Cosmos Magazine2 min lettiAstronomy & Space Sciences
Seeing The Unseen
Stars aren’t the only things Gaia can detect. It can also help find dark matter, a mysterious substance that appears to make up the bulk of the Universe. “We have no idea what dark matter is,” says Gerry Gilmore, of the University of Cambridge, UK. B
Cosmos Magazine2 min lettiEnvironmental Science
Glaciers Are Shrinking Faster
A study of nearly every glacier on Earth has confirmed they are losing more ice every year. The international research team, led by Roman Hugonnet from the Université de Toulouse in France, found that on average these icy rivers have lost 267 gigaton
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiBiology
How Teeth Sense Cold Temperatures
Scientists have located a protein that lets teeth sense cold temperatures in a new paper published in Science Advances. The protein, TRPC5, is an ion channel: a molecular tube that can open and shut, letting ions through that trigger electrical impul
Cosmos Magazine2 min letti
Fossils Of Extinct “Giant Cloud Rats” Found In The Philippines
Piecing together fossil remains of jaws and teeth in the Philippines, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of three new giant cloud rat species that lived until just a few thousand years ago. The new arboreal, herbivorous species, Batomys cagayanen
Cosmos Magazine13 min letti
Mind Readers
One afternoon in the 1980s a small boy sat in a house in Hyderabad in southern India watching television. There wasn’t much on but one show had captured his attention. It was Star Trek, and on that particular afternoon, Dr Spock was bent over a prost
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiBiology
How Do COVID Variants Emerge?
Since its first appearance in Wuhan, China, SARS-CoV-2 has been acquiring random mutations. In recent months several new variants have been observed. Some of those cause significant changes in how the virus behaves, including how contagious or deadly
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiEarth Sciences
Golden Spike
A Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) is a reference point on a stratigraphic section which defines the lower boundary of a geologic time scale stage. Once a GSSP boundary has been agreed upon, a “golden spike” (neither golden nor spi
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiScience & Mathematics
Brain Power
Early this year, controversial tech-billionaire Elon Musk stunned the world once again with his announcement – on the private social media app Clubhouse – that his startup Neuralink had plugged a monkey’s brain with a wireless implant enabling the mo
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiEarth Sciences
Greenland’s Lost And Found Forest
In a bizarre story of lost and found, scientists have learnt Greenland might have been forest green only a million years ago. An international team of scientists, led by Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont, analysed a 1.6km deep, 54-year-old sa
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiAstronomy & Space Sciences
Gaia’s Spin Cycle
Gaia travels in a controlled orbit around the L2 Lagrange point – one of five positions where the competing gravitational pull of Earth and the Sun hold a satellite relatively stable. Gaia spins at a constant 60 arcseconds/second; each five years in
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiEnvironmental Science
Seaweed Eases Cattle Burps
Livestock account for around 15% of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. A large part of this is methane, burped from cattle. But new research, published in PLOS ONE, has found that a particular genus of seaweed could play a big role in reduc
Cosmos Magazine4 min lettiPhysics
Is The Standard Model Broken?
We find ourselves on the cusp of what could be a turning point in fundamental physics. Within weeks of each other, the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab in the US and the LHCb experiment at CERN, in Switzerland, reported eagerly anticipated results, wh
Cosmos Magazine1 min letti
Wearable Tech-style
Researchers in China have created a durable, wearable textile that features a large-area electronic display. Created from cotton integrated with conductive and luminescent fibres, the fabric can withstand 100 cycles of washing, and is breathable and
Cosmos Magazine1 min letti
Our Cover
The striking depiction of deep time on the cover of Cosmos 91 was created by world-renowned graphic designer, illustrator and artist Noma Bar. Bar has illustrated more than 100 magazine covers – for publications as diverse as The Economist, Esquire a
Cosmos Magazine1 min letti
Circle Of Life
This “clock” represents the major units of geological time and defining events of the Earth’s 4.6-billion-year history. Bjornerud argues that as a metaphor, it is alienating – the fact that humanity appears at the end makes people feel unimportant. E
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiBiology
Human Migration: New Ideas
Denisovans left a signature of their DNA in the genomes of modern people. Not just one signature – Murray Cox’s group found three. D0 (grey) is the signature of the Altai Denisovan as found in fossils in Denisova cave in the Altai mountains of Siberi
Cosmos Magazine1 min letti
Pompeii Of Prehistoric Plants
New analysis of Chinese tree fossils has revealed that they are the ancestors of the seed-bearing plants that dominate the Earth today. Noeggerathiales was a peat-forming order of plants that lived 325 to 251 million years ago (mya), before the rise
Cosmos Magazine2 min lettiAstronomy & Space Sciences
From the Editors
A STORY ABOUT geological time, another covering the intriguing search for an ancient human ancestor, and a third investigating the ESA’s Gaia space telescope wouldn’t appear to have much in common. In fact, they’re at the centre of this issue’s focus
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiEarth Sciences
Pilbara Rocks Speak Of Earth’s First Continents
Anew study of the famous iron-red rocks in Western Australia’s arid Pilbara region has revealed that the formation of Earth’s first continents occurred in a different way than originally thought. The research, published in the journal Nature, sought
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiBiology
Cats Love It But Mozzies Don’t
Scientists have used cultured cells expressing the TRPA1 (transient receptor potential ankyrin 1) genes – a molecular mechanism for “pain” and response to irritants discovered in flies, mozzies and humans – to test if they are activated by catnip and
Cosmos Magazine11 min letti
The Curious Case Of The Missing Ancestor
It’s the biggest “whodunnit” in the mystery of human evolution. Who were the Denisovans? All they left behind were a few ancient fragments of bone and teeth. Human – clearly. But not enough to match anything in the fossil record. Incredibly, some of
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiChemistry
Beautiful Soap Bubbles
When water is splashed into a sink, a few bubbles form as air becomes incorporated with the water, but because of water’s high surface tension they quickly disappear. When soap is added to the mix, the hydrophobic ends of the amphiphiles stick out of
Cosmos Magazine1 min letti
About The Royal Institution Of Australia
The Royal Institution of Australia is an independent charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Through Cosmos magazine, our free daily science news site, our e-publication Cosmos Weekly and free educational
Cosmos Magazine6 min lettiAstronomy & Space Sciences
Have you ever tried to spot a planet in a sky full of stars? If you know what you’re looking for this could be an easy task, or you might make use of a handy sky guide app on your smart device to help point you in the right direction. But Australia’s
Cosmos Magazine2 min letti
Write A Pi-ku To Celebrate Π
AT THE ROYAL INSTITUTION OF AUSTRALIA, we’ve been celebrating that most special of numbers with the Cosmos Pi-ku 2021 competition. A haiku in English is generally accepted to be a poem of three lines and 17 syllables arranged in a 5–7–5 pattern. A Pi
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiEarth Sciences
Tectonic Timelapse
Snapshots from the first full-plate tectonic reconstruction of the last billion years. White areas represent oceanic crust, while green areas are modelled continental lithosphere, and blue areas are additional present-day continental crust. To create
Cosmos Magazine9 min lettiTechnology & Engineering
Future Fireworks?
As Australia burned through 2019’s devastating Black Summer, a petition circulated calling for the cancellation of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show. While the spectacular display of pyrotechnics has been an annual tradition since 197
Cosmos Magazine2 min letti
Oldest Human Burial In Africa Unearthed
About 78,000 years ago, at the mouth of a cave complex in modern-day Kenya, someone placed the body of a three-year-old child on its side in a purpose-dug grave and covered it with earth from the cave floor. This intentional act – described in a pape
Cosmos Magazine7 min lettiAstronomy & Space Sciences
It was a display of… well, ingenuity. A tiny, 1.8kg helicopter called Ingenuity hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. On April 21, it flew – the first powered and controlled flight on another planet. In a sense, NASA was just showing off
Cosmos Magazine1 min lettiTechnology & Engineering
Good (spider) Vibrations
The fascinating properties of spider webs could now be explored in an entirely new dimension: music. The experience could offer not only new musical inspiration but also insights into how spiders create their masterpieces, according to scientists at
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