What the World’s Largest Organism Reveals About Fires and Forests

What the World’s Largest Organism Reveals About Fires and Forests

“If there were no trees dying, I wouldn’t have a job,” says forest pathologist Mike McWilliams, who calls himself the unofficial tour guide of the massive fungus.McWilliams continues driving, following dirt roads deeper into the forest, where the trees become smaller and closer together.

The Pandemic Gave Scientists a New Way to Spy on Emissions

The Pandemic Gave Scientists a New Way to Spy on Emissions

For example, they can add up how much gasoline is being burned and how many fossil fuel power plants are running at a given time, to calculate how much carbon is being exhaled into the atmosphere.

It’s Not Too Late to Stop Mass Extinction in the Ocean

It’s Not Too Late to Stop Mass Extinction in the Ocean

Temperatures around the tropics shot up by 10 degrees Celsius and deep-sea currents slowed down, which starved the oceans of oxygen.In the other scenario, lower emissions keep temperature increases to just under 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Fossil Pollen Reveals the African Origins of Asia’s Tropical Forests

Fossil Pollen Reveals the African Origins of Asia’s Tropical Forests

New research from Indian scientists has uncovered that the dipterocarp family evolved in Africa and migrated to Southeast Asia via the Indian subcontinent, surviving asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions along the way.

The World Was Cooler in 2021 Than 2020. That’s Not Good News

The World Was Cooler in 2021 Than 2020. That’s Not Good News

Today NASA and NOAA dropped their annual analysis of global temperatures: Last year was tied with 2018 as the sixth-hottest ever, but cooler than 2020.The 2021 temperature drop “may be possibly due to a resumption of activity that produces aerosols in the atmosphere,” Schmidt said.

Wildfires Are Digging Carbon-Spewing Holes in the Arctic

Wildfires Are Digging Carbon-Spewing Holes in the Arctic

In the past 70 years, wildfires have burned 3 percent of the landscape but are responsible for 10 percent of thermokarst formation.

Don’t Look Up Nails the Frustration of Being a Scientist

Don’t Look Up Nails the Frustration of Being a Scientist

Towards the end of 2018, movie director Adam McKay was talking to journalist David Sirota about the relative lack of media coverage for what they saw as the biggest issue of the time: climate change.

The Fall and Rise of Real-Time Strategy Games

The Fall and Rise of Real-Time Strategy Games

The last new Command & Conquer entry was a freemium mobile game, and we've all been waiting on the next Empire Earth for nearly two decades.I assumed that my life would be dotted with new RTS games forever; that the genre would remain an unwavering priority within the economics of PC development.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Extends Deep into the Gas Giant

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Extends Deep into the Gas Giant

Taking advantage of the sensitive instruments aboard NASA’s Juno space probe, the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter in two decades, astronomers used gravity and microwave measurements to reveal that the Great Red Spot goes down deeper and has a more complex structure than previously thought.

The Future Is Bleak. Pondering Pangaea Gives Me Hope

The Future Is Bleak. Pondering Pangaea Gives Me Hope

Like gazing at the stars, contemplating the so-called deep future of Earth with a new supercontinent can take the sting out of bleak climate predictions for the nearer term.

Microplastics May Be Cooling—and Heating—Earth’s Climate

Microplastics May Be Cooling—and Heating—Earth’s Climate

The good news is that microplastics may be reflecting a tiny bit of the sun’s energy back into space, which would actually cool the climate ever so slightly.

Could the Moon Actually Crash Toward Earth?

Could the Moon Actually Crash Toward Earth?

There's a trailer out for a new science fiction film called Moonfall, to be released in early 2022, in which the moon is about to crash into Earth.A gravitational force pulls Earth and the moon toward each other.

The Long-Lost Tale of an 18th-Century Tsunami, as Told by Trees

The Long-Lost Tale of an 18th-Century Tsunami, as Told by Trees

They could use them to better understand the aftermath of quakes and tsunamis in this highly populated yet risky zone, and to validate the flooding models that policymakers use to prepare for future disasters.

SpaceX's Inspiration4 Returns After 3 Days in Orbit

SpaceX's Inspiration4 Returns After 3 Days in Orbit

After spending three days about 360 miles above the ground, the all-civilian crew of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 have returned to Earth.The crew kept busy while orbiting the Earth 15 times a day: Isaacman kept track of the spacecraft’s systems and kept in touch with mission control.

The Dark Asteroid Ryugu Finally Comes Into the Light

The Dark Asteroid Ryugu Finally Comes Into the Light

This new research, led by Deborah Domingue at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and Yasuhiro Yokota at Kochi University in Japan, sheds light on Ryugu’s complex structure, revealing it to be a dark, weathered pile of rubble tumbling in space, different from anything seen on the surface of the Earth.

