Hayabusa 2 begins long journey home carrying Ryugu asteroid samples

By Sam Wong The mission team say goodbye to Ryugu ©ISAS/JAXA Its time to come home. Japans Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has begun its departure from the asteroid Ryugu, carrying two samples of the space rock back to Earth for analysis. This is an emotional moment… [+1328 chars]

Gaming in the US emits as much carbon dioxide as all of Sri Lanka

By Adam Vaughan Call of Duty Modern Warfare is graphically intense Call of Duty Modern Warfare (c) Activision Whether exploring the weird world of Death Stranding or shooting their way through Call of Duty Modern Warfare, gamers in the US are collectively … [+339 chars]

Distant space rock known as Ultima Thule renamed to avoid Nazi links

By Leah Crane New Horizons visited Arrokoth earlier this year NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Thomas Appéré Goodbye Ultima Thule, hello Arrokoth. The space rock that NASAs New Horizons probe sped past earlier this year has been given a new name: Arrokoth, which means sky… [+1187 chars]

Star systems full of planetary smash-ups are bad news for alien life

By Leah Crane That’s going to leave a mark NASA/JPL-Caltech IT IS a dangerous universe out there. Astronomers have spotted the aftermath of an enormous collision between two distant planets, and their studies indicate that such violence could ruin the chan… [+341 chars]

Row over whether fracking could resume in England despite 'ban'

By Michael Le Page A drilling rig near Blackpool, UK Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images Just days after the UK government halted fracking for gas in England with immediate effect, the civil service released a document stating that “future application… [+1572 chars]

How binge-watching your favourite TV show is fuelling climate change

By Michael Le Page Ooh, just one more episode? Maybe not … Sedat Suna/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock ONCE, we had to wait to watch television programmes when they were broadcast. Now, video on demand is taking over. Globally, more than 600 million people subscribe t… [+322 chars]

11 years remain to fight climate change – what progress have we made?

By Graham Lawton Getty Images “WE HAVE to do everything, and we have to do it immediately.” That quote, from climate scientist Piers Forster at the University of Leeds, UK, has haunted me ever since I wrote it down almost a year ago. I was interviewing Fors… [+315 chars]

Who owns life? The world is about to decide, with huge ramifications

By Laura Spinney Josie Ford NEXT week, delegates will gather in Rome to discuss a question that could have profound implications for global biodiversity, food security and public health. Stripped of technical language, it boils down to this: who owns life? … [+412 chars]

Will Google bail if its quantum computer doesn’t turn a quick profit?

By Douglas Heaven Josie Ford QUANTUM computing has hit the big time. In a paper leaked online just over a month ago, Google said it had performed the first quantum computation that was beyond an ordinary machine, a milestone known as quantum supremacy. Sinc… [+387 chars]

The ‘nuclear pasta’ in neutron stars could transform particle physics

By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein iStock/Getty Images Plus IN ABOUT 5 billion years, oursun a pretty average-sized yellow star will turn into a red giant, its outer layers expanding and consuming the solar system. Eventually, as the gas is blown off, it will beco… [+377 chars]