Dr Ciaccio (not a doctor) takes a look at the new coronavirus vaccine, a supposed age-reversing drug, a Japanese mining mission to an asteroid, a Chinese mining mission to the moon and the sudden collapse of the iconic Space Telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, featured in movies such as Goldeneye and Contact.
The UK has become the first country to approve the vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, paving the way for immunisations to begin in the most vulnerable next week.  (more...)
AS I write this, my 19-year-old son is self-isolating in his university room with symptoms of covid-19, awaiting test results. He is quite poorly, though overwhelmingly likely to make a full recovery. But I worry that he will be one of the few young adults who get seriously ill or even die, or end up with long-term health problems.  (more...)
Researchers have discovered a brain molecule that functions as a 'thermometer' for the presence of others in an animal's environment. Zebrafish 'feel' the presence of others via mechanosensation and water movements -- which turns the brain hormone on.  (more...)
Chang’e 5 is on the last leg of its mission on the moon. After a visit to the lunar surface lasting less than 48 hours, it is back in orbit around the moon and ready to bring its samples home so that scientists on Earth can analyse them.  (more...)
Hayabusa 2 is about to attempt an audacious feat. The Japanese spacecraft, which launched towards the asteroid Ryugu in 2014, is on its way back to Earth carrying two samples of rocks and dust from the asteroid’s surface. To get these samples back to Earth, Hayabusa 2 will skim past the planet and drop its sample capsule from space on a trajectory that should land it in Australia early on 6 December local time. The sample capsule has no thrusters, so accuracy is key here.  (more...)