Michelle Starr, ScienceAlert

Michelle Starr


Sydney, NSW, Australia

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Recent articles by Michelle:

Alien Crystals Unlike Any Found on Earth Might Encrust The Edges of Titan's Lakes

Scientists have recreated Titan-like conditions in a lab, and found that organic molecules from Titan's atmosphere could be forming rings of alien crystals around the methane lakes that dot the Saturn moon's surface. → Read More

Curiosity Has Detected a Large Methane Spike on Mars

Last week, Curiosity made its strongest detection of methane on Mars yet. Its laser spectrometer instrument registered a methane spike of 21 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) in the Gale Crater, a region the rover has been exploring since it landed → Read More

NASA's About to Send an Atomic Clock Into Orbit, And It'll Revolutionise Space Travel

On 24 June 2019, NASA is sending an atomic clock into space. Not just any old atomic clock, either. It's up to 50 times more accurate than the atomic clocks aboard GPS satellites, its precision only changing by one second every 10 million years. → Read More

Scientists Taught Seals to Sing The Star Wars Theme, With Hilarious Results

The harsh bark of the seal certainly doesn't spring to mind when you're thinking of melodious singing voices in the animal kingdom. But it seems the puppies of the sea have been holding out on us: When it comes to replicating a tune, they're surpri → Read More

Stunning New Pics Reveal The Rings of Uranus Are Like Nothing Else in The Solar System

Saturn may be the most showy, but it's not the only planet in the Solar System circled by rings. And the 13 rings around Uranus just spilled previously unknown details when they photobombed a thermal image astronomers took of the ice planet. → Read More

Mysterious 'Cat-Fox' May Be a Newly Discovered Species, Researchers Say

On the French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean, a strange, rarely seen beast stalks the night. Locals call it ghjattuvolpe - the cat-fox - and for the last decade, scientists have been hot on its trail, trying to unravel the mystery. → Read More

Unusual Skull Turns Out to Be Ultra-Rare Hybrid of a Narwhal And a Beluga Whale

A skull long suspected of belonging to a rare Arctic hybrid has now had its unusual biology confirmed via DNA analysis. → Read More

'Puppy Dog Eyes' May Have Evolved Just to Make Humans Melt

You know how when your dog wants something, she makes that face? You know the one - all beseeching, with eyes that seem to positively quiver with longing? You'd give her anything, right? → Read More

Mathematicians Have Proposed a New Structure to The Periodic Table

The periodic table is such a comforting way of cataloguing the Universe, breaking it down into its elements and organising them in nice neat boxes. What you may not know is it's not the only way of arranging the elements - and it may not even be th → Read More

Scientists Have Found Evidence a Strange Group of Quantum Particles Are Basically Immortal

Nothing lasts forever. Humans, planets, stars, galaxies, maybe even the Universe itself, everything has an expiration date. But things in the quantum realm don't always follow the rules. Now, scientists have found that quasiparticles in quantum syste → Read More

Cassini's Breathtaking Final Images Reveal Never-Before-Seen Shapes in Saturn's Rings

In its final year, Cassini plunged where no spacecraft had plunged before, down in the space between Saturn and its rings. Again and again it dove, for a total of 22 orbits. In the data collecting during those breakneck dives, astronomers have just → Read More

Heartwarming Discovery Shows Dolphins Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought

Many comparisons have been made between humans and dolphins, those sleek mammals of the sea. Now scientists have found another point of similarity between us and our cetacean cousins: Like us, dolphins make friends based on mutual interests. → Read More

We Have a Problem With The Purported Stellar Source of Earth's Gold

The origins of the Solar System's heavy elements such as gold and platinum have been a source of great interest to astronomers. One of the most popular theories is that they were scattered into space by neutron star collisions. → Read More

Wild New Discovery Shows How We Can Switch Majorana Fermions On And Off

The particle known as a Majorana fermion is as mysterious and uncontrollable as it is unique. It's the only known particle that is also its own antiparticle, and has properties that make it an alluring candidate for qubits, the basic unit of inform → Read More

The Star Trek Starfleet Logo Has Been Spotted on Mars

Here on Earth we're making big plans to send the first humans to Mars, but it looks like Starfleet may have gotten there first. In the expanse of the Hellas Planitia, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has photographed a huge formation in the shape of → Read More

Having 6 Fingers Is Not as Useless as Doctors Thought, Says Study

It's really not uncommon for human babies to be born with extra fingers or toes. The mutation is called polydactyly, and around one in 500 babies has it. These extra digits are considered useless, and usually amputated not long after birth - but as → Read More

We Have Detected Signs of Our Milky Way Colliding With Another Galaxy

Antlia 2, the "ghost of a galaxy" orbiting the Milky Way, is a dark horse in more ways than one. Not only is it so faint it was only just discovered last year, it may now be responsible for curious ripples in the hydrogen gas that makes up the Milk → Read More

Earliest Evidence of People "Smoking" Weed Found in 2,500-Year-Old Chinese Pots

We know humans have been using cannabis for various purposes for thousands of years, but its history as a drug has been a little harder to pin down. Now have a new point of reference: Around 2,500 years ago, the people of Central Asia were smoking ps → Read More

We're Starting to Figure Out Why There Are Mysterious Holes in The Antarctic Sea Ice

The crust of floating ice that forms over Antarctica's Weddell Sea every winter is home to a baffling mystery. Every now and again, a huge hole will appear, exposing the dark, icy waters below. → Read More

Astronomers Detect a Huge, Unexplained Mass Under a Giant Crater on The Moon

The Moon is home to one of the largest known impact craters in the Solar System. At 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) across, the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the Moon's far side covers nearly a quarter of the lunar surface - and there's something massi → Read More