Deadly solar flares may have helped seed life on Mars and beyond

Deadly solar flares may have helped seed life on Mars and beyond

Stellar flare: bringer of life and deathNASA/GSFC/SDO By Leah Crane Planets walk a thin line between nurturing life or killing it off altogether, blasted as they are by high-energy particles spewing from stellar flares. While these particles can bombard a world, causing biological damage and chipping away at its vital atmosphere, they might also kick-start […]

No, the worst-case climate change futures haven’t been ruled out

No, the worst-case climate change futures haven’t been ruled out

We must keep warming downDenis Meyer/Hans Lucas  By Michael Le Page Headlines this week proclaimed the worst-case scenarios for climate change were “debunked” and “not credible”. As you might expect, things aren’t that simple. The stories were sparked by a study by Peter Cox at the University of Exeter, UK, and his colleagues, who attempted to work out how […]

Spectacular light pillars rise up in frozen North America

Spectacular light pillars rise up in frozen North America

Sophie Melanson By Jon White THERE is a colourful upside to the freezing temperatures sweeping across parts of North America this week. These light pillars – captured here in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada – are more usual in polar regions, but have been seen as far south as Ohio in recent weeks. Light pillars are […]

A capsized oil tanker is releasing invisible toxins into the sea

A capsized oil tanker is releasing invisible toxins into the sea

The stricken oil tanker Sanchi has leaked oil condensate into the East China SeaTransport Ministry of China handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock By Andy Coghlan At least crude oil is visible. Not so the toxic liquid leaking from a capsized oil tanker in the East China Sea. This invisible substance is a lethal threat to marine life. On 6 January, […]

Explaining how snakes can crawl in a straight line

Explaining how snakes can crawl in a straight line

Top Story Snakes are known for their iconic S-shaped movements. But they have a less noticeable skill that gives them a unique superpower. Snakes can crawl in a straight line. Researchers are studying the mechanics of snake movement to understand exactly how they can propel themselves forward like a train through a tunnel. Snakes typically […]

Tiny individual decisions really could help avert climate chaos

Tiny individual decisions really could help avert climate chaos

It takes teamwork to change the worldFabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty By Adam Corner Climate scientists are in no doubt that global warming is almost entirely the result of human activity. Which makes it odd that attempts to predict how things will pan out have paid lip service to human behaviour, one of the key factors determining whether […]

Even a small cut in global warming will help slow sea level rise

Even a small cut in global warming will help slow sea level rise

Prairie Pictures/Getty When it comes to avoiding dangerous rises in sea level, every little bit of global warming we can avoid will make a difference. In Paris in December 2015, world leaders agreed to try to limit warming to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and if possible keep it within 1.5 °C. While a 2 […]

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