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Ariane rocket suffers rare launch anomaly

Ariane rocket suffers rare launch anomaly

Science
Europe's normally highly dependable rocket, the Ariane 5, experienced an anomaly during its latest launch.Telemetry from the vehicle was lost about nine minutes into its flight from French Guiana, shortly after its upper-stage began the final push for orbit.Uncertainty then followed as controllers tried to determine the status of Ariane and the satellites it was carrying.Eventually, though, radio signals from the spacecraft were picked up.It seems the rocket did do its job - but beyond the sight of controllers on the ground.However, it is also clear the Ariane 5 left the satellites in a less than perfect orbit.Arianespace, the company that operates the rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, issued a statement explaining that a tracking station located in Natal, Brazil, failed t...
Fossil found in Israel suggests Homo sapiens left Africa 180,000 years ago

Fossil found in Israel suggests Homo sapiens left Africa 180,000 years ago

Science
Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Scientists believe an ancient human jawbone found in Israel belonged to a Homo sapien. The fossil, dated between 177,000 and 194,000 years old, suggests humans left Africa 50,000 years earlier than previously thought.Last year, scientists found a 300,000-year-old Homo sapien fossil in Morocco. Previously, scientists thought Homo sapiens first emerged 200,000 years ago in East Africa.Until recently, scientists thought modern humans left Africa in a mass exodus around 60,000 years ago, spreading out across Eurasia. Over the last decade, scientists have uncovered evidence that suggests the mass exodus was preceded by earlier, smaller migrations out of Africa, some as far back as 120,000 years ago.The latest discovery -- detailed this week in the journal Science Advances -- pu...
How to escape from a lion or cheetah – the science

How to escape from a lion or cheetah – the science

Science
The antelope can never out-run the cheetah, but it can survive the chase if it twists and turns sharply at the last minute.That's the finding of a study that tracks the dance of death between the fastest land animal and its prey.Researchers have been analysing how zebra and antelope escape from lions and cheetahs on the African savannah.They say hunting at lower speed favours prey, as it offers them the best chance of out-manoeuvring the predator."In the final stages of a hunt, it isn't about high speed," said Alan Wilson of the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK."If the prey tries to run away at speed, it is a very bad move because the predator is faster and can accelerate more quickly, so that plays into the predator's hands. "The optimum tactics of the prey is to run rel...
First monkey clones created in Chinese laboratory

First monkey clones created in Chinese laboratory

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceTwo monkeys have been cloned using the technique that produced Dolly the sheep.Identical long-tailed macaques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were born several weeks ago at a laboratory in China.Scientists say populations of monkeys that are genetically identical will be useful for research into human diseases.But critics say the work raises ethical concerns by bringing the world closer to human cloning.Qiang Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience said the cloned monkeys will be useful as a model for studying diseases with a genetic basis, including some cancers, metabolic and immune disorders."There are a lot of questions about primate biology that can be studied by having this additional model," he said. Zhong Zhong was born e...
Global models offer new insights into Great Lakes mercury pollution

Global models offer new insights into Great Lakes mercury pollution

Science
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community living on Michigan's Upper Peninsula have a fairly simple question: when is it safe to eat the fish they catch?To help fish-eaters better estimate their risk of exposure, researchers at Michigan Technological University have developed a model designed to measure the impact of local mitigation efforts, socioeconomic pressures, ecological systems, climate change, land use and other variables on local levels of mercury.Mercury is an atmosphere-surface exchangeable pollutant, a group of invisible, tasteless contaminants that move efficiently throughout the natural environment."We're taking phenomena that act on a global scale and predicting what they will do," Judith Perlinger, professor of environmental engineering at Michigan Tech...