Fix the Planet newsletter: Why planes needs a battery breakthrough

By Adam Vaughan This is Fix the Planet, the weekly climate change newsletter that reminds you there are reasons for hope in science and technology around the world. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here. Judging from recent conversations I’ve been having, many people soon plan to fly for the first time since … Read more

Wild New Paper Suggests Earth’s Tectonic Activity Has an Unseen Source

Earth is far from a solid mass of rock. The outer layer of our planet – known as the lithosphere – is made up of more than 20 tectonic plates; as these gargantuan slates glide about the face of the planet, we get the movement of continents, and interaction at the boundaries, not least of which is … Read more

NASA’s InSight Mars lander awakens from ‘safe mode’ after Red Planet dust storm

A NASA spacecraft has safely emerged from a precautionary “safe mode” after an intense Martian dust storm. The solar-powered InSight lander, which is designed to study the interior of Mars, entered safe mode to save power on Jan. 7; it went back to “more normal operations” by Jan. 19, the mission said in a Twitter … Read more

Fix the Planet newsletter: The weird and wonderful rivals to batteries

By Adam Vaughan Using a crane to lift weights and then release them to generate energy later is one novel approach being tried for energy storage. Energy Vault This is Fix the Planet, the weekly climate change newsletter that reminds you there are reasons for hope in science and technology around the world. To receive … Read more

Is Pluto a planet? The Spanish government’s tax portal says it is

Josie Ford Guess the planet Feedback has always been mildly sceptical of, not to say narked by, requests to click on pictures of bicycles and fire hydrants to prove we aren’t a robot. True, no one has ever seen an algorithm riding a bicycle, but when the shape-shifting terminator bots finally arrive, they will probably … Read more

Possible sign of Mars life? Curiosity rover finds ‘tantalizing’ Red Planet organics

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found some interesting organic compounds on the Red Planet that could be signs of ancient Mars life, but it will take a lot more work to test that hypothesis. Some of the powdered rock samples that Curiosity has collected over the years contain organics rich in a type of carbon that … Read more

What really makes a planet habitable? Our assumptions may be wrong

Paul M. Sutter is an astrophysicist at SUNY Stony Brook and the Flatiron Institute, host of “Ask a Spaceman” and “Space Radio,” and author of “How to Die in Space.” Sutter contributed this article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Remember Hoth, that ice-covered world from “The Empire Strikes Back”? Though some creatures eked … Read more

Scorching alien planet takes seasons to an extreme

Scientists got a close look at an extreme case of seasons thanks to a retired NASA telescope. Researchers used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to film a year on an exoplanet called XO-3b. Conveniently, a year on this world lasts only three Earth days. Within that time, the exoplanet experiences a one-day-long summer and a two-day-long … Read more