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Europe Launches Last Resupply Ship to Space Station

An Ariane 5 ES heavy rocket lifted off from South America late Tuesday bearing Europe's fifth and final robot supply ship for the International Space Station (ISS), mission control said.

The rocket rose from the launch pad at the European Space Agency's base in Kourou, French Guiana at 8:47 pm (2347 GMT) with a payload of more than 20 tons, the biggest in ESA's history, it said.

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After Early Troubles, All Go for Milky Way Telescope

A billion-dollar telescope designed to provide the most detailed map yet of the Milky Way is ready to start work after teething problems, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Tuesday.

"Following extensive in-orbit commissioning and several unexpected challenges... Gaia is now ready to begin its science mission," the agency said.

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Japan Wraps Up Pacific Whale Hunt

Japan announced Tuesday that it had wrapped up a whale hunt in the Pacific, the second campaign since the U.N.'s top court ordered Tokyo to halt a separate slaughter in the Antarctic.

The country's fisheries agency said 115 whales were killed during the two-and-a-half month campaign as the whaling fleet returned home. 

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WWF: Tiger Campaign Threatened by Poor Data

Efforts to save the tiger are being undermined by a lack of information about how many of the endangered cats live in the wild, the conservation group WWF said on Tuesday.

In 2010, a "tiger summit" in St. Petersburg, Russia, set the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022, against a baseline population believed at the time to be as few as 3,200.

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NASA Rover Breaks Out-of-this-World Distance Record

The U.S. space agency's Opportunity rover has now clocked more miles on Mars than any man-made vehicle to reach another celestial body, NASA said Monday.

Since arriving on the Red Planet in 2004, the solar-powered robot has journeyed across 25 miles (40 kilometers) of Martian terrain.

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U.S. Exports Help Germany Increase Coal, Pollution

One of Germany's newest coal-fired power plants rises here from the banks of a 100-year-old canal that once shipped coal mined from the Ruhr Valley to the world.

Now the coal comes the other way.

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German Scientist Starts Four-Week Swim down Rhine River

A German chemistry professor started on Monday a grueling four-week solo swim down the Rhine river for the benefit of science and the environment.

Self-confessed "mad professor" Andreas Fath, who set off on his 1,231-kilometer (764-mile) adventure with a splash into Switzerland's Lake Toma, plans to swim through Germany and France to reach the river's mouth at the Dutch port of Rotterdam on August 24.

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World's Largest Solar Boat on Greek Prehistoric Mission

The world's largest solar boat, the catamaran PlanetSolar, will embark on a Greek mission to find one of the oldest sites inhabited by man in Europe, an organizer said Monday.

Starting on August 11, a team of Swiss and Greek scientists will seek a "prehistoric countryside" in the southeastern Peloponnese peninsula, University of Geneva researcher Julien Beck told Agence France Presse.

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Scientists: Fist Bumps more Hygienic than Handshakes

Fist bumps are more hygienic than handshakes and drastically reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases, researchers in Britain have found.

The study discovered that a handshake transfers 10 times as much bacteria as a fist bump, following a series of tests at Aberystwyth University on the west coast of Wales.

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End Dawns for Europe's Space Cargo Delivery Role

Europe will close an important chapter in its space flight history Tuesday, launching the fifth and final robot ship it had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the International Space Station.

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