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Friday, Apr 18th

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Nasa probe sees the 'edge' of our solar system for first time - and it's completely different from what we thought

NASA photos Nasa's probes have seen the 'edge' of our solar system for the first time - and it's completely different from what scientists thought.

Our solar system is flying through space more slowly than we thought - and Nasa's IBEX - Interstellar Boundary Explorer - has it doesn't have a 'bow shock', an area of gas or plasma that shields our solar system as it hurtles though space

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Ancient antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in isolated cave

Antibiotic resistant bacteria foundBacteria that have never before come in contact with humans, their diseases or their antibiotics, but are nevertheless resistant to a variety of antibiotics, have been discovered in a U.S. cave.

"This supports a growing understanding that antibiotic resistance is natural, ancient," and an integral part of the genetic heritage of microbes, suggest researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. and the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, in a new study published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.

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Scientists rewrite rules of human reproduction

In vitroThe first human egg cells that have been grown entirely in the laboratory from stem cells could be fertilised later this year in a development that will revolutionise fertility treatment and might even lead to a reversal of the menopause in older women.

Scientists are about to request a licence from the UK fertility watchdog to fertilise the eggs as part of a series of tests to generate an unlimited supply of human eggs, a breakthrough that could help infertile women to have babies as well as making women as fertile in later life as men.

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T. rex relative is biggest ever feathered animal

Biggest feathered animalA newly described relative of Tyrannosaurus rex is the largest known feathered animal - living or extinct. The feathered meat-eating dinosaur lived about 125 million years ago and is estimated to have weighed a whopping 1,400kg as an adult.

The new species, known as Yutyrannus, has been identified from three fossils found in north-eastern China. The finds, detailed in Nature journal, challenge current theories about the evolution of T.rex and its relations.

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Evidence of fire use by ancestors a million years ago

Wonderwerk caveScientists say they have new evidence that our ancestors were using fire as early as a million years ago. It takes the form of ash and bone fragments recovered from Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.

The team tells the journal PNAS that the sediments suggest frequent, controlled fires were lit on the site. The ability to use fire is regarded as a key step in human development because it gave us access to cooked foods and new technologies.

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Study indicates existence of billions of habitable alien planets in Milky Way

"Our new observations with HARPS mean that about 40 percent of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet," team leader Xavier Bonfils of the Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble in France said in a statement. "Because red dwarfs are so common — there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way — this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone."

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Runaway planets ejected from galaxy at insane speeds

Runaway planetscPlanets in tight orbits around stars that get ejected from our galaxy may actually themselves be tossed out of the Milky Way at blisteringly fast speeds of up to 30 million miles per hour, or a fraction of the speed of light, a new study finds.

"These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in the galaxy, aside from photons and particles like cosmic rays," said Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "In terms of large, solid objects, they would be the fastest. It would take them 10 seconds or so to cross the diameter of the Earth."

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