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 – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment