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News on the most recent advances in science

Staying updated with the most recent advances in science has never been easier. ThePhysicist gathers news about the most recent advances in the world of scientific research and analyses them regularly.


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A Leisurely Swim
A turtle moves through a waterway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 4, 2017.
OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Capsule Lands in the Utah Desert
The sample return capsule from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is seen shortly after touching down in the desert, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range. The sample was collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
Seeing New Zealand From a New Perspective
Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Jasmin Moghbeli captured this image of New Zealand, dotted by white clouds, on Sept. 12, 2023, as the International Space Station orbited 230 miles above the island nation.
Artemis II Astronauts Complete Day of Launch Dry Run for Moon Mission
The Artemis II crew and teams with NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program successfully completed on Sept. 20, the first in a series of integrated ground system tests at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for the upcoming mission around the Moon.
Strategic Communications Manager Isidro Reyna
"The stars aligned – I was working at Johnson Space Center in Houston about six months later. That’s how I got here, in a roundabout way.” — Isidro Reyna, Strategic Communications Manager, Strategic Integration and Management Division, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Artemis Landing and Recovery Director Liliana Villarreal
"It's amazing when I get a chance to see the space station fly over. I am very fortunate to be able to say that my hands were on a lot of the hardware that is up there. I’m very proud to have been part of the International Space Station program.” — Liliana Villarreal, Artemis Landing and Recovery Director, Exploration Ground Systems
Hubble Spots a Dreamy Galaxy
This dream-like image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features the galaxy known as NGC 3156.
Accelerated Ice Breakup in Hudson Bay
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the NOAA-20 satellite captured this image of fragmented ice in Hudson Bay on June 28, 2023.
DROID 2 Captures the Wind
Justin Hall lands the Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone 2 (DROID 2) aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, on Aug. 22, 2023.
Regreso del astronauta de la NASA que batió récords y sus compañeros
El astronauta de la NASA Frank Rubio aterrizó sano y salvo en la Tierra con sus compañeros de tripulación el miércoles, tras pasar 371 días en el espacio, un récord para Estados Unidos.
Record-Setting NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Return from Space Mission
During his record-breaking mission, Rubio spent many hours on scientific activities aboard the space station, conducting a variety of tasks ranging from plant research to physical sciences studies.
NASA Awards Aerospace Model Systems Fabrication Follow-On Contract
NASA has awarded the Reliance Consolidated Models VI (RECOM VI) contract to Advanced Technologies Inc. and Eagle Aviation Technologies, LLC, both of Newport News, Virginia, to support the fabrication of aerospace model systems and developmental test hardware managed by the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
NASA Names New Head of Technology, Policy, Strategy
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Monday Charity Weeden will serve as associate administrator for the agency’s Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS), effective immediately. Weeden succeeds Bhavya Lal, who left the agency in July, and Ellen Gertsen, who had been serving as the office’s acting leader since then.
NASA’s First Asteroid Sample Has Landed, Now Secure in Clean Room
After years of anticipation and hard work by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security – Regolith Explorer) team, a capsule of rocks and dust collected from asteroid Bennu finally is on Earth. It landed at 8:52 a.m. MDT (10:52 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, in a targeted area of the Department of Defense’s Uta
NASA Scientists to Discuss Oct. 14 'Ring of Fire' Solar Eclipse
NASA will host a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 26, to discuss the upcoming annular solar eclipse. The annular eclipse will cross the U.S. from Oregon to Texas on Saturday, Oct. 14, with a partial solar eclipse visible throughout the contiguous U.S.
Record-Setting NASA Astronaut Soon Returns to Earth; Watch Live
Now the record-holder for the longest single spaceflight by an American, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is scheduled to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth Wednesday, Sept. 27. The agency will provide full coverage from hatch closing through landing.
NASA Finalizes Coverage for First US Asteroid Sample Landing
The first asteroid sample collected in space by NASA will arrive on Earth Sunday, Sept. 24, and there are multiple events leading up to its landing.
NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Reach Space Station for Science Expedition
NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and two cosmonauts safely arrived at the International Space Station Friday, Sept. 15, bringing its number of residents to 10 for the coming week.
NASA Releases First Season of Spanish-language Podcast
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, NASA is releasing new content for Universo curioso de la NASA, the agency’s first Spanish-language podcast. A five-episode season will start Tuesday, Sept. 19, with new episodes released weekly.
NASA opens OSIRIS-REx's asteroid-sample canister (photos)
Scientists removed the outer lid of OSIRIS-REx's sample canister on Tuesday (Sept. 26). But a full reveal of the mission's asteroid sample is still two weeks away.
How to photograph the 'ring of fire' annular solar eclipse on Oct. 14
Here's everything you need to know about how to photograph the upcoming annular solar eclipse on Oct 14.
Antimatter responds to gravity like Einstein predicted, major CERN experiment confirms
The new study marks the beginning of detailed and direct pursuit of the gravitational nature of antimatter, which remains puzzlingly scarce in the universe.
'Ahsoka' season 1 episode 7 review: Fast-paced action in the vein of Rebels ahead of the big finale
The seventh episode of Ahsoka sets up a race against time for the season finale and mostly plays out like a classic Star Wars Rebels episode.
Harvest moon 2023, the last supermoon of the year, kicks off fall stargazing on Sept. 29
The last supermoon of 2023 will illuminate the autumn sky on Friday.
Record-setting NASA astronaut lands with Russian crewmates after 1 year on space station
The first American to spend a year in space and first Russians to do the same on the International Space Station have landed. Frank Rubio, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin returned on Soyuz MS-23.
Giant Magellan Telescope project casts 7th and final mirror (photos)
The Giant Magellan Telescope project just cast its seventh and final primary mirror segment, a huge milestone that keeps the scope on target to begin operations in the late 2020s.
The artist who sculpted the 4-dimensional fabric of space and time
Ashley Zelinskie calls herself the scientific artistic translator, taking our understanding of the universe and showing us how to interpret it.
Antarctic sea ice hits 'record-smashing' low this year, satellite data shows
NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center have released some troubling data about our planet's polar regions.
New AI algorithm can detect signs of life with 90% accuracy. Scientists want to send it to Mars
A new AI method can distinguish between biotic and abiotic samples with 90% accuracy.
Researchers advance understanding of why cell parts look the way they do
Scientists have long understood that parts of cells, called organelles, evolved to have certain shapes and sizes because their forms are closely related to how they function. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a bacteria-based tool to test whether, as the axiom goes, form follows function.
Combating distrust online: New study explains why current messaging efforts may not be effective
New research led by the George Washington University finds that current mitigation efforts to combat distrust online may not be effective because organizations and governments tackling distrust are only targeting one topic and only one geographical scale. The study shows that online distrust has become a 'glocal' phenomenon, meaning that it is spreading with different topics lumped together and mixing both local and global interests.
Have you heard about the 'whom of which' trend?
Back in the spring of 2022, professor of linguistics David Pesetsky was talking to an undergraduate class about relative clauses, which add information to sentences. For instance: "The senator, with whom we were speaking, is a policy expert." Relative clauses often feature "who," "which," "that," and so on.
How rape myths, unconscious biases prejudice the judicial system against women, and rape survivors in particular
It is well documented that women who are sexually assaulted, or raped, rarely report the crime to the police. The US charity, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, has shown that 1 in 6 women in the US has been the victim of rape or attempted rape, yet two in three rapes go unreported. For women under 25, that figure drops to 1 in 5.
Online abuse could drive women out of political life. The time to act is now, says researcher
It is becoming increasingly evident that life in modern politics is presenting women with a stark choice—endure almost constant online threats and abuse or get out of public life.
How stereotyping increases during economic crises
It's been almost exactly 15 years since Lehmann Brothers declared bankruptcy, marking the height of the financial crisis. Since then, we've entered the era of the "polycrisis"—where several catastrophic events are happening at once. We're dealing with the aftermath of a pandemic, a war in Ukraine, extreme weather events, rising inflation and a food and energy crisis.
Researchers construct phylogenetic skeleton tree of weevils
Weevils (superfamily Curculionoidea) represent a hyperdiverse and globally distributed group of phytophagous beetles, with approximately 62,000 described species in 5,800 genera.
Raw material requirements for reducing global poverty calculated by weight for the first time
Today, 1.2 billion people live in poverty. To lift them out of it, an average of about six tons of raw materials are needed per person and year—in particular minerals, fossil fuels, biomass and metal ores. This is the result of a study published in Environmental Science & Technology by researchers from the Chair of Sustainable Energy and Material Flow Management at the University of Freiburg.
What's the carbon footprint of owning pet fish? An expert explains
While the environmental impact of having dogs and cats as pets has been examined to some extent, the impact of keeping pet fish has remained unexplored—until now.
Researchers create formula for first synthetic sugarcane molasses with fully reproducible composition
Molasses, a broad term used to describe concentrated sugarcane or sugarbeet juice solutions after removal of sucrose crystals, are an industrial byproduct of the raw sugar production process. Natural molasses have variable compositions that are not entirely known. This knowledge gap is a hindrance to both scientific research and industry, where molasses are used in several processes, including production of fuel ethanol from molasses by fermentation with brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).
What Happens if You Drop Antimatter? New Gravitational Test Sees First Fall

In theory, physicists knew that antimatter should behave just like matter under gravity’s pull. But until now, no one had ever seen it happen

To Move Fast, Quantum Maze Solvers Must Forget the Past

Quantum algorithms can find their way out of mazes exponentially faster than classical ones, at the cost of forgetting the paths they took

The Chemistry behind Bourbon

How does bourbon, “America’s spirit,” get its distinctive taste and color?

Hoʻoleilana, a Billion-Light-Year-Wide Bubble of Galaxies, Astounds Astronomers

This enormous structure could help explain processes close to the dawn of time—or it could be a random cosmic fluke

Song of the Stars, Part 2: Seeing in the Dark

In 2014, a blind astronomer “sonified” the universe’s most explosive event: a gamma-ray burst. By listening to, rather than looking at, the data, she made a critical discovery and changed the field of astronomy.

The Complete Human Y Chromosome Marks an Opportunity to Move Away from Stigma

The Y chromosome was once used to label people as criminal. A new complete Y chromosome sequence just might combat this dangerous myth

Your Brain Looks for 'Winning Streaks' Everywhere--Here's Why

This is why we misinterpret life’s weird and wonderful random events

Streetlights Are Mysteriously Turning Purple. Here's Why

Newly purple streetlights might seem innocuous, but they could affect driver and pedestrian safety

The Secret to Beetles' Unfathomable Diversity

The evolution of a chemical defense gland allowed the most diverse group of beetles to repel predators and go on to conquer wholly new environments

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Infections Are on the Rise in the U.S. Here's How to Stay Safe

Here’s why the CDC is so concerned about deadly flesh-eating bacteria and ways to avoid being infected

Antimatter falls like matter, upholding Einstein’s theory of gravity
In a first, scientists dropped antihydrogen atoms and measured how they fell.
A one-of-a-kind trilobite fossil hints at what and how these creatures ate
The preserved contents suggest the trilobite fed almost continuously and had a gut environment with an alkaline or neutral pH, researchers say.
This ‘polar ring’ galaxy looks like an eye. Others might be hiding in plain sight
New images of two galaxies reveal what look like rarely seen rings of hydrogen gas nearly perpendicular to the galaxies’ starry disks.
Seen Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster? Data suggest the odds are low
Floe Foxon is a data scientist by day. But in his free time, he applies his skills to astronomy, cryptology and sightings of mythical creatures.
Astronomers call for renaming the Magellanic Clouds
Explorer Ferdinand Magellan is not a fitting namesake for the pair of satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, a group of scientists argues.
Here’s how much coronavirus people infected with COVID-19 may exhale
Just breathing naturally can lead people with COVID-19 to emit dozens of copies of viral RNA a minute and that can persist for eight days, a study finds.
‘Our Fragile Moment’ finds modern lessons in Earth’s history of climate
Michael Mann’s latest book, Our Fragile Moment, looks through Earth’s history to understand the current climate crisis.
These brainless jellyfish use their eyes and bundles of nerves to learn
No brain? No problem for Caribbean box jellyfish. Their seemingly simple nervous systems can learn to avoid obstacles on sight, a study suggests.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx has returned bits of the asteroid Bennu to Earth
Asteroid dirt from Bennu could help reveal clues about the material that came together to make the solar system — and possibly where life comes from.
Mouth taping may be a trending sleep hack, but the science behind it is slim
Mouth taping is big on social media, but few studies have evaluated it. Some evidence suggests that sealing the lips shut may help people with sleep apnea.
How Many Microbes Does It Take to Make You Sick?
Exposure to a virus isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. The concept of “infectious dose” suggests ways to keep ourselves safer from harm.

The post How Many Microbes Does It Take to Make You Sick? first appeared on Quanta Magazine

To Defend the Genome, These Cells Destroy Their Own DNA
Under a microscope, cells in a worm embryo deliberately eliminated one-third of their genome — an uncompromising tactic that may combat harmful genetic parasites.

The post To Defend the Genome, These Cells Destroy Their Own DNA first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Mathematicians Cross the Line to Get to the Point
A new paper establishes a long-conjectured bound about the size of the overlap between sets of lines and points.

The post Mathematicians Cross the Line to Get to the Point first appeared on Quanta Magazine

Behold Modular Forms, the ‘Fifth Fundamental Operation’ of Math
Modular forms are one of the most beautiful and mysterious objects in mathematics. What are they?

The post Behold Modular Forms, the ‘Fifth Fundamental Operation’ of Math first appeared on Quanta Magazine

The Experimental Cosmologist Hunting for the First Sunrise
To catch even a whiff of the universe’s earliest epochs — an age of darkness, and one of new light — Cynthia Chiang builds her own equipment. Then she deploys it at the ends of the Earth.

The post The Experimental Cosmologist Hunting for the First Sunrise first appeared on Quanta Magazine

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