Maven marks home planets

How long might a rocky, Mars-like planet be habitable if it were orbiting a red dwarf star? Nasa's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (Maven) mission helped answer this complex question. The findings indicate that solar storms alone could zap the planet with radiation bursts thousands of times more intense than what the planet faces. "Mars lost substantial amounts of its atmosphere over time, changing the planet's habitability," said David Brain, a Maven co-investigator.

Tale of the tiger

The number of tigers in Sumatra's three largest protected forests has increased by 5 per cent every year from 1996 to 2014. This does not mean Indonesia's preservation efforts are working. A study in Nature Communications suggests that the increase was probably caused by an influx of tigers fleeing unprotected forests.

Wild taste

When you are eating a slice of salami, you are enjoying the fruits of labour of tiny organisms. Like other dried sausages, salami is a fermented food. Traditionally, microbes find their way to the sausage from the surrounding environment. But these days, manufacturers are adding a starter culture instead. Industrial microbes, however, do not make as tasty salami as the wild microbes.



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