Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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Stephen Hawking: "There is no God. No one directs the universe."

Hawking, who died in March, answers questions like "Is there a God?" and "Is time travel possible?" in his final book, which is available today.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
  • Hawking's final book is geared toward a popular audience.
  • Each of the book's 10 chapters is posed as a question, such as "How did it all begin?"
  • Hawking claims there is no God, time travel could be possible and intelligent aliens exist.
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3 stunning ways Earth and spacetime could be destroyed

A well-known cosmologist comes out with very stark warnings about particle accelerators.

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  • Respected astrophysicist Martin Reese has serious misgivings about the safety of the Large Hadron Collider.
  • The collider could destroy us in 3 different ways, warns Reese.
  • Despite the dangers, innovation should continue but with caution.
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Major ingredient for life on Earth formed in deep space, claims new study

Researchers discover extraterrestrial origins of a chemical essential for human DNA and other cell processes.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
  • Scientists create interstellar icy grains in a super-cold experiment.
  • They show that phosphates forms under these conditions.
  • Phosphates are crucial building blocks in molecular biology.
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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Don't believe the dark matter hype

There's something all of us—physicists included—are getting wrong about dark matter, says Neil deGrasse Tyson.

There's something fundamental we all need to understand about dark matter—it may not actually be matter at all. Neil deGrasse Tyson has a bone to pick with this misnomer that is distracting physicists and the public from the real discoveries to be made. Scientists know very little about "dark matter", and in fact it can only be observed indirectly by its effect on other objects. Tyson has a few suggestions for its re-naming: how about "Fred", he jokes, which is a name devoid of any implied meaning—suitable for our current level of knowledge. But if you want it to sound sexy and be accurate, then the way to go is dark gravity, according to Tyson. Why? Because when you add up everything in the universe—the stars, moons, gas clouds, black holes, everything—85% of gravity is unaccounted for. That is so-called "dark matter". What makes it so interesting isn't the wild-goose-chase question of whether or not it exists, but why it doesn't interact with ordinary, known matter? On the way to explaining that dark matter "doesn't give a rats ass about us," Tyson explores ghost particles, the essence of objects, and why we haven't found any dark matter planets. Tyson's new book is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.