Moon rocks could help reveal how life evolved on Earth

…and may enable us to resurrect extinct species Duncan T Odom, University of Cambridge Life is the last thing you would associate with the eternally dark craters of the lunar poles. But these craters could hold the key to explaining how complex, multi-cellular organisms evolved on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago, affording unimaginable […]

Coronavirus: world’s response has slashed CO2 emissions – here’s how to keep them down

Simone Abram, Durham University How do you respond to a crisis? It’s obvious that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been dramatically different from anything provoked by repeated scientific warnings about climate change. The many organisations that declared climate emergencies throughout 2019 and 2020 have so far enacted nothing like the scale and speed […]

Evolution: that famous “march of progress” image is just wrong

Jordi Paps, University of Bristol and Cristina Guijarro-Clarke, University of Essex Evolution explains how all living beings, including us, came to be. It would be easy to assume evolution works by continuously adding features to organisms, constantly increasing their complexity. Some fish evolved legs and walked onto the land. Some dinosaurs evolved wings and began […]

Five Moon myths – and how to disprove them yourself

Daniel Brown, Nottingham Trent University This year’s first supermoon will potentially grace the sky on February 9. A supermoon is usually defined as the largest full moon possible. This is a very loose definition and roughly means this happens when the full moon occurs within 10% of its closest to Earth. But in reality, supermoons […]

Coronavirus outbreak in China: snakes could be the original source

Haitao Guo, University of Pittsburgh; Guangxiang “George” Luo, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Shou-Jiang Gao, University of Pittsburgh Snakes – the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra – may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter.

Proxima Centauri c: how we spotted a potential new planet around the Sun’s neighbouring star

Hugh Jones, University of Hertfordshire Most exoplanets, bodies orbiting stars other than the sun, are too far away for us to be able to send probes to. So it’s no wonder that the discovery of a possible habitable planet around the sun’s nearest neighbour star, Proxima Centauri, a few years ago generated a lot of […]

Betelgeuse: star’s weird dimming sparks rumours that its death is imminent

Daniel Brown, Nottingham Trent University Every season has its characteristic star constellations in the night sky. Orion – one of the most recognisable – is distinctly visible on crisp, clear winter nights in the northern hemisphere. The constellation is easy to spot even in light-polluted cities, with its bright stars representing the shape of a […]

Planetary confusion: why astronomers keep changing what it means to be a planet

Christopher Palma, Pennsylvania State University As an astronomer, the question I hear the most is why isn’t Pluto a planet anymore? More than 10 years ago, astronomers famously voted to change Pluto’s classification. But the question still comes up.

What are lost continents, and why are we discovering so many?

Maria Seton, University of Sydney; Joanne Whittaker, University of Tasmania, and Simon Williams, University of Sydney For most people, continents are Earth’s seven main large landmasses. But geoscientists have a different take on this. They look at the type of rock a feature is made of, rather than how much of its surface is above […]