Innovations

An artist’s redendering of MethaneSAT, a satellite that will be launched this year and will be able to find leaks of the greenhouse gas.

A New Generation of Satellites Is Helping Authorities Track Methane Emissions

Efforts to identify leaks of the harmful greenhouse gas are improving with advances in technology

Five cats pile onto a Starlink satellite dish in a snowy yard.

Outdoor Cats Are Using $500 Starlink Satellite Dishes as Self-Heating Beds

The devices—developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX—have a warming feature to prevent snow built up from disrupting the signal

The gene-edited pig heart recipient, who was ineligible for a human heart transplant, is doing well three days after the surgery. 

In a First, Man Receives a Heart From a Gene-Edited Pig

The swine-to-person cardiac transplant offers hope for thousands in need of organs

The origins of the crunchy snack date back to at least the 1800s.

How the Potato Chip Took Over America

A fussy magnate, a miffed chef and the curious roots of the comfort food we hate to love

An artist’s conception of the James Webb Space Telescope at work.

The James Webb Telescope Successfully Launches Into Space

A rocket carrying the $10 billion dollar invention blasted off Christmas morning and powered up as planned, providing astronomers with a long-awaited gift

From amazing firsts on Mars to the impacts of climate change on Earth, these science stories stood out as the most important of 2021

The Ten Most Significant Science Stories of 2021

Thrilling discoveries, hurdles in the fight against Covid and advancements in space exploration defined the past year

The robot moves by redistributing liquid and air in its "body."

This Legless, Pancake-Shaped Robot Is an Impressive Jumper

A leaping robot is challenging to design, but this one can hop six times its body length per second and nearly eight times its height

A humpback whale and her calf swim underwater. A recent study in Nature found whales eat and poop way more than previously thought—and that feces plays an important role in fertilizing the ocean.

The Top Ten Ocean Stories of 2021

From the discovery of a large bioluminescent shark to the use of an innovative drone to study hurricanes, these are the best marine stories of the year

Webb’s 18 mirror segments can lock into the largest telescopic mirror humankind has ever built.

Future of Space Exploration

The Five Big Ways the James Webb Telescope Will Help Astronomers Understand the Universe

The highly awaited observatory is set to break new ground in many areas of astronomical research

The Food and Drug Administration could authorize the experimental pill within days.

Pfizer Says Covid-19 Pill Is Effective and Likely Works Against Omicron

The drug helps those already infected, but experts say vaccination is the best way to prevent contracting and spreading the virus

Elon Musk, after securing a $2.9 billion NASA contract for SpaceX, recently hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

The Return of America's Celebrity Inventor

In a new book, Smithsonian historian Eric S. Hintz traces the rise and fall, and rise again, of the maverick inventor

The quadrocopter dubbed “SNAG” has feet and legs modeled after a peregrine falcon

With Falcon-Like Claws, This Aerial Drone Can Land, Grip and Perch on Branches

The quadrocopter was also able to catch objects tossed by researchers, such as bean bags and tennis balls

Using AI, supercomputers and a Frankenstein approach, scientists designed living robots from frogs' stem cells.

Scientists Unveiled the World's First Living Robots Last Year. Now, They Can Reproduce

By clustering free-floating stem cells together, 'xenobots' can assemble baby bots

Andrew Pelling adds cells to an ear-shaped scaffold made from apple flesh.

Inside the Innovative Lab Growing Mammal Tissue Using Plants as Scaffolds

Researchers at the University of Ottawa have used apple flesh to create human tissue in the shape of an ear and asparagus stalks to regenerate spinal cords

The much-lauded exposition-style celebration invites “all dreamers, makers, and changers of tomorrow to imagine a more exciting, equitable, and sustainable future.”

Futures

At New 'Futures' Show, Big Dreamers and Changemakers Activate a Better Way Forward

Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary exposition opens with big-name speakers, family fun and a 21st-century peek into the world ahead

Poised on a Nevada salt flat, Alan Case, one of the world’s top practitioners of flight shooting, aims his custom-built bow, which requires so much strength to draw he must use his legs.

The Quest to Shoot an Arrow Farther Than Anyone Has Before

In dogged pursuit of an exotic world record, an engineer heads to the desert with archery equipment you can't get at a sporting goods store

The Van Gogh bike path in Eindhoven is inspired by the artist’s painting The Starry Night. Similar glow-in-the-dark paths and roads could eventually save energy for lighting while cooling cities.

Will Glow-in-the-Dark Materials Someday Light Our Cities?

Substances that persistently luminesce could be used in streets, sidewalks and buildings

Heavy rainfall in China this summer led to severe flooding—something more cities are dealing with as the warming climate affects the intensity and frequency of precipitation.

This New Tool Lets You See Floods From Around the World, Dating Back to 1985

An innovative interactive map could aid future disaster planning, especially for vulnerable countries in the developing world

If regulators approve the request, roughly 181 million fully vaccinated Americans will be able to get an additional jab.

Pfizer Asks FDA to Expand Booster Eligibility to All Adults

Experts are optimistic the request will be granted before the winter holiday season

If humans want to establish a long-term presence on Mars, the ability to grow food in the planet’s harsh conditions is key.

Heinz Debuts 'Marz Edition' Ketchup Made With Tomatoes Grown in Mars-Like Conditions

Scientists grew the tomatoes under the same temperature and water levels found on the surface of the Red Planet

loading icon