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March 02, 2023

If you’re in need of proof that, despite all its problems, science has the potential to literally save the world, this week’s top story is for you. It details the results from a fresh batch of papers analyzing data from NASA’s asteroid-nudging DART mission, which last year slammed into and shifted the orbit of a space rock known as Dimorphos. That such a relatively small and inexpensive probe could so effectively alter an asteroid’s celestial motion suggests that if—when—future hazardous objects are found on potential collision courses with Earth, similar techniques could be used to ensure they don’t strike our planet. Elsewhere this week, we have stories on the latest anomalous galaxies found in the early universe, the need for nuclear arms control, a poetic paean to Europa, and more. Enjoy!

Lee Billings, Senior Editor, Space & Physics

Planetary Science

NASA's Asteroid-Bashing DART Mission Was Wildly Successful

New studies have revealed the spacecraft’s final moments and the remarkable aftermath of its impact

By Alexandra Witze,Nature magazine


JWST Discovers Enormous Distant Galaxies That Should Not Exist

JWST has discovered giant mature galaxies that seem to have filled the universe shortly after the big bang, and astronomers are puzzled

By Tereza Pultarova,


We Must Prevent a New Nuclear Arms Race

Smart U.S. leadership and international pressure on Russia can prevent an unconstrained global nuclear arms race

By Daryl G. Kimball,Frank von Hippel


Sorry, UFO Hunters--You Might Just Be Looking at a Spy Balloon

From space aliens to foreign surveillance, we spoke to experts to find out what’s really going on with the balloon brouhaha.

By Sophie Bushwick,Tulika Bose | 07:34


Did the Pentagon Shoot Down a Harmless Ham Radio Balloon?

Surging numbers of small research balloons increase the odds of airborne mistaken identity—and harsher regulations

By Leonard David

Quantum Computing

Google's Quantum Computer Hits Key Milestone by Reducing Errors

Researchers demonstrate for the first time that using more qubits can lower the error rate of quantum calculations

By Davide Castelvecchi,Nature

Quantum Physics

Is Our Universe a Hologram? Physicists Debate Famous Idea on Its 25th Anniversary

The Ads/CFT duality conjecture suggests our universe is a hologram, enabling significant discoveries in the 25 years since it was first proposed

By Anil Ananthaswamy


Poem: 'Jupiter's Moon Europa'

Science in meter and verse

By Kate Gleason

Climate Change

Solar Geoengineering Should Be Regulated, U.N. Report Says

A panel of independent experts urged international leaders to set rules for the stratosphere and solar geoengineering

By Corbin Hiar,John Fialka,E&E News

Astronomers Grapple with JWST's Discovery of Early Galaxies

Researchers are convinced the James Webb Space Telescope has glimpsed an unexpected population of galaxies in the early universe. Now they’re trying to decide what this means for our understanding of the cosmos


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