NASA needs your help to improve its space laser

From Verge Science. NASA recently launched a new satellite with an ambitious goal: it will measure the height of every forest on the planet. It’s part of an effort to figure out how much carbon is locked up in trees across the Earth. But, NASA’s not totally sure how accurate their space-laser measurement system really…

On board Virgin Orbit’s flying launchpad

From Verge Science. Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit is taking an unusual approach to putting satellites in space: the company wants to launch them in midair off the wing of a Boeing 747. We toured the prototype jet that’ll send the first satellites into space, and asked Virgin Orbit’s pilot what it’s like to fly a…

This is what sea level rise will do to coastal cities

From Verge Science. Sea level rise is already redrawing coastlines around the world. What happens when the coast retreats through a major city? We look at how the world map will change in the year 2100, and what coastal cities can do to defend themselves. Correction: An early version of this video suggested that researchers…

The at-home DNA test craze is putting us all at risk

From Verge Science. Investigators have begun solving violent crimes through a new kind of DNA search — one that relies on DNA data from popular at-home DNA tests like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. But, as consumer DNA databases grow, a disturbing reality emerges: you could be identified via your DNA even if you’ve never taken a…

Unlocking the secrets hidden inside your voice

From Verge Science. Your voice says a lot about you, and it has nothing to do with what you’re saying. Your voice’s tone, pitch, pace, and other “vocal biomarkers” can reveal much about your mood, and even your decision-making process. Here are a few ways that researchers and companies are learning (and profiting) from the…

The underground life forms that have taken over Centralia

From Verge Science. Centralia, Pennsylvania was a town destroyed by a nightmarish, decades-long subterranean fire. While there are almost no people left there, scientists have discovered some new residents: heat-loving microbes who have appeared to capitalize on the fire. In this “Trial & Error” episode, we collect and regrow some of the mystery microbes from…

Everything wrong with the young blood injection craze

From Verge Science. The FDA recently issued a bulletin warning people not to buy injections of “young blood.” Why on Earth does the government even need to say such a thing? The answer involves some misunderstood science, overblown news reports, and sketchy entrepreneurs. We interviewed some scientists about why young blood to reverse aging became…

How astronauts train for a worst-case spacewalk

From Verge Science. Underwater space stations, Mars rover simulators, and space walk VR: NASA has built quite the futuristic playground to help its astronauts prepare for missions. Loren Grush visits NASA’s simulations lab and tries some scary space scenarios out for herself. This is an episode of The Verge’s original series Space Craft, and we…

Moon exploration is coming back in a big way

From Verge Science. You might think of old Apollo missions as the heyday of moon exploration, but that may soon change. After years of relative quiet in lunar missions, many governments have their sights set on some exciting new science on Earth’s satellite. But this time, they’ll be joined by newcomers: private companies who see…

Is gallium nitride the silicon of the future?

From Verge Science. The global electronics industry has been fueled by silicon from the get-go, but that may soon change. Products are slowly appearing that replace silicon with gallium nitride, a material that promises to shrink technology down while making it more efficient. We take a look inside one of these products to find out…

Can AI help crack the code of fusion power?

From Verge Science. Practical fusion power, as the joke goes, has been “decades away…for decades.” But recent advancements in advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence promise to speed up the slow, slow progress towards a fusion-powered utopia. We visit one company that’s using machine learning to try and crack the code on fusion once and for…