What Earth’s changing climate can teach us about altering the surface of Mars

In a rare instance of environmental success, the United Nations has just announced it believes the damage to the Earth’s protective ozone layer will be fully restored by the year 2050. This stands in stark contrast to the increasing alarm over the climate emergency, caused by an increasing greenhouse effect. Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham …

Five climate change science misconceptions – debunked

The science of climate change is more than 150 years old and it is probably the most tested area of modern science. However, the energy industry, political lobbyists, and others have spent the last 30 years sowing doubt about the science where none really exists. The latest estimate is that the world’s five largest publicly-owned …

How we detected water on a potentially habitable exoplanet for the first time

With more than 4,000 exoplanets – planets orbiting stars other than our sun – discovered so far, it may seem like we are on the cusp of finding out whether we are alone in the universe. Sadly though, we don’t know much about these planets – in most cases just their mass and their radius. …

Amazon fires explained: what are they, why are they so damaging, and how can we stop them?

Imagine a rainforest at dawn – the tall canopy laden with dripping ferns and orchids, tree trunks covered in spongy mosses and lichens, and the morning mist only slowly burning away as the sun rises. While there is fuel everywhere, it seems unimaginable that such humid ecosystems could ever catch fire. Jos Barlow, Lancaster University …

What would happen if bees went extinct?

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, fertilizing 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 …

A history of how a silent cosmos led humans to fear the worst

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 …

How to build a moon base

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? Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University …

Moon landing anniversary: One small step for man… a giant leap for space robots

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 the steam engine, the landmark of the industrialization era. The first step on the lunar surface is …