10/31/2014 09:59 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Week in Science: A Rocket Catastrophe, Miniature Stomachs, and a Seriously Smelly Comet

Seven days; lots of science in the news. Here's our roundup of this week's most notable and quotable items:


The Antares rocket, built by private space outfit Orbital Sciences powered by refurbished Soviet engines from the 1960s, explosively failed to launch on its planned resupply mission to the International Space Station. Researchers found and positively identified a part from Amelia Earhart's plane -- a piece of aluminum recovered from an uninhabited south Pacific atoll. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko smells like a combination of formaldehyde, rotten eggs, a dirty horse stable, vinegar, and bitter almonds.

Using stem cells, scientists created miniature human stomachs in the lab. The newly discovered Atlantic Coast leopard frog (Rana kauffeldi) is the first new frog found in the U.S. and Canada since 1986, and the first new frog found in New York or New England since 1882. The state of Louisiana moved to bar researchers who recently spent time in Ebola-affected African nations from attending a major scientific meeting being held in New Orleans in early November, sparking protests from scientists.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms seem to work by linking up brain regions that do not normally communicate with each other, a British-led team found. Hibernation may have saved mammals from the extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Thirty-three genes, many related to brain development, were found to have some connection to autism. Australian surgeons performed the first-ever "dead heart" transplants, using donor hearts that had stopped beating for about 20 minutes before being placed in the recipients.

Two ancient viruses were recovered from a 700-year-old chunk of caribou poop found in Canada. Swiss researchers developed a DNA barcode that could be used to track milk through the food system--even after it's been turned into cheese or yogurt. Fish are smarter than previously assumed.


"This Week In Science" is brought to you by the World Science Festival. For more engaging science news, conversations, media and more, check out the Festival's website.