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Pacific ‘baby island’ is natural lab to study Mars

Pacific ‘baby island’ is natural lab to study Mars

Media captionDr Jim Garvin: “We’re watching the island do its dance” It is one of Earth’s newest landforms and it could just tell us where to look for evidence of life on Mars. The tongue-twisting volcanic island of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai exploded out of the Pacific Ocean in 2015, and its shape has been […]

US flood risk ‘severely underestimated’

US flood risk ‘severely underestimated’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption During Hurricane Harvey, Port Arthur in Texas experienced some the most extreme impacts of flooding Scientists and engineers have teamed up across the Atlantic to “redraw” the flood map of the US. Their work reveals 40 million Americans are at risk of having their homes flooded – more than […]

Mt Hope installed as ‘UK’s highest peak’

Mt Hope installed as ‘UK’s highest peak’

Image copyright BAS/Alan Vaughan Image caption Mount Hope is more than twice the height of Ben Nevis in Scotland Britain has a new tallest mountain. Mt Hope, which is sited in the part of the Antarctic claimed by the UK, was recently re-measured and found to tower above the previous title holder, Mt Jackson, by […]

Botanical exploits: How British plant hunters served science

Image copyright Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and RHS Image caption Plant specimens are pressed under large rocks at George Forrest’s campsite in Lichiang Range In a corner of the Yorkshire Dales, far from the beaten track, you might stumble on the peaceful village of Clapham. Now known as a stop-off point for exploring the dales, […]

Narwhal escape: Whales freeze and flee when frightened

Narwhal escape: Whales freeze and flee when frightened

Image copyright M P Heide Jorgensen Image caption These unicorns of the sea may face more human disturbance as sea ice declines in The Arctic Scientists who fitted heart rate-monitoring tags to Arctic narwhals have discovered a strange paradox in how the animals respond to threats. When these tusked whales are frightened, their hearts slow, […]

US firm picks UK for weather satellites

US firm picks UK for weather satellites

Media captionWilliam Hosack: “We benefit from the miniaturisation that’s come out of the cell phone industry” A miniaturised instrument to monitor the weather will be the first payload to fly on one of the UK’s new publicly funded demonstration satellites. US-based Orbital Micro Systems will launch their microwave radiometer aboard the 30cm-long spacecraft next year […]

Farthest monster black hole found

Farthest monster black hole found

Image copyright Robin Dienel Image caption Quasars are some of the brightest objects in the Universe Astronomers have discovered the most distant “supermassive” black hole known to science. The matter-munching sinkhole is a whopping 13 billion light-years away, so far that we see it as it was a mere 690 million years after the Big […]

UN signals ‘end’ of throwaway plastic

UN signals ‘end’ of throwaway plastic

Image copyright Getty Images The end of the era of throwaway plastic has been signalled by UN environment ministers meeting in Kenya. They signed off a document stating that the flow of plastic into the ocean must be stopped. Scientists welcomed the statement, but were unhappy the agreement was only based in principle, with no […]

Google’s ‘superhuman’ DeepMind AI claims chess crown

Google’s ‘superhuman’ DeepMind AI claims chess crown

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Alpha Go Zero was more successful at playing with white pieces than black Google says its AlphaGo Zero artificial intelligence program has triumphed at chess against world-leading specialist software within hours of teaching itself the game from scratch. The firm’s DeepMind division says that it played 100 games against […]

UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

Image copyright Getty Images Nations have agreed that the world needs to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. The UN resolution, which is set to be sealed tomorrow, has no timetable and is not legally binding. But ministers at an environment summit in Kenya believe it will set the course for much tougher […]

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