Scientists find 'smoking gun' proof of a recent supernova near Earth

A supernova exploded near Earth about 2.5 million years ago, possibly causing an extinction event.

Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon, STScI
  • Researchers from the University of Munich find evidence of a supernova near Earth.
  • A star exploded close to our planet about 2.5 million years ago.
  • The scientists deduced this by finding unusual concentrations of isotopes, created by a supernova.
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Mars pole may be hiding salty lakes and life, find researchers

Researchers detect a large lake and several ponds deep under the ice of the Martian South Pole.

Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS
  • Italian scientists release findings of a large underground lake and three ponds below the South Pole of Mars.
  • The lake might contain water, with salt preventing them from freezing.
  • The presence of water may indicate the existence of microbial and other life forms on the planet.
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Honeybee venom kills hard-to-treat breast cancer cells in new study

An active component of honeybee venom rapidly killed two particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer in a laboratory study.

  • New laboratory studies by a team of scientists found that the active component of honeybee venom induced death in two forms of malignant breast cancer cells that are notoriously difficult to treat.
  • The magic healing molecule in the honeybees' venom appears to be melittin, which rapidly killed cancer cells in under an hour.
  • In the future, doctors could potentially use melittin alongside chemotherapy drugs to increase the efficacy of the treatment.
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The Earth may have been wet from the very start

A new study finds the rocks that first formed Earth carried with them enough hydrogen for three times the water we have today.

Credit: NASA
  • Enstatite chondrite meteorites are rare today, but they may have been Earth's basic building blocks.
  • A study finds these meteorites contain a surprising amount of hydrogen, nitrogen, and water.
  • The implication of the study is that Earth had all of its water from the beginning.
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Spiders lace webs in toxins to paralyze prey

Just what every arachnophobe needed to hear.

Luciano Marra from São Paulo, Brasil - Aranha de Teia (Nephila clavipes), CC BY-SA 2.0
  • A new study suggests some spiders might lace their webs with neurotoxins similar to the ones in their venom.
  • The toxins were shown to be effective at paralyzing insects injected with them.
  • Previous studies showed that other spiders lace their webs with chemicals that repel large insects.
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