New Scientist Weekly

#171 Earth’s mysterious “dark biome” and the search for life on Mars; Quantum computers; Judge Dredd predicts the future - the latest news in science


While testing samples in the Atacama desert, a region of Earth with very similar rocks to those on Mars, astrobiologists have discovered a mysterious “dark biome” of organisms we’ve never seen before. With sample missions taking place on Mars itself, the team discusses what we might find.

Bow and arrows were first used in Europe much earlier than we thought. 54,000 year old arrowheads have been discovered in a rock shelter in the south of France. The team finds out what they were used for, and about the ingenious way researchers confirmed these stone points were actually arrowheads.

A new trick could allow quantum computers to run programs that should be too big for them. The team explains the method that could let small quantum computers run AI programs that would usually require too much computing power for them to handle.

To cope with the looming threat of sea level rise, residents of the 1190 islands of the Maldives may need to huddle on just 2 islands in the near future. The team explains how they’d need to build high-rise apartment blocks and skyscraper offices to cope with climate change.

From violent suppression of protest to the rise of the surveillance state, many stories from Judge Dredd, the future cop from British comic 2000AD, have proved eerily prophetic. Rowan speaks to writer and comics journalist Michael Molcher about his new book ‘I Am The Law: How Judge Dredd Predicted Our Future’, in which he argues key Dredd stories from the last 45 years provide a unique wake up call about our gradual slide towards authoritarian policing.

On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Leah Crane, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, Michael Le Page and Madeleine Cuff. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at

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