2015 was an amazing year for science, but it was also a year for some amazingly overhyped science.
Frozen mosses that were buried under glaciers 400 years ago have now been regrown. Surprisingly, the hardy "bryophytes" required no special techniques to regenerate. That means they might be candidates for colonizing extreme environments — even in space.
Climate change likely means problems for our future, but it's also capable of doing damage to the past. A 500-year-old Alaskan site was first revealed as the ice melted, but now erosion is pulling the site into the sea.
From 1550 to 1850, Earth mysteriously got colder. Communities from Greenland to the Alps were swallowed up by glaciers, and bodies of water like the Baltic Sea and Manhattan Harbor froze over. But what caused this Little Ice Age?
The fact that sea levels are rising probably won't come as a huge surprise. But we now have some much-needed historical context for the melting icecaps and rising waters...and there's zero doubt that, in geological history, higher sea levels meant higher temperatures.
The Sun has been unusually quiet lately, with the solar wind the slowest it's been in 50 years and the sunspot cycle reduced to nothing more than the occasional belch. But don't believe reports that this spells doom for humanity.