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Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
SpaceX capsule hits glitch after launch for space station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A rocket built by Space Exploration Technologies blasted off on Friday on supply run to the International Space Station, but a thruster problem with the cargo ship threatened to derail the mission. The 157-foot (48-meter) tall Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo ship lifted off at 10:10 a.m. EST from the company's leased launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just south of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
EU aims to prevent astronomically costly crashes in space
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A new EU-wide system to track satellites could help reduce collisions with orbiting space debris, crashes that cost operators millions and could knock out mobile and GPS networks. The system, proposed by the European Union's executive, aims to help monitor dangerous space junk and alert satellite operators to collision risks ahead of time, the European Commission said on Friday.
"Mind melds" move from science fiction to science in rats
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The scientists call it a "brain link," and it is the closest anyone has gotten to a real-life "mind meld": the thoughts of a rat romping around a lab in Brazil were captured by electronic sensors and sent via Internet to the brain of a rat in the United States. The result: the second rat received the thoughts of the first, mimicking its behavior, researchers reported on Thursday in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group.
Canada to fund non-nuclear sources for medical isotopes
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada expects to be able to make enough medical isotopes through non-nuclear methods by 2016 to replace those now produced by an aging reactor and better assure an uninterrupted supply for medical imaging, a government minister said on Thursday. To that end, the federal government will fund three research institutes developing cyclotron and linear accelerator technologies for production of isotopes on a commercial scale, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said.
Veteran explorer stakes Russia's claim over the Arctic
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian polar explorer Artur Chilingarov made his name in the Soviet Union with a daring rescue of an ice-bound ship, then won international fame for planting Russia's flag under the ice cap, angering governments with rival claims over the Arctic. Now at the age of 73, rather than folding away his maps, he is spearheading President Vladimir Putin's diplomatic push to secure more of the mineral-rich region.
China's next manned space mission to launch this summer
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's next manned space mission will launch sometime between June and August, carrying three astronauts to an experimental space module, state media said on Thursday, the latest part of an ambitious plan to build a space station. The Shenzhou 10 and its crew will launch from a remote site in the Gobi desert and then link up with the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1 module, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Analysis: Emerging deadly virus demands swift sleuth work
LONDON (Reuters) - The emergence of a deadly virus previously unseen in humans that has already killed half those known to be infected requires speedy scientific detective work to figure out its potential. Experts in virology and infectious diseases say that while they already have unprecedented detail about the genetics and capabilities of the novel coronavirus, or NCoV, what worries them more is what they don't know.
Crick's letter about DNA discovery to be sold at auction
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A letter by Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, outlining the Nobel Prize-winning achievement to his young son is expected to fetch as much as $2 million when it is sold at auction in April, Christie's said on Tuesday. Crick and James Watson unraveled the double-helix structure and function of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) while working together in Cambridge, England, in 1953. They received the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1962 for their ground-breaking work.
Seals take scientists to Antarctic's ocean floor
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Elephant seals wearing head sensors and swimming deep beneath Antarctic ice have helped scientists better understand how the ocean's coldest, deepest waters are formed, providing vital clues to understanding its role in the world's climate. The tagged seals, along with sophisticated satellite data and moorings in ocean canyons, all played a role in providing data from the extreme Antarctic environment, where observations are very rare and ships could not go, said researchers at the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystem CRC in Tasmania.
White House directs open access for government research
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has moved to make the results of federally funded research available to the public for free within a year, bowing to public pressure for unfettered access to scholarly articles and other materials produced at taxpayers' expense. "Americans should have easy access to the results of research they help support," John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote on the White House website.