Read the best science news from around the world this week
Attenborough returns for ‘Blue Planet II’
The much-loved David Attenborough will return for a new 7-part documentary series of ‘Blue Planet II’. The programme will be a sequel to 2001’s ‘The Blue Planet’ and will air later this year, with insights into newly discovered and never-before filmed sea creatures. The announcement arrived during rumours of Attenborough’s soon retirement. However, it is clear that he is not planning on slowing down any time soon. It has taken about 4 years to film the series, which covers “new and exciting scientific discoveries which has given us a new perspective of life beneath the waves,” says Executive Producer James Honeyborne.
Mysterious radiation spreading across Europe
Mysterious spikes in Iodine-131 radiation have been found across Europe. First picked up in Norway in January, the radiation appears to be gradually spreading across the continent, and scientists have no explanation. The unexplained source of the radiation has been the reason for the delayed announcement, but the short half-life of the substance suggests that it was introduced very recently. Current conspiracy theories include secret Russian nuclear missile launches or hidden pharmaceutical businesses. However, officials stress that there is no imminent threat.
NASA announces new habitable planets with the potential for life
Seven earth-sized planets have been discovered in a solar system just outside of our own. The solar system TRAPPIST-1 was first discovered in 2010, but the planets it contains have been found recently using the Spitzer Space Telescope. Three of these planets are deemed “habitable” and have the potential to contain water and even oceans, and will likely support alien life. According to the scientists, evidence of finding life is likely to be “strong, very strong or conclusive.” This discovery is particularly exciting because of its proximity to Earth, being only 40 light years away, which will allow us to study the solar system in more detail.
Vitamin D protects against respiratory diseases
It has long been known that vitamin D supplements can help protect against many bone disorders. However, a new study has confirmed that vitamin D supplementation can also protect against acute respiratory infections such as colds and flu. A report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition last year showed that vitamin D obtained by natural means, such as exposure to sunlight, is too low in the UK because the sun is not strong enough in this country. Therefore, they recommend everyone should be taking vitamin D supplements.