Philip Donkersley, Lancaster University
How important are bees and what will happen when they go extinct? Is there research into what is killing them? I’ve been told it’s weed killers… – Tink, aged 18, Cornwall, UK.
Bees – including honey bees, bumblebees, and solitary bees – are very important because they pollinate food crops. Pollination is where insects move pollen from one plant to another, fertilising the plants so that they can produce fruit, vegetables, seeds and so on. If all the bees went extinct, it would destroy the delicate balance of the Earth’s ecosystem and affect global food supplies.
Continue reading Bees: how important are they and what would happen if they went extinct?
Thomas Moynihan, University of Oxford
It is 1950 and a group of scientists are walking to lunch against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. They are about to have a conversation that will become a scientific legend. The scientists are at the Los Alamos Ranch School, the site for the Manhattan Project, where each of the group has lately played their part in ushering in the atomic age.
Continue reading The end of the world: a history of how a silent cosmos led humans to fear the worst
Matt Hayward, University of Newcastle and Joseph K. Bump, University of Minnesota
Indian tiger numbers are up, according to one of the most detailed wildlife surveys ever conducted. Tiger populations have risen by 6%, to roughly 3,000 animals.
Continue reading Some good conservation news: India’s tiger numbers are going up
Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham
Half a century after humans first walked on the moon, a number of private companies and nations are planning to build permanent bases on the lunar surface. Despite the technological progress since the Apollo era, this will be extremely challenging. So how should you get started?
Continue reading How to build a moon base
Robin Chhabra, Carleton University
Apollo 11’s successful mission 50 years ago was the turning point in the space industry. It is comparable to the Wright brothers’ flight in 1903 that marked the beginning of the aviation industry and James Watt’s invention of steam engine, the landmark of the industrialization era. The first step on the lunar surface is recognized as the beginning of the space exploration age.
Continue reading Moon landing anniversary: One small step for man… a giant leap for space robots
Jean Creighton, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Much of the technology common in daily life today originates from the drive to put a human being on the Moon. This effort reached its pinnacle when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle landing module onto the lunar surface 50 years ago.
As a NASA airborne astronomy ambassador and director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium, I know that the technologies behind weather forecasting, GPS and even smartphones can trace their origins to the race to the Moon.
Continue reading 5 Moon-landing innovations that changed life on Earth
Heidi Pearson, University of Alaska Southeast
As the prospect of catastrophic effects from climate change becomes increasingly likely, a search is on for innovative ways to reduce the risks. One potentially powerful and low-cost strategy is to recognize and protect natural carbon sinks – places and processes that store carbon, keeping it out of Earth’s atmosphere.
Continue reading Sea creatures store carbon in the ocean – could protecting them help slow climate change?
Nayanika Mathur, University of Oxford
The way that we live on Earth is causing an unprecedented acceleration in species extinction. Now, more than half a million species “have insufficient habitat for long-term survival” and are likely to go extinct unless their natural environments are restored. But we are already seeing major problems from this intrusion, not least through an increase in human-animal conflict.
Continue reading Tragic tale of a ‘man-eating’ tigress tells us so much about the climate crisis