Science & Health

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You would never buy a hundred million-dollar computer without a repair plan, but that's exactly what NASA does when it sends costly satellites into space. To ensure that its prized eyes-in-the-sky don't become the solar system's most expensive e-waste, the space agency is now building a robot capable of repairing and refuelling satellites in orbit.

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During a recent trip to Antarctica, where the 86 year old became the oldest man to reach the south pole, second man to walk on the moon Buzz Aldrin suffered from fluid on his lungs.

Transferred to a hospital in Christchurch, his treatment is being undertaken by a doctor who happens to share a name with another "starman": the late David Bowie.

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It should be obvious to everyone at this point that humans are having an enormous impact on the planet. But how much, exactly, does our collective footprint weigh? It may sound odd, but a new scientific paper is offering an answer to that very question: A staggering 30 trillion tonnes.

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2016 was a difficult year and 2017 doesn't stand to get any better, so here's the bad news — the ghost spiders have flown over to a remote island, evolving into new species scientists were previously unaware of. In order to fly, spiders use a technique called ballooning, turning their silk into a sort of kite that takes them long distances. National Geographic reports that a new study finds that ghost spiders — named for their light complexion — ballooned themselves to the famous Robinson Crusoe Island and have since evolved at a rapid pace.

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Trump may never remove that dumb tweet about climate change being a Chinese hoax, but there are signs that the US president-elect is warming up to the notion that maybe — just maybe! — global warming isn't a liberal conspiracy. The latest signal came on Monday, when Trump met with former US presidential candidate and noted climate activist Al Gore to discuss our ever-warming planet. 

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President-elect Donald Trump yesterday named Gen. James Mattis, who also sits on the board of directors at failed biomedical startup Theranos, as his pick for defence secretary. Now the The Washington Post has emails that show General Mattis pushing for Theranos to receive a deal for a military field test from 2012 to 2013, despite the fact that Theranos' devices were far from being FDA approved. Before the company unravelled, it was pushing a vision of breakthrough, low cost medical tools that could analyse blood and do complex analysis quickly and efficiently.

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Norm Nelson is interested in what makes the oceans tick. As a biological oceanographer at UC Santa Barbara, his research draws connections between sunlight and phytoplankton, the tiny green microbes that power the marine carbon cycle. There are plenty of outstanding questions Nelson wants to pursue — but after 30 productive years, his days as a scientist may be numbered.

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When a 5m tall wooden sculpture was installed in the FBI's Miami field office in 2015, the US government thought it was getting a great deal. The General Services Administration (GSA) commissioned the work and estimated that it was "likely worth more than the $750,000 the government paid." But it's currently sitting in storage in Maryland. Why? The sculpture got over a dozen FBI agents seriously sick.