Biden faces steep challenges to reach renewable energy goals

PORTLAND, Maine — President Joe Biden wants to change the way the U.S. uses energy by expanding renewables, but he will need to navigate a host of challenges — including the coronavirus pandemic and restoring hundreds of thousands of lost jobs — to get it done. The wind and solar industries have managed to grow […]

Can Technology Open Spaceflight to Disabled Astronauts?

What would it be like to have a spaceship with a truly diverse crew—not the mix of alien species seen in so many sci-fi series, but human beings with all kinds of bodies? The European Space Agency announced in early February that it is recruiting a new pool of four full-time and 20 reserve astronauts […]

How Elon Musk Convinced Gwynne Shotwell to Join SpaceX

This story is adapted from Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX, by Eric Berger.  Before she would become one of two principal leaders at SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell worked with Hans Koenigsmann at a much smaller company in Southern California named Microcosm. In contrast to the laconic German engineer, Shotwell is […]

Sleuths Read Old Booby-Trapped Letters Without Opening Them

On July 31, 1697, Jacques Sennacques sent a letter to his cousin—one Pierre Le Pers, a French merchant living in The Hague—begging him, for the love of Pete (that’s paraphrased), to send him a death certificate for his relative, Daniel Le Pers. In a 17th century version of the dreaded “as per my previous email,” […]

The Raging Evolutionary War Between Humans and Covid-19

The race is on. Vaccines against the virus that causes Covid-19 are needling into shoulders around the world, the tip-of-the-hypodermic spear of a year-long scientific triumph. But that protean virus, like all the things that infect humans and make them sick, jukes and dodges. Virology versus epidemiology. Vaccinology versus evolution. Mutation versus mutation, transmission versus […]

A Decades-Long Quest Reveals New Details of Antimatter

It often goes unmentioned that protons, the positively charged matter particles at the center of atoms, are part antimatter. We learn in school that a proton is a bundle of three elementary particles called quarks—two “up” quarks and a “down” quark, whose electric charges (+2/3 and −1/3, respectively) combine to give the proton its charge […]

Biden administration promises focus on environmental justice

When President Joe Biden made environmental protection a key element of his campaign, he promised to overhaul the federal office that investigates complaints from people in minority communities who believe they have been unfairly harmed by industrial pollution or waste disposal. Although the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that disadvantaged communities in America are disproportionately affected […]

Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings

Astronauts are taking a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install support frames for new solar panels arriving later this year By MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer February 28, 2021, 11:17 AM • 3 min read CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels […]