Whale cultures rule in Galápagos.

The toothed whales have one titan among the giants. The incredibly able sperm whale dives deepest, communicates copiously and hangs about in gangs to ambush giant squid. The clans here have dialects that identify distinct “languages.” Sperm whale image; Credit: © Shutterstock The culture of sperm whales, their language and even their dialects, has been Read More

China’s SmallSat Lunar Mission Longjiang-2 to Deorbit on 31 July

Emily Lakdawalla • May 14, 2019 China’s SmallSat Lunar Mission Longjiang-2 to Deorbit on 31 July According to amateur spacecraft tracker Daniel Estévez, Longjiang-2 will crash into the Moon on 31 July after more than a year in lunar orbit. Longjiang-2 is one of a pair of small satellites that launched to the Moon along with the Read More

Earthquakes and ‘wise toads’ predicting them

Common toad via Shutterstock Rachel Grant of the Open University and several other researchers have attempted to solve an age-old problem. The multiple effect of O– ions on rock, air ionisation and water, as they leave their silicate home and become “positive holes” has created myths about animals and others for thousands of years. The Read More

A Crash Program or Modest Proposal?

Casey Dreier • May 13, 2019 A Crash Program or Modest Proposal? The latter. The White House released a long-awaited supplemental budget request for NASA today. It proposes an additional $1.6 billion for an accelerated human spaceflight effort to land on the Moon in 2024. This boosts the President’s budget request for NASA to $22.6 billion in Read More

Danger reassessment of some dormant volcanoes needed

It has traditionally been accepted that once a volcano’s magma chamber had cooled down this was the sign that it had become dormant and that it was likely to remain so for many centuries. But research published in the latest edition of Nature casts doubt on this hypothesis. A theoretical model developed by Dr Alain Read More

Hearing Recap: Keeping Our Sights on Mars

Brendan Curry • May 9, 2019 Hearing Recap: Keeping Our Sights on Mars A Review of NASA’s Deep Space Plans and Lunar Proposal Overview: On May 8, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing entitled “Keeping our Sights on Mars: A Review of NASA’s Deep Space Plans”. Members in Read More

Mars Used to Have Water, But We Can’t Explain How

Kaushik Mitra • May 7, 2019 Mars Used to Have Water, But We Can’t Explain How The Paradox of Water Stability on Early Mars Mars has been the most extensively studied planet in the Solar System, except of course Earth. For the last 25 years, these missions have focused on the search for life by “following the Read More

Penguins smell good – who knew?

Anyone who’s ever visited a penguin exhibit at the zoo probably knows the cute little sea birds have a distinct, shall we say pungent, smell to them. But new research indicates that they while they may not smell good, they smell very well. Scientists at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Zoological Society report Read More

Accuracy Can Be Fun!

Emily Lakdawalla • May 1, 2019 Accuracy Can Be Fun! Data and sources for the Chop Shop Planetary Blocks Last week, designer Thomas Romer of Chop Shop Studio launched a Kickstarter to support the creation of a new product: Planetary Blocks. I’ve been working closely with Thomas on these blocks for more than a year, advising on Read More

New research suggests dinosaurs were warm blooded and active

New Research at Australia’s Adelaide University suggests that contrary to some beliefs, dinosaurs were active and even fast-moving creatures, not cold-blooded and sluggish. Professor Roger Seymour from the University’s School of Earth & Environmental Sciences has applied the latest theories of human and animal anatomy and physiology to provide an insight into the lives of Read More

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