Look, we know you’ve been dying for another dose of the best science stories out there on the Interwebs. Top scientists say that appearing knowledgeable about science topics makes you exceptionally attractive to the opposite sex, which we know is true because it’s science. Smashing your way through a long, glorious weekend? Scroll through MUI PR’s weekend collection of scientific news items, and then parrot them knowingly to a spellbound audience at your favorite bar or cocktail lounge. This works better if you’re wearing stylish glasses.

 

1. A Laser and a Diamond Reveal the Inner Workings of Planets

What do you get when you point the largest laser in the world at the least compressible material known to mankind? The diamond doesn’t stand a chance. Researchers from three prestigious universities harnessed the power of a behemoth laser at the National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California to pulverize synthetic diamonds, forcing the hardy material to vaporize in less than ten billionths of a second. The success of the experiment could open the door for in-depth analysis of conditions at the cores of planets, observing the reaction of matter when under immense pressure.

 

2. Mapping Mount Rainer: Can We Predict Volcanic Eruptions?

Scientists have released an incredibly detailed map of magma flows beneath Mount Rainer, an active volcano in Washington State. It traces the journey of molten rock from deep within the Earth’s crust upward towards the surface, capturing its resting place in a reservoir below the mountain. The map was constructed with the aid of a variety of highly specialized instruments that allowed scientists to infer the structure of the lava flows beneath the surface. While the map doesn’t offer intelligence on when the next Rainer eruption will occur, it does provide a clear picture of exactly how lava journeys towards a volcano.

 

3. Giant Siberian Hole

A mysterious, cavernous hole has opened on the Siberian plain, a hundred feet across and over three hundred feet deep. Explanatory theories have ranged from a surprise meteor strike to alien activity and more. The apparent reality is a bit less headline-grabbing, though certainly no less dramatic. The prevailing explanation involves a natural gas explosion caused by the right mixture of water, salt and high temperatures. Whatever the truth of the matter, images of the hole retain an eerie, otherworldly quality.

 

4. Astronauts of The Future Could Shelter in Lunar Pits

The moon is famously pockmarked with craters, impacts from thousands upon thousands of meteor strikes. Most such craters are relatively shallow, but the lunar surface does contain over 200 deep holes, possibly formed by cave-ins from nearby meteorite strikes. They represent an intriguing venue for scientific exploration – and a possible campsite for future lunar adventurers. An Arizona State University researcher speculated that humans exploring the surface of the moon could construct habitats under pit overhangs, shielding them from radiation and other dangers.

 

5. Curiosity Shoots a Martian Rock

Care for a quick interval of watching the NASA rover Curiosity shoot rocks with laser beams to determine their composition? Of course, you do.

 

Following any scintillating science stories yourself? What did we miss? Start talking in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter @aa_murph