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Tuesday, Nov 25th

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Kepler Telescope Spots 3 New Planets In The 'Goldilocks Zone'

Goldilocks zoneAstronomers have found three planets orbiting far-off stars that are close to Earth-sized and in the "habitable zone": a distance from their suns that makes the planets' surfaces neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.

One of the three planets orbits a star with the prosaic name Kepler-69. "Kepler-69 is a sun-like star," says , a research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute who uses the , which is on a mission to search for Earth-like planets.

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Super-powered battery breakthrough claimed by US team

battery breakthroughA new type of battery has been developed that, its creators say, could revolutionise the way we power consumer electronics and vehicles.

The University of Illinois team says its use of 3D-electrodes allows it to build "microbatteries" that are many times smaller than commercially available options, or the same size and many times more powerful.

It adds they can be recharged 1,000 times faster than competing tech. However, safety issues still remain.

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Smart bracelet protects civil rights and aid workers

smart braceletA hi-tech bracelet could soon be helping civil rights and aid workers at risk of being kidnapped or killed. When triggered, the personal alarm uses phone and sat-nav technology to warn that its wearer is in danger.

Warnings are sent in the form of messages to Facebook and Twitter to rally support and ensure people do not disappear without trace.

The first bracelets are being given out this week and funding is being sought to make many more.

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Strong hints of dark matter detected by space station, physicists say

Dark matterPhysicists announced on Wednesday that they have discovered the most convincing evidence yet of the existence of dark matter – the particles that are thought to make up a quarter of the universe but whose presence has never been confirmed.

Members of an international team gathered at Nasa in Washington and Cern in Switzerland to report their findings, which come from a $2bn particle detector mounted to the International Space Station.

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World's lightest material created

Lightest materialChinese scientists say they have developed the world's lightest material, lighter than air, which could play an important role in tackling pollution.

The material dubbed graphene aerogel or carbon aerogel, developed at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, weighs just 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, a sixth that of air, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

The material, derived from a gel with the liquid component replaced by a gas, is easy to manufacture and has strong oil-absorption properties, its developer says.

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Telescope that eyes Big Bang’s afterglow shows universe is 80 million years older than thought

Big BangNew results from looking at the split-second after the Big Bang indicate the universe is 80 million years older than previously thought and provide ancient evidence supporting core concepts about the cosmos — how it began, what it’s made of and where it’s going.

The findings released Thursday bolster a key theory called inflation, which says the universe burst from subatomic size to its now-observable expanse in a fraction of a second. The new observations from the European Space Agency’s $900 million Planck space probe appear to reinforce some predictions made decades ago solely on the basis of mathematical concepts.

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Voyager craft 'exits' solar system

VoyagerThe Voyager-1 probe has left the Solar System, according to some scientists. If confirmed, it would be the first man-made object to do so. Launched in September 1977, the probe was sent initially to study the outer planets, but then just kept on going.

Researchers who have studied its data indicate it has now entered a realm of space beyond the influence of our Sun. But the US space agency (Nasa) says there is still some doubt about this.

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