NASA Spacecraft Spots Signal of Water on Asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has already detected evidence of water on its target, the asteroid Bennu, just a week after arriving. Read More >>

Can You Spot What’s Special About This Photo of the Crescent Moon?

Astronomer Steven Bellavia at Brookhaven National Labs in the US caught a neat picture of the crescent Moon last week, which he passed along for Gizmodo to share. Can you see what’s so special about it? Go ahead and examine it closely. Read More >>

Nearly Mythical 3-Foot-Long Swamp Salamander Is Officially a Real Species

What has two short, chunky arms, a mane of feathery gills, and a sleek, green-marbled, eel-like body as long as your leg? No guesses? Meet the reticulated siren, a massive, two and a half foot-long salamander, described for the first time in a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, hailing from the remote, secluded wilds of *checks notes* southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Read More >>

The Ham-maid’s Tale: Swines, Sows and Sex in the CRISPR Age

Picture the scene. It’s twilight and an idyllic country farm is framed in the sunset. Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On laps down from the farmer’s open window into the pig sty. Coursing through the slurry, Gaye’s soulful tones work their magic. Coquettish oinks are exchanged, snouts are squeezed, and slowly, the pigs pair off. Except Kevin, the runt of the litter. But despite being covered snout to tail in spots and voted most likely to be used for hot dog meat at school, he still dreams of being a father. Like Chad. All the sows love Chad. Big as a boar and just as hairy, he’s Farmer Jones’ prized sire. And there he is, brazenly flirting with Patricia at the end of the sty. The swine. Read More >>

Too Much UV Light Could Turn Gas Planets Into Sad Rocky Cores

The atmosphere of a gas giant exoplanet located 163 light-years from Earth is being blasted into space by its host star, forming a ghostly tail. Excessive ultraviolet radiation is responsible for the celestial phenomenon, according to a new study, a discovery that could provide new insights into planetary formation. Read More >>

Rare Brain-Eating Amoeba Kills Woman Who Filled Her Neti Pot With Tap Water

A 68-year-old  woman in the US state of Washington who died after contracting a rare brain-eating amoeba used regular tap water to rinse her sinuses, according to new research. Read More >>

The Biggest Science Stories of 2018

This year taught us more about distant planets and our own world, about the ways we’re influencing our environment and the ways we’re changing ourselves. A whole lot of stuff happened, and last January seems like it was, well, a year ago. Read More >>

These Birders Flock to Google Street View to Spot Birds Around the World

I noticed something in the distance while clicking along rural U.S. Route 59 in Minnesota, 80 miles southeast of Fargo, North Dakota. Two grainy heads appeared out of the water like a pair of Loch Ness monsters. I couldn’t make them out for certain, but given the location (Minnesota) and time of year (summer), I thought they could be common loons, birds that hadn’t yet been found by the other birders in my Facebook group. I’d been scouring Google Street View for hours hoping to find them, and here, I thought I’d nabbed a breeding pair. Read More >>

The Five Most Worrying Trends in Artificial Intelligence Right Now

Artificial intelligence is already beginning to spiral out of our control, a new report from top researchers warns. Not so much in a Skynet kind of sense, but more in a ‘technology companies and governments are already using AI in ways that amp up surveillance and further marginalise vulnerable populations’ kind of way. Read More >>

New Images from Mars Show NASA’s InSight Landed on an Absolutely Glorious Spot

It’s been a couple of weeks since InSight made its picture-perfect landing on Mars. Vivid new photos taken from the landing site are finally giving mission controllers a sense of the landscape around the stationary probe—and the early signs are very positive. Read More >>

How NASA’s Mission to Bennu Will Keep Earth Safe from Asteroids

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission won’t just take pretty pictures of the asteroid Bennu—it will also help scientists learn whether the rock will one day threaten Earth. Read More >>

‘Cute Aggression’ Study Explores Why We Want to Squeeze Cute Babies and Animals

You’ve probably heard the term “cuteness aggression” thrown around over the years. It describes the odd but seemingly common compulsion to smoosh, bite, or pinch —but not hurt—adorable things like babies and animals. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
How We Can Prepare Now for Catastrophically Dangerous AI—and Why We Can’t Wait

Artificial intelligence in its current form is mostly harmless, but that’s not going to last. Machines are getting smarter and more capable by the minute, leading to concerns that AI will eventually match, and then exceed, human levels of intelligence —a prospect known as artificial superintelligence (ASI). Read More >>

Childhood Antibiotics Could Raise Risk of Mental Illness, Study Finds

For all the good that antibiotics do, relying on them too much can have pretty drastic drawbacks. In particular, their overuse can help create bacterial superbugs resistant to future antibiotics. But a new study published this week in JAMA Psychiatry suggests there’s another, more subtle consequence of antibiotic use, at least in young people: a higher risk of developing serious mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. Read More >>

Chinese Spacecraft Launches on Mission to the Far Side of the Moon

China launched its Chang’e 4 lander and rover today (December 8, 2:22 a.m. local time) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, as part of a mission that hopes to land on the far side of the Moon. Read More >>