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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.
Colon Cancer Linked to Low Diversity of Gut Bacteria
People who have a less diverse population of bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts may be more likely to get colon cancer, a new study suggests. "For the first time, we found that colorectal cancer patients have a different gut bacteria composition than healthy subjects," said study author Jiyoung Ahn, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York. "This research, although in an early stage, is pointing to the possibility that gut microbes are involved in colon cancer development," Ahn said. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and it claims the lives of more than 50,000 Americans a year, according to the American Cancer Society.Fri, 06 Dec 2013 16:06:37 -0500
Snowy Owls Make Mysterious Migration
The visitors from the Arctic have shown up as far south as North Carolina, on the island of Bermuda and in unusually large numbers in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes. Yesterday (Dec. 5), 15 were counted at Logan Airport in Boston. For reasons no one understands, snowy owl sightings are spiking in eastern North America this winter. "Maybe this is starting to shape up to be an irruption year," said Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute in Montana.
Curved Penis Condition Gets New Drug
Men with a condition that causes a curvature of the penis now have a drug treatment option that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Today, the agency said it had approved the drug Xiaflex to treat Peyronies disease, a condition that causes a curvature in the penis, which can make it difficult for men to achieve erections, or make erections painful. It's not clear exactly how many men have Peyronies disease, but it's estimated to be somewhere around 1 to 3 percent, according to Weill Cornell Medical College. While some drugs have been used to treat Peyronies disease, these drugs were approved for other conditions.Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:56:54 -0500
Five Out-of-This-World Gifts for Space Geeks
It is that time of year again, when you need to find a gift for that 'spacial' person in your life your favorite space geek. Fear not, you needn't purchase your aspiring astronaut a ticket to space for your present to be truly out-of-this-world (though, with Virgin Galactic planning to begin commercial space shots in 2014, this may be the last holiday season for advanced reservations). Space couture is always in style, but if you are seeking something a little less astronomical (the custom-fit jackets cost 450, or about $750), here are five gift ideas that are sure to launch your space geek's spirits sky high. Click through to collectSPACE.com to see more images of the five gifts for the space geek.
Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen
An enormous alien planet one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star. The newfound exoplanet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. "This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see," study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona's department of astronomy, said in a statement. In the most commonly accepted theories of planet formation, it is thought that planets that orbit close to their parent star, such as Earth, began as small, asteroid-type bodies that clumped together in the primordial disk of gas and dust around the burgeoning star.