By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
Sometimes technical science experiments lead to amazingly beautiful imagery. Princeton University's annual Art of Science competition collects some tantalizing examples of the intersection between science and art.
Click through the gallery to see some of the contenders.
By Edythe McNamee and Jacque Wilson, CNN
Neuroscientists love Aplysia. They are a type of sea slug that grows to be about a foot long. With only 20,000 nerve cells - compared with about 100 billion found in the human brain - Aplysia are the perfect lab animals for brain researchers hoping to isolate a crucial connection.
Plus, "they're just attractive to look at," says Dr. Eric Kandel, a biochemistry and biophysics professor at Columbia University.
Kandel won the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work with Aplysia - or more specifically, for his work on the biological mechanisms of memory storage.
For decades, Kandel has studied how we create short-term and long-term memories at the molecular level. His work has shown what genes are changed during the learning process, how these genes are altered and how the changes contribute to the growth of new connections in the brain.
CNN spoke with Kandel about his research and why he's fascinated by the human brain. The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity:
By Matt Smith, CNN
The future of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space observatory was in question Wednesday after a part that helps aim the spacecraft stopped working, the U.S. space agency said.
Controllers found Tuesday that Kepler had gone into a "safe mode" and one of the reaction wheels needed to orient the spacecraft would not spin, Associate NASA Administrator John Grunsfeld told reporters. NASA engineers are trying to figure out whether they can get the balky part back into service or whether they can resume control by another method, Grunsfeld said.
"We're not ready to call the mission over," he said. But at roughly 40 million miles from Earth, "Kepler is not in a place where I can go up and rescue it."
The Kepler mission has identified 132 planets beyond our solar system since its launch in 2009, leading scientists to believe that most stars in our galaxy have planets circling them. It has gone into a "safe mode" with its solar panels facing back at the sun, giving controllers intermittent communication with the craft as it spins.
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
You wouldn't want to shower in it, but researchers have discovered pockets of water in a deep reservoir in Canada that may be up to 2.64 billion years old.
Researchers extracted the fluid from ancient rocks in a mine 1.5 miles underground in the area of Timmins, Ontario. In other mines, water has been found to support life, but scientists are still working to determine if there is life in this particular location. They say this is the oldest water found in such an environment.
We spoke with Chris Ballentine, professor of geochemistry at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and senior author on this study, which published in the journal Nature. Here is an edited version of our email Q&A:
Whether we like it or not, just about everything changes – from our bodies acquiring new wrinkles to fashion trends that differ by the week.
But what about the world itself? Just like us, Earth doesn't stay the same. Some of the changes have been beneficial, while others are quite troubling.
Now a partnership between Google, NASA and Time is revealing how our planet has radically changed over the decades.
The new TIME Timelapse website allows users to view how the Earth has altered through millions of time-lapsed satellite images.
With a few clicks, you can learn how climate change, urban expansion and population growth have modified the planet.
Click on the above video to learn about Timelapse and get a taste of what you will find on the website.
Chris Hadfield has conquered space. Now he's conquering the Internet, too.
A video of the Canadian astronaut singing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" from the International Space Station has been zipping around the Web at light speed since it was posted Sunday. The five-minute clip features Hadfield singing a modified version of the tune and strumming an acoustic guitar while floating through a space module, more than 200 miles above the Earth.
By Monday morning, it had more than 1 million views on YouTube, 3,000 comments on Reddit and was being widely shared across social networks.
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
In some ways, it's just a number, but it's a big number with enormous implications.
For the first time, scientists measured an average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide of 400 parts per million in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observatory is located, on Thursday.
"Most experts that really study CO2 amounts estimate that we haven't seen that amount of CO2 in our atmosphere in about 3 million years," said J. Marshall Shepherd, climate change expert and professor at the University of Georgia. In other words, modern humans have never seen carbon dioxide in these proportions before.
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
Leave it all behind and start anew on a planet no humans have occupied - how does that sound? More than 78,000 people applied to go on a one-way trip to Mars, through Mars One, an organization aiming to put four people on the Red Planet by 2023.
Apparently, they are unfazed by the idea that they can never come back or that taking showers there would not be an option.
The applications came from more than 120 countries, although the United States led with 17,324 applications, the Dutch company said.
The International Space Station crew is preparing for a spacewalk to address the leak of ammonia from a cooling system, the commander said Friday.
NASA said the crew is preparing for a "possible" spacewalk and that a decision on whether to go ahead with it is likely to come late Friday.
Cmdr. Chris Hadfield of Canada announced the plan to venture outside the space station via his Twitter account.
"Good Morning, Earth! Big change in plans, spacewalk tomorrow, Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn are getting suits and airlock ready. Cool!" he posted Friday.
By Buzz Aldrin, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Buzz Aldrin, best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk, holds a doctoral degree in astronautics and, at the age of 83, continues to wield influence as an international advocate of space science and planetary exploration. Aldrin’s new book "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration," co-authored with space journalist Leonard David, is a blueprint and strategy for American-led presence of human beings from Earth on the Red Planet Mars. He is on Twitter at @therealbuzz.
We need to get the world excited again about space exploration and have the pioneering spirit to reach beyond our boundaries and current capabilities.
I want a new generation of space explorers to feel as I did when it was my privilege to take part in the Apollo program that landed the first humans on the surface of the Moon. This is important, not only for the USA but for the rest of the world.
Let me tell you why.
Buzz Aldrin's new book is called "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration."