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Little threat to Earth from big asteroid: NASA

WASHINGTON — Fewer giant asteroids are out in space than once thought and most of the biggest near-Earth asteroids have been found, leaving little threat of one smashing into the planet, NASA said Thursday. The latest data from the US space agency’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE telescope, shows…

Ancient river-like volcanoes formed Mercury’s plains

WASHINGTON — The planet closest to the Sun had plenty of its own heat to release billions of years ago and erupted in vast river-like volcanoes that oozed around its northern pole, said a study out Thursday. For more than three decades, scientists have thought volcanoes may have helped craft…

SpaceX says ‘reusable rocket’ could help colonize Mars

WASHINGTON — The US company SpaceX is working on the first-ever reusable rocket to launch to space and back, with the goal of one day helping humans colonize Mars, founder Elon Musk said Thursday. The vehicle would be a reusable version of the Falcon 9 rocket which SpaceX used to…

Study finds ‘magic mushrooms’ may improve personality long-term

A new study suggests that a single dose of psilocybin — the active ingredient in “Magic Mushrooms” — can result in improved personality traits over the long term. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that individuals who received the drug once in a clinical setting reported…

Global warming: New study challenges carbon benchmark

The ability of forests, plants and soil to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air has been under-estimated, according to a study on Wednesday that challenges a benchmark for calculating the greenhouse-gas problem. Like the sea, the land is a carbon “sink”, or sponge, helping to absorb heat-trapping CO2 disgorged by the…

Hungary toxic levels ‘lower than expected’ after spill

A year after Hungary’s worst chemicals spill released vast amounts of poisonous red mud, levels of toxic substances are lower than feared but still above average, Greenpeace said on Wednesday. “All in all the levels of toxic contamination, particularly in maize and in the soil, are lower than feared,” said Herwig Schuster from the environmental pressure…

Scientists create cyborg rat with artificial cerebellum

Researchers at the Tel Aviv University in Israel successfully wired a functional computer chip to a rat’s brain. Matti Mintz and his colleagues have built an artificial cerebellum that can restore some motor functions in rats with brain damage. The cerebellum is an area of the brain responsible for learning…

Hundreds face arrest in Canada pipeline protest

OTTAWA — Dozens were arrested Monday for storming Canada’s Parliament to protest Ottawa’s support for a proposed pipeline to bring oil from Canada’s tar sands to the US Gulf Coast. And up to 200 more arrests were expected as scores of environmentalists and aboriginals lined up to breach a police…

U.S.-based Fermilab to try and break speed of light

U.S.-based particle accelerator Fermilab said it would conduct tests that investigate whether neutrino particles can travel faster than the speed of light, a feat the European research center CERN recently claimed to have achieved. If the findings are upheld, it could fundamentally rewrite humanity’s understanding of physics, proving that Albert…

NASA: Remains of satellite may never be found

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – A six-ton NASA science satellite crashed to Earth on Saturday, leaving a mystery about where a ton of space debris may have landed. The U.S. space agency said it believes the debris ended up in the Pacific Ocean, but the precise time of the bus-sized…

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