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Illustration mapping the steady decline in sunspot activity over the last two solar cycles with predicted figures for the current cycle 24

The sun is acting bizarrely and scientists have no idea why. Solar activity is in gradual decline, a change from the norm which in the past triggered (...)

Kevin Courtney with Prof Lorraine Hanlon and Dr Sheila McBreen, of the Space Science Group, in UCD, looking at an XMM neutron space craft model. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

It’s the cosmic question that has puzzled minds since time began: what do astrophysicists do all day? Somehow you imagine the typical day of an astrop(...)

Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere more than a billion years before the Earth, scientists believe. An examination of meteorites and rocks on the plane(...)

Build quality: robots weld cars at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland. Photograph: James Sebright/Getty

We were all somewhat stunned when, back in 2009, rumours started to swirl that Toyota was going to be subject to a major recall of vehicles in the US.(...)

Workers engaged in a safety upgrading stand beside a spent fuel pool at the No 5 reactor building at Chubu Electric Power Co’s Hamaoka nuclear power station in Omaezaki, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan.  Photograph: Reuters

‘There is no such thing as a ‘pro-nuclear environmentalist’,” says the US-based lobby group Beyond Nuclear. “Environmentalists don’t support extractiv(...)

Gadgets

Max ATV Those of us sufficiently analogue to remember the Banana Splits (...)

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield give a thumbs up after the Russian Soyuz space capsule landed some 150 km southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhsta. Photograph: Reuters

I feel bereft. My one small comfort is knowing I am not alone. There are 940,118 people on Twitter feeling the same this week. And another 333,(...)

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield gives a thumbs-up after a successful parachute landing in Kazakhstan. Photograph: Nasa handout/Reuters

The first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station landed safely in Kazakhstan with two crewmates today, wrapping up a five-mo(...)

Two Nasa astronautshave successfully repaired an ammonia leak in the cooler system of the International Space Station. Photograph: Nasa

A pair of spacewalking astronauts wrapped up a hastily planned repair job yesterday to replace a suspect coolant pump needed to keep the Intern(...)

Two astronauts will make a  spacewalk to try to fix an ammonia leak in the International Space Station’s power system. Photograph: Nasa handout

Two astronauts will make a hastily-planned spacewalk to try to fix an ammonia leak in the International Space Station’s power system. Off(...)

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