We need to expand beyond Earth, but not abandon it: just stop relying on Earth as our only quarry and only site for factories.

Artist’s impression of two O’Neill cylinders anchored together between the Moon and Earth. The spinning cylinders replicate Earth’s gravity, are climate controlled and serve as home for millions of people — with agricultural areas, parkland and cities [Glenn Clovis]

FEEL ANGUISHED about the state of our planet? Care about the future of human civilisation? Then you should heartily support our exploration and settlement of space, because it’s the only thing that’s guaranteed to save us, and our world.

If you think these are bold statements, then your perspective is…

Why do people believe in COVID conspiracies? Sadly, our brains are wired for collective delusions, but simple tools can combat these frailties.

Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain of Wiltshire, England [Simon Wakefield]

VISITING STONEHENGE is a magical experience: you can’t help but be influenced by its iconic status as one of the world’s most recognisable ancient monuments. But the stone circle also radiates a kind of mystical aura of its own.

What brought the ancients to this place as early as 10,000…

Venom is giving scientists surprising new ways to fight disease and control the body’s internal machinery.

Prof Glenn King holds a rainforest scorpion under UV black light in the insectary at Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience [Russell Shakespeare]

STUDYING VENOM is a risky business. Ask Bryan Fry: he’s been bitten by venomous creatures 27 times — mostly by snakes on land and at sea, and by box jellyfish and stingrays. …

In 1971, a small start-up launched the Intel 4004, the first general-purpose microprocessor. They had no idea it would be so big.

The chip that began it all: Intel’s 4004 microchip [Thomas Nguyen/Wikipedia]

THE WORLD CHANGED forever on November 15, 1971. And hardly anyone noticed.

China had just been admitted to the United Nations, Apollo 15 astronauts had driven the first lunar rover on the Moon, Amtrak began intercity passenger services, Pink Floyd dropped their sixth studio album, Meddle, and Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian…

Scientists in Australia, after a pitched battle against COVID-19, are developing a suite of home-made solutions to future scourges.

PhD student Zennia Jean Gonzaga and Prof Bernd Rehmwith to the bio-reactor which grows cell factories to make functional polymer particles [Griffith University]

WHEN THE NEXT PANDEMIC virus strikes — as it most certainly will — Professor Bernd Rehm’s team in Brisbane will be ready to launch into action.

The Director of the Centre for Cell Factories and Biopolymers at Griffith University’s Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) has, with colleagues, developed technology…

It took courage to defy the certainties of life and his own faith: but Charles Darwin did it because he knew he had found a greater truth.

Charles Darwin at Down House, Kent (1840) by George Richmond [Bridgeman Art Library]

IT’S ONE of the greatest stories in science: how an inquisitive 22 year-old sails around the world, encounters creatures never before seen and makes an extraordinary discovery that changes his world.

And yet, Charles Darwin never wanted the fame, the controversy nor the ructions the ideas triggered. But once he…

Robots are becoming increasingly useful. And they’re arriving just in time to save us from an ageing workforce, experts say.

The evolution of robots [Phonlamai Photo/Shutterstock]

RATHER THAN be worried that robots will take our jobs over the next 20 years, we should be more afraid there won’t be enough robots. That’s the prediction made by roboticist and serial entrepreneur Rodney Brooks.

The pioneering Australian, founder of iRobot — the Boston-based billion-dollar company which has sold…

Behind every airline flight is an army of people and a phalange of technology that makes every take-off and landing possible.

A Qantas Boeing 747–200 taking off [Craig Murray]

FORTY MINUTES before scheduled take-off of this Qantas Boeing 747–200, the technical crew arrives: the captain, the first officer (or co-pilot) and the flight engineer. Each carries a thick, ring-bound folder, the Quick Reference Manual, with a slew of instrumentation and safety checks they will perform over the next half-hour.

A decade ago, when the first man to walk the Moon called for a new age of space exploration, it was inspiring but fanciful. That’s no longer the case.

A still from the 2018 film “First Man,” in which Ryan Gosling plays famed Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong [Universal/DreamWorks]

WHAT DO YOU ask a man who walked on the Moon, and has never been able to live it down? All because he happened to be the first human being to set foot on another world?

This is the thought that had me brooding a decade ago this week, as…

Begun as curiosity-driven research, it is now accelerating advances in everything from computing to medicine and finance.

Artist’s impression of spin-orbit coupling of atom qubits used in quantum computing (Tony Melov/CQC2T)

BELOW THE SIZE of atoms, the world functions strangely: particles can be waves, waves can be particles, and particles can jump vast distances without traversing space. …

Wilson da Silva

science journalist | www.wilsondasilva.com | Support my writing by joining Medium via wilsondasilva.medium.com/membership

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