Moon samples returned to Earth by China's Chang'e 5

Plus, a peacock of a dinosaur, Neptune's storms acting weird, NASA's Jessica Meir and much more.
Hello humans!

Happy holidays. Thanks for all the support this year, it's been fantastic to hear from readers and to bring you all the Good Science News from The Worst Year. It's not over though! As you settle in for some Christmas pud, read up on a few of the amazing things happening to finish the year.

Hayabusa2, the Japanese asteroid mission opened up its treasure box and confirmed it has stolen pieces of ancient asteroid Ryugu. China's Chang'e 5 moon lander also returned to Earth with pieces of moon rock, so 2021 is going to be a busy year for studying extraterrestrial stones and boulders. There's also the story of a bizarre dinosaur, the peacock of its time, NASA's Hubble spotting some unusual storms on Neptune and an angel on Mars? But first... the Science Mailbag!

📧The Science Mailbag📧

Linda asks: Is there a difference between the two vaccines approved for emergency use in the US? Pfizer vs. Moderna?

An important question. CNET has a lot of vaccine resources for you to check out but the short of it is... there's not a whole lot of difference. They have shown almost equivalent effectiveness in protecting against severe COVID-19 in the short-term and they both require two doses. They are both safe and effective (you can read about that below). Pfizer's vaccine has emergency use authorization for those aged 16 and older -- but Moderna's is only approved for 18 years and older. Moderna's has a slight advantage in distribution, however, because it can be shipped and stored at warmer temperatures. Overall, they're similar vaccines and we still need to gather more data on their long-term protection and monitor for any rare adverse events. I'd be confident getting either of them but you should check whether they're right for you.

If you have a burning question or a nice Christmas message, send a note to my email or via DM on Twitter. Have a wonderful holiday period!

Enim scientia et astra!
Jackson Ryan Jackson Ryan
Science Editor, CNET
COVID-19  vaccines are safe, even with long-term data lacking
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