Earth has stayed habitable for billions of years – exactly how lucky did we get?

Toby Tyrrell, University of Southampton It took evolution 3 or 4 billion years to produce Homo sapiens. If the climate had completely failed just once in that time then evolution would have come to a crashing halt and we would not be here now. So to understand how we came to exist on planet Earth, […]

Why Crocodiles today look the same as they did 200 million years ago?

Max Stockdale, University of Bristol One of the most enduring tropes about crocodiles is to describe them as “living fossils”. They are cold, slow-moving, and scaly, so they look like how one might picture a dinosaur. Like many clichés, there is an element of truth to this comparison. The crocodiles from 200 million years ago […]

SETI: new signal excites alien hunters – here’s how we could find out if it’s real

Michael Garrett, University of Manchester The US$100m (£70m) Breakthrough Listen Initiative, founded by Russian billionaire, technology and science investor Yuri Milner and his wife Julia, has identified a mysterious radio signal that seems to come from the nearest star to the Sun – Proxima Centauri. This has generated a flood of excitement in the press […]

9 reasons why climate change is best tackled through lots of small-scale solutions

Charlie Wilson, University of East Anglia; Caroline Zimm, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and Simon De Stercke, Imperial College London Massive amounts of public money are being mobilised to kickstart economies out of COVID-induced recessions. Many countries are allocating parts of their stimulus packages towards ensuring the recovery is green.

20 years of the International Space Station: What we’ve learned about living in space

Alice Gorman, Flinders University and Justin St. P. Walsh, Chapman University November 2 marks 20 years since the first residents arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). The orbiting habitat has been continuously occupied ever since.

How to reverse global wildlife declines by 2050

Michael Obersteiner, University of Oxford; David Leclère, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and Piero Visconti, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate. Wildlife populations have fallen by more than two-thirds over the last 50 years, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. […]

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 […]