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Could a Corpse Seed Life on Another Planet?

One day, it's bound to happen. An astronaut dies in space. Maybe the death occurred en route to Mars.

Wanted: Stem Cell Super Donors

Our bodies’ cells didn’t evolve to flourish in a petri dish. Even fast-growing skin cells stop dividing and turn thin and ragged after a few weeks outside the body.

Can Science Save the Banana?

The banana is the world’s most popular fruit crop, with over 100 million metric tons produced annually in over 130 tropical and subtropical countries.

Why Our 'Procrastinating' Brains Still Outperform Computers

Automated financial trading machines can make complex decisions in a thousandth of a second. A human being making a choice – however simple – can never be faster than about one-fifth of a second.

In Pursuit of the 'Cosmopolitan Chicken'

Let us consider the humble chicken. Or, rather, consider a world without them. Gone are breakfast burritos at Sunday morning brunch, wings at your next tailgate, half the menu at an Italian restaurant, your grandma's precious soup recipe and nearly every fast-food chain out there.

5 Ways Yeast Will Help Save Lives

Try to imagine life without yeast. It’s kind of a bummer. The single-celled fungi are the leavening agents that gave rise to sourdoughs, ciabattas and chewy pizza crusts.

Flesh-Eating Bacteria Like It Hot

It’s spring, and I’m attending a luxurious seafood banquet. Platters of shellfish fill the tables: crab with limbs akimbo; shrimp ready to be peeled; miniature lobster-like langostino peering at my dinner plate as if knowing their fate.

When Did Sex Become Fun?

(This post originally appeared in the online anthropology magazine SAPIENS. Follow @SAPIENS_org on Twitter to discover more of their work.)  There are multiple answers to the question of where we come from: early hominins, monkeys, primordial goo, or the Big Bang, to name a few.

17th-century Ruins Could Unravel Mysteries of Earth’s Magnetic Field

It seems safe to say that the laborers firing clay pavers, bricks and tiles to build the Jesuit mission of Santo Ângelo over 300 years ago had no idea that their toils might someday bear relevance to spacecraft orbiting 600 miles above what is now southern Brazil.

The Arrow of Time? It's All in Our Heads

Have you ever wondered why we age and grow old? In the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Brad Pitt springs into being as an elderly man and ages in reverse.  To the bafflement of scientists, the fundamental laws of physics have no preference for a direction in time, and work just as well for events going forward or going backward in time.  Yet, in the real world, coffee cools and cars break down.

Can a Smartphone App Help Save a Dying Language?

(This post originally appeared in the online anthropology magazine SAPIENS. Follow @SAPIENS_org on Twitter to discover more of their work.)  Joshua Hinson’s first biological son was born in 2000.

Police Lineups: The Science of Getting It Right

One night in 1984, a man broke into Jennifer Thompson’s apartment and raped her at knifepoint. Throughout the attack, the college student memorized every detail of her rapist’s face, promising herself that when she took the witness stand against him, “he was going to rot” in prison.

'It's Just Too Perfect': Inside the First Gravitational Wave Detection

A year ago today, a select group of scientists became the first people on the planet to learn that, after a century of theory and experiments, Albert Einstein was right all along.

What’s Bad for SpaceX Is Good for Russia

An exploding Falcon 9 could send ripples through space-timelines. By now, you’ve probably heard about SpaceX’s Thursday morning “anomaly” at its Cape Canaveral launch pad.

Lightning’s Strange Physics Still Stump Scientists

Every day on this planet, roughly 4 to 8 million bolts of electricity the width of a finger connect heaven to earth, discharging a current of 30,000 amperes and heating the air to 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The End of Traffic Jams

Being stuck in miles of halted traffic is not a relaxing way to start or finish a summer holiday. And as we crawl along the road, our views blocked by by slow-moving roofboxes and caravans, many of us will fantasize about a future free of traffic jams.

Can Doping Tests Stay Ahead of Cheaters?

The 100-meter dash, the pole vault, a marathon, a bike race, and any other sport under the sun have one thing in common: winning depends on pushing physical performance to the max.

Taking Pangolin Off the Menu

When acclaimed conservation photographer Suzi Eszterhas settled in for the evening, she didn’t know what to expect.

Is It Neander-TAL or Neander-THAL?

Here’s the deal: you can write or say Neanderthal or Neandertal, but you should only write Homo neanderthalensis and say “Homo neander-TAL-ensis”.

Earth Proxima: Is Our New Neighbor the Most Promising Exoplanet Yet?

A pale red dot not far from our sun may be orbited by a pale blue dot much different than Earth. In a shocking find, astronomers Wednesday announced their discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.2 light-years away.