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U.K. company to build Sun orbiter

The European Space Agency said on Friday it had awarded a 300-million-euro ($400 million) contract to a British technology firm to build a satellite to examine the Sun from closer up than any before it. The Solar Orbiter, to be built by Astrium UK, is due to launch in January 2017 — coming to within 45 million…

Climate change has accelerated the rainfall cycle: study

An Australian study of ocean salinity over the past 50 years has revealed a “fingerprint” showing that climate change has accelerated the rainfall cycle, according to a researcher. The study published in the journal Science and conducted by Australian and US scientists looked at ocean data from 1950 to 2000…

Study: Lava flows carved Mars valleys

Lava flows carved valleys on Mars, US scientists said Thursday amid a long-running debate over whether water or volcanoes formed part of the red planet’s landscape. The lava left behind telltale coils as seen on some parts of Earth, like on the Big Island of Hawaii and in submarine lava…

No evidence that mobile phones harm health: study

There is no convincing evidence that the use of mobile phonesdamages human health, a “comprehensive” review of scientific evidence said on Thursday. Studies have not demonstrated that the use of mobiles causes brain tumours or any other cancer, according to the review by the Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s independent advisory group on non-ionising radiation. But it said it was…

Earth faces a century of disasters, report warns

World population needs to be stabilised quickly and high consumption in rich countries rapidly reduced to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills”, warns a major report from the Royal Society. Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption cut to reduce inequality, says…

Space ‘boat’ could explore the oceans of Saturn’s moon Titan

It is arguably the most audacious maritime adventure ever undertaken – a mission worthy of James Cook or Christopher Columbus to unlock the secrets of unknown seas and faraway lands. But what sets this mission apart from the great age of maritime exploration is that the hi-tech vessel must first…

Astronomers find most distant galaxy cluster

Japanese astronomers said Wednesday they had found a cluster of galaxies 12.72 billion light-years away from Earth, which they claim is the most distant cluster ever discovered. Using a powerful telescope based in Hawaii, the team peered back through time to a point just one billion years after the Big…

Fox News contributor Dr. Ablow advocates medical use of psychedelics

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and frequent Fox News contributor, on Tuesday decried that fact that “miraculous substances” like hallucinogenic mushrooms or the club drug ecstasy were stigmatized. Ablow has received considerable criticism from liberals and progressives for his outspoken and critical views on LGBT individuals, but he appears to…

Scientist unveils mind-controlled robot for paraplegics

GENEVA — A professor at a Swiss university on Tuesday unveiled a robot that can be controlled by the brainwaves of a paraplegic person wearing an electrode-fitted cap, news agency ATS reported. A paralysed man at a hospital in the town of Sion demonstrated the device, sending a mental command…

Private firm plans to initiate ‘multibillion dollar’ asteroid mining industry

SAN FRANCISCO — A startup backed by top Google executives and film director James Cameron on Tuesday unveiled a plan to mine asteroids for precious minerals and water. Planetary Resources used a space museum in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle as a launching pad for a bold plan to…

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