Paul Scott Anderson
Seedling in a shower of rain.

Who knew? Plants ‘panic’ when it rains

Using a spray bottle to simulate rain, researchers found a “panic-like” response in plants. Complex chemical warning signals were passed from leaf to leaf and even communicated to other plants.

Curiosity’s ‘mind-boggling’ new Mars mystery: oxygen

Scientists are still trying to figure out where Mars’ methane comes from. Now there’s a new mystery that might be connected: unusual fluctuations of oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere, detected by the Curiosity rover.

Stunning view inside a young moon crater

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has returned some amazing high-resolution photos of the surface of the moon, including these ones of steep cliffs and impact melt inside a young crater called Giordano Bruno.

Segmented rod-like structure in a rock.

Did ancient Earth life escape our solar system?

You’ve heard of panspermia, the idea that life exists throughout space and was carried to Earth by comets? What if the reverse occurred, with microbes on Earth ejected into space by asteroid impacts, escaping into the solar system billions of years ago?

Roundish gray asteroid with black space in background.

Is Hygiea now the smallest dwarf planet?

New images from ESO’s Very Large Telescope show that asteroid Hygiea is round, meaning that it may now be classified as the smallest-known dwarf planet in our solar system.

Multi-colored rocky world with smooth plains and craters.

NASA studies plan to send an orbiter to Pluto

Remember when New Horizons swept past Pluto in 2015? That was exciting! Who knew Pluto had a heart? Now scientists are proposing a new Pluto orbiter mission. It would gather details on Pluto’s heart and the rest of its youthful surface, its hazy bluish nitrogen atmosphere, and its system of 5 known moons.

Breakthrough Listen and TESS team up for SETI

Will we ever hear from an alien civilization? Will we hear from one in our lifetimes? Now 2 powerhouses in the world of astronomy have teamed up to optimize the chances of a successful search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Rocky planet with water.

How unique is Earth?

Scientists studying white dwarf stars have found that some contain traces of rocky debris very similar in composition to rocks found on Earth. The finding suggests that worlds similar to Earth might be common in our Milky Way galaxy.

Dark view of grey soil with bright specks.

An update on that ‘gel’ on the moon

China’s Yutu-2 rover has sent back a new image of the unusual “gel-like” material it found last July, which seems to confirm that it’s not gel at all. Instead, it now appears it’s probably impact glass from a meteorite impact.

Three planets and green habitable zone around a star.

How small is the smallest habitable exoplanet?

Where can we expect to find life beyond Earth? A new study has redefined the lower limit in mass for habitable exoworlds. It suggests that low-mass waterworlds might exist and might be a place to look.