Robin George Andrews
Robin George Andrews
Science Journalist | Volcanology PhD | Stories for @nytimes @sciam @NatGeo @TheAtlantic etc | Author of SUPER VOLCANOES Books {arriving Nov 2, 2021} | he/himSource
London, England
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Crumbly Mars Rock, Not Hardware Flaws, Scuttled Perseverance’s First Sample Attempt

Crumbly Mars Rock, Not Hardware Flaws, Scuttled Perseverance’s First Sample Attempt

For the Perseverance rover team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the early predawn hours of August 6 were like the night before Christmas. Hours earlier, the scientists had ordered the rover to drill into a rock within Mars’s Jezero Crater to extract and store the mission’s very first sample of Martian geology—one of up to 43 specimens that will one day be delivered to Earth and examined for signs of ancient life. Around 2 A.M., as they began reviewing fresh data beamed back from Mars by the rover, everything looked to have proceeded perfectly: the sample appeared to have been...

Aug 19
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NASA Picks Two Missions to Explore Venus, the First in Decades

NASA Picks Two Missions to Explore Venus, the First in Decades

On the morning of June 2, rumors began swirling that NASA was about to announce its latest choices for interplanetary missions, selecting the long-awaited winners of the agency’s competition for new spacecraft in its relatively low-priced Discovery exploration program. Four contending teams anxiously awaited the results: One wished to send a mission to Jupiter’s hypervolcanic moon Io. Another desired a visit to Triton, a cryovolcanic moon of Neptune. And the other two wanted to go to Venus, a destination the space agency had neglected for decades. A press conference led by NASA...

Jun 10
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Why the volcano erupting in the Caribbean has such a deadly reputation

Why the volcano erupting in the Caribbean has such a deadly reputation

Please be respectful of copyright. Unauthorized use is prohibited.Since December 2020, a strange and gloopy mass of lava has been oozing from the top of La Soufrière, a volcano on the northern side of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. This eruption posed no real threat to the 110,000 or so people living on the island, but things took a turn for the worse at the end of March, when the volcano began shaking in a way that suggested something more violent was coming.Sure enough, at 8:41 a.m. local time today, the first of several major explosions rocked the mountain, kicking off a more...

Apr 9
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DNA study of 6,200-year-old massacre victims raises more questions than answers

DNA study of 6,200-year-old massacre victims raises more questions than answers

Archaeologists assumed an extended family died in violence thouands of years ago, but the largest genetic study of a mass killing to date suggests otherwise.Around 6,200 years ago, a group of at least 41 men, women, and children were brutally murdered before being dumped in a mass grave in what is now eastern Croatia. Initially, the archaeologists who uncovered the grave in 2007 wondered if the victims were an entire inter-related community targeted for execution. But a new analysis reported in the journal —including what is the largest genetic study of an ancient massacre to date—reveals...

Mar 10
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Giant Galaxies from the Universe’s Childhood Challenge Cosmic Origin Stories

Giant Galaxies from the Universe’s Childhood Challenge Cosmic Origin Stories

Recently an international team of astronomers traveled back in time to when our universe was just 1.8 billion years old. They did not go directly, of course, but settled for the next best thing: gathering 17 hours’ worth of starlight from a single small patch of the distant cosmos with the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory atop Mount Graham in southeastern Arizona. Such clock-rewinding virtual voyages are routine in astronomy—light’s finite speed ensures that the deeper into space you see, the further back in time you gaze. And many observatories around the globe can gather faint...

Jan 27
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Mysterious Magnetic Pulses Discovered on Mars

Mysterious Magnetic Pulses Discovered on Mars

At midnight on Mars, the red planet’s magnetic field sometimes starts to pulsate in ways that have never before been observed. The cause is currently unknown. That’s just one of the stunning preliminary findings from NASA’s very first robotic geophysicist there, the InSight lander. Since touching down in November 2018, this spacecraft has been gathering intel to help scientists better understand our neighboring planet’s innards and evolution, such as taking the temperature of its upper crust, recording the sounds of alien quakes, and measuring the strength and direction of the planet’s...

September 23, 2019
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Bizarre life-forms found thriving in ancient rocks beneath the seafloor

Bizarre life-forms found thriving in ancient rocks beneath the seafloor

Scientists broke open bits of oceanic crust and found them full of microbes—suggesting similar life could survive on other planets. In 2013, scientists were stunned to find microbes thriving deep inside volcanic rocks beneath the seafloor off the Pacific Northwest, buried under more than 870 feet of sediment. The rocks were on the flank of the volcanic rift where they were born, and they were still young and hot enough to drive intense chemical reactions with the seawater, from which the microbes derived their energy. Now, however, another team of researchers have discovered living cells...

April 2, 2020
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Strange Extragalactic Strands Mystify Astronomers

Strange Extragalactic Strands Mystify Astronomers

The universe is a stupendously vast and puzzling place. Millennia of scientific advances have incrementally increased our understanding of it, but every now and then, scientists still spy something shrouded in almost inexplicable mystery. Now such a puzzle has come in the form of filaments of electromagnetic radiation hundreds of thousands of light-years long—the likes of which have never before been seen.Using the in South Africa, astronomers were taking a peek at a bright galaxy near to the center of Norma, a merging galaxy cluster 230 million light-years from Earth. Called ESO 137-006,...

April 21, 2020
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