Ultraviolet

  • While we have some idea about what kinds of signs of life to look for on other planets, many of these can also be created under natural processes. Now NASA is about to launch a new mission that can help root out these false positives by studying the interactions between stars and their planets.
  • Researchers from Harvard have shown that thin layers of silica aerogel could warm the surface of Mars and block UV radiation while still letting visible light through. That could be enough to keep water liquid and let plants photosynthesize within a given region.
  • The hole in the ozone layer may be on the mend, but its environmental impacts are ongoing. A new review study has examined the effects that the extra UV radiation is having on the environment, such as shifting climate zones, changing ocean temperatures and making some species more vulnerable.
  • ​If we're ever going to get on top of the whole plastic waste problem, a partial solution may lie in substances that fix themselves when broken, instead of having to be discarded. With that in mind, many groups have been developing self-healing materials – and one of the latest functions like blood.
  • ​It goes without saying that the greater the number of organs available for transplant, the better for patients in need of them. A newly-developed technique could help, as it uses light to kill viruses and bacteria that might otherwise make donated organs unsuitable for use.
  • Unfortunately, some of the most likely candidates for life on exoplanets are bathed in apparently-lethal levels of radiation – but a new study from Cornell University says that might not be a problem. Case in point: Earth.
  • The pigment melanin is a natural defense against skin cancer – and now it could help fight other cancers too. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum München have found that melanin-loaded nanoparticles can help diagnose tumors and slow their growth.
  • A team of researchers from the University of Melbourne has developed a new way to turn plants into nanomaterial factories, which could allow them to act as chemical sensors or even allow them to survive in harsh environments, such as in space or on Mars.
  • Earth’s pleasant, life-giving atmosphere is turning out to be somewhat of an oddity. To get a better understanding of exoplanets, a team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has recreated one of these alien atmospheres in the lab.
  • Science
    ​Currently, package labels contain certain information – such as barcodes, serial numbers or buyers' addresses – that would be best left unseen by wrongdoers. Newly-developed rewritable labels could address that issue, as they're blank and transparent unless exposed to a certain type of light.
  • Science
    ​Have you ever wondered what the world looks like to birds? Well, Swedish scientists have created a camera that will show you. Amongst other things, it has revealed that birds see tree foliage as much more than just a uniform "wall of green."
  • ​We all know how painful ripping off a band-aid can be. It may not be so unpleasant in the not-too-distant future, however, as scientists have created an adhesive that detaches in the presence of ultraviolet light.