News An aerial picture of the Grand Canyon in Arizona from around 30,000 feet (10,000m)

It was thought that the global landmark was perhaps 70million years old

Discovery of water vapour on dwarf planet Ceres could give clues to the origins of life on Earth

Scientists say it's too early to say whether Ceres could support microbial life, but a visit from the Dawn spacecraft in early 2015 should provide answers

'Hello, world!': Space probe Rosetta wakes up and calls home before embarking on its comet-landing mission

The signal came at 18:16 GMT. Rosetta, the comet-chasing space probe launched by the European Space Agency a decade ago, had woken up.

An artist's impression of Rosetta releasing it's on board robot Philae which will land on the comet's surface

Will the Rosetta spacecraft wake up today after two-year sleep? It is due to make 24,600mph comet landing

The vessel is being woken, hopefully, by the 'most important alarm clock in the solar system'

Authorities extended a danger zone around a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia after it spewed blistering gas farther than expected, sending panicked residents streaming down the sides of the mountain

Cloud of destruction: 20,000 evacuated as Mount Sinabung volcano erupts in Indonesia

Blistering gas sent panicked residents streaming down the sides of the mountain

£2bn Gaia space probe blasts off on five-year mission to map a billion stars

It is also expected to discover thousands of previously unknown objects

Geminid meteor shower 2013: up to 120 meteors an hour expected Saturday morning

The annual Geminids are the most massive regular meteor shower

Artistic illustration of Europa's icy surface with a water jet in the foreground and Jupiter and the Sun in the background

New research raises hopes of finding alien life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa

Scientists believe life may exist within underground ocean - living off minerals and using tidal heat as a source of energy

Scientists say life could have been seeded between Earth and other terrestrial bodies in the Solar System

Asteroid which wiped out dinosaurs 'could have sent life to Mars'

US research shows there is a ‘better than 50/50’ chance that life was seeded between bodies in the Solar System

Indonesian volcano erupts

Thousands flee as one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes erupts

The alert status for one of the archipelago’s most active volcanoes was raised to the highest level on Sunday after the mountain repeatedly sent hot clouds of gas down its slope following a series of eruptions in recent days.

Black Beauty rock is ‘oldest chunk of Mars’ ever found on earth, scientists say

New research shows distinctive rock is more than twice as old as previously thought – and could expose signs of ancient Martian life

Six-tailed asteroid leaves astronomers ‘dumbfounded’

The unusual object has been compared to a "rotating lawn sprinkler" and has led astronomers to develop a new theory of how asteroids 'die'

The impact site of the main mass of the Chelyabinsk meteorite in the ice of Lake Chebarkul

'A warning for Earth': Meteor blast over Siberia was equivalent to 30 Hiroshima bombs

People directly under its flight were knocked off their feet and many others suffered sunburn or eye damage as they looked at the intense fireball

A large, rocky asteroid is what is left of a watery world that may once have been a habitable planet

In a galaxy far, far away... a water world capable of supporting life

Astronomers find the first rocky planet with vast oceans beyond our Solar System

Temperatures on Earth will soar and seas evaporate leaving the planet lifeless

The good news: Earth can support life for 1.75bn years. The bad news: Climate change could wipe us out first

Scientists calculate planet’s leave-by date, and identify other worlds where life may develop

Scientists find cosmic factory for building blocks of life

The origins of life on Earth have mystified and fascinated scientists for centuries. Now, researchers believe they have added a vital piece to the jigsaw with the discovery that, under certain circumstances, collisions between icy comets and planets produce amino acids, the basic building  blocks of life.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there