Google Earth Now Shows You Our Planet’s Slow Deterioration

Google Earth Now Shows You Our Planet’s Slow Deterioration

Today, Google announced a new 3D time-lapse feature in its Google Earth platform.Google says the time-lapse feature draws from 20 petabytes of satellite imagery, combined to create a 4.4-terapixel video (that's 4.4 million megapixels) that maps to the surface of the globe.

How to Survive a Killer Asteroid

How to Survive a Killer Asteroid

Then, in the early 1900s, astronomers like Russia’s Nikolai Morozov* began observing newly developed high explosives and made a rather startling discovery: Large explosions differ from thrown rocks in a number of ways, but most ominously—at least for our species’ continued existence—they leave circular craters regardless of their angle of impact.

Sneaky New Bacteria on the ISS Could Build a Future on Mars

Sneaky New Bacteria on the ISS Could Build a Future on Mars

In mid-March, NASA researchers announced that they’d found an unknown life-form hiding aboard the International Space Station.As part of an ongoing research project into the microbial life of the ISS, astronauts onboard in 2015 and 2016 swabbed down various parts of the station and sent home the wipes they used.

The Mountain Beaver That Is Not A Beaver

The Mountain Beaver That Is Not A Beaver

© Jon Hall / Samantha Hopkins has been studying mountain beaver evolution for years, working and living in their habitat.“Most people don’t know there are these little brown loafs living in forested tunnels and eating ferns,” says Hopkins, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Oregon.

The Stealthy Mathematics of Hearthstone

The Stealthy Mathematics of Hearthstone

That’s a lot of math in a short amount of time, yet the game pulls it off without ever feeling like you’re doing work.

It’s Finally Time to Take Out the Space Trash

It’s Finally Time to Take Out the Space Trash

Could the solution to eliminating dangerous space junk be a mini-fridge-sized spacecraft equipped with a big magnet, or maybe an orbiting tug that sends out a swarm of tentacles to trap a spent rocket?

Ancient Rocks Reveal When Earth's Plate Tectonics Began

Ancient Rocks Reveal When Earth's Plate Tectonics Began

Now, a study of the rocks from the Australian Outback by Tusch, Münker and their co-authors, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has captured “a snapshot” of the advent of plate tectonics, said Alan Collins, a geologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

NASA Gets a Quick Peek at a Mysterious Layer of the Sun

NASA Gets a Quick Peek at a Mysterious Layer of the Sun

The sun’s magnetic fields are massive, but within its inner layers, their forces are channeled and controlled by the pressure of the superheated plasma, convecting its heat outward like a boiling pot of tomato soup.

Ancient kauri trees reveal a turning point in Earth’s history 42,000 years ago

Ancient kauri trees reveal a turning point in Earth’s history 42,000 years ago

A new international study using ancient swamp kauri from Northland shows a temporary breakdown of Earth’s magnetic field 42,000 years ago sparked major climate shifts leading to global environmental change and mass extinctions.

NASA Wants to Set a New Radiation Limit for Astronauts

NASA Wants to Set a New Radiation Limit for Astronauts

Under the existing standard, some veteran astronauts might have been excluded from longer-term space missions because they are bumping up against lifetime radiation limits.But NASA doesn’t have much data on the health effects of radiation from space on its astronauts.

What Dust From Space Tells Us About Ourselves

What Dust From Space Tells Us About Ourselves

Recently, Genge has been interpreting messages the space dust carries, not about its origins, but about its destination: Earth at different points in the planet’s history.

Bliss Is the Worst Kind of Open-Ended Sci-Fi Movie

Bliss Is the Worst Kind of Open-Ended Sci-Fi Movie

Released in 2014, it’s about vision scientists searching for the origin of the human eye—look, a pun—which, if you didn’t know, is “the window,” as one character literally says, “to the soul.” They find it in the genes of a sightless worm, but not before Karen, played by Brit Marling, warns her lab partner that she, at least, has no interest in getting famous, in being seen: “Recognition makes me nauseous,” she says.

The Crooked, Complex Geometry of Round Trips

The Crooked, Complex Geometry of Round Trips

You might not spend much time imagining life on a cube, but mathematicians do: They study what travel looks like on all kinds of different shapes.On a sphere, straight paths follow “great circles,” which are geodesics like the equator.

A Rocket From 1966 Has Found Its Way Back to Earth’s Orbit

A Rocket From 1966 Has Found Its Way Back to Earth’s Orbit

Meanwhile, the spent Centaur rocket continued on its merry way through space and was pretty much forgotten—at least until August of this year, when astronomers using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Hawaii spotted a mysterious object in a solar orbit that was due to pass close by Earth.

For the Second Time Ever, an Asteroid Sample Returns to Earth

For the Second Time Ever, an Asteroid Sample Returns to Earth

As the first spacecraft to visit a carbonaceous asteroid, Hayabusa2 can help determine the provenance of meteorites discovered on Earth and shed some light on the processes that formed the organic compounds in the early solar system.“Are there samples of the organics that we don’t have in our collection because they didn’t survive going through the atmosphere?