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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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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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