Latest Science headlines

The latest science news from The Boston Globe

Once-rare cloud is now more common, and new study says climate change is to blame

A new study bolsters the theory that human-caused climate change is making it easier to see a rare kind of cloud, researchers said.

Scientists may have solved a huge riddle that led to more than 1,000 years of cold on Earth. It doesn’t bode well

Woods Hole scientists led a team that may have solved a huge riddle in Earth’s climate past.

Study: Ancient North American dogs were nearly wiped out after arrival of European breeds

A new study provides fresh evidence that the first dogs of North America all but disappeared after the arrival of Europeans.

Rocket delivers robot, ice cream, mice to space station

The SpaceX’s capsule reached the station three days after launching from Cape Canaveral.

New research bolsters theories that it rained on Mars

Once upon a time, it rained on Mars — and the downpours cut channels in the Red Planet. That’s the theory advanced by Swiss researchers.

Dr. Atul Gawande has long searched for a cure for the health care system

Gawande, CEO of a company formed in the hope of transforming health care, has studied processes and systems that can make a difference between life and death.

A doctor wages personal and professional battles against aging

Harvard’s Leonid Peshkin has drawn inspiration from his 96-year-old father, Miron.

The Story Behind the Book | Kate Tuttle

Why apes are so great?

In “Theory of Bastards” two evolutionary scientists bond over their work with bonobos, our closest simian relatives.

NASA issues asteroid preparedness plan

If you think that the apocalypse might be upon us, you now have one less Earth-shattering disaster to worry about, thanks to a plan released Wednesday by NASA.

Looking for signs of global warming? They’re all around you

Blueberry bushes near Walden Pond flower earlier. Polar bear populations in the Arctic are dwindling. Marmots in Colorado emerge from their winter slumber earlier.

US warned 30 years ago that global warming had arrived

There is plenty of evidence now that the statement by James Hansen, NASA’s top scientist, was right.

Trump tells Pentagon to create ‘Space Force’

At a meeting of his National Space Council, Trump said the new force would be an equal branch of the military.

Medium-sized black hole is seen devouring a star, UNH researchers say

A University of New Hampshire study used data by three telescopes over a decade to postulate that a radiation flare in a distant galaxy was a star being consumed by a medium-sized black hole.

Trump tells Pentagon to create a new military branch in outer space

President Trump promised the US will “be the leader by far” in space, and said he directed the Pentagon to create the “Space Force” as an independent service branch.

NASA’s record-breaking spacewoman retires as astronaut

Whitson, 58, has spent more time off the planet than any other American: 665 days over three missions.

Humans are driving animals to take cover in night, study finds

A new study found that the animals’ nocturnal activity on average increased by 36 percent in areas of human disturbance.

the story behind the book | kate tuttle

The gifts of growing up in a crazy family

Dr. Edward Hallowell, best known for his work on attention deficit disorder, has just published a memoir on “the WASP triad: alcoholism, mental illness, and politeness.”

NASA rover knocked out as gigantic dust storm envelops Mars

NASA’s seemingly unstoppable Mars rover Opportunity has been knocked out by a gigantic dust storm that is enveloping the red planet and blotting out the sun.


Greater Boston author readings June 10-16

A weekly calendar of literary events

Get Smart

Researchers say they can capture carbon dioxide from the air — and recycle it back into fuel

Researchers say they have developed a cost-efficient way to extract carbon dioxide from the air and make fuel from it for cars, trucks, or airplanes.

New report finds no evidence that having sex with robots is healthy

Doctors warn that healthy companionship is too bold a claim to make about sex robots.

Dunes on Pluto made of tiny frozen grains of methane

The pale gray and white ridges were revealed by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its 2015 flyby.

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MIT researchers uncover more data on gene variant link to Alzheimer’s

The gene variant is three times more common among Alzheimer’s patients than among the general population.

Giant predatory worms invaded France, but scientists just noticed them

Just as hammerhead sharks cruise through lagoons, hammerhead flatworms hunt through soil.

Jupiter’s backward-flying asteroid came from another star system

The asteroid was found just months after the discovery of our first known interstellar visitor.

An ancient horse was found in Pompeii’s ashes, as well as a street of grand houses

More windows into ancient times have been opened by recent discoveries at the site.


Greater Boston author readings May 20-26

A weekly calendar of literary events.

Is someone secretly producing gas that harms the ozone layer?

Government scientists have detected an increase in emissions of such a gas. And they’re worried that it could could slow progress in restoring the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.


Pennsylvania’s Amish community is caught in a bind

The Amish pool resources for their medical care. A budget-busting gene therapy is taxing the community’s resources.

SpaceX’s upgraded rocket soars with satellite for Bangladesh

SpaceX lifted Bangladesh’s first satellite into orbit Friday using an upgraded rocket designed for dozens of repeat flights including back-to-back, same-day launches.

Scientists may have solved the mystery of why the leaning tower of Pisa hasn’t fallen down during an earthquake

Why hasn’t the leaning tower of Pisa fallen down, despite all the strong earthquakes in the area over the centuries? Scientists say they answer is in the soil.

Researchers say they’ve been able to issue hidden commands to smartphones, smart speakers

In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online.

Elephants may be dialing long-distance through their feet

Vibrations in the ground can travel farther than they could through the air, giving elephants a variety of powerful methods for long-distance communication.

NASA launches InSight spacecraft to Mars to dig down deep

A robotic geologist armed with a hammer and quake monitor rocketed toward Mars on Saturday, aiming to land on the red planet and explore its mysterious insides.

It ain’t easy being green

Yossi Sheffi’s latest book examines the challenges and benefits of “going green” in a multilayered global economy.

Nearly two-thirds of people age 65 to 80 are interested in sex, new poll says

More than half of people in that age group say that sex is important to their quality of life.

four takes

Recalling the birth of environmentalism

Four books tell the stories of the people and ideas that shaped the way we think about ecology and conservation

Fossil footprints show a human chasing an extinct giant sloth

Where these creatures went, ancient humans followed. We know this because the travelers left footprints — physical evidence that people chased the giants.

The MFA, the FBI, and the 4,000-year-old mummy

If an advanced method of genetic testing could work on an ancient mummy, it could work on some of the FBI’s more difficult criminal cases.

The Great Barrier Reef is being devastated by warming waters, researchers say

Dreaming of someday scuba diving one of the world’s natural wonders? Better move fast.

Atlantic Ocean circulation hasn’t been this sluggish in 1,000 years. What that means for New England

The circulation is critical for fisheries off the U.S. Atlantic coast, a key part of New England’s economy that have seen changes in recent years.

book review

A striking, visionary novel about the environment

“The Overstory” is a big, ambitious epic, spanning the last half of the 20th century and asking what we’re doing to our planet.

Research suggests lonely plants on mountaintops are getting company, thanks to climate change

As the world warms, plants from lower elevations are moving up toward mountain summits, possibly threatening the hardy survivors at the top, a new study found.


Families of those at risk for overdoses should carry reversal drug, surgeon general says

He likened the treatment to other livesaving interventions, such as knowing how to perform CPR or use an EpiPen.

The center of the Milky Way is teeming with black holes

The center of our galaxy is packed with black holes, sort of like a Times Square for strange super gravity objects, astronomers discovered.

Testing for hepatitis C lags with baby boomers despite high infection rate

A study says that about 13 percent of baby boomers were tested in 2015, up just slightly from 12 percent in 2013.

NASA delays next-generation space telescope until 2020

Officials say the cost for the successor to the Hubble telescope may exceed the $8 billion program cap set by Congress. NASA has already poured $7 billion into the project.

Parts of the Amazon, once thought empty, may have been home to 1 million people

The new study joins a growing body of research suggesting the Amazon was more populated than once believed.

Get Smart

UNH researchers say they discovered hidden moraines left behind by glaciers

Using LiDAR technology, they discovered DeGeer, or washboard-type moraines that were probably created by glaciers during the Ice Age.

This tiny skeleton found in Chile might look like an alien’s, but genetics studies are uncovering the tragic, true story

A tiny skeleton found in Chile might look like it comes from out of this world, but her genes tell a different, sad story.