Science/Nature

China launch will prep for Moon landing

Image copyright AFP China has launched a relay satellite to prepare for a lunar rover mission planned for later in the year. The Queqiao spacecraft will establish a communications link between Earth and the landing mission, which looks set to launch in the next six months. The satellite was launched at 22:28 BST on Sunday […]

Science/Nature

'Permanent' interstellar visitor found

Image copyright Science Photo Library An asteroid in Jupiter’s orbit may have come from outside our Solar System, according to a new study. Unlike Oumuamua, the interstellar object which briefly visited the Solar System earlier this year, 2015 BZ509 (affectionately known as BZ) seems to have been here for 4.5 billion years. This makes it […]

Science/Nature

Madagascar emerges as whale shark hotspot

Image copyright Simon J Pierce Image caption Whale sharks are the largest living fish Large numbers of endangered whale sharks have been sighted in waters off Madagascar. The first major scientific survey in the area shows there are far more of the huge fish than previously thought. Eighty-five individuals were identified in a single season […]

Science/Nature

Fracking planning laws should be relaxed say ministers

Planning laws on fracking might be relaxed following a government announcement today. Preliminary drilling may be classed as permitted development – that’s the same law that allows people to build a small conservatory. Ministers are also proposing a Shale Environmental Regulator and a new Planning Brokerage Service. Opponents of fracking say it shows the government […]

Science/Nature

Scientists detect oxygen legacy of first stars

Image copyright ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) Image caption Alma has become a powerful tool to study the early Universe Astronomers have made the most distant ever detection of oxygen. They observed it in a galaxy of stars that existed just 500 million years after the Big Bang. But what is really fascinating is that this oxygen can […]

Science/Nature

Mysterious rise in emissions of ozone-damaging chemical

Image copyright NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Image caption Ozone depletion over the Arctic has been much less pronounced than over the Antarctic Scientists have detected an unexpected rise in atmospheric levels of CFC-11, a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) highly damaging to the ozone layer. Banned by the Montreal Protocol in 1987, CFC-11 was seen to be declining as […]