Early magma oceans of Earth detected in 3.7 billion-year-old Greenland rocks

Earth hasn’t always been a blue and green oasis of life in an otherwise inhospitable solar system. During our planet’s first 50 million years, around 4.5 billion years ago, its surface was a hellscape of magma oceans, bubbling and belching with heat from Earth’s interior. Helen M Williams, University of Cambridge

Has Earth been visited by an alien spaceship? Harvard professor Avi Loeb vs everybody else

A highly unusual object was spotted traveling through the solar system in 2017. Given a Hawaiian name, ‘Oumuamua, it was small and elongated – a few hundred meters by a few tens of meters, traveling at a speed fast enough to escape the Sun’s gravity and move into interstellar space. Simon Goodwin, University of Sheffield

Perseverance Rover: The Tech and Goals

Editor’s note: On Feb. 18, NASA’s Mars 2020 mission arrived at the red planet and successfully landed the Perseverance Rover on the surface. Jim Bell is a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and has worked on a number of Mars missions. He is the primary investigator leading …

Ocean pollution is a clear danger to human health

Ocean pollution is widespread, worsening, and poses a clear and present danger to human health and wellbeing. But the extent of this danger has not been widely comprehended – until now. Our recent study provides the first comprehensive assessment of the impacts of ocean pollution on human health. Jacqueline McGlade, UCL and Philip Landrigan, Boston …

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

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, we’ll need to know how …

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

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 look surprisingly like the ones …

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

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 and among scientists themselves. The …

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

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. Charlie Wilson, University of East Anglia; Caroline Zimm, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and Simon De Stercke, Imperial College London

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

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. Alice Gorman, Flinders University and Justin St. P. Walsh, Chapman University

How to reverse global wildlife declines by 2050

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. The sharpest declines have occurred throughout the world’s rivers and lakes, where freshwater wildlife has plummeted by 84% since 1970 – about 4% per …