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Thursday, Apr 24th

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Smallest planet yet found outside solar system

smallest planet discoverdAstronomers searching for planets outside our solar system have discovered the tiniest one yet - one that's about the size of our moon.

But hunters for life in the universe will need to poke elsewhere. The new world orbits too close to its sun-like star and is too sizzling to support life. Its surface temperature is an estimated 700 degrees Fahrenheit. It also lacks an atmosphere and water on its rocky surface.

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Meteorite fragments injure 700 in Siberia

meteoriteA hail of meteorite fragments landed in a vast swath of western Siberia Friday, causing injuries to more than 700 people, emergency officials in Russia said.

The fragments came down after a boom felt in three regions of Russia and neighboring Kazakhstan, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported. Gas supplies were cut off to hundreds of homes in the Chelyabinsk region as a safety precaution and about 20,000 emergency response workers were called out.

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New Study Offers Proof: Asteroid Wiped Out Dinos

Dinosaur destructionThe idea that a cosmic impact ended the age of dinosaurs in what is now Mexico now has fresh new support, researchers say.

The most recent and most familiar mass extinction is the one that finished the reign of the dinosaurs — the end-Cretaceous or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, often known as K-T. The only survivors among the dinosaurs are the birds.

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Nearest Earth-like planet 'in our own back yard'

Earth like planetThe nearest Earthlike planets could be just 13 light-years away, putting them in our cosmic "back yard", astronomers have claimed.

Six per cent of red dwarfs, the most common stars in our galaxy, have Earth-sized planets which could be habitable, according to data from Nasa's Kepler space telescope. On this basis, experts from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics calculated that the closest Earthlike world is probably as close as 13 light-years to Earth.

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Obama honors scientists, researchers at White House

Scientists honoredPresident Barack Obama honored 23 scientists Friday at the White House.

“This is the most collection of brainpower we’ve had under this roof in a long time,” Obama said to laughter from the honorees and guests in the East Room, “maybe since the last time we gave out these medals.”

Each researcher received either the National Medal of Science or the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, called the nation’s highest honor for research and discovery.

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Scientists infuse 'life' into inanimate compounds

blue violet light

Scientists have infused "life" into inanimate chemical compounds by flashing a blue-violet light that prompted them to assemble themselves into a crystal.

The feat, described in a study published online Thursday by the journal Science, marks an important step toward creating "active" materials that can repair themselves, such as a smartphone screen that fixes its own cracks or a Kevlar vest that fills a hole made by a bullet, experts said.

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Black hole collision may have irradiated Earth in eighth century

Earth irradiated in 8th centuryA study last year found unusually high levels of the isotope carbon-14 in ancient rings of Japanese cedar trees and a corresponding spike in beryllium-10 in Antarctic ice.

The readings were traced back to a point in AD 774 or 775, suggesting that during that period the Earth was hit by an intense burst of radiation, but researchers were initially unable to determine its cause.

Now a separate team of astronomers have suggested it could have been due to the collision of two compact stellar remnants such as black holes, neutron stars or white dwarfs.

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