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Troublesome Boat Forces Orbital to Scrub Rocket Launch

Orbital Sciences postponed its planned launch of the Cygnus cargo ship toward the International Space Station on Monday due to a boat in the waters near the Virginia launch pad.

"Tonight's launch of the Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus cargo craft has been scrubbed," a NASA commentator said on the U.S. space agency's live broadcast.

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Australian Scientists Say Plan Won't Save Great Barrier Reef

Australian government plans to protect the Great Barrier Reef are inadequate, short-sighted and will not prevent its decline, the country's pre-eminent grouping of natural scientists said Tuesday.

The draft plan, released for consultation last month, was supposed to allay concerns by the United Nations about the reef's health after UNESCO threatened to put it on the World Heritage "in danger" list.

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Japan Arrests Chinese Fishing Boat Skipper over Coral Poaching

Japan's coastguard said it arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain Monday on suspicion of coral poaching after a high seas chase in the country's exclusive economic zone.

The boat, the Zheling Yuyun 622, fled after ignoring an order by a Japanese patrol ship to land off one of the Ogasawara islands, some 1,000 kilometers (630 miles) south of Tokyo, according to Japan's coastguard.

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Report: China to Build Antarctic Airfield

China is to build its own airfield in Antarctica, media reported Monday, as Beijing continues to expand its footprint in the most remote corners of the globe.

The airstrip will be built to assist China's four research stations on the frozen continent, the Beijing Evening News said, without giving details such as runway length or capacity.

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Delhi Chokes on Toxic Smog after Festival of Lights

Thick smoke hung over New Delhi this week as millions of Indians lit firecrackers to mark the Diwali festival, but calls for a boycott highlighted growing concerns over air quality in one of the world's most polluted cities.

Pollution in the Indian capital reached "severe" levels on Friday, the day after Diwali, according to a new air quality index launched earlier this month as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Clean India" mission.

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Report: China Tycoon Reveals Foray into Space

A mysterious Chinese tycoon who plans to dig a $40 billion canal linking the Caribbean and the Pacific is spreading his reach into space with ambitions for a network of satellites, reports said Monday.

Wang Jing, who won a 50-year concession to build and operate the canal from Nicaragua last year, announced that one of his companies launched a test orbiter last month.

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Europe Postpones Launch of First 'Space Plane'

Europe said Friday it was postponing the launch next month of its first-ever "space plane" to give scientists time to finetune the mission's flight plan.

Dubbed the IXV, for Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, the plane had been scheduled for launch on November 18 by a Vega light rocket from Kourou, French Guiana.

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Spain Defends Canaries Oil Drilling Plan

Spain on Friday launched a legal challenge to defend plans to explore for oil and gas off the Canary Islands, a popular tourist destination.

Authorities in the Canaries oppose the government-backed plan by oil giant Repsol to prospect under the seabed near the Spanish Atlantic archipelago and have said they will let locals vote on the plan on November 23.

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Lava Creeps Toward Road on Hawaii's Big Island

A growing lava stream threatening homes and inching closer to a rural road on Hawaii's Big Island oozed forward in fits and starts this week, frustrating some residents but giving officials a window of time to prepare.

The narrow, leading edge of the lava flow is now just 250 yards from the one-lane country road, which has been closed. Crews are working on an alternate route for remote communities in the Puna district in case the lava crosses a major thoroughfare.

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Eight Months on 'Hawaiian Mars' Tests Rigors of Exploration

Six people have sealed themselves inside a white vinyl dome in Hawaii to embark on an eight-month test of how their mental health might fare during a mission to Mars.

The NASA-funded project, the longest US Mars simulation yet, involves three men and three women who have no access to fresh food and limited access to Internet that requires 20-minute intervals between click and response, as it might be in deep space.

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