World News

Tiny living Pac-Man robots have learned how to reproduce

Tiny living Pac-Man robots have learned how to reproduce

Whenever we’re confronted with aspects of science fiction becoming scientific reality, philosophical questions arise. This week, many were asking this one: What is a robot, really? Films and TV shows have offered us myriad archetypes of what robots could be like — as varied as the terrifyingly clever Cylons of “Battlestar Galactica,” the intrepid R2-D2…

International Space Station swerves to avoid space junk, Russia says
NASA/Getty Images

International Space Station swerves to avoid space junk, Russia says

The International Space Station had to adjust its orbit to avoid collision with a piece of debris from a US rocket, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said on Friday, according to state news agency TASS. “Five minutes ago, the ISS avoided a conjunction with the US space debris, the Pegasus carrier…

NASA is about to launch a laser demo that could revolutionize space communication
Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA

NASA is about to launch a laser demo that could revolutionize space communication

The use of invisible lasers in space may sound like something from science fiction, but it’s real. NASA’s upcoming Laser Communications Relay Demonstration could revolutionize the way the agency communicates with future missions across the solar system. These lasers could lead to more high-definition videos and photos from space than ever before, according to the…

A year on this exoplanet only lasts about 8 hours

A year on this exoplanet only lasts about 8 hours

If you think there aren’t enough hours in the day on Earth, this newly discovered planet will make your head spin. On an exoplanet called GJ 367 b that’s orbiting a star 31 light-years away from our sun, a year only lasts for about eight hours. The discovery could shed light on these mysterious, rapidly…

Repealing Roe v. Wade would set the US apart from other leading democracies. Here’s how some key nations view abortion
Andrew Harnik/AP

Repealing Roe v. Wade would set the US apart from other leading democracies. Here’s how some key nations view abortion

The United States Supreme Court appears poised to pare down, or even entirely overturn, nearly five decades of constitutional protection of abortion — a move that would have reverberations not just in America, but around the world. Oral arguments began on Wednesday in a landmark Mississippi case that threatens the existence of Roe v. Wade.…

NASA astronauts successfully conduct spacewalk postponed due to debris risk
NASA

NASA astronauts successfully conduct spacewalk postponed due to debris risk

During a six and a half hour spacewalk Thursday, NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron replaced a malfunctioning communications antenna and achieved other “get ahead” tasks. The duo began their spacewalk at 6:15 a.m. ET and ended at 12:47 p.m. ET. NASA postponed the spacewalk until Thursday, originally scheduled for Tuesday, after receiving a…

How South African scientists discovered Omicron and set off a global chain reaction
EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

How South African scientists discovered Omicron and set off a global chain reaction

In the early days of November, laboratory technicians at Lancet Laboratories in Pretoria, South Africa, found unusual features in samples they were testing for the coronavirus. Essentially, a gene was missing in what would be a normal genome profile of the virus. PCR tests weren’t detecting one of their expected targets, a signal that something…

December 2 Omicron coronavirus variant news

December 2 Omicron coronavirus variant news

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Astronauts celebrate record-breaking chile harvest in space with taco night
NASA

Astronauts celebrate record-breaking chile harvest in space with taco night

While we were eating Thanksgiving leftovers and shopping sales on Black Friday, astronauts on the International Space Station had a special taco night to celebrate their second successful chile pepper harvest. As with the first historic chile pepper picking on October 29, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei had the honor of completing the longest plant…

New armored dinosaur found in Chile had bizarre weaponized tail
Courtesy Sergio Soto

New armored dinosaur found in Chile had bizarre weaponized tail

A new species of armored dinosaur discovered in Chile had a weaponized tail not seen before in any other dinosaur. Roughly 2 meters (6.5 feet) in size, the small armored dinosaur called an ankylosaur dates from the late Cretaceous period, around 71.7 million to 74.9 million years ago. Its largely complete fossilized skeleton was found…

Omicron was in Europe long before travel bans on southern Africa
CDC

Omicron was in Europe long before travel bans on southern Africa

When South African officials sounded the alarm on the new Omicron variant last Thursday, stocks around the world tumbled and up to 70 countries, including the United States, imposed travel bans and restrictions to southern African countries. The knee-jerk response followed the news that the variant had an unusually high number of mutations, which scientists…

December 1 Omicron coronavirus variant news

December 1 Omicron coronavirus variant news

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Debris warning postpones NASA spacewalk
NASA

Debris warning postpones NASA spacewalk

NASA has postponed a spacewalk that was scheduled for Tuesday after receiving a space debris warning for the International Space Station. Just hours before the astronauts were due to venture out of the ISS, the agency said on its Twitter account that “due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk,” it had…

November 30 Omicron coronavirus variant news

November 30 Omicron coronavirus variant news

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

November 29 Omicron Covid-19 variant news

November 29 Omicron Covid-19 variant news

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Omicron variant puts world in a ‘race against time’, says EU Commission President
Laurens Bosch/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Omicron variant puts world in a ‘race against time’, says EU Commission President

The world is in a “race against time” with the Omicron coronavirus variant, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday, warning during a visit to Riga that scientists and manufacturers will need weeks to fully understand the new variant. As more cases are identified and governments around the world mobilize to respond…

Vaccine inequity and hesitancy made the Omicron variant more likely, scientists say
Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

Vaccine inequity and hesitancy made the Omicron variant more likely, scientists say

Many of the world’s richest countries have spent the past year hoarding coronavirus vaccines, buying up enough doses to vaccinate their populations several times over and consistently failing to deliver on their promises to share doses with the developing world. The World Health Organization said the approach was “self-defeating” and “immoral.” It might be starting…

These award-winning photos are guaranteed to make you laugh

These award-winning photos are guaranteed to make you laugh

Focusing on gratitude has helped me through this year. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to say that I’m so thankful for all of you in this feel-good edition of Wonder Theory. Thank you for joining us on our exploratory adventures through the wonders of space and science. Thank you for taking the…

World is put on high alert over the Omicron coronavirus variant
Jerome Delay/AP

World is put on high alert over the Omicron coronavirus variant

Europe is frantically imposing travel bans, scrambling to ramp up its coronavirus sequencing abilities after several countries on the continent reported suspected cases of the newly identified Omicron variant. As of Friday, the variant was found in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium, with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said Friday…

A new Covid-19 variant with high number of mutations sparks travel bans and worries scientists
Alissa Eckert/Dan Higgins/CDC

A new Covid-19 variant with high number of mutations sparks travel bans and worries scientists

The discovery of a new and potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant by South African health authorities has sparked a forceful reaction across the world with a number of countries banning travelers from several southern African countries. The newly identified variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of South Africa and…

How US gun culture stacks up with the world
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Small Arms Survey, CNN

How US gun culture stacks up with the world

Atlanta. Orlando. Las Vegas. Newtown. Parkland. San Bernardino. Ubiquitous gun violence in the United States has left few places unscathed over the decades. Still, many Americans hold their right to bear arms, enshrined in the US Constitution, as sacrosanct. But critics of the Second Amendment say that right threatens another: The right to life. America’s…