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Scientists Stunned by Surface of Asteroid Vesta

The first close-up pictures of the massive asteroid Vesta reveal a northern hemisphere littered with craters — including a trio nicknamed "Snowman" — and a smoother southern half, researchers reported Monday.

Running along the asteroid's equator are deep grooves — a surprise to scientists who did not expect to see such features.

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NASA's Juno to Circle Jupiter for 'Planetary Recipe'

The U.S. space agency plans to launch next week a solar-powered spacecraft called Juno that will journey to the gassy planet of Jupiter in search of how the huge, stormy giant was formed.

The $1.1 billion unmanned orbiter is scheduled for launch on August 5 -- the start of a five-year odyssey toward the solar system's most massive planet in the hopes that it will be able to circle Jupiter for a period of a year.

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'Trojan' Asteroid Shares Earth's Orbit

Earth is not alone in its orbit around the Sun - a small 'Trojan' asteroid sits in front of our planet and leads it, according to British science revue Nature, which published the discovery Thursday.

This diminutive asteroid has a diameter of just 300 meters but is called a Trojan because of its particular position in a stable spot either in front of a planet or behind it. Because the asteroid and planet are constantly on the same orbit, they can never collide.

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Analysis Says Famed Fossil isn't a Bird After All

One of the world's most famous fossil creatures, widely considered the earliest known bird, is getting a rude present on the 150th birthday of its discovery: A new analysis suggests it isn't a bird at all.

Chinese scientists are proposing a change to the evolutionary family tree that boots Archaeopteryx off the "bird" branch and onto a closely related branch of birdlike dinosaurs.

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Alaska Scientists Make Squirrels Hibernate

Scientists in Alaska said Tuesday they have figured out how to make squirrels hibernate, a process that could be used to preserve brain function in humans who suffer strokes or heart attacks.

But the technique only worked in squirrels who were awakened by researchers during their hibernation season, not outside normal hibernation times, said the study in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Has Warming Put 'Dirty Dozen' Pollutants Back in The Saddle?

"Dirty Dozen" chemicals, including the notoriously toxic DDT, are being freed from Arctic sea ice and snow through global warming, a study published on Sunday suggested.

The "Dirty Dozen" -- formally known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) -- were widely used as insecticides and pesticides before being outlawed in 2001.

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Hong Kong Scientists Show Time Travel is Impossible

Hong Kong physicists say they have proved that a single photon obeys Einstein's theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light -- demonstrating that outside science fiction, time travel is impossible.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology research team led by Du Shengwang said they had proved that a single photon, or unit of light, "obeys the traffic law of the universe".

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Russian Space Telescope Unfurls Giant Antenna

A giant new Russian space telescope on Saturday unfurled its dish-like antenna which will observe radio waves from galaxies and black holes billions of light years away.

The operation to deploy the 10-meter-diameter antenna of the Spketr-R telescope, which was launched into orbit on Monday, was successfully carried out, space agency Roskosmos said in a statement.

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NASA Says Mars Mountain Will Read Like 'a Great Novel'

The U.S. space agency's unmanned Curiosity rover will explore a mountain on Mars that should read like "a great novel," revealing if signs of life ever existed on the red planet, NASA said Friday.

The landing site for the 2.5 billion dollar Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) was unveiled the day after the 30-year shuttle era ended with the return to Earth of Atlantis after its final mission to the International Space Station.

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China Makes Nuclear Power Breakthrough

China said Friday it had hooked its first so-called "fourth generation" nuclear reactor to the grid, a breakthrough that could eventually reduce its reliance on uranium imports

The experimental fast-neutron reactor is the result of more than 20 years of research and could also help minimize radioactive waste from nuclear energy, the state-run China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) said.

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