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Science

Marriage boosts survival chances of cancer patients, say scientists

‘We speculate that it has to do more with issues related to social support than economics,’ said the study’s lead author. Photograph: Alamy

‘We speculate that it has to do more with issues related to social support than economics,’ said the study’s lead author. Photograph: Alamy Being married boosts the survival chances of cancer patients, according to new research that analysed data from nearly 800,000 people. While the research backs up a number of studies that have previously […]

‘Welcome to Jupiter’: Nasa mission puts Juno in orbit after five-year journey

An aurora at Jupiter’s north pole glows a luminous blue. Photograph Credit: NASA/ESA/PA

Arrival of the spacecraft prompted shouts of joy at Nasa’s jet propulsion lab, where scientists had been watching Juno’s progress with bated breath The manoeuvre was extremely complex, with the craft first having to slow down and then turn off its engines to enter Jupiter’s orbit at exactly the right moment. “Juno, welcome to Jupiter,” […]

Nasa hits problems with world’s first inflatable room for astronauts

A new experimental room at the International Space Station partially inflates on Thursday. Photograph: AP

A new experimental room at the International Space Station partially inflates on Thursday. Photograph: AP Nasa hit a snag while releasing air into an experimental inflatable room at the International Space Station on Thursday and put everything on hold for at least a day. Mission Control ordered astronaut Jeffrey Williams to call it quits after […]

Mystery of Ceres’s bright spots deepens as new data is analysed

An artist’s impression of Ceres’s bright spots based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft. Photograph: L. Calcada/AFP/Getty Images

An artist’s impression of Ceres’s bright spots based on a detailed map of the surface compiled from images taken from Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft. Photograph: L. Calcada/AFP/Getty Images The mystery of Ceres’s bright spots has deepened, scientists reveal. A dwarf planet measuring 950 km in diameter, Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt – […]

Exercise alone won’t cause weight loss, study shows

Exercise alone is not enough to lose weight because our bodies reach a plateau where working out more does not necessarily burn extra calories, researchers have found. The team are the latest to challenge obesity prevention strategies that recommend increasing daily physical activity as a way to shed the pounds. In a study, published in […]

High cocaine doses ‘can cause brain to eat itself’

here were clear signs of autophagy-induced cell death in the brains of mice given high doses of cocaine. Photograph: OJO Images/Alamy

There were clear signs of autophagy-induced cell death in the brains of mice given high doses of cocaine. Photograph: OJO Images/Alamy High doses of cocaine can cause the brain to eat itself, research suggests. A study of mice found that the drug can trigger out-of-control “autophagy”, a process by which cells digest themselves. When it […]

Giant comets could pose danger to life on Earth

Because they are so distant from the Earth, Centaurs appear as pinpricks of light in even the largest telescopes. Saturn's 200-km moon Phoebe, depicted in this image, seems likely to be a Centaur that was captured by that planet's gravity at some time in the past. Until spacecraft are sent to visit other Centaurs, our best idea of what they look like comes from images like this one, obtained by the Cassini space probe orbiting Saturn. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, having flown past Pluto six months ago, has been targeted to conduct an approach to a 45-km wide trans-Neptunian object at the end of 2018. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A team of astronomers from Armagh Observatory and the University of Buckingham report that the discovery of hundreds of giant comets in the outer planetary system over the last two decades means that these objects pose a much greater hazard to life than asteroids. The team, made up of Professors Bill Napier and Duncan Steel […]

‘Bones’ in Milky Way could help map galactic structure

BARING BONES: One of six bone candidates, seen silhouetted in this Spitzer Space Telescope image, lies about 11,000 light-years away; it is roughly 140 light-years long and 0.52 light-years wide. Image: JPL-CALTECH/NASA

Gas tendrils trace location of spiral arms, study finds A galactic skeleton of dark interstellar gas tendrils might help map the scaffolding of our galaxy, a new study suggests. Six of these “bones,” each hundreds of light-years long and a fraction of a light-year wide, appear to lie along nearby spiral arms of gas and […]

Human-Neanderthal relationships may be at root of modern allergies

The genes are thought to have spread through modern humans when small groups of pioneers who left Africa met and had sex with Neanderthals already long at home in Eurasia. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The genes are thought to have spread through modern humans when small groups of pioneers who left Africa met and had sex with Neanderthals already long at home in Eurasia. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Passionate encounters between ancient humans and their burly cousins, theNeanderthals, may have left modern people more prone to sneezes, itches and other […]

As suicide rates rise, researchers separate thoughts from actions

OVER THE EDGE: There’s a wide chasm between contemplating suicide and taking action to end one’s life. Researchers are getting a clearer sense of the factors involved and are helping military personnel at greatest risk. Image - LISE GAGNE/GETTY IMAGES

Better understanding of risk factors could help those contemplating taking their own lives Craig Bryan treats military personnel who struggle with thoughts of ending their own lives, as well as those who’ve survived an actual suicide attempt. But these days he’s fighting an uphill battle. Suicide rates in the United States have been rising, especially […]

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