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Tuesday, Oct 23rd

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Mars likely to have enough oxygen to support life: study

Mars likely to have eogh oxygen to sustain life

Salty water just below the surface of Mars could hold enough oxygen to support the kind of microbial life that emerged and flourished on Earth billions of years ago, researchers reported.

In some locations, the amount of oxygen available could even keep alive a primitive, multicellular animal such as a sponge, they reported in the journal Nature Geosciences on Monday.

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Astronaut, cosmonaut safely return after ejecting from failed space launch

NASA: ISS crew ejects from failed launchAn American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut were forced to eject from an aborted launch to the International Space Station early Thursday and make an emergency landing.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were aboard the spacecraft when it launched at 4:40 a.m. EDT on a mission to the station. The duo blasted off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft.

Moments after launch, the two were forced to eject from the spacecraft after they encountered trouble with a booster on the rocket.

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1,600 scientists rebuke Cern physicist over gender bias

Alessandro Sturmia rebuked by letter from 1600 physicists

More than 1,600 scientists have backed a campaign condemning the Italian researcher who claimed physics was “invented and built by men”.

They have signed a petition in response to comments made by Prof Alessandro Strumia, of Pisa University, who said male scientists were being discriminated against because of ideology.

After making the comments during a presentation at Cern, the European nuclear research centre in Geneva, on 28 September, Strumia was suspended on Monday pending an investigation for his “unacceptable” presentation.

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Searching for 'Planet X,' scientists discover distant object billions of miles beyond Pluto

Planet X foundAt the very edge of our solar system, scientists have discovered a new, extremely distant object billions of miles beyond Pluto.

Even more interesting: The object has an orbit that hints of an even-farther-out “Super-Earth” or larger “Planet X” which could be lurking out there.

The findings were announced Tuesday by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center.

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Physics Nobel goes to 3 laser scientists for tools made of light

Physics Nobel prize

The Nobel Prize in Physics will be shared by Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland for their work in the field of laser physics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced.

One half of the 9m Swedish kronor (about $1.01m) award goes to Ashkin, while Mourou and Strickland will share the other half for their "ground-breaking inventions in the field of laser physics," the Academy said on its website on Tuesday.

US citizen Ashkin, 96, received the award "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems", which enables radiation pressure of light to move physical objects, "an old dream of science fiction".

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Monsanto's global weedkiller harms honeybees, research finds

Monsanto weedkiller kills bees

The world’s most used weedkiller damages the beneficial bacteria in the guts of honeybees and makes them more prone to deadly infections, new research has found.

Previous studies have shown that pesticides such as neonicotinoids cause harm to bees, whose pollination is vital to about three-quarters of all food crops. Glyphosate, manufactured by Monsanto, targets an enzyme only found in plants and bacteria.

However, the new study shows that glyphosate damages the microbiota that honeybees need to grow and to fight off pathogens. The findings show glyphosate, the most used agricultural chemical ever, may be contributing to the global decline in bees, along with the loss of habitat.

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558-million-year-old fat molecule reveals world's earliest animal

558m year old molecule foundScientists have discovered a fat molecule preserved in a 558-million-year-old fossil.

According to a new paper published this week in the journal Science, the discovery confirms Dickinsonia, a strange blob-like sea creature, as the earliest animal in the geologic record.

Dickinsonia is a member of the Ediacaran biota, a group of primitive organisms with frond-like patterns. The group emerged during the Ediacaran period, which lasted from 635 to 542 million years ago.

Scientists have previously argued whether Ediacaran species were animals. The fat molecule -- a type of cholesterol unique to animals -- found within the Dickinsonia fossil suggests they were.

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