Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Online Feature

Huge locust swarms are threatening food security, but drones could help stop them

In recent months, food security concerns have emerged for nations across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as swarms of desert locusts wreak havoc on crops.

While the same level of damage isn’t currently being felt in Australia, the threat of infestations extends to us too. But drone technology is offering up solutions.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Pokémon Go wants to make 3D scans of the whole world for 'planet-scale augmented reality experiences'. Is that good?

In 2016, the mobile game Pokémon Go sent hundreds of millions of players wandering the streets in search of virtual monsters. In the process it helped popularise augmented reality (AR) technology, which overlays computer-generated imagery on real-world environments.

Now Pokémon Go is set to take AR to a new level. A new feature within the game will encourage players to create and upload 3D scans of real-world locations.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Antarctica without windchill, the Louvre without queues: how to travel the world from home


SpaceX’s recent Falcon 9 rocket launch proves humanity has come leaps and bounds in its effort to rea

Originally published in The Conversation.

Almost 90% of astronauts have been men. But the future of space may be female

Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard the International Space Station. NASA

Only 566 people have ever travelled to space. Sixty-five of them, or about 11.5%, were women.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Curious Kids: is time travel possible for humans?


Is time travel possible for humans? Jasmine, age 8, Canberra, ACT.

Originally published in The Conversation.

What makes pepper spray so intense? And is it a tear gas? A chemical engineer explains

In recent weeks, the world has looked on as governments use chemical irritants to control protesters and riots. Whether it’s tear gas, pepper spray, mace or pepper balls, all have one thing in common: they’re chemical weapons.

Chemical warfare agents have been used twice in Sydney in the past week alone. Police pepper-sprayed demonstrators at Central Station, following Saturday’s major Black Lives Matter protest.

Originally published in The Conversation.

120 million years ago, giant crocodiles walked on two legs in what is now South Korea

Fossilised footprints and tracks provide a direct record of how ancient animals moved. And some preserved behaviours leave us marvelling in disbelief.

In research published in Scientific Reports, my international team of colleagues and I detail our discovery of exquisitely preserved crocodile footprints, formed about 120 million years ago in what is now Sacheon, South Korea.

These trace fossils reveal multiple crocodiles undertaking a very curious behaviour: bipedal walking, much like many dinosaurs.

Originally published in The Conversation.

How a stone wedged in a gum tree shows the resilience of Aboriginal culture in Australia

Caroline Spry, Author provided

Trees marked by Aboriginal cultural practices are a distinctive part of the Australian landscape.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Who owns the bones? Human fossils shouldn't just belong to whoever digs them up

All humans alive today can claim a common ancestral link to some hominin. Hominins include modern humans, extinct human species, and all our immediate ancestors.

Recent discoveries of hominin remains, including the skull of a Homo erectus in South Africa, have generated high levels of interest from the public and scientific community alike.

Originally published in The Conversation.