Thursday's science stories

Bryan Walsh
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 24, 2021 - Science

How to program biology like a computer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The growing synthetic biology industry is developing tools to allow companies to program living cells the way we program computers.

Why it matters: Turning cellular engineering from an art to an industry could open the door to more sustainable energy, food and materials, but it carries the risk of making it much easier to create the biological equivalent of malware.

Pentagon forms group to investigate UFO reports

The Pentagon. Photo: NIck Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that it would establish a new group to investigate reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, sometimes referred to as UFOs, in restricted airspace.

The big picture: The announcement follows a widely anticipated report released in June that found 143 sightings of unexplained objects.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated Nov 24, 2021 - Science

NASA probe launches on mission to redirect an asteroid

Photo: NASA

A NASA spacecraft called DART has launched on a journey to change the orbit of an asteroid in deep space.

Why it matters: The mission is designed to test technology that could one day be used to change the course of a dangerous asteroid if one is ever found on a collision course with Earth.