John Wenz


John Wenz is a Popular Mechanics writer and space obsessive based in Philadelphia. He tweets @johnwenz.

20 Space Objects Ranked by How Badass They Sound

These cosmic phenomena all have cool leather jackets.

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The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is buried at depths between 1.5 and 2.5 kilometers below theSouth Pole.
Blaze It: Far-Out High-Energy Neutrino Came From a Blazar
This discovery could give us better insight into how our universe works—and understanding what's happening deep inside violent co…
Bringing Alien Planets (Virtually) To Life

Want a hands-on tour of a rocket that hasn't been built yet? It's the kind of thing happening inside NASA right now.

We Might Finally Know What Smacked Uranus Sideways

A planet twice the size of Earth gave our most unfortunately named planet its odd tilt.

How Neal Stephenson Got Book Ideas by Moonlighting at Blue Origin
Many of the famed sci-fi author's ideas come from real world work—like helping the private space company Blue Origin find a machi…
One of the Three Closest Stars Looks Friendly for Life

Alpha Centauri A may be even less deadly than the sun—if there are any planets there.

20 Amazing Animals That Are Almost Extinct

It's not too late, but the future looks bleak for these species.

NASA Flew Right Though a Watery Plume From Jupiter's Moon in 1997—And Didn't Know It

Peculiar readings from the Galileo mission provide the strongest evidence yet for geysers on the surface of the icy moon.

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Neural Networks Learn to Take Shortcuts Through a Maze Just Like a Mammal Would

It's a small step towards learning how brains learn to navigate, whether natural or artificial.

These Butchered Rhino Bones May Hold a Secret of Ancient Human Migration

The find could put human ancestors in Southeast Asia long before Homo sapiens were even a species.

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How a Star Mapping Satellite Could Find Alien Life

Want to find Dyson spheres? Gaia, a satellite staring at nearly every star in the galaxy, might be able to lend a hand.

Diamond-Encrusted Meteorite Could Be From a Lost Planet

Diamonds in the unique meteorite suggest it came from deep within a large protoplanet that was destroyed as the solar system formed.

An Ultra-Powerful Flare Erupted From Our Nearest Neighbor Star

Proxima Centauri momentarily lit up in the night sky, which could spell doom for its "habitable" planet.

The 10 Weirdest Stars in the Milky Way

Our galaxy has more than a few tricks up its sleeves.

Astronomers Use a Quirk of Physics to Spot the Most Distant Star Ever Seen

An event called gravitational lensing allowed astronomers to discern a star 9 billion light-years away.

How To Write a Jeopardy Clue

What is, "very carefully?"

Saturn's Tiny Moon Enceladus Has Big Potential for Life

New research suggests extreme microorganisms could cling on to the sea floor and create Earth-like biological environments.

Sorry, But R2-D2 and BB-8 Wouldn't Be Too Useful In Real Life
A new study highlights the problems with the astromech tech in Star Wars, although the beeping communication might be more useful than …
Horrifying Fossil Shows Spider With a Scorpion Tail

As if one or the other weren't bad enough already.

Major Human Evolution Discovery Suggests Homo Sapiens Left Africa Sooner Than We Thought

New fossils found in Israel set our origins back tens of thousands of years—if not more.

Astronomers Find Mass Limit for Neutron Stars Before Collapsing Into Black Holes

These remaining cores of dead stars can only get so massive before they become black holes.

Deep Drifts of Water Ice Litter the Landscape of Mars

The surface of equatorial Mars has ancient snow trapped under dust and rock, forming cliff-like formations.

Fast Radio Bursts: Astronomers May Have Found the Mysterious Source

The key to fast radio bursts may be hiding around pulsars.

Alien Megastructure Scientists Say It's Not Aliens After All

There's no Dyson Swarm or alien megastructure around Tabby's Star, but it's still one of the most mysterious stars in the galaxy.