Is there life on super-Earths? The answer could lie in their cores

The habitability of a super-Earth could be related to its having a magnetic field. Image credit - ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser, licensed under CC BY 4.0. Artist’s impression of super-Earth K2-18 b

Rocky planets larger than our own, so-called super-Earths, are surprisingly abundant in our Galaxy, and stand as the most likely planets to be habitable. Getting a better idea of their interior structures will help predict whether different planets are able to generate magnetic fields – thought to be conducive for life to survive. Atmospheric water … Read more

Green fertiliser made from cow dung and chicken feathers could transform big agriculture

Farm waste is often full of nutrients that take time to break down before crops can use them. Image credit - Pxhere, licensed under CC0

A raft of strategies is being trialled in Europe to turn nutrient-rich farm waste such as chicken feathers, cow dung and plant stalks into green fertiliser. Full of phosphorus and nitrogen, recycled products could help reduce intensive agriculture’s emissions and reliance on fertiliser imports. European agriculture produces an abundance of high quality food, but also … Read more

Chemical mixtures pose ‘underestimated’ risk to human health say scientists

and the health risks of this are not yet fully understood.

Each of us harbours hundreds of man-made chemicals inside our bodies because we are exposed to them in our daily lives. While individual chemicals may not be of immediate concern to public health, scientists now worry that certain mixtures of them may pose previously underestimated risks to health. This year, the European Union heavily restricted … Read more

Gravitational waves helping to expose black holes, dark matter and theoretical particles

Image Credit - LSC/Alex Nitz

Gravitational waves – the invisible ripples in the fabric of space predicted by Albert Einstein – are opening up a new era of astronomy that is allowing scientists to see parts of the universe once thought to be invisible, such as black holes, dark matter and theoretical subatomic particles called axions. Almost 100 years after … Read more

How scientists are piecing together the history of the moon

ANDY SMITH ASTRONOMY

In the solar system’s early days, a first Earth is thought to have been pulverised by a planet that scientists call Theia. We don’t know what it was made of or where it came from, only that it may have been the size of Mars. The powerful collision destroyed both planets so completely that scientists … Read more