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Science


Threat Of Orbiting Space ‘Junk’ Studied

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A problem of space debris orbiting Earth, and potentially threatening astronauts and satellites, has inspired various schemes to deal with it, officials said. They range from a $1 billion U.S. Air Force so-called space fence radar tracking system, to a proposed European Space Agency spacecraft that would spray loose rockets […]

Study: Tool Use Came Earlier Than Thought

NEW YORK, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Our early ancestors, Homo erectus, were shaping stone axes in Africa 1.8 million years ago, 300,000 years earlier than previously thought, U.S. researchers say. Homo erectus appeared about 2 million years ago and lived until hitting a possible evolutionary dead-end about 70,000 years ago. Some researchers think Homo erectus […]

Distant Star May Be Oldest Ever Seen

MUNICH, Germany, Aug. 31 (UPI) — European astronomers say they’ve discovered a faint ancient star in the constellation Leo that, given its elemental makeup, “shouldn’t exist.” The star has been found to have the lowest amount of elements heavier than helium of any star yet studied, a mass smaller than that of the sun, and […]

Canadian Oil A Better Option, Chu Says

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) — Regardless of the type of oil, having Canada as a main oil supplier to the United States is much better for energy security, the U.S. energy secretary said. U.S. celebrities, scientists and executives at leading environmental advocacy groups are among the growing number of critics of the planned Keystone XL […]

New Mexico Has New Solar Options

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 1 (UPI) — A solar power facility in New Mexico has started churning out renewable energy for thousands of homes, an energy company announced. NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc., announced its 20-megawatt Roadrunner facility near the New Mexico border with Texas is now operating at full capacity. The facility […]

U.S. Sinks $12 Million Into Biofuels

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Energy announced it was doling out $12 million to support biofuels projects that will work to replace conventional gasoline. Three small-scale projects in Illinois, North Carolina and Wisconsin get federal funding to help commercialize a process that uses heat and other catalysts to convert biomass into […]

Black Death Confirmed As Bubonic Plague

HAMILTON, Ontario, Aug. 30 (UPI) — The Black Death that decimated the population of Europe in the 14th century was definitely caused by bubonic plague, a DNA analysis of medieval bones has shown. While some researchers have suggested the epidemic was in fact caused by a virus such as Ebola, the analysis of DNA from […]

Twin Spacecraft Prepared For Moon Mission

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Aug. 30 (UPI) — NASA says final preparations are under way for a launch of twin satellites intended to study the moon in greater detail than ever before. The space agency’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission is set for a scheduled Sept. 8 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station […]

Britain Had Cool Summer

LONDON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — The summer of 2011 was the coolest in Britain in almost two decades, preliminary figures reported Tuesday by the Meteorological Office showed. The summer was also wetter than usual, The Independent reported. Meteorologists said rainfall from Aug. 1 to Aug. 29 was at 126 percent of normal, while sunshine was […]

Gold Mine Backers Hail Romania President

ROSIA MONTANA, Romania, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Supporters of an effort to build a one of the world’s biggest gold mines in Romania say they’re encouraged by the public backing of President Traian Basescu. A pro-mining industry and trade group said Monday it is thrilled with comments made last week by Basescu, who seemed to […]

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