Getting over the ‘Great Dying’

It’s not how you fail, it’s how you bounce back.  And while the end-Permian mass extinction may have been nature’s greatest failure, new evidence shows its recovery was even more impressive than we thought. Two hundred and fifty million years ago, life nearly died.  96% of marine species were lost, 70% of land vertebrates perished, […]

Meteorite strikes made moon’s air

Why does Saturn’s largest moon have a nitrogen atmosphere like Earth?  It’s a question that has stumped astronomers since the Voyager spacecraft went to Titan in 1981.  However, laser gun-toting scientists from Japan think a catastrophic volley of meteorites might hold the answer. Titan’s air is so thick and its gravity is so low that if […]

Terror in the heavens

Earth-engulfing black holes, continent-crushing asteroids, crop-cremating supernovae. Sounds like science-fiction, or at worst the rant of a lunatic – and largely you’d be right. Not that these things don’t happen, it’s just that they’re extraordinarily rare and you’re probably better off minding that car screeching past you than worrying about our collective planetary plight; after […]