Could the Higgs boson help shed light on dark matter, or will a ghostly X-ray signal recorded by Dutch researchers turn out to be a first sign of the mysterious substance?
In July, we hear how CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will be used to look for elusive dark matter particles, and how a surge of dark matter researchers are helping keep Europe at the forefront of experimental cosmology.
During an interview with Horizon magazine, Dr Seth Shostak, the senior astronomer at the US-based Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, explains his belief that we are likely to discover an alien civilisation within our lifetimes.
We also look at EU-funded projects developing a 400-square-kilometre solar sail which could power a spacecraft across the solar system, and making magnetic shields that might be the best way to protect astronauts from deadly cosmic radiation.
The planned Square Kilometre Array telescope, a radio telescope to span two continents, could be instrumental in finding intelligent alien civilisations within our lifetimes, according to Dr Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the US-based Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute. Dr Shostak was a speaker at the EU's Innovation Convention in March 2014.
On December 17th, the European Space Agency’s CHEOPS telescope will blast into space to take a closer look at some of the potentially habitable planets we’ve found beyond our solar system. Ahead of its launch, Horizon takes an in-depth look at what we already know about such exoplanets and what’s still to learn. We speak to Dr Michaël Gillon, who in 2017 was instrumental in discovering a system of seven Earth-like planets outside our solar system, about the diversity of the thousands of exoplanets we’ve found so far and next steps for research. We talk to scientists who are trying to understand the structure of Super-Earths – planets up to 10 times the size of Earth – by recreating elements of planetary cores in their labs, and others who are trying to understand how different planetary systems formed in the first place. Finally, we delve into one of the most important conditions for life to exist on exoplanets – their atmospheres – and find out how scientists are trying detect the biosignature gases that indicate the presence of life.
All over the world, bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, making infections more difficult – and in some cases impossible – to treat. It’s one of today’s biggest public health challenges and this month Horizon examines how scientists are working to overcome this growing issue. We speak to microbiologist Dr Nassos Typas about how we got here, what causes resistance to antibiotics and the different approaches being explored to combat resistance. We look at renewed efforts to find new antibiotics and ask whether it’s possible to reverse antibiotic resistance. And with dairy being a huge food source and also an antibiotic-intensive industry, we speak to scientists who are developing alternative therapies for treating cows for mastitis as a way of curbing antibiotics from coursing through our food chain.
Europe changed dramatically during the Bronze Age, with huge population shifts generally ascribed to the rise of new metal technologies, trading and climate change. But scientists believe that there may have been another reason for this social upheaval – the plague, possibly transported by, or on the back of, newly domesticated horses.
Drugs that activate or block the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery to treat conditions such as anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and cancer are being made possible because we now understand the way that cells respond to oxygen deprivation, according to Sir Peter Ratcliffe, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.
Newly domesticated horses may have increased the spread of disease.
Sir Peter Ratcliffe on why hypoxia matters.
Dr Michaël Gillon on what's next for exoplanet science.