Peter Tuthill, University of Sydney In July, a puzzling new image of a distant extreme star system surrounded by surreal concentric geometric rungs had even astronomers scratching their heads. The picture, which looks like a kind of “cosmic thumbprint”, came from the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s newest flagship observatory. The internet immediately lit up with theories and speculation. Some on the wild fringe even claimed it as evidence for “alien megastructures” of unknown origin. Luckily, our team at the University of Sydney had already been studying this very star, known as WR140, for more than 20 years – so … Continue reading Alien megastructures? Cosmic thumbprint? What’s behind a James Webb telescope photo that had even astronomers stumped
Kai Hou (Gordon) Yip, UCL and Quentin Changeat, UCL Do you know what the Earth’s atmosphere is made of? You’d probably remember it’s oxygen, and maybe nitrogen. And with a little help from Google you can easily reach a more … Continue reading AI can reliably spot molecules on exoplanets – and might one day even discover new laws of physics
Dana M Bergstrom, University of Wollongong and Shavawn Donoghue, University of Tasmania We tend to think Antarctica is isolated and far away – biologically speaking, this is true. But the continent is busier than you probably imagine, with many national … Continue reading Invasive species are threatening Antarctica’s fragile ecosystems as human activity grows and the world warms
Nicholas R. Longrich, University of Bath READER QUESTION: We now know from evolutionary science that humanity has existed in some form or another for around 2 million years or more. Homo sapiens are comparatively new on the block. There were … Continue reading Would we still see ourselves as ‘human’ if other hominin species hadn’t gone extinct?
Here’s the real reason you probably haven’t heard of it Noah Wardrip-Fruin, University of California, Santa Cruz Before Pong there was Computer Space, the first commercial video game. The progenitor of today’s US$175 billion industry debuted on Oct. 15, 1971, at … Continue reading Computer Space launched the video game industry 50 years ago
. Yaël Nazé, Université de Liège Les images du télescope spatial Hubble, devenues des icônes, ont fait son succès auprès du public. Ces superbes clichés soulèvent beaucoup de questions auprès du public : on me demande souvent s’il s’agit de « vraies » … Continue reading Comment sont façonnées les fabuleuses images du télescope Hubble
Evidence from Cassini spacecraft suggests a large body of liquid water beneath the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus • Interactive: the discovery explained An artist’s impression of the interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, based on data from the Cassini space probe suggesting the moon contains a water ocean beneath its south pole. Illustration: Nasa/JPL-Caltech Researchers have discovered a deep saltwater ocean on one of the many small moons that orbit Saturn, leading scientists to conclude it is the most likely place in the solar system for extraterrestrial life to be found. Gravitational field measurements taken by Nasa’s Cassini space probe revealed that a … Continue reading Ocean discovered on Enceladus may be best place to look for alien life