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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Kepler Telescope Studies Superflares

The Kepler space telescope has provided fresh insight on the colossal explosions that can afflict some stars. These enormous releases of magnetic energy--known as superflares--could damage the atmosphere of a nearby orbiting planet, putting at risk any lifeforms that might reside there.

Astronomers are searching for unseen moons around the planets that the Kepler mission's scientists have discovered. Researchers report that in their quest they have unexpectedly detected a hidden planet--and probably two--by using a technique that promises to aid the search for smaller planets much like Earth.

Researchers have now solidified Vesta's reputation as an archetype for understanding planetary evolution. Dawn, which began orbiting Vesta last July and lowered itself to within 200 kilometres of the asteroid over the following months, has gathered strong evidence that Vesta is indeed the source of the 'Vestoid' family of asteroids as well as the howardite-eucrite-diogenite meteorite family, which accounts for 6% of meteorites.

One of the least expected successes in London's West End last week was Stella by the Take the Space theatre company. The show was about female astronomers--notably the tiny, forgotten, angry Caroline Herschel.


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PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events

Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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