Cassini’s Breathtaking Final Images Reveal Never-Before-Seen Shapes in Saturn’s Rings
Jun 17, 2019

By Michelle Starr In its final year, Cassini plunged where no spacecraft had plunged before, down in the space between Saturn and its rings. Again and again it dove, for a total of 22 orbits. In the data collecting during those breakneck dives, astronomers have just found new information about the way tiny moons sculpt …

China announces hefty fines for unauthorized collection of DNA
Jun 17, 2019

By David Cyranoski China this week announced a new law restricting the collection and use of genetic resources from people in the country — including biological samples that yield DNA, such as blood, and data gleaned from sequencing them. There will be hefty fines for unauthorized collection or use of genetic material. The law, which …

Breaks in the Perfect Symmetry of the Universe Could Be a Window Into Completely New Physics
Jun 14, 2019

By Paul Sutter The bible of particle physics is dying for an upgrade. And physicists may have just the thing: Some particles and forces might look in the mirror and not recognize themselves. That, in itself, would send the so-called Standard Model into a tailspin. Just about all fundamental reactions between the universe’s subatomic particles look the …

Small, furry and powerful: are mouse lemurs the next big thing in genetics?
Jun 14, 2019

By Leslie Roberts Onja is struggling tonight — her hands keep slipping off a miniature grip bar used to measure her strength. “Come on, you can do better,” coos Zeph Pendleton, who is gently supporting the mouse lemur as she tries to get a firm hold. Finally, the animal gets her fingers around the bar …

New York, epicenter of measles outbreak, bans religious exemptions for vaccines
Jun 14, 2019

By Eli Rosenberg New York officially ended religious exemptions for school vaccines Thursday as the state grapples with its largest measles outbreak in years. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) signed the legislation into law Thursday evening after it passed in the state’s Senate and Assembly, ending years of gridlock over the issue. “We’re putting science …

Jessica Biel Comes Out as Anti-Vaxx Activist, Joins Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Lobby Against CA Vaccination Bill
Jun 13, 2019

By Tarpley Hitt On Tuesday, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist whose recent work has focused increasingly on baseless allegations that vaccines are unsafe and can injure a statistically minuscule population of “medically fragile” children, appeared at the California State Assembly beside an unlikely scene partner: actress Jessica Biel. In a series of Instagram posts, first reported in Jezebel by …

Out of Their Eggs, Into the Sky: How Baby Pterosaurs May Have Taken Flight
Jun 12, 2019

By Cara Giaimo Modern nature teaches us that flying isn’t child’s play. Newborn birds spend their early days in the nest, and bat pups don’t take off for weeks on end, often requiring prodding from their mothers. But what about baby pterosaurs? Some researchers think the young of these flying reptiles that lived in the time of the …

Weird ‘Anomaly’ at the Moon’s South Pole May Be a Metal Asteroid’s Grave
Jun 12, 2019

By Meghan Bartels There’s something very weird, and very dense, under the surface of the moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin, new research suggests. That unexpectedly massive patch may represent the buried remains of an asteroid that crashed into the moon’s surface and formed that basin in the first place. That new hypothesis is based on data from …

Stephen Hawking Was Right: Black Holes Can Evaporate, Weird New Study Shows
Jun 11, 2019

By Meredith Fore In 1974, Stephen Hawking made one of his most famous predictions: that black holes eventually evaporate entirely. According to Hawking’s theory, black holes are not perfectly “black” but instead actually emit particles. This radiation, Hawking believed, could eventually siphon enough energy and mass away from black holes to make them disappear. The theory is …

World’s largest plant survey reveals alarming extinction rate
Jun 11, 2019

By Heidi Ledford The world’s seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of nearly 3 species a year since 1900 ― which is up to 500 times higher than would be expected as a result of natural forces alone, according to the largest survey yet of plant extinctions. The project looked at more than 330,000 species …

To Map a Coral Reef, Peel Back the Seawater
Jun 10, 2019

By Paul Tullis Coral reefs comprise just 1 percent of the ocean floor yet they are home to 25 percent of the world’s marine fish, a growing source of protein for people. But reefs are imperiled by a range of threats including warming waters, acidifying seas, destructive fishing methods, and agricultural and other runoff. Moreover, scientists …

Scientists Take First-Ever Image of a Faint Swirling Ring of Hydrogen Around Our Galaxy’s Black Hole
Jun 10, 2019

By Yasemin Saplakoglu Astronomers, for the first time, have snapped an image of a cool, gassy ring swirling around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. This ring is part of the so-called accretion disk — stars, dust and gases — that surround most black holes. These materials are held close by …