774,933 articles

After six years and 6bn km, Japan's Hayabusa2 prepares to bring home cargo of asteroid dust

Japanese craft collected dust from the asteroid Ryugu that scientists hope could shed light on the origins of lifeThe last time Hayabusa2 was seen with the naked eye, Barack Obama was president of the United States and Brexit was a distant Europhobe fantasy.Six years and three days after its groundbreaking mission began, the Japanese spacecraft will drop a capsule onto the Australian outback...

New Zealand Covid minister urges patience in wait for vaccine approval

Chris Hipkins says it is understandable that other countries in much worse situations have fast-tracked approvalCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNew Zealand’s Covid-19 minister has called for patience in the country’s vaccine roll-out programme, saying he was unlikely to follow the UK in using emergency provisions to fast-track approval.Covid-19 minister Chris...

Definition of treasure trove to be recast to protect UK's rare artefacts

Recent finds have not met criteria as they are made from bronze, not precious metalsThe government plans to change the official definition of “treasure” to cover more rare and precious archaeological finds so that such artefacts can be saved for the nation rather than sold to private collectors.Under the 1996 Treasure Act, objects are designated as treasure trove if found to be more than 300...


THURSDAY 3. DECEMBER 2020


Covid: 1.5 million dead globally as vaccination schemes set to begin

More than 10,000 people have died on average every day in the past week, according to latest figuresCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAt least 1.5 million lives across the globe have been lost to Covid-19, according to a tally of cases maintained by Johns Hopkins University, as vaccinations look set to be rolled out in a handful of nations this month.Reuters reported...

What's killing killer whales?

Pathology reports on more than 50 killer whales stranded over nearly a decade in the northeast Pacific and Hawaii show that orcas face a variety of mortal threats -- many stemming from human interactions.

Leaving so soon? Unusual planetary nebula fades mere decades after it arrived

The tiny Stingray Nebula unexpectedly appeared in the 1980s is by far the youngest planetary nebula in our sky. But a team of astronomers recently analyzed a more recent image of the nebula, taken in 2016 by Hubble, and found that it has faded significantly and changed shape over the course of just 20 years. If dimming continues at current rates, in 20 or 30 years the Stingray Nebula will be...

A leading AI ethics researcher says she’s been fired from Google

On December 2, the AI research community was shocked to learn that Timnit Gebru had been fired from her post at Google. Gebru, one of the leading voices in responsible AI research, is known among other things for her groundbreaking work in revealing the discriminatory nature of facial recognition, cofounding the Black in AI affinity group, and relentlessly advocating for diversity in the tech...

Research leads to better modeling of hypersonic flow

Hypersonic flight is conventionally referred to as the ability to fly at speeds significantly faster than the speed of sound and presents an extraordinary set of technical challenges. As an example, when a space capsule re-enters Earth's atmosphere, it reaches hypersonic speeds—more than five times the speed of sound—and generates temperatures over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit on its exterior...

Leaf microbiomes are a neighborhood affair in northern forests

Forest leaves are teeming with bacterial life—but despite the vast extent of bacteria-covered foliage across the world, this habitat, known as the phyllosphere, remains full of mysteries. How do bacteria spread from tree to tree? Do certain types of bacteria only live on certain types of trees?

Tree lifespan decline in forests could neutralize part of rise in net carbon uptake

Accelerating tree growth in recent years has been accompanied by a reduction in tree lifespan, which could eventually neutralize part of the increase in net uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2). This trade-off between tree growth and life expectancy applies to forests worldwide, including in the Amazon and other tropical regions, as well as temperate regions and the Arctic.