Plants grow on Martian soil
• Here's an interplanetary botany discovery that took college students and not Nasa scientists to find: hops - the flowers used to add a pleasant bitterness to beer - grow well in Martian soil. College students at Villanova University, US, found that hops, leafy greens, carrots and scallions all could grow in an approximation of Martian dirt. In the photo (above), earthworms crawl around a pot of arugula growing in simulated Mars soil.
• Increased fluctuations in the path of the North Atlantic jet stream since the 1960s coincide with more extreme weather events in Europe such as heat waves, wildfires and flooding. The new research, published in Nature Communications, is the first reconstruction of historical changes in the path of the air current as far back as 1725, using tree rings. It found that the path of the jet stream fluctuated most in the last half of the 20th century.
• Some woodland rodents have a superpower that helps them tolerate cold and endure harsh winters. In grasslands from central Canada to Texas, members of a species - known as thirteen-lined ground squirrels -can adjust their body temperature to match the air around them. The study was recently reported in the journal Cell Reports.