Japan has launched a cargo ship which will use a half mile- (700m)-long tether to remove some of the vast amount of debris from Earth’s orbit.
The tether, made of aluminium strands and steel wire, is designed to slow the debris, pulling it out of orbit.
Spoiler alert: The universe is flat. But there’s a lot of subtlety packed into that innocent-looking statement. What does it mean for a 3D object to be “flat”? How do we measure the shape of the universe anyway? Since the universe is flat, is that…it? Is there anything else interesting to say?
Oh yes, there is.
By exploiting the exquisite image quality available to the VST at the Paranal site, and using innovative computer software, the team were able to carry out one of the most precise measurements ever made of an effect known as cosmic shear.
Related: Vacuum’s quantum effect on light detected
The next wave of solar cells might be green… literally. Quantum mechanics is helping to make better solar cells – and may give us another perspective on why plants are green in the process.
A big problem in solar power is that sunlight is not constant: because of seasonal changes, night-time and clouds, the amount of sunlight that reaches panels is constantly shifting.
A new study led by The University of Western Australia has demonstrated for the first time that plants can learn about their environment by making links between events, an ability thought to be exclusive to animals.
Although the feat has yet to be certified by Guinness World Records, Indian officials have reported that volunteers planted a whopping 49.3 million tree saplings on July 11, blowing past the previous record for most trees planted in a single day.
Simple solutions can often have dramatic effects.
That’s the case in many parts of rural Africa, where the lack of access to or high cost of electricity prevents many people from basics most of us take for granted, like refrigerators.
Related: Do smoke-free stoves really save lives?
Contract sepsis, and you’re almost as likely to end up six feet under as you are back on your feet again. This often fatal condition also known as “blood poisoning” is usually caused by the body’s overwhelming response to a bacterial infection, and it’s typically treated with antibiotics. Now, researchers from Harvard University, the Empa research group, and Adolphe Merkle Institute have come up with a better way to fight back against sepsis.
Historians have unveiled a digitally-reconstructed image of the face of Robert the Bruce almost 700 years after his death.
The image has been produced using casts from what is believed to be the skull of the famous Scottish king.
A crew of facial reconstruction experts have successfully recreated the face of a male who lived in the Biblical city of Jericho. The project was based on an advanced analysis of the Jericho Skull – the oldest portrait in The British Museum. This innovative plaster model allows you to see the detailed face of a human being who lived 9,500 years ago.
The Song of Seikilos is the oldest complete surviving music composition in the world engraved in a marble stele that served as a flower stand. The beautiful composition, also known as the ‘Seikilos epitaph’, dates from around the first or second century AD, and was inconspicuously being kept in the garden of a Turkish woman prior to its current placement in the National Museum of Denmark.
Singing the right notes gives zebra finches a dopamine hit, new research suggests.
A research team led by Vikram Gadagkar, a neurobiologist at Cornell University in New York, set about matching birdsong performance with dopamine – a brain chemical related to our reward and pleasure centres.
For classical music lovers, December 5 may be the saddest day of the year. At 12:55 a.m., 225 years ago, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart drew his last breath. Later, he was unceremoniously buried in a common grave — as was the custom of his era — in the St. Marx cemetery, just outside the Vienna city limits. Mozart was only 35.
Archaeologists have been able to provide insights into the life of a man whose remains were found at an Iron Age site on Orkney.
A human jaw with two teeth was discovered centrally placed in a large, carved whalebone vertebra within the ruins of a broch earlier this year.
The oldest genetic sample of smallpox ever studied could rewrite the timeline for this deadly disease, which ravaged Europe and much of the world beginning in the eighteenth century.
Using tissue samples taken from the mummy of a Lithuanian child dating back to the 1600s, an international team of researchers reconstructed the full RNA sequence of the smallpox virus strain that likely killed her.
New research shows that the metastatic process (cancer spread) is enhanced by fat intake. Mice given a high fat diet, including palmitic acid (a major component of palm oil which is found in lots of household products) developed the most aggressive cancer spread. The study identifies for the first time a protein called CD36 which has an essential role in cancer spreading.
A length of fluffy plumage discovered within a piece of amber has been identified as part of a dinosaur tail, offering new insights into the evolution of feathers.
Around 3.7cm long, with chestnut-coloured feathers on the top and pale feathers underneath, the tail was found complete with fossilised bones as well as traces of muscles, ligaments and mummified-looking skin.