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Evolution is one of the greatest theories in all of science. It sets out to explain life: specifically, how the first simple life gave rise to all the huge diversity we see today, from bacteria to oak trees to blue whales. For scientists, evolution is a fact. We know that…
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The Moon is a mystery. Everyone on Earth can see it, but we only ever see one side of it. It affects the tides of the ocean, when animals have sex and apparently even how people sleep. Yet until 1969, no one had ever been to the Moon. Even in…
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Don't panic, but our planet is doomed. It's just going to take a while. Roughly 6 billion years from now, the Earth will probably be vaporized when the dying Sun expands into a red giant and engulfs our planet. But the Earth is just one planet in the solar system,…
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This was the most-read story on BBC Earth in 2015. Here is another chance to read it. It could happen to anyone. Maybe you're out trying to find a new habitable planet for the human race, or maybe you're just on a long walk and you slip. Whatever the circumstances,…
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James Joyce described it as snot-green. Lord Byron went for plain old dark blue. Homer's was frequently "wine dark". These literary greats were describing the colour of the sea, and the variation in their prose wasn't just poetic licence.
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The recent film The Theory of Everything tells the story of Stephen Hawking, who managed to become a world-famous physicist despite being confined to a wheelchair by a degenerative disease. It's mostly about his relationship with his ex-wife Jane, but it does find a bit of time to explain what…
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Chris McKay's quest for extraterrestrial life started in 1976, when Viking 1 and 2 landed on Mars. Touching down on Mars for the first time was a big deal, sure, but the then-first-year graduate student was especially excited because the landers found what appeared to be signs of Martian life.
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All things must pass. That includes life on Earth, which will surely be wiped out eventually. But how long does it have? The fossil record tells us that life on Earth has lasted at least 3.5 billion years. In that time it has survived being frozen, clobbered by rocks from…
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There's egg on your face, literally. You tried to juggle some eggs, it all went wrong, and now you've got to shower and change your clothes. Wouldn't it be faster to just un-break the egg? Breaking it only took a few seconds, so why not do that again, but in…
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People have wrestled with the mystery of why the universe exists for thousands of years. Pretty much every ancient culture came up with its own creation story - most of them leaving the matter in the hands of the gods - and philosophers have written reams on the subject. But…