ExoMars ready to resume search for alien life
European ministers will decide this week whether to invest £350m in a project to put a rover on Mars. ExoMars will search for life on the red planet — so what if life is actually discovered?
Praise and anger at Nobel science prizes
Over their 115-year history, the Nobel prizes have acquired an unrivalled prestige. Yet as the three science prizes are awarded, some are questioning whether the system is fit for purpose.
‘The Age of Humans has begun’ say scientists
Nuclear tests. Mass extinction. Climate change. Experts say we have entered a new geological era, defined by humanity’s actions. But could the Anthropocene be a golden opportunity?
Gene scientists in secret talks on replicants
Last week, 150 top genetic scientists and entrepreneurs met in secret to discuss the possibility of synthesising a human genome from scratch. The potential consequences are mind-boggling.
Science in 2015: Rethinking the universe
A cure for disease and hunger. Water on Mars. A new human ancestor. This year, scientists have witnessed amazing breakthroughs. Which will be the ones to reshape humanity’s story?
Drinking apes hint at evolution of alcoholism
For the first time ever, scientists have observed chimpanzees habitually drinking alcohol. Does the history of the world’s favourite drug stretch back beyond even the dawn of humans?
Fear and celebration at first ‘edited’ embryo
Chinese scientists have changed the genes of human embryos for the first time. Using the technique could lead to major advances in combating disease — but can it overcome ethical objections?
Humans could live to 500, says Google grandee
Bill Maris of Google Ventures has predicted that humans could one day live 500 years. Would you want to live this long, and how would the world be different if lifespans lengthened?
Food fraud costs the UK over £400m every year
From adding fillers such as chalk to a loaf of bread to claiming a chicken is free range when it has spent its entire life in a cage, food fraud is widespread. Can anything be done about it?
Wall of ice to stop Fukushima radiation leak
Radiation levels are spiking at a Japanese nuclear plant as deadly pollutants seep into the ocean, forcing the government to take desperate measures. Is nuclear energy worth the price?
Robot explorer finds ancient lakes on Mars
The Mars rover Curiosity has found evidence that water once flowed on Earth’s next-door neighbour. Why is this exciting? Because where there is water, there may be life.
Europe joins global race over ‘miracle material’
Light, flexible and super-strong, graphene is set to revolutionise areas as diverse as medicine, electronics and sport. But can it really start a new industrial revolution?
‘Breakthrough’ cancer treatment too pricey for NHS
A new drug seemed set to offer cancer patients a possible lifeline. Now the UK’s health service says it is not worth the cost – but can you really put a price on someone’s life?