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New light shed on how Earth and Mars were created

Analysing a mixture of earth samples and meteorites, scientists from the University of Bristol have shed new light on the sequence of events that led to the creation of the planets Earth and Mars. Planets grow by a process of accretion — a gradual accumulation of additional material — in which they collisionally combine with…

Is the Milky Way an ‘outlier’ galaxy? Studying its ‘siblings’ for clues

The most-studied galaxy in the universe — the Milky Way — might not be as “typical” as previously thought, according to a new study. The Milky Way, which is home to Earth and its solar system, is host to several dozen smaller galaxy satellites. These smaller galaxies orbit around the Milky Way and are useful…

Neuron types in brain are defined by gene activity shaping their communication patterns

  In a major step forward in research,  Neurons are the basic building blocks that wire up brain circuits supporting mental activities and behavior. The study, which involves sophisticated computational analysis of the messages transcribed from genes that are active in a neuron, points to patterns of cell-to-cell communication as the core feature that makes…

Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation

Charged particles may be small, but they matter to astronauts. NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) is investigating these particles to solve one of its biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars: space radiation and its effects on the human body. “One of our biggest challenges on a mission to Mars is protecting astronauts from…

Babies can learn that hard work pays off

A new study from MIT reveals that babies as young as 15 months can learn to follow this advice. The researchers found that babies who watched an adult struggle at two different tasks before succeeding tried harder at their own difficult task, compared to babies who saw an adult succeed effortlessly. The study suggests that…

Solving the Easter Island population puzzle

Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui by its inhabitants, has been surrounded in mystery ever since the Europeans first landed in 1722. Early visitors estimated a population of just 1,500-3,000, which seemed at odds with the nearly nine hundred giant statues dotted around the Island. How did this small community construct, transport and erect these…

Hubble observes pitch black planet

Astronomers have discovered that the well-studied exoplanet WASP-12b reflects almost no light, making it appear essentially pitch black. This discovery sheds new light on the atmospheric composition of the planet and also refutes previous hypotheses about WASP-12b’s atmosphere. The results are also in stark contrast to observations of another similarly sized exoplanet. Using the Space…

Old fish few and far between under fishing pressure

Like old-growth trees in a forest, old fish in the ocean play important roles in the diversity and stability of marine ecosystems. Critically, the longer a fish is allowed to live, the more likely it is to successfully reproduce over the course of its lifetime, which is particularly important in variable environmental conditions. A new…

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ends its historic exploration of Saturn

  A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system came to a close as NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet. “This is the final chapter of an amazing mission, but it’s also a new beginning,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate…

Mouth clicks used in human echolocation captured in unprecedented detail

Like some bats and marine mammals, people can develop expert echolocation skills, in which they produce a clicking sound with their mouths and listen to the reflected sound waves to “see” their surroundings. The research, performed by Lore Thaler of Durham University, U.K., Galen Reich and Michael Antoniou of Birmingham University, U.K., and colleagues, focuses…

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