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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Life May Have Begun in Upper Atmosphere

An experiment that simulated chemical reactions in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan suggests that life could have begun in the sky. It was the first experiment to produce amino acids and the nucleotide bases without the need for liquid water, researchers said.

In other space news, astronomers have gotten a rare view of a recent asteroid collision. It was the first time scientists have been able to observe such a collision while it was happening.

Elsewhere, scientists enlisted teenagers to scan thousands of computerized "star plots" in a galactic treasure hunt for pulsars in which two students have hit the jackpot.

And Virgin Galactic's suborbital spaceship Enterprise recently made its first solo test flight. If all continues to go well, it will soon take people on short trips above the atmosphere. The ticket price: $200,000.


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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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