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Thursday, Oct 30th

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Probe sweeps past 'space peanut'

Probe sweeps past 'space peanut'Nasa's Deep Impact probe has flown by Comet Hartley 2. The first pictures revealed a roughly 1.5km-long, peanut-shaped object with jets of gas streaming from its surface. The pass, which occurred about 23 million km from Earth, was only the fifth time a spacecraft had made a close approach to a comet.

Nasa said it would take many hours to retrieve all of the data recorded by Deep Impact's two visible-light imagers and one infrared sensor. But the initial pictures to get to ground gave a fascinating view of the comet's icy body, or nucleus.

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Dream recording device 'possible' researcher claims

Dream recording device possibleA US researcher says he plans to electronically record and interpret dreams. Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say they have developed a system capable of recording higher level brain activity.

"We would like to read people's dreams," says the lead scientist Dr Moran Cerf. The aim is not to interlope, but to extend our understanding of how and why people dream. For centuries, people have been fascinated by dreams and what they might mean. In Ancient Egypt they were thought to be messages from God.

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New Amazon species discovered every 3 days for a decade

New Amazon speciesScientists searching the Amazon have discovered new species — creatures such as a baldheaded parrot, a blue-fanged tarantula and a bright red catfish — at the rate of about one every three days for the past 10 years, the World Wildlife Fund reported Monday.

"What we say now, and we're very conservative, is one in 10 known species is found in the Amazon," said Meg Symington, a tropical ecologist and the fund's managing director for the Amazon. "We think when all the counting is done, the Amazon could account for up to 30 percent of the species on Earth."

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Moon's water is useful resource, says Nasa

Moon's water is useful resource, says NasaThere are oases of water-rich soil that could sustain astronauts on the Moon, according to Nasa. Scientists studied the full results of an experiment that smashed a rocket and a probe into a lunar crater last year. The impacts kicked up large amounts of rock and dust, revealing a suite of fascinating chemical compounds and far more water than anyone had imagined.

A Nasa-led team tells Science magazine that about 155kg of water vapour and water-ice were blown out of the crater. The researchers' analysis suggests some areas of lunar regolith, or soil, must contain as much as 5% by weight of water-ice.

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CERN scientists eye parallel universe breakthrough

Parallel universe evidence eyedPhysicists probing the origins of the cosmos hope that next year they will turn up the first proofs of the existence of concepts long dear to science-fiction writers such as hidden worlds and extra dimensions. And as their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva moves into high gear, they are talking increasingly of the "New Physics" on the horizon that could totally change current views of the universe and how it works.

"Parallel universes, unknown forms of matter, extra dimensions... These are not the stuff of cheap science fiction but very concrete physics theories that scientists are trying to confirm with the LHC and other experiments."

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Swiss Complete World’s Longest Tunnel

World's longest tunnelSwiss engineers drilling the world's longest tunnel broke through the last section of rock on Friday, crowning over a decade of work.

The 57.1-km (35.5-mile) rail tunnel under the Gotthard massif will enter service in 2017, taking some of the strain of the tens of thousands of tonnes of freight that cross the Alps on heavy goods trucks by road every day.

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Rinderpest virus has been wiped out, scientists say

Rinderpest virus has been wiped outScientists working for the UN say that they have eradicated a virus which can be deadly to cattle. If confirmed, rinderpest would become only the second viral disease - after smallpox - to have been eliminated by humans.

Rinderpest was once prevalent in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that it will now suspend its efforts to track and eliminate the virus.

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