Sauron’s singularity: Sucking in light but lighting up the universe

When heavier stars run out of hydrogen to fuse into helium, the fusion reactions that keep the stars from imploding due to their own gravity become more difficult (as they infeasibly fuse helium into heavier elements) and eventually stop happening. At this stage, they blow away their outermost layer of gases and collapse into neutron stars…… Continue reading Sauron’s singularity: Sucking in light but lighting up the universe

Hardy DNA could mean we’re aliens

A team of European scientists have shown that DNA molecules can withstand the rough temperatures and pressures that rockets experience when they reenter Earth’s atmosphere from space. Their finding is important from the perspective of meteorites and other space rocks that crash on Earth. Many scientists think such objects could once have seeded our planet…… Continue reading Hardy DNA could mean we’re aliens

How Venus could harbor life: supercritical carbon dioxide

A new study published in the online journal Life says a hotter, pressurized form of carbon dioxide could harbor life in a similar way water does on Earth. This is an interesting find, theoretical though it is, because it might obviate the need for water to be present for life to exist on other planets. In fact, of…… Continue reading How Venus could harbor life: supercritical carbon dioxide

SpaceShipTwo crash brings down Richard Branson with it

Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceflight program was pushed back by more than a year after the test flight of its SpaceShipTwo rocket-plane over the California desert blew up mid-air and killed one of its two pilots on October 31. Virgin Galactic had planned to go start operating suborbital flights as soon as 2015 before the incident. Later, an investigation…… Continue reading SpaceShipTwo crash brings down Richard Branson with it

ALMA telescope catches live planet-forming action for the first time

The ALMA telescope in Chile has, for the first time, observed a star system that might be in the early stages of planet formation. The picture has astronomers drooling over it because the study of the origins of planets has until now been limited to simulated computer models and observations of planets made after they formed. According to a…… Continue reading ALMA telescope catches live planet-forming action for the first time

Fabiola Gianotti, the first woman Director-General of CERN

The CERN Council has elected a new Director-General to succeed the incumbent Rolf-Dieter Heuer. Fabiola Gianotti, who served as the ATLAS collaboration’s spokesperson from 2009 to 2013 – a period that included the discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS experiments – will be the first woman to hold the position.…… Continue reading Fabiola Gianotti, the first woman Director-General of CERN

Feathering malfunction, not hyped motor, suspected in SpaceShipTwo crash

On October 31, a manned suborbital test flight broke up mid-air and crashed into the California desert, a 50,000-foot dive that left it smashed. The pilot was killed and the copilot was critically injured. The vehicle was SpaceShipTwo (SS2), owned by British businessman Richard Branson’sVirgin Galactic enterprise, which wants to debut commercial spaceflight in 2015.…… Continue reading Feathering malfunction, not hyped motor, suspected in SpaceShipTwo crash