Latest stories
Philae the Little Lost Lander Finds Organic Molecules on Comet

It really is the little lander that could.

The European Space Agency's probe Philae may be struggling to stay in touch, but its first finds on its new home are pretty special.

W140 Full Story
Vatican Sceptical about Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The recent discovery of an Earth twin has boosted chances there is intelligent life on other planets. But while Pope Francis's telescope scans the starlit skies, the Vatican is sceptical of ever meeting Mr. Spock.

On a leafy hilltop near the papal summer home of Castel Gandolfo sits the Vatican's Observatory, one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world, where planetary scientists mix the study of meteorites and the Big Bang theory with theology.

W140 Full Story
Florida's Giant Snails Prove to be a Slippery Foe

Florida plant detectives are on the trail of a slippery foe, an invasive African land snail that is wily, potentially infectious, and can grow as big as a tennis shoe.

In the four years since Giant African Snails were discovered in Miami, they have slowly but surely spread to new territory, alarming residents in the southern suburbs and the neighboring county of Broward.

W140 Full Story
Human Fetal Tissue Long Used for Variety of Medical Studies

Controversy over a leading U.S. reproductive health group supplying fetal tissue for research has focused attention on a little-discussed aspect of science.

Some of the organization's affiliates in the U.S. provide the tissue, according to the pro-choice group, Planned Parenthood. An anti-abortion group says the Planned Parenthood is illegally making a profit from that, and has released covertly recorded videos about it.

W140 Full Story
Study Says Fat Should be the Sixth Taste

Fat needs its place alongside the basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami because it evokes unique sensations, U.S. researchers said in a new study.

The sixth flavor should be known as "oleogustus," a combination of oily and taste in Latin, according to Purdue University scientists who published their study in the journal Chemical Senses.

W140 Full Story
As Desert Encroaches, Niger Turns to Natural Gas

Threatened by the advance of a desert that already covers two-thirds of Niger, the poor Sahel nation hopes to halt rapid deforestation by promoting natural gas.

Giant billboards, media ads starring local celebrities and door-to-door campaigns extol the virtues of gas and alert people to the ecological dangers of unchecked deforestation.

W140 Full Story
Russia Schedules First Proton Rocket Launch since Crash

Russia on Wednesday set a date for the first Proton rocket launch since an engine failure in May saw a Mexican satellite destroyed.

Authorities said a Proton-M rocket would blast off from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan on August 28 carrying a British Inmarsat-5F3 commercial communications satellite. 

W140 Full Story
Last Wild Horse Dies on Bahamas' Great Abaco Island

The last of the wild horses on Great Abaco island in the Bahamas has died, prompting caretakers to collect tissue for possible cloning and hopefully bring back a viable population.

Milanne Rehor, project director for the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, said Tuesday that a U.S. veterinarian removed tissue from the dead mare and the material has just been shipped to an animal cloning technology company in Austin, Texas.

W140 Full Story
Is Science Drawing Closer to an Alien World?

NASA's discovery of Earth-like exoplanet Kepler-452b, nicknamed "Earth 2.0", has social media buzzing about the chances of finding a faraway world, possibly with alien life or key resources such as water.

Science or fiction? The experts respond.

W140 Full Story
Australian Humpback Whale Comeback a 'Symbol of Hope'

Australia's humpback populations have recovered so well from years of devastating whaling that they could be delisted as a threatened species in a conservation success story scientists Tuesday hailed as "a symbol of hope".

Humpback whales were commercially harvested around the Australian coast between 1912 and 1972, with tens of thousands of the animals killed, decimating the species.

W140 Full Story