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

Video: Meteor crashes towards Earth

This amazing video shows a meteorite crashing towards earth in the city of Cusco, Peru.

Terrifying, beautiful and deadly

Indonesia's mount Lokon spewed hot lava and volcanic ash 1,500 metres into the sky in the north of Sulawesi island yesterday, prompting panicked residents to flee the area.

Villas-Boas was always 'determined to be the best'

Andre Villas-Boas was "determined to be the best" from the moment he embarked upon a career in coaching, according to the man who helped him gain his Uefa badges.

Tom Sutcliffe: We're addicted to the Andy McNab factor

Social Studies: There are times when the highest virtue is to be a man of inaction

We're all aliens... how humans began life in outer space

The mystery of how the building blocks of biology came to be on Earth may finally have been solved

Leading article: Bolt from the blue

Once upon a time there was the Big Bang theory of the origins of the universe. Now, you could say, we have another, more local, "big bang" – for the origin of life on Earth. According to scientists in Arizona, the crucial components necessary for life to start may not have been generated by our own planet in the first instance, but come from somewhere deep in outer space, carried by the barrage of meteorites that crashed into the earth four billion years ago. The key is the discovery that a meteorite was capable of providing nitrogen-containing ammonia.

Japan volcano erupts again

A volcano in southern Japan erupted today with its biggest explosion yet, shooting out a huge plume of gas, boulders and ash and breaking windows five miles away.

Meteors: what kills also creates

The idea of a single meteor strike causing a mass extinction has taken a long time to find acceptance. But now, says Ted Nield, we should realise that what kills also creates

The Stars: December

After midnight on 13 December, look out for what promises to be the year's best meteor shower.

Brian Marsden: Astronomer who played a central role in Pluto's downgrading to dwarf-planet status

The British-born astronomer Brian Marsden, Emeritus Director of the Minor Planet Centre (MPC), once famously – but wrongly – warned of an asteroid collision with Earth. He also helped demote Pluto to "dwarf planet" status and accurately predicted the return of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Last Night's TV: Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention/BBC1<br />Horizon: Asteroids &ndash; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly/BBC2

I don't mean to be harsh, but I think Wallace's future as a television presenter is limited, despite the fact that he appears to have his own television studio in the basement. It isn't just that he has a face for radio – with his chiclet teeth and his permanently astonished gaze – but there's also the question of his reaction times. He can appear spontaneous, it's true, but it takes a team of three people working for a fortnight to make him so, which is always going to make things tricky when it comes to topical content. Hardly surprising, then, that in Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention he's only supplying fairly minimal links to filmed reports – heavy on the bad puns and relatively light on the elaborate ingenuity which fans have come to associate with one of Aardman's leading stars. If you were hoping for 30 minutes of animation you will have been disappointed, because Wallace and Gromit are here only as a kind of novelty wrapping paper for the sort of technological curiosity that would have once filled out the lighter stretches of Tomorrow's World.

Silver found on Moon &ndash; and you thought it was made of cheese

An ambitious attempt to discover the contents of a lunar crater by crash landing a spent rocket has revealed a "treasure chest" of elements on the Moon.

Amol Rajan: Let the axe fall on stale metaphors

This week, what passes for political debate in this country has, according to its protagonists, been a "soap opera" between "old", "new" and "next" Labour. Last week, everything hinged on whether or not the Coalition's Budget was "progressive". A few weeks earlier, acres of newsprint addressed our Prime Minister's use of the phrase "middle class". Nobody knows what any of these terms mean, least of all those who initially submitted them for public consideration. "Progressive" is related somehow to protecting the poor; "middle class" is so abused and polysemous as to be nothing more than a badge of honour among the unthinking rich. Our political language is not in a good state.

Errors & Omissions: It may be hypothetical, but it's still completely wrong

"Begging the question" is one of the permanent fixtures of pedantry. We are forever pointing out that very few people know what "beg the question" means. When people use it they invariably mean "raise the question".

Rock star portraits: Unlocking asteroid secrets

Fragments from lost worlds or chunks of metal flying through space? Understanding asteroids is a difficult business, but hi-tech photography is helping unlock new secrets.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
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South Africa
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Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month