Science

Women in science pledge to combat hate
Almost 10,000 women working in science have signed an open letter pledging to combat discrimination and "anti-science sentiment" following the US election. A group of scientists drafted the letter with the initial aim of building a network of 500 women. In the six days since its publication, 8,800 researchers have signed the pledge, which rejects the "hateful rhetoric that was given a voice". Dr Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was one of its authors. She and her colleagues ...
Climate changing 'too fast' for species
Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to survive climate change, say scientists. A study of more than 250 plants and animals suggests their ability to adapt to changes in rainfall and temperature will be vastly outpaced by future climate change. Amphibians, reptiles and plants are particularly vulnerable, according to US researchers. And tropical species are at higher risk than those in temperate zones. Some animals might be able to move geographically to cope with rising temper...
'Supermoon' viewers to get closest glimpse since 1948
Skywatchers are preparing for the latest "supermoon" as Earth's satellite makes its closest approach since 1948. The UK's best chance to see it will be on Monday evening, with the moon set to rise at 16:43 GMT in Edinburgh and at 16:44 GMT in London. To observers, it will appear about 7% larger than normal and about 15% brighter - although the human eye is barely able to discern that difference. The Moon will be at its closest - only 221,524 miles (356,509km) away - at 11:21 GMT. It won't be...
Biggest telescope may swap continents
One of the world's biggest telescope projects might be forced to move its location to a different continent. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) was due to be built in Hawaii, but ran into opposition with indigenous groups which consider its proposed site sacred. Now the TMT's board says a site in the Canary Islands, Spain, could act as a potential alternative. The $1.4bn project will enable experts to study the early Universe and peer into the atmospheres of exoplanets. It is one of a raf...
Fears grow for European Schiaparelli Mars lander
There are growing fears a European probe that attempted to land on Mars on Wednesday has been lost. Tracking of the Schiaparelli robot's radio signals was dropped less than a minute before it was expected to touch down on the Red Planet's surface. Satellites at Mars have attempted to shed light on the probe's status, so far without success. One American satellite even called out to Schiaparelli to try to get it to respond. The fear will be that the robot has crashed and been destroyed. The E...
Moment of truth awaits Europe's Schiaparelli Mars probe
The European Space Agency (Esa) is getting ready to put a probe on Mars. Its Schiaparelli robot will attempt the risky descent to the surface in the coming hours, after a 500 million km journey from Earth. The touchdown is regarded as a dress rehearsal for a much more important venture in four years' time when Esa will bid to place a very expensive rover on the planet. This six-wheeled vehicle will drill beneath the surface to search for life. Getting the smaller Schiaparelli robot down ough...
Comet impact 'linked' to rise of mammals
A comet impact 55 million years ago may have helped mammals dominate the Earth. It could have triggered a rapid phase of global warming linked to the expansion of mammal groups during the Eocene time period. Writing in the journal Science, a team of American researchers outlines new evidence for the theory. They found spherical fragments of glass thought to form when molten debris flung out by an impact solidifies in mid-air. But the team's interpretation remains controversial with other exp...
Sweet potato Vitamin A research wins World Food Prize
Four scientists have been awarded the 2016 World Food Prize for enriching sweet potatoes, which resulted in health benefits for millions of people. They won the prize for "the single most example of biofortification", resulting in Vitamin A-boosted crops. Since 1986, the World Food Prize aims to recognise efforts to increase the quality and quantity of available food. The researchers will receive their US $250,000 (£203,000) prize at a ceremony in Iowa, US, on Thursday. Three of the 20...
Aviation industry agrees deal to cut CO2 emissions
The first deal limiting greenhouse gases from international aviation has been sealed after years of wrangling. From 2020, any increase in airline CO2 emissions will be offset by activities like tree planting, which soak up CO2. The deal comes in a momentous week for climate policy when the Paris agreement to stabilise climate change passed a key threshold for becoming law. Scientists applauded both commitments, but warned that plans to cut emissions are far too weak. The aviation deal was ag...
'Significant opportunities' for low-carbon cities
Switching to a low-carbon economy offers cities "significant economic opportunities", an assessment says. Low-carbon markets was worth US $33bn (£26bn) to London's economy, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) said in its latest report. However, collaboration between public and private sectors was an essential ingredient needed to deliver economic growth and carbon cuts, it observed. The findings examined the commitments made by 533 cities around the world. The report, It Takes a C...
Synthetic rhino horn ready 'in two years'
The man behind attempts to develop synthetic rhino horn has told the BBC that he hopes to have a "bio-identical" product ready to market in two years. Matthew Markus, CEO of Pembient, believes that introducing a highly similar but manufactured horn could help stem the rhino-poaching crisis. Here at the Cites meeting the plans have been condemned by conservationists as "too risky". Campaigners want the species body to ban synthetics from endangered animals. Over the years, the development of ...
UK's chatty fish to be recorded
The seas around Britain may be getting so noisy that fish species like cod and haddock now have some difficulty communicating with each other. And if their chatter is being obscured, it could hamper their ability to breed. Steve Simpson and colleagues are testing the idea by dragging hydrophones through coastal waters to record the marine soundscape. It has long been recognised that large marine mammals are susceptible to noise pollution - as are coral reef fish. But the new study inten...
'Flying ivory' hornbill bird gains extra protection
An Asian bird species under threat for its ivory like helmet has gained extra protection at the Cites conference in Johannesburg. Numbers of the helmeted hornbill have plummeted in recent years as demand soared for the so-called "red ivory" that makes up its bill. Prized in China the hornbill helmets are worth up to five times the price of elephant ivory. The Cites meeting has now voted for extra efforts to curb illegal trade.
Rosetta probe set for comet collision
One of the most audacious space missions ever undertaken is about to come to an end. The Rosetta probe that has been tracking a comet for the past two years is going to deliberately crash itself into the 4km-wide ball of ice and dust. European Space Agency scientists say the satellite has come to the end of its useful life and they want to get some final, ultra-close measurements. Rosetta is not expected to survive the impact with Comet 67P. But even if some of its systems remain functi...
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