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One of Saturn's moons might have warm enough water for life, research shows

enceladusIn 2004, Cassini, the largest interplanetary spacecraft ever launched by NASA, arrived in orbit around Saturn. Since then, it's sent back oodles of information about the planet and some of its attendant moons. Now, thanks to the spacecraft, scientists believe that Saturn's moon Enceladus might have never-before-confirmed thermal activity on its ocean floor which could make the conditions right for life.

"Enceladus may even represent a very common habitat in the galaxy: icy moons around giant gas planets, located well beyond the 'habitable zone' of a star, but still able to maintain liquid water below their icy surface," said Nicolas Altobelli, in a statement. Altobelli is the Cassini project scientist from the European Space Agency.

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Milky Way isn't a flat disk, it's corrugated

Milky way corrugatedAccording to a new study by a team of international astronomers, the Milky Way's galactic disk resembles the undulating ripples seen after a pebble is tossed into a pond. In other words, it's not flat -- it's corrugated, like a steel roof.

The study, led by Heidi Jo Newberg, an astronomer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., is a reinterpretation of data collected as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The 2012 survey helped astronomers locate a ring of stars, existing just off the plane of the Milk Way's disk.

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Nasa's Dawn probe achieves orbit around Ceres

CeresThe US space agency's Dawn probe has gone into orbit around Ceres, the largest object in the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter.

A signal from the satellite confirming its status was received by ground stations at 13:36 GMT.  Ceres is the first of the dwarf planets to be visited by a spacecraft.  Scientists hope to glean information from the object that can tell them about the Solar System's beginnings, four and a half billion years ago.

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Jaw bone discovered in Ethiopia is oldest known human lineage remains

jaw bone oldest homo fossilA lower jaw bone and five teeth discovered on a hillside in Ethiopia are the oldest remains ever found that belong to the genus Homo, the lineage that ultimately led to modern humans.

Fossil hunters spotted the jaw poking out of a rocky slope in the dry and dusty Afar region of the country about 250 miles from Addis Ababa.

The US-led research team believes the individual lived about 2.8m years ago, when the now parched landscape was open grassland and shrubs nourished by tree-lined rivers and wetlands.

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UK scientists work out weight of Sophie the Stegosaurus

StegosaurusScientists at a British museum have worked out the living weight of Sophie, one of the world's most complete Stegosaurus skeletons.

London's Natural History Museum said Tuesday that Sophie, a young adult when it died around 150 million years ago, weighed around 1.6 tons (1,600 kilograms) and its body mass was about the same size as a small rhinoceros.

The scientists worked out the dinosaur's body mass after creating a 3-D digital version of its skeleton, calculating the volume of flesh around the bones, and comparing the data with information from similar-sized modern animals.

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Scientists photograph light as particle and wave

light particle and waveLight behaves both as a particle and as a wave. Since the days of Einstein, scientists have been trying to directly observe both of these aspects of light at the same time. Now, scientists at EPFL have succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of this dual behavior.

Quantum mechanics tells us that light can behave simultaneously as a particle or a wave. However, there has never been an experiment able to capture both natures of light at the same time; the closest we have come is seeing either wave or particle, but always at different times. Taking a radically different experimental approach, EPFL scientists have now been able to take the first ever snapshot of light behaving both as a wave and as a particle. The breakthrough work is published in Nature Communications.

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'Most powerful' X-ray machine opens new frontier

new x-ray machineResearchers in Palo Alto in the US state of California have developed the most powerful X-ray laser in the world.

The Linac Coherent Light Source is being used to see how atoms and molecules move in living systems.  The machine is a billion times more intense than the previous generation of lasers.

Each X-ray pulse has as much power as the national grid of a large country, and a hundred are produced every second.

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