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Tuesday, Jun 30th

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Hubble telescope details halo surrounding Andromeda galaxy

AndromedaThe massive halo of gas that surrounds the Andromeda Galaxy, the Milky Way's nearest neighbor, is much larger than previously thought.

New data collected by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope suggest the feature is six times larger and 1,000 times more massive than the last time scientists measured. Hubble's probe of the gaseous halo is offering a chance for researchers to better understand the evolution of spiral galaxies.

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Far out, man: 13.1bn-year-old galaxy is most distant yet seen by humans

13bn year old galaxyA team of astronomers has measured a galaxy farther than any other ever seen by human beings, reporting this week that the ancient star system offers a glimpse of what the universe was like not all that long after the beginning of time.

Astronomers from Yale University and the University of California Santa Cruz announced in the Astrophysical Journal that they had identified a galaxy that formed about 13.1bn years ago, making it the earliest measured galaxy known in the 13.8bn-year history of the universe since the big bang.

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Cosmic rays may damage brains of astronauts

Cosmic raysIt may not be space debris, errant asteroids, supply shortages, thruster malfunctions or even the malevolent aliens envisioned in so many Hollywood films that thwart astronauts on any mission to Mars. It may be the ubiquitous galactic cosmic rays.

Researchers said on Friday long-term exposure to these rays that permeate space may cause dementia-like cognitive impairments in astronauts during any future round-trip Mars journey, expected to take at least 2-1/2 years.

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Unmanned Russian supply craft out of control, plunging to Earth

Unmanned ISS cargo craftAn unmanned Russian spacecraft loaded with supplies for the International Space Station is spinning out of control and may already be plunging toward Earth, according to Russian news reports.

There were conflicting reports on Wednesday as to whether Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, had given up trying to save the craft, which is carrying 2.5 tons of food, fuel and other supplies.

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'Bizarre' Jurassic dinosaur discovered in remarkable new find

Jurassic dinosaur findFossil hunters in Chile have unearthed the remains of a bizarre Jurassic dinosaur that combined a curious mixture of features from different prehistoric animals.

The evolutionary muddle of a beast grew to the size of a small horse and was the most abundant animal to be found 145 million years ago, in what is now the Aysén region of Patagonia.

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25 years later: Who got the Hubble telescope off the ground?

Hubble Space TelescopeOn the 25-year anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, Space.com talked with science writer Robert Zimmerman, author of "The Universe in a Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built it" (Princeton University Press, 2008)

Zimmerman's book chronicles the multidecade struggle to get Hubble into space, the people who fought to keep it alive (often at the expense of their own careers and personal lives), and the incredible science it has produced. You can read an excerpt of "Universe in a Mirror" here.

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Scientists genetically modify human embryos in controversial world first

Genetically modified embryoScientists in China have genetically modified human embryos in a world first that has re-ignited the debate over the ethics and safety of genetic therapies that have the potential to prevent inherited diseases.

The work raises fresh questions over whether restrictions should be placed on a new wave of genetic techniques that are rapidly gaining ground in labs across the world.

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