September 20, 2021
More than 50 years of missions to Mars paint a clear picture of a cold, dry, desert planet. And at the same time, photographs, minerals, and other data tell scientists that Mars once had as much water as Earth, or even more. Why are the two planets so different today?
September 7, 2021
The Johnstown Flood occurred on May 31, 1889, after the failure of the South Fork Dam, which is located on the south fork of the Little Conemaugh River, 14 miles upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The dam, constructed to provide a recreational resource in part to support The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, broke after several days of extremely heavy rainfall that liquified the dam and blew out the earthen structure, resulting in a …
August 16, 2021
In a parking lot behind the Comstock Art Facility at Syracuse University, geologist Jeff Karson and sculptor Bob Wysocki cook up something almost unimaginable – homemade lava. Using a gas furnace the size of a small truck, the two professors melt gravel typically used for roadbeds into hot molten rock that they pour onto sand to recreate natural lava flows seen in places like Hawaii, Iceland and Italy.
June 23, 2021
Before COVID, before the swine flu, there was the bird flu outbreak of the mid-2000s. An international group of scientists came together to combat the deadly virus, including Dr. Ilaria Capua, a virologist, and now Director of the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Capua played a key role in helping to quell the outbreak, but little did she know that experience would not be the most trying moment of her career.
May 17, 2021
As ships explored the world from the Age of Sail through 20th century, mariners kept detailed navigation records using the Sun and stars. Scientists scoured these ship logs, many of which are preserved in European libraries, for clues about Earth’s magnetic field. The work, published in 2000, created the first-ever magnetic field map for the past 4 centuries.
April 27, 2021
If someone offered you the chance to drop everything, fly to Hawaii, and spend four months trapped in a dome with seven strangers in the name of science, would you do it? For writer Kate Greene, the answer to that question was a resounding “yes.” Greene was one of eight people selected to crew the very first HI-SEAS Mars analogue mission in 2013.
March 22, 2021
Many of us know that tree rings can tell us how old a tree is. But there’s so much more we can learn from these seemingly simple lines.
February 8, 2021
If you were an ant living in an anthill in the Serengeti and you wanted to know whether an intelligent species lived on planet Earth, how could you tell? A particularly clever ant might pick up a radio signal and deduce that humanity exists, but how about subtler, indirect clues that, nevertheless, are a result of technological development?
December 7, 2020
Leland Melvin’s scientific career began during his childhood in Lynchburg, Virginia, when he created a fantastic explosion in his living room with an at-home chemistry set. Little did Leland or his family know at the time that he would become both a professional athlete and a NASA astronaut, flying two missions to the International Space Station.
November 18, 2020
The wind that carved the sandstone of Arches National Park into spectacular arches and towers also plucks them, like giant guitar strings, making them ring at low frequencies. Geoscientist Riley Finnegan and her colleagues in the Geohazards research group at the University of Utah are recording these arch songs in the Park and around Utah with seismometers, the same basic technology geologists use to listen for earthquakes, to learn their characteristic vibration frequencies—and how human noise affects them.