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SpaceX rocket lifts off on first commercial satellite launch
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket developed by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, blasted off on Tuesday to put its first commercial satellite into orbit, staking a potentially game-changing claim in a global industry worth nearly $190 billion a year. The 22-story rocket lifted off from its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:41 p.m. EST/2241 GMT. Perched on top of the rocket was a 7,000-pound (3,175 kg) communications satellite owned by Luxembourg-based SES S.A., which operates a 54-satellite fleet, the world's second-largest. "I'd like to thank SES for taking a chance on SpaceX," company founder and chief executive Elon Musk posted on Twitter an hour before the launch.
China launches lunar probe carrying 'Jade Rabbit' buggy
China launched its first ever extraterrestrial landing craft into orbit en route for the moon in the small hours of Monday, in a major milestone for its space program. The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, which includes the Yutu or Jade Rabbit buggy, blasted off on board an enhanced Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China's southwestern Sichuan province at 1:30 a.m. (12.30 p.m. EDT). President Xi Jinping has said he wants China to establish itself as a space superpower, and the mission has inspired pride in China's growing technological prowess. If all goes smoothly, the rover will conduct geological surveys and search for natural resources after the probe touches down on the moon in mid-December as China's first spacecraft to make a soft landing beyond Earth.
India's Mars mission enters second stage; outpaces space rival China
By Shyamantha Asokan NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's first mission to Mars left Earth's orbit early on Sunday, clearing a critical hurdle in its journey to the red planet and overtaking the efforts in space of rival Asian giant China. The success of the spacecraft, scheduled to orbit Mars by next September, would carry India into a small club, which includes the United States, Europe and Russia, whose probes have orbited or landed on Mars. India's venture, called Mangalyaan, faces more hurdles on its journey to Mars. "While Mangalyaan takes 1.2 billion dreams to Mars, we wish you sweet dreams!" India's space agency said in a tweet soon after the event, referring to the citizens of the world's second-most populous country.
No return from the dead for Comet ISON
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - The last vestiges of Comet ISON are fading from view after a sizzlingly close encounter with the sun, scientists said on Monday. "Comet ISON is now just a cloud of dust," astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on SpaceWeather.com, a NASA-backed website. "Experienced astrophotographers might be able to capture the comet's fading ?ghost' in the pre-dawn sky of early December, but a naked-eye spectacle is out of the question," he wrote. Scientists believe the comet broke apart as it passed through the sun's corona on Thursday.
Journal withdraws controversial French Monsanto GM study
Reed Elsevier's Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT)journal, which published the study by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini in September 2012, said the retraction was because the study's small sample size meant no definitive conclusions could be reached. "Ultimately, the results presented - while not incorrect - are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology." At the time of its original publication, hundreds of scientists across the world questioned Seralini's research, which said rats fed Monsanto's GM corn had suffered tumors and multiple organ failure. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a statement in November 2012 saying the study by Seralini, who was based at France's University of Caen, had serious defects in design and methodology and did not meet acceptable scientific standards. In its retraction statement, the FCT said that, in light of these concerns, it too had asked to view the raw data.
Major US Winter Storm Spotted from Space
Unlike the balmy, decidedly un-December like weather that has enveloped parts of the eastern United States, the West and Midwest have gotten a harsh blast of winter thanks to a powerful storm that blanketed a large swath of the country. The storm has dumped large amounts of snow and sent bone-chilling winds rushing across affected areas. Big Hole National Park, in Montana, reported a temperature of minus 31.9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 35.5 degrees Celsius) this morning (Dec. 5), and the National Weather Service reported snowfalls in the area from an inch to more than a foot. Snow currently covers most of the Northern Plains, and is expected to continue through today, with the system gradually moving eastward and bringing snow and a mix of snow, ice and rain to areas from the Ohio Valley up to Albany, N.Y., according to Accuweather.
Get Naked and Dig: The Bizarre Effects of Hypothermia
As winter weather rages across much of the United States, this may be a good time to review the risks of hypothermia, a condition that occurs when the temperature in the core of the body (as opposed to the limbs) drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) or lower. When hypothermia sets in, a person will begin shivering, and most people have movement problems, such as stumbling, slowing down and poor coordination.
Nelson Mandela's Long Life: Could Noble Work Have Played a Role?
Nelson Mandela's noble lifework, which will be admired and remembered for years to come, may have also in part contributed to his long life, experts say. The former South African leader, who played a lead role in ending apartheid and served as the country's first post-apartheid president between 1991 and 1997, died today (Dec. 5) at age 95. Mandela's positive attitude, as well as the notion that he was working on behalf of his country, may have served to buffer him from physical stress and help him cope with some of this adversity, Vickie Mays, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told LiveScience in July.
Life on Mars: How a One-Way Martian Colony Project Could Work
LONDON ? It's a one-way ticket, but don't worry: You'll live there longer than back home on Earth, says Bas Lansdorp. As he addresses a room full of entrepreneurs, Lansdorp ? founder of the Mars One colony project?looks as excited as a child. He is here at a recent International Space Commerce summit to promote his out-of-this-world idea, a one-way trip to the Red Planet, and possibly spark the interest of investors. And once on the Red Planet, the habitat's roof will have some two meters of Martian soil for protection.
Scientists to Congress: We Have the Technology to Find Alien Life
To find extraterrestrial life, be it microbes or intelligent life, scientists need telescopes capable of detecting Earth-like planets in Earth's neighborhood and ways to detect biological signatures of life or signs of alien technology. "This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to find life on other planets," Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing today. "Astrobiology has become a crosscutting theme of all NASA space science endeavors," and continued funding is important, said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas). The Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets outside Earth's solar system, including 10 that are Earth-size and lie within their star's habitable zone.
Swiss expert contests French finding that Arafat not poisoned
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - A Swiss scientist who examined samples from the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said French experts had made weak arguments in concluding that he could not have died of poisoning in 2004. French forensic examiners commissioned by magistrates investigating Arafat's death in a Paris hospital assessed on Tuesday that he had not been killed with radioactive polonium found in abnormally high levels in his body and clothing. The Swiss approach resembled that of the French inquiry but dug deeper into the mystery, said Francois Bochud, director of the institute of radiation physics at University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) who helped exhume Arafat's remains a year ago. Arafat, who signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel but then led an uprising after subsequent talks broke down in 2000, died aged 75 in November 2004.
Jamaica scientist launches medical marijuana firm
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) ? A prominent Jamaican scientist and entrepreneur is launching a company that aims to capitalize on medical marijuana, a growing global industry that he asserted Wednesday could be a boon for the island's chronically limping economy.
Climate Scientist: 2 Degrees of Warming Too Much
NEW YORK ? Famed climate scientist and activist James Hansen has said it before, and he'll say it again: Two degrees of warming is too much. International climate negotiators agreed in the Copenhagen Accord, a global agreement on climate change that took place at the 2009 United Nations' Climate Change Conference, that warming this century shouldn't increase by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But in a new paper published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, Hansen and a cadre of co-authors from a wide array of disciplines argue that even 2 degrees is too much, and would "subject young people, future generations and nature to irreparable harm," Hansen wrote in an accompanying essay distributed to reporters. The new study is a departure from the typical climate science paper, both for the wide variety of fields represented in the list of co-authors, which includes economist Jeffrey Sachs, as well as for the policy implications it raises, something climate scientists tend to shy away from.
The Replication Myth: Shedding Light on One of Science s Dirty Little Secrets
The Replication Myth: Shedding Light on One of Science s Dirty Little Secrets
Science Defines Booty Calls, One-Night Stands
And unsurprisingly, the point of these casual relationships is (drumroll, please) ? sex. That's why Peter Jonason, a psychologist at the University of Western Sydney in Australia, focused on these relationships in a new study, published Nov. 1 in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. The results, he surmised, could explain why people might get involved in a booty-call relationship versus a one-night stand or long-term affair. Each participant was asked to rank how likely booty calls, friends with benefits (people who have casual sex while remaining "just friends"), long-term relationships and one-night stands were to fulfill each of four functions: sexual gratification, social and emotional support, a "trial run" for a serious relationship and a placeholder to stave off boredom or to bide time until something better came along.
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