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Science Ticker

Dawn spacecraft on final approach to Ceres

Dawn spacecraft

The Dawn spacecraft, shown firing its ion propulsion engine in this artist’s illustration, is scheduled to begin orbiting th­­e dwarf planet Ceres on March 6.

Sponsor Message

The finish line is in sight for the Dawn mission. After 7 1/2 years in space, including a 14-month stop at the asteroid Vesta, the spacecraft is about to pull up alongside the dwarf planet Ceres.

Around 7:20 a.m. Eastern time on March 6, Ceres’ gravity will take hold and start to pull the spacecraft in. The probe will not take any pictures because it’s approaching the dwarf planet from the night side. In six weeks, Dawn will enter a closer orbit and begin its 14-month mission to map Ceres, looking for clues about the birth of the solar system.

Astronomy,, Cosmology

Hubble telescope sees quadruple

By Christopher Crockett 2:00pm, March 5, 2015
A galaxy bends light to create four images of the same supernova.
Health,, Evolution

Arsenic spurs adaptation in Argentinian villagers

By Bethany Brookshire 8:00am, March 5, 2015
The people of San Antonio de los Cobres, Argentina, have genetic adaptations that may help them efficiently get rid of arsenic, a new study shows.
Animals,, Biophysics

How pigeons bob and weave through obstacles

By Helen Thompson 3:52pm, March 3, 2015
When navigating an obstacle course, pigeons weigh energy efficiency against the danger of collision, research finds.
Health

Despite risks, vaccine delay requests are common

By Nathan Seppa 4:47pm, March 2, 2015
A survey of pediatricians and family doctors finds parents frequently put off vaccines for babies even though doctors warn it can place the children at risk of illness.
Plants,, Climate

Plant growth patterns changing on much of Earth’s surface

By Kate Baggaley 3:40pm, March 2, 2015
More than half of Earth’s land surface has seen major changes in factors such as leaf-on date and how much vegetation grows in a season.
Evolution,, Microbiology

Superfast evolution observed in soil bacteria

By Helen Thompson 9:00am, February 27, 2015
Natural selection resurrects flagella in soil bacteria in just four days.
Health,, Science & Society

CDC panel gives thumbs up to vaccine against nine HPV types

By Nathan Seppa 6:44pm, February 26, 2015
A federal vaccine advisory committee voted February 26 to recommend use of an expanded version of the human papillomavirus shot marketed as Gardasil.
Planetary Science

Mysterious bright spot on Ceres has a partner

By Christopher Crockett 2:45pm, February 26, 2015
A new image from the Dawn spacecraft finds two bright patches within a basin, possibly caused by an ice volcano.
Animals

Some cicadas drum up a beat with the help of their wings

By Allison Bohac 2:00pm, February 25, 2015
By using their wings as drumsticks, so-called “mute” cicadas can make themselves heard.
Computing,, Technology,, Numbers

Artificial intelligence conquers Space Invaders, Pong, Q*bert

By Lila Guterman 1:09pm, February 25, 2015
With a single algorithm, a computer can learn dozens of classic video games, researchers from Google DeepMind in London report.
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