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World News

What Mars sounds like, and the rover’s welcome party

Mars is about to be a very busy place when three separate missions arrive at the red planet in February. One of those missions includes NASA’s Perseverance rover. When it lands, we’ll be able to hear the sounds of Mars for the first time, thanks to microphones riding on the rover. A new interactive experience…

A Spanish mountain climber has died after falling from K2

Spanish mountaineer Sergi Mingote has died while climbing K2, the world’s second highest summit, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday. “Sad death of Sergi Mingote at K2,” Sanchez tweeted. “He wanted to continue making history by being part of the first expedition to crown this mountain in the middle of winter and a tragic…

Trudeau says Canada needs to ‘buckle down’ as cases surge, vaccines delayed

Canada got a one-two punch Friday as public health officials said vaccine deliveries would be delayed and its Covid-19 measures still aren’t working to control a resurging virus. “We have to buckle down, this is our best way through in the coming weeks of winter,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference Friday…

A stream of nearly 500 stars in the Milky Way is actually a family

Our Milky Way galaxy is filled with streams of stars, but one of them appears to be a family that includes nearly 500 relatives, according to a new study. Astronomers have discovered 8,292 stellar streams in our galaxy. Rather than clusters of stars, streams form linear patterns. Each stream is named Theia for the Greek…

The world marks 2 million coronavirus deaths. The real toll is likely much higher

It’s as if 10 of the world’s largest commercial jets fell out of the sky, every day for an entire year. The official global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 2 million on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The tragic milestone came just over a year after the first Covid-19 death was reported…

Oldest quasar and supermassive black hole discovered in the distant universe

The most distant quasar and the earliest known supermassive black hole have been discovered, shedding light on how massive galaxies formed in the early universe. This discovery was revealed Tuesday at the 237th meeting of The American Astronomical Society, happening virtually due to the pandemic. The study has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical…

There may be fewer galaxies in the universe than we thought

The universe may be a little darker after a recent discovery has shown that there could be fewer galaxies populating it. A previous measurement by Hubble Space Telescope suggested there were 2 trillion galaxies spread across the universe. Now, the latest research points to only hundreds of billions of galaxies instead. After NASA’s New Horizons…

There’s a case of wine heading back to Earth from space

A SpaceX Dragon capsule started its journey back to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday with an unusual cargo: 12 bottles of wine and 320 grapevines. They were taken into space in November 2019 and March 2020, respectively, as part of an experiment organized by European startup Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU), it said…

‘Super-Earth’ found orbiting one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way

A hot and rocky exoplanet known as a super-Earth has been discovered orbiting one of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy, according to a new study. The exoplanet, called that because it’s located outside our solar system, is about 50% larger than Earth and has three times the mass — which makes it…

6-foot megalodon shark babies were cannibals in the womb, study says

These extinct sharks gave birth to some really large babies — about the size of a full-grown human adult. At birth, megalodons were about 6.6 feet, or 2 meters, in length, according to a study published Sunday in the Historical Biology journal. Megalodons, scientifically known as Otodus megalodon, were huge sharks that grew up to…

A distant galaxy dies as astronomers watch

Galaxies die when the stars that live in them stop forming. Now, for the first time, astronomers have witnessed this phenomenon in a distant galaxy. Scientists were able to glimpse a galaxy as it ejected almost half of the gas it uses to form stars. They captured this rare observation using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter…

As the world begins its vaccination push, delayed rollouts draw criticism and concern

Political leaders are promising that mass vaccination campaigns will see life return to normal, as a more contagious variant of the coronavirus spreads across dozens of countries, adding urgency to the race to end the pandemic. But vaccination efforts are rolling out slower than promised, raising doubts about an imminent way out of the crisis.…

US prosecutors say Honduras President helped send cocaine to Americans

US federal prosecutors say Honduran President Juan Orlando Hern├índez helped an alleged drug trafficker deliver thousands of kilos of cocaine to the United States in exchange for hefty bribes — a claim the Honduran Presidency rejected on Sunday as “100% false.” A motion submitted Friday by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York details…

Iraqi judge issues arrest warrant for Donald Trump

A judge in Baghdad’s investigative court has issued an arrest warrant for outgoing US President Donald Trump, over the killing of an Iraqi paramilitary leader during the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last year. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis — the Iraqi deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces — was killed along with…

