experts for decades, may have been solved, according to scientists who say the animal appears to have been some sort of mollusc.Typhloesus wellsi lived about 330m years ago and was discovered in the Bear...


TUESDAY 20. SEPTEMBER 2022


Researchers estimate there are 2.5m ants for every human across the planet

The analysis is based on 489 studies of ant populations spanning every continent where the insects liveThe world’s human population is forecast to surpass 8bn in the coming months. Compared with ants, that is a mediocre milestone.Researchers have made the most thorough assessment to date of the global population of ants and the estimated total is a mind-blowing 20 quadrillion of them, or...

Workplace trauma can affect anyone in any occupation. How can we deal with it? | Ashwini Padhi

It doesn’t just happen to emergency or frontline workers, and can stem from accidents, bullying, and even severe stressThe modern mind is a column where experts discuss mental health issues they are seeing in their workWith no apparent signs of trauma, Kate* is by all appearances a put-together woman in her early 40s: professional, well-spoken, immaculate and confident.When I ask her what has...

Israeli archaeologists find traces of opium in 3,500-year-old pottery

Archaeologists say find supports theory that drug was used in burial rituals, possibly to ‘enter ecstatic state’Israeli archaeologists have discovered opium residue in 3,500-year-old pottery pieces, providing evidence to support the theory that the hallucinogenic drug was used in ancient burial rituals.The joint investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Weizmann Institute of...

God save the Queue: how the wait to see the Queen’s coffin transformed people | Stephen Reicher

A week certainly is a long time in monarchy. It was fascinating to see individuals actively changed by this experienceA strange thing has happened since last week, when I wrote about how myself and other social psychologists were studying the crowds of people queuing to watch the ceremonials following the death of Queen Elizabeth – finding out the many reasons and motivations for taking part in...