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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: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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