The Neanderthals are our closest evolutionary relatives. They lived between 200,000 and 30,000 years ago. There is lots of speculation about how closely related modern humans are to the Neanderthals, and whether or not they interbred. Now, scientists have decoded the Neanderthal genome and compared it with those of modern humans, answering some of these questions.

Since last week, the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico has increased. Some sealing and containment of the leak on the ocean floor has been achieved, and more of the oil has been burnt off from the surface. Together with dispersants – chemicals designed to break up the oil and help it dissipate – they're the best bets for dealing with the slick, and reducing damage to the coastline and wildlife. But what are the extraordinary challenges of dealing with this particular spill?

NASA hopes to use to answer some fundamental questions about the structure and evolution of the universe. SOFIA, or the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is a flying observatory – or at least it will be. The huge telescope embedded into a heavily modified 747 is undergoing final testing. Jon Stewart was allowed to clamber on board, to see how this thing works – originally a jumbo jet like this could have held up to 500 passengers across its 2 decks.

2010 was declared a year of science and innovation in Russia and the former Soviet Republic's CIS states. Collaboration in the areas of science and technology is Moscow's latest attempt to revive science in Russia, which has been in decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago. But is it an excuse to tempt the best scientific brains to Russia or a sound economic decision?

In May 1985 three scientists from the British Antarctic Survey were studying the atmosphere in Antarctica. They noticed some anomalies in the data for the thickness of the ozone layer – the protective blanket-like layer that prevents harmful UV rays from the Sun reaching the Earth – they had discovered the ozone hole, caused by chemicals found in refrigerants and aerosol propellants.

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28 minutes

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Sun 9 May 2010 03:32 GMT

Gravitational Waves

'Ripples' from black holes detected

Gravity and ripples in the fabric of space time - what do these mean for us?