New NASA space telescope will explore the Big Bang

A new space telescope will help scientists look back in time at the origin of our universe and the galaxies and planetary systems that have populated it ever since. The mission will further our understanding of how the universe rapidly expanded right after the Big Bang occurred. During a two-year run, NASA’s SPHEREx space telescope…

Rare doctor’s note reveals Napoleon Bonaparte’s poor health in later years

A rare note written by a doctor who treated Napoleon Bonaparte has revealed how the French military leader and emperor suffered with sickness and pain in the years before his death. The letter, dated June 4, 1818, was written by Irish surgeon Barry Edward O’Meara, who treated Napoleon when he was in exile on the…

We shared our meat with wolves and they became our best friends

Some dog owners like to feed their pets tidbits from the table — and this friendly habit may have had a role in the domestication of dogs at the end of the last Ice Age, scientists say. Historically, humans and wolves were both pack hunters, and would compete for large prey, especially during leaner, winter…

‘This is not America’

An explosion was bound to happen, after four years of incitement, conspiracy mongering, lying and pitting Americans against one another. And it happened on Wednesday in Washington, when an enraged mob sacked the US Capitol for the first time since the British in 1814. The violent invasion saw lawmakers cowering under their seats, police guns…

Archaeologists find 2,000 pieces of plastic at Iron Age site

Plastic will be the likely calling card of our time on Earth when modern sites are excavated by future researchers. And plastic is leaving its mark at historic sites as well, according to a new study. Castell Henllys is the site of an Iron Age village in the Welsh Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. It was…

World leaders condemn ‘horrifying’ riot at US Capitol building

World leaders and top diplomats have issued strong condemnations of rioters who stormed the US Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday, some pressing President Donald Trump to call off the violence. Trump supporters breached the Capitol and one woman was shot when a protest spiraled out of control, interrupting Congress’s count of electoral votes to…

2021 astronomy calendar: When to see full moons, planets, eclipses and meteor showers

Prepare for a year filled with awe-inspiring reasons to look up at the night sky. There will be full moons, meteor showers, eclipses and planets visible in the morning and evening skies across the world in 2021. Meteor showers The Quadrantid meteor shower on January 3 kicked off the first of 12 meteor showers across…

Saudi Arabia and Qatar agree to reopen airspace and maritime borders

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have agreed to reopen their airspace and maritime borders starting Monday, after a years long freeze on relations, Kuwaiti officials have announced. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Mohammed al Sabah said Monday on state television that “based on the recommendation of his highness Sheikh Nawaf al Ahmad al Sabah, the Emir…

These stunning NASA satellite images capture 2020’s extreme climate events

As we move into the new year, it’s easy to see that things changed for a lot of people in 2020. Alongside a deadly pandemic, 2020 also delivered reminders of the severity of the climate crisis facing the world — droughts, floods, heatwaves, wildfires and hurricanes continued to disrupt life for communities across the globe,…

3 missions prepare to explore Mars and other space news to expect in 2021

It’s time to go deeper into space. While 2020 may have derailed and delayed some scientific plans due to the pandemic, 2021 still promises to be a year of science “the likes of which we’ve rarely seen,” according to Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Multiple missions will explore Mars, new telescopes…

Quadrantid meteor shower peaks this weekend and other celestial events in 2021

The new year begins with the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower on Saturday evening into early Sunday. While it may be one of the strongest meteor showers of the year, a bright waning gibbous moon will likely limit the amount of meteors visible. It’s also notoriously hard to observe due to January’s difficult weather…

WHO approves Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in breakthrough for developing nations

The World Health Organization has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use, paving the way for lower and middle-income countries to begin immunizing their populations against Covid-19. The vaccine was first approved in the UK on December 8 for emergency use within the country, with the US, Canada and European Union following soon after. All…

Follow the New Year around the world

People around the world are beginning to wave goodbye to 2020 and welcome 2021. The Pacific Island nations of Tonga, Samoa and Kiribati were the first to see in the new year — when it was still 5 a.m. on December 31 on the East Coast of the United States and 11 a.m. UTC (Coordinated…

Astronaut Terry Virts shares an ‘insider’s guide’ to life in space

Cutting the hair of another astronaut on the International Space Station is one of the most stressful things US Air Force Col. Terry Virts has ever done — even above spacewalking, flying F-16s, piloting a space shuttle and enduring multiple rounds of survival training around the world. Virts, a NASA astronaut selected in 2000, had…

New Year is greeted in muted fashion as leaders warn, Covid loves a crowd

Many people will want to put 2020 firmly behind them. But governments around the world have pleaded with people not to see in 2021 with traditional New Year’s Eve parties and street celebrations for fear of accelerating the spread of coronavirus. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, India and Australia are among the many nations…

What you need to know about coronavirus on Thursday, December 31

This year has upended so much in modern life that even New Year’s Eve celebrations tonight will be different, downscaled or canceled due to Covid-19 precautions. From London to Rio de Janeiro, large firework displays have been substituted with special at-home broadcasts. Australian police will conduct spot checks of New Year’s Eve parties in New…

2020 was meant to be the year of climate action. Instead, it crowned a wasted decade

2020 was supposed to be the watershed moment for action on climate change, the year the world woke up to the challenge and started taking it seriously. Instead, it has symbolically topped a decade of wasted climate promises. Inspired by a wave of climate activism, national leaders were expected to come up with new, more…

At least 50 journalists were killed in 2020, most outside countries at war

At least 50 journalists and media workers have been killed worldwide this year, the vast majority outside countries at war, according to an annual round-up by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The review shows that journalists are increasingly being targeted and killed because of their work. Some 84% of journalists killed this year were deliberately targeted,…

Science’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring discoveries in 2020

Science’s biggest achievement in 2020 was undoubtedly the rapid development of effective vaccines against Covid-19 — a massive feat that should be widely celebrated and lauded with prizes in the years to come. Away from the coronavirus pandemic, however, there were discoveries in many different fields that inspired much-needed moments of awe and wonder in…

How the pandemic brought a rising tide of hunger to Europe

Life wasn’t easy for Patricia, even before the pandemic hit. She struggled with mental health issues after fleeing an abusive relationship, moving herself and her children into an east London flat with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. For the past few years, Patricia held down a job as a barista, but she…

The Boxing Day questions you’ve probably Googled

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your empty gift boxes. Here’s what you need to know about the holiday. What is the point of Boxing Day? It’s a day to give to the less fortunate. Way back during the Victorian era in Britain, servants were allowed…

Scientists discover a new species of snake hiding in plain sight

Sometimes, looking at things we thought we knew with fresh eyes (and new tools) can lead to incredible discoveries. That’s what happened when Jeff Weinell, a graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute, found out that three specimens of snakes preserved in the institute’s biodiversity collection, found in field missions between 2006…

This is how astronauts celebrate Christmas and other holidays in space

The holidays may look a little different this year due to the pandemic, but they will still happen — even in space. The International Space Station will host seven crew members throughout the holiday season, the most ever for the orbiting laboratory in its 20 years of having humans living aboard. The international crew includes…

The year 2020 in space discoveries

This year has been a tough one no matter where you live in the world, but discoveries beyond our planet and dazzling images of the cosmos provided a bright spot in 2020. Astronauts continued to safely travel to space, despite the pandemic, and even embarked on historic launches. And they taught us how to handle…

Meghan and Prince Harry share Christmas card starring little Archie

Meghan and Prince Harry released a family Christmas card featuring their 19-month-old son Archie in his first public image in months. In the card, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex focus their attention on a light-haired Archie as the family is surrounded by their two dogs, a miniature home and lush greenery. A small Christmas…

Wombats, snails, ferrets: The animals that brought us joy during the pandemic

The global pandemic made 2020 an exhausting year, but for many people one thing brought some much-needed relief — animals. Shelters have reported so many foster and adoption applications that some have run out of animals for the first time ever. One New York nonprofit saw a 1,000% increase in dog foster applications in March,…

The moon may have far more lunar craters than previously known

Moon craters formed when meteorites and asteroids slammed into the lunar surface. Like fossils on Earth, they reveal something about the history of the solar system and how planets were formed. Using artificial intelligence, Chinese scientists have estimated that there are more than 100,000 craters on the moon, according to a study published Tuesday in…

Covid-19 is now on every continent as Antarctica records its first outbreak

Antarctica has recorded its first Covid-19 case after 36 people tested positive on a research base, according to a statement released by the Chilean Army. The news marks an unfortunate milestone in the global fight against coronavirus, as until this week, Antarctica was the last continent free from the virus’ grip. On Sunday, the General…

Jupiter and Saturn’s great conjunction captured in stunning images

Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, came closer together than they have been in 400 years on Monday. This great conjunction made a bright splash in the night sky and was captured around the world in stunning images. The alignment has been nicknamed the “Christmas Star” but the fact that…

Canadian province of Ontario will shut down the day after Christmas

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, citing rising numbers of Covid-19 cases that are accelerating at “an alarming rate,” announced Monday that the entire Canadian province will shut down effective Saturday. Ford called the closure a temporary and one-time measure at a news conference, at which he implored residents to stay home except for essential needs like…

Newly discovered comet photographed during solar eclipse

A newly discovered sungrazer comet was photographed approaching the sun during last week’s solar eclipse before it evaporated into dust particles. The comet was first spotted by Thai amateur astronomer Worachate Boonplod in satellite data on December 13, a day before the eclipse, NASA said on Saturday. He was taking part in the NASA-funded Sungrazer…

Lockdowns have stopped people moving. And fugitives are running out of hiding places

As Covid-19 restrictions tightened in China early this year, a fugitive who had been on the run for four years after allegedly stealing a corpse was running out of places to hide. Qiu Binhua, from Shenmu City, Shaanxi Province, was believed to have sold the body for a ritual, making 5,000 yuan ($760) profit, according…

Ursid meteor shower peaks this week around winter solstice

Keep your eyes on the early morning skies for the oft-neglected Ursid meteor shower on December 22, on the heels of the winter solstice. This small meteor shower can really be seen only from the Northern Hemisphere with between five and 10 meteors streaking across the sky per hour. The Ursids peak on the evening…

AI and smart traffic lights could transform your commute

Lockdowns around the world have seen streets temporarily empty of cars, offering a glimpse of what our cities could be like without traffic jams. Now, scientists and engineers want to use artificial intelligence (AI) to rethink the way we use our roads and reduce congestion post-pandemic. Michael Ganser is an engineer with Kapsch TrafficCom, an…

This ‘crazy beast’ was a weird early mammal that lived among dinosaurs

Researchers have uncovered the fossil of an early mammal named the “crazy beast” that lived 66 million years ago alongside dinosaurs and giant crocodiles on Madagascar, and it’s unlike any mammal ever known, living or extinct. This mammal, about the size of an opossum, had a mix of strange characteristics that haven’t been seen together…

Hubble watches massive storm on Neptune reverse course

A dark vortex-like storm on Neptune discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in September 2018 has reversed course to avoid an untimely demise on the blue ice giant. The storm is 4,600 miles across — wider than the Atlantic Ocean — and formed in Neptune’s northern hemisphere. Hubble has kept an eye on the storm…

Peruvian police dress as Santa and elves for drug raid

A family of alleged drug dealers in Peru found themselves firmly on the naughty list this year as police officers dressed as Santa and an elf raided their home. The festive operation, which took place on December 5 in Lima, resulted in four arrests, according to a statement from the Peruvian National Police released Wednesday.…

Religious leaders call for global ban on so-called gay conversion therapies

Hundreds of religious leaders have joined forces to push for a global ban on gay conversion therapies, treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or identity. More than 370 figures from the world’s main religions have signed the declaration, which also calls for an end to violence against and the…

The world’s most vulnerable face conflict, Covid-19 and climate change in 2021, report says

Optimism about 2021 is emerging in wealthier corners of the world, with both the United States and the United Kingdom beginning Covid-19 vaccinations and other nations close behind. But for many countries, the long tail of the pandemic could make next year even more devastating than 2020. The coronavirus, combined with climate change and conflict,…

Hayabusa2 mission confirms return of an asteroid sample, including gas, to Earth

The Hayabusa2 mission successfully collected a sample from a near-Earth asteroid and returned it to Earth — as well as the first gas sample from deep space, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA. The sample was dropped off on Earth by a capsule on December 6 in South Australia. Teams from JAXA…

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks Sunday and Monday

The Geminid meteor shower is one of the most active and dependable displays of the year, according to the American Meteor Society. This year, the shower will peak on the evening of December 13 and 14, so let’s hope for clear skies to see a beautiful show of green fireballs. This phenomenon was first recorded…

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