Fossil footprints: the fascinating story behind the longest known prehistoric journey

Matthew Robert Bennett, Bournemouth University and Sally Christine Reynolds, Bournemouth University Every parent knows the feeling. Your child is crying and wants to go home, you pick them up to comfort them and move faster, your arms tired with a long walk ahead – but you cannot stop now. Now add to this a slick […]

Planet Nine might not exist, many astronomers now think

This article is originally published on The Conversation with the title of “Why astronomers now doubt there is an undiscovered 9th planet in our solar system”. Samantha Lawler, University of Regina Planet Nine is a theoretical, undiscovered giant planet in the mysterious far reaches of our solar system. The presence of Planet Nine has been […]

We need faster spaceships. Nuclear-powered rockets may be the answer

This article is originally published on The Conversation with the title of “To safely explore the solar system and beyond, spaceships need to go faster – nuclear-powered rockets may be the answer”. Iain Boyd, University of Colorado Boulder With dreams of Mars on the minds of both NASA and Elon Musk, long-distance crewed missions through […]

Will humans go extinct? For all the existential threats, we’ll likely be here for a very long time

Nick Longrich, University of Bath Will our species go extinct? The short answer is yes. The fossil record shows everything goes extinct, eventually. Almost all species that ever lived, over 99.9%, are extinct. Some left descendants. Most – plesiosaurs, trilobites, Brontosaurus – didn’t. That’s also true of other human species. Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo erectus all […]

The Sun is less active than sibling stars, study shows – here’s what that could mean

Andrew Norton, The Open University All stars emit varying amounts of light over time – and the Sun is no exception. Such changes in starlight can help us understand how habitable any planets around other stars are – a very active star may bombard its planets with harmful radiation. Now a new study, published in […]

Coronavirus: we’re in a realtime laboratory of a more sustainable urban future

Paul Chatterton, University of Leeds A pause has been forced on urban life. Quiet roads, empty skies, deserted high streets and parks, closed cinemas, cafés, and museums – a break in the spending and work frenzy so familiar to us all. The reality of lockdown is making ghost towns of the places we once knew. […]

Nature’s comeback? No, the coronavirus pandemic actually threatens the world’s wildlife

Charlie Gardner, University of Kent There have not been many bright spots in the coronavirus pandemic, but one has been the apparent return of nature as the frantic pace of modern life has slowed. We’ve seen fish-eating birds return to the clear waters of Venice, wild boar roaming the streets of Bergamo, and of course […]

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 […]