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Dinosaur-killing asteroid may have been a binary terror

Posted on 1 Feb 2013 in Dinosaurs, Earth Science, Featured, Journalism, Space

Asteroids 2, dinosaurs 0. The infamous space rock that slammed into the Gulf of Mexico and helped wipe it clean of large dinosaurs may have been a binary – two asteroids orbiting each other. The surprise conclusion comes from a re-evaluation of the proportion of asteroid craters on Earth that were formed from binary impacts. Image: Calsidyrose

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Tiny tug of war in cells underpins life

Posted on 2 Dec 2012 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Physics

Tug of war could well be the oldest game in the world. Cells use it during division to tear themselves apart – each side of the cell planting two tiny “feet” on the ground to gain traction. Now researchers have measured the tiny forces involved when an amoeba plays the game. Image: oceandesetoiles

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Buddhist statue acquired by Nazis is meteorite fragment

Posted on 27 Sep 2012 in Archaeology, Earth Science, Featured, Physics, Space

One religious statue has a stronger connection than most to the heavens. An 11th-century carving from Mongolia of the Buddhist god Vaisravana was fashioned from a meteorite fragment, a chemical analysis shows. Its extraterrestrial origins make it unique in both religious art and meteorite science. Image: Elmar Buchner

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Pharaoh’s playground revealed by missing fractals

Posted on 2 Aug 2012 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism, Life, Physics

The Dahshur royal necropolis in Egypt was once a dazzling sight. Some 30 km south of Cairo, it provided King Sneferu with a playground to hone his pyramid-building skills – expertise that helped his son, Khufu, build the Great Pyramid of Giza. But most signs of what went on around Dahshur have been wiped away by 4500 years of decay. Image: sigurdga

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Fossil raindrops reveal Earth’s early atmosphere

Posted on 28 Mar 2012 in Earth Science, Journalism, Physics

Some things never change. An analysis of a fossilised rain shower suggests air density on early Earth was broadly similar to today’s – and that makes it difficult to explain why Earth was warmer than it is now when the sun shone less brightly. Image: John-Morgan

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Volcanoes may give a 100-year warning

Posted on 1 Feb 2012 in Earth Science, Journalism, Physics

A blast from the past has left tantalising hints that volcanic eruptions could be predicted decades in advance. Volcanoes can signal their intent to erupt days or months ahead of time, giving authorities a chance to evacuate the area. Now evidence of the events leading up to a Bronze Age eruption suggests it might be possible to extend that warning period. Image: miriam.mollerus

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