In the Moment

Is the Elusive ‘Planet Nine’ Actually a Massive Ring of Debris in the Outer Solar System?

The odd orbital arrangements of objects beyond Neptune have led scientists to speculate about the existence of a so-called Planet Nine—a hypothetical large planet in the outer reaches of the Solar System. New research suggests a planet isn’t required to achieve the anomalous orbits, and that a massive ring of debris…

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In the Moment

Holy Crap, the Moon Was Struck by a Meteorite During the ‘Super Wolf Blood Moon’ Eclipse

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Such is the philosophy of Jose Maria Madiedo, an astronomer at the University of Huelva in Spain, who, for over 10 years, has tried to capture a meteorite hitting the Moon during a lunar eclipse. Yesterday, during the so-called “Super Blood Wolf Blood Moon,” it finally…

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In the Moment

Ancient Shark With Spaceship-Shaped Teeth Named After Vintage Video Game

A newly described freshwater shark from the Cretaceous Period had teeth that resembled the iconic Galaga video game spacefighter. Remarkably, the remains of this shark were found in the same pile of debris that contained Sue the T. rex—the largest and most complete fossil of the species ever found.

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In the Moment

China Says Gene-Editing Scientist Broke Laws to Pursue ‘Personal Fame and Gain’

The scientist responsible for creating the world’s first genetically modified babies violated government bans and committed fraud, according to Chinese investigators. He Jiankui—and those who helped him—will reportedly now be handed over to security authorities and “severely dealt with.”

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In the Moment

World’s Oldest Known Periodic Table Found During Cleanup of Scottish Lab

A classroom chart bearing an early version of the periodic table of elements has been discovered in a University of St. Andrews chemistry lab. Dating back to the 1880s, the chart is thought to be the world’s oldest.

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In the Moment

The Frequency of Asteroid Impacts Increased Just Before the Dinosaur Age, New Research Suggests  

By comparing the age of impact craters on the Moon to those on Earth, researchers say they have discovered a surge in the rate of asteroid strikes starting around 290 million years ago—a finding that runs contrary to scientific convention. And indeed, not everyone is convinced by the evidence.

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In the Moment

Artificial Meteor Showers Are the Atmospheric Spectacles No One Asked For

Tomorrow morning, an Epsilon-4 rocket will blast off from the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center in Japan. Onboard is a satellite capable of generating artificial meteor showers by dropping tiny pellets from orbit. The resulting light show should produce streaks brighter than natural shooting stars—but will anyone even care?

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In the Moment

Fascinating Experiment Uses a Robot to Recreate the Walking Style of an Early Land Dweller

Using computer simulations and a robot, researchers have recreated the likely gait of a 300-million-year-old animal considered to be among the planet’s earliest terrestrial walkers.

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In the Moment

Seeds Have Sprouted on the Moon for the First Time

China’s miniature biosphere experiment has yielded sprouting cotton seeds, and they are the first plants to germinate on the Moon—an important first step in creating a viable, self-sustaining lunar colony.

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In the Moment

This Quadruple Star System Is Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen Before

Astronomers using the ALMA telescope have discovered an oddly tilted planet-forming disk within a double binary star system, a configuration that up until this point only existed in theory.

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