Giant blobs in Earth’s mantle may be driving a ‘diamond factory’

The boundary zone between Earth’s molten metal core and the mantle, its rocky middle layer, might be a diamond factory. A new laboratory experiment finds that, under extreme temperatures and pressures, the combination of iron, carbon and water — all potential ingredients found at the core-mantle boundary — can form diamond. If this process also … Read more

Diamond rains could fall through the interior of ice giant planets

An exotic form of precipitation called ‘diamond rain’ — long thought to occur deep within ice giant planets — could be more common than previously thought. A team of researchers have experimented with material similar to that found within ice giants such as the solar system planets Neptune and Uranus, discovering that the presence of … Read more

‘Diamond rain’ on giant icy planets could be more common than previously thought

Studying a material that even more closely resembles the researchers composition of ice giants, found that oxygen boosts the formation of diamond rain. The team also found evidence that, in combination with the diamonds, a recently discovered phase of water, often described as “hot, black ice” could form. Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory A … Read more

Bacteria provide immunity against giant viruses

The FISH image—FISH stands for a visualization method called fluorescence in situ hybridisation—shows amoebae infected simultaneously with the Viennavirus (for the first time isolated in this study and therefore named by the research team) and the bacterial symbiont. In the image, the amoebae are shown in magenta, their symbionts in cyan and DNA in yellow. … Read more

Small molecules, giant (surface) potential

New molecules created by researchers at Kyushu University align, on average, with the same part of the molecule pointing away from a surface. By attaching different units that push or pull negatively charged electrons toward or away from this orientation-determining section, the researchers could achieve electric fields in thin layers of the materials when the … Read more

Scientists discover fossils of giant sea lizard that ruled the oceans 66 million years ago

Artist’s representation of Thalassotitan atrox. Credit: Andrey Atuchin Researchers have discovered a huge new mosasaur from Morocco, named Thalassotitan atrox, which filled the apex predator niche. With massive jaws and teeth like those of killer whales, Thalassotitan hunted other marine reptiles—plesiosaurs, sea turtles, and other mosasaurs. At the end of the Cretaceous period, 66 million … Read more

Discovery of a long-nosed ‘shrew mouse’ on a mountain in the Philippines will help protect giant eagles

An illustration of Balete’s mouse. Credit: (c) Velizar Simeonovski, Field Museum They might not get as much attention as the Amazon Rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef, but the mountains of the Philippines are one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Inch for inch, these misty cloud forests are home to more unique … Read more

New giant deep-sea isopod discovered in the Gulf of Mexico

Journal of Natural History” width=”800″ height=”530″/> Image of Bathynomus yucatanensis. Credit: Dr Ming-Chih Huang, Journal of Natural History Researchers have identified a new species of Bathonymus, the famed genera of deep-sea isopods whose viral internet fame has made them the most famous aquatic crustaceans since Sebastian of “The Little Mermaid.” There are around 20 species … Read more

Giant viruses build a cell nucleus surprisingly like our own

Cryo-electron tomography technology provides a view of a jumbo phage-infected bacterial cell (top left) with the nucleus-like compartment outlined in blue (top right). A close-up of the cell (bottom left) reveals the newly discovered chimallin protein and the chimallin protein’s square lattice design (bottom right), with yellow highlighting an individual chimallin shell component. Credit: Villa … Read more

To get Artificial Gravity on the Moon, you’d need a Giant Rotating Lunar Base

Living and working in space for extended periods of time presents a number of challenges. These include radiation, as locations beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere are exposed to greater levels of solar and cosmic rays. There’s also the need for self-sufficiency since Lunar or Martian bases are too far to rely on regular resupply missions like … Read more