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NASA: Huge solar flare may disrupt power and communications

WASHINGTON — An unusual solar flare observed by a NASA space observatory on Tuesday could cause some disruptions to satellite communications and power on Earth over the next day or so, officials said. The potent blast from the Sun unleashed a firestorm of radiation on a level not witnessed since…

Shuttle Endeavour leaves International Space Station

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US space shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station and headed back to Earth, wrapping up its final journey before entering retirement, NASA said. Endeavour’s last mission is the penultimate flight for the 30-year-old US shuttle program, which will end for good after the Atlantis…

NASA plans to send satellite to asteroid in 2016

WASHINGTON — The US space agency on Wednesday announced plans to send the first unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid to collect samples and return them to Earth for further study. The spacecraft, known as Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, will launch in 2016 and will then travel four years…

Bolivia to ‘make world history’ by granting rights to Mother Nature

Bolivia is preparing to pass a new law that could lead to citizens challenging environmental destruction in court. A Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (The Law of Mother Earth) would grant nature the same rights as humans, according to The Guardian. The country will establish 11 new rights…

Asia’s star burns ever brighter in space

BEIJING – Asia’s extraterrestrial ambitions have rocketed from nowhere in the 50 years since the first human space flight, with China shooting for the moon while India and Japan fuel up their own programmes. Since China in 2003 became the world’s third nation to put a man in space independently,…

Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars

(Reuters) – Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday. “I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and…

NASA spacecraft is first to orbit Mercury

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A NASA spacecraft began orbiting Mercury, becoming the first to fly around the solar system’s innermost planet, the space agency said. The craft, known as MESSENGER, began the orbit around 9:00 pm (0200 GMT) on a mission to circle the planet for one Earth year in an…

US shuttle Discovery undocks from space lab

WASHINGTON — The US space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station early Monday and started its trek back to Earth, winding up it final mission in orbit before retirement. The American shuttle, the first of the three-member fleet set to become a museum piece when the three-decade-long program…

NASA scientist claims he’s found clear evidence of alien life

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A NASA scientist’s claim that he found tiny fossils of alien life in the remnants of a meteorite has stirred both excitement and skepticism, and is being closely reviewed by 100 experts. Richard Hoover’s paper, along with pictures of the microscopic earthworm-like creatures, were published late Friday…

World’s sixth mass extinction may be underway: study

PARIS (AFP) – Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a paper released by the science journal Nature. Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss,…

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