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What Curiosity rover is up to next: Martian target practice

What Curiosity rover is up to next: Martian target practice (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor) After nearly two Earth weeks on the surface of Mars, NASA’s rover Curiosity is getting set for target practice. Within the next few days, scientists using the laser-based ChemCam plan to zap their first…

Baboon baby boom worries Uruguay zookeepers

A population explosion of baboons at a Uruguayan zoo has their keepers worried that the 130 increasingly aggressive animals will forcibly resist being moved to a larger enclosure. For years the troop of Hamadrya baboons — a species Old World monkeys native to the Horn of Africa and Yemen —…

6.3-magnitude quake hits Indonesia’s Sulawesi

A powerful 6.3-magnitude quake shook Indonesia’s central Sulawesi province on Saturday, damaging buildings and injuring at least three people. Panicked residents in two mountainous districts near the epicentre ran from their homes into the streets as the quake rocked their villages for around 15 seconds. An AFP reporter in the…

Curiosity to make wide detour to check out something ‘cool’

WASHINGTON — The US space agency NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity will make a wide detour to explore a geographical hot spot on Mars because “it looks cool,” scientists said Friday. Before driving to its destination at Mount Sharp, which may contain traces of water, Curiosity will head in the opposite…

U.S. carbon emissions drop to 20-year low

US emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for climate change fell in 2011 and have slipped to a 20-year low this year as the the world’s largest economy uses more natural gas and less coal, data shows. The surprise drop from the world’s second biggest emitter comes despite the lack of…

Researchers: Mutant zebra herpes killed polar bear in German zoo

A mutant strain of zebra herpes killed a polar bear two years ago at the Wuppertal Zoo in Germany, according to a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Current Biology. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin said they’re still not certain how the…

Climate change driving Australian fish south

Australian scientists said Friday there was now “striking evidence” of extensive southward migration of tropical fish and declines in other species due to climate change, in a major ocean report card. Compiled by more than 80 of Australia’s leading marine experts for the government science body CSIRO, the snapshot of…

Scientists a step closer to a hormone-free male contraceptive pill

Scientists have discovered a compound that could pave the way for effective and hormone-free birth control pills for men. “There has not been a new reversible contraceptive for men since the development of the condom, centuries ago,” noted William Bremner from the University of Washington in a commentary on the…

Air Force: Hypersonic jet test ends in failure

WASHINGTON — A flight test of an experimental unmanned vehicle designed to fly at hypersonic speeds has ended in failure, the US Air Force said Wednesday. The X-51A Waverider was dropped from a B-52 bomber Tuesday and launched by a rocket booster as planned but the flight was over in…

Dallas mayor declares West Nile emergency

Dallas, Texas Mayor Mike Rawlings (D) has declared a state of emergency in that city over the spread of West Nile virus, which has killed 10 people in the Dallas area and infected more than 100 others, leading to more than 65 hospitalizations. According to the Dallas Morning News, Rawlings…

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