It Looks Like an Asteroid Strike Can’t Cause a Worldwide, Dinosaur-Killing Firestorm

Computer generated simulation of an asteroid strike on the Earth. Credit: Don Davis/AFP/Getty Images For decades, scientists have debated the cause of the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs and other life 65 million years ago. While the majority of researchers agree that a massive asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico is the culprit, there […]

All About the Bass: How Baleen Whales Hear Very Low Frequencies

A fin whale skull helped researchers study the acoustical properties of whale skulls. Credit: SDSU Enlarge Baleen whales, the largest creatures on Earth, can send extremely low-frequency underwater calls to one another. But little is known about how they actually process these sounds. Now, researchers have found that the whales have specialized skulls that can capture […]

First atomic bomb test may mark the beginning of the Anthropocene

16 milliseconds after the beginning of the Anthropocene: The Trinity nuclear test. Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory Enlarge Human beings don't merely inhabit the world. They alter it, on an increasingly epic scale. It is said that we now live in a new epoch, the Anthropocene, in which geology and climate are controlled as much […]

Distinctive sounds announce iceberg births

The Hans Glacier in Svalbard, Norway in August 2013. New research finds that different types of ice loss from glaciers are associated with distinct rumbles, snaps and splashes. Credit: Oskar Glowacki Enlarge Underwater sounds can be used to detect different ways glaciers lose ice as they flow into the ocean, giving scientists new insight into […]

Scientists investigate link between skyrocketing sea slug populations and warming seas

ENLARGE / The warm ocean temperatures that brought an endangered green sea turtle to San Francisco in early fall have triggered a population explosion of bright pink, inch-long sea slugs in tide pools along California's central and northern coastline. Credit: © Gary McDonald The warm ocean temperatures that brought an endangered green sea turtle to San […]

Exploring the Universe with Nuclear Power

Artist’s concept of a Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket in Low Earth Orbit. Credit: NASA Enlarge In the past four decades, NASA and other space agencies from around the world have accomplished some amazing feats. Together, they have sent manned missions to the Moon, explored Mars, mapped Venus and Mercury, conducted surveys and captured breathtaking images […]

This Comparison of Comet 67/P With Other Solar System Bodies Will Blow Your Mind

ENLARGE / Can you see the comet? Four solar system objects adjusted for true brightness counterclockwise from the upper right: Earth, Enceladus, the Moon, and Comet 67/P. Credit:ESA/Rosetta Blog/NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute (Enceladus); ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/ UPM/DASP/IDA and Gordan Ugarkovich (Earth); Robert Vanderbei, Princeton University (Moon); ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM (67P/C-G). There’s darkness out there in the cold […]

What Asteroid 2004 BL86 and Hawaii Have in Common

ENLARGE / Toes of a pahoehoe flow of basaltic lava advance across a road in Kalapana from the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii (left). Meanwhile scientists have just determined that the main body of visiting binary asteroid 2004 BL86 is composed of similar material. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey (left) and NASA/JPL-Caltech At first glance, you wouldn’t think Hawaii […]

Do You See a Mountain or a Crater in This Picture?

A fresh 1-km wide crater on Mars, captured by the HiRISE camera on the Mar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Or does it look like a mountain to you? Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona. Enlarge Yesterday, we posted an image taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of an unusual crater formed by a triple-asteroid. We noticed […]

How are planets formed?

This artist’s conception shows a newly formed star surrounded by a swirling protoplanetary disk of dust and gas. Credit: University of Copenhagen/Lars Buchhave Enlarge How did the Solar System's planets come to be? The leading theory is something known as the "protoplanet hypothesis", which essentially says that very small objects stuck to each other and […]

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