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Thursday, Aug 16th

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NASA Curiosity rover unearths building blocks in 3-billion-year-old organic matter on Mars

NASA discovers building blocks on  Mars

Researchers cannot yet say whether their discovery stems from life or a more mundane geological process.  However, “we’re in a really good position to move forward looking for signs of life,"  said Jennifer Eigenbrode, a NASA biogeochemist and lead author of a study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

The findings were also remarkable in that they showed that organic material can be preserved for billions of years on the harsh Martian surface.

The material was discovered by the Mars Curiosity rover, which has been collecting data on the Red Planet since August 2012. The organic molecules were found in Gale Crater — believed to once contain a shallow lake the size of Florida's Lake Okeechobee.

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Astronauts in Russian capsule land safely with World Cup football after 168-day mission to ISS

Asstronauts from ISS return with World Cup ballThree astronauts from the United States, Russia and Japan safely landed in Kazakhstan following a 168-day mission to the International Space Station.

A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying NASA astronaut Scott Tingle, Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Anton Shkaplerov of Russia's Roscosmos space program, parachuted into the remote town of Dzhezkazgan  at at 6:39 p.m. local time (8:39 a.m. EDT) Sunday. All three men were safely removed from the capsule within 30 minutes.

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Scientists discover atoms inside the orbiting electrons of a 'giant atom'

Scientists discover atoms inside electrons of giant atom Scientists have discovered an atom filled with atoms. The atom's electrons orbit at such a great distance that there's room for other atoms.

The atoms within the "giant atom" form weak bonds, produ cing a new exotic state of matter -- what scientists have dubbed "Rydberg polarons."

The discovery combines a pair of atomic phenomenon, both of which can only be studied under extremely cold conditions: Bose-Einstein condensates and Rydberg atoms.

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Move over, Dolly: Monkeys cloned; a step closer to people?

Moneys cloned; are humans next?For the first time, researchers have used the cloning method that produced Dolly the sheep to create two healthy monkeys, bringing science an important step closer to being able to do the same with humans.

Since Dolly's birth in 1996, scientists have cloned nearly two dozen kinds of mammals, including dogs, cats, pigs, cows and polo ponies, and have also created human embryos with this method. But until now, they have been unable to make babies this way in primates, the category that includes monkeys, apes and people.

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Ex-NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, first to fly untethered in space, dies

Ex-NASA astronaaut Bruce McCandless, dies at 71Former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless, the first person to fly untethered in space, died this week at 80 years old, the agency said Friday.

McCandless, who died Thursday, became the first astronaut to fly in space without being harnessed to a space vessel on Feb. 7, 1984, while on a mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Other astronauts on the mission used a 70mm camera to capture the moment in a now-iconic photograph, NASA said in a release.

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Farewell Cassini: Saturn spacecraft makes fiery, final dive

Cassini makes final, fiery diveNASA's Cassini spacecraft disintegrated in the skies above Saturn on Friday in a final, fateful blaze of cosmic glory, following a remarkable journey of 20 years.

Confirmation of Cassini's expected demise came about 7:55 a.m. EDT. That's when radio signals from the spacecraft — its last scientific gifts to Earth — came to an abrupt halt. The radio waves went flat, and the spacecraft fell silent.

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Massive black hole discovered near heart of the Milky Way

Black hole found at center of Milky WayAn enormous black hole one hundred thousand times more massive than the sun has been found hiding in a toxic gas cloud wafting around near the heart of the Milky Way.

If the discovery is confirmed, the invisible behemoth will rank as the second largest black hole ever seen in the Milky Way after the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* that is anchored at the very centre of the galaxy.

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