It's easy to picture a black hole as a kind of all-powerful cosmic drain, a sinkhole of super-strong gravity that snags and swallows passing nebulae or stars. While it is true we can’t observe matter once it crosses a black hole’s event horizon, scientists are zeroing in on what happens in the margins, where molecular clouds release vast amounts of energy as it circles the plughole.
Ancient black holes hidden away in deep space have left behind nuclear clues about the first-ever stars, according to Professor Raffaella Schneider from the Department of Physics of Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, who leads a team of stellar archaeologists.
To colonise the solar system we need to figure out how to build settlements on alien surfaces, and, according to Professor Matthias Sperl, a material scientist from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), our best bet rests on 3D-printed bricks made from moon dust.
Using off-the-shelf technology and innovative economics, lightweight helium balloons have started carrying remote-controlled laboratories to the edge of space and back, offering the business case for new types of science missions.
European researchers have used telescopes around the world to spot a cluster of seven planets orbiting a Jupiter-sized ultra-cool star 40 light-years from earth, increasing the chances of discovering evidence of life on distant worlds.
Space will soon be within the grasp of everyday people, small countries, researchers or start-up companies thanks to a fleet of low-cost launch vehicles under development across Europe.
Highly sophisticated computers are mining vast amounts of data from the web, digital maps and satellite imagery to pick out trends in areas like demographics, transport and the environment.
Detailed biomass maps will enable developing countries to better access climate funds.
Thawing ground sends carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
With environmental changes locked in for several decades, are we too late to save the Arctic?