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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

SpaceX Dragon Splashdown 'Like Seeing Your Kid Come Home'

The privately launched SpaceX Dragon supply ship returned to Earth last week, ending a revolutionary nine-day voyage to the International Space Station with an old-fashioned splashdown in the Pacific. The unmanned capsule parachuted into the ocean about 500 miles off Mexico's Baja California.

In other space news, astronomers have developed a new technique for calculating the masses and ages of old stars based on the masses of the white dwarfs they have become.

The Guardian recounted how the transit of Venus in the 18th century allowed astronomers to measure accurately the size of