Scientists around the world have noted that the Earth has been spinning on its axis faster lately – the fastest ever recorded. Several scientists have spoken to the press about the unusual phenomenon, with some pointing out that this past year saw some of the shortest days ever recorded.
How life originated on Earth continues to fascinate scientists, but it's not easy peering back billions of years into the past. Now, evidence is growing for a relatively new hypothesis of how life began: With a very precise mix of RNA and DNA.
A growing number of “cryptic species” hiding in plain sight have been unmasked in the past year, driven in part by the rise of DNA barcoding, a technique that can identify and differentiate between animal and plant species using their genetic divergence.
In a few days, a capsule containing samples of soil from a distant asteroid will be released by a robot spaceship and dropped into Earth’s upper atmosphere. If all goes well, the container will parachute safely on to the Woomera test range in South Australia on December 6, completing a mission that has involved a three-billion-mile journey across our Solar System.
A decade ago, a band of astronomers set out to investigate one of the oldest questions taunting philosophers, scientists, priests, astronomers, mystics and the rest of the human race: How many more Earths are out there, if any? How many far-flung planets exist that could harbor life as we know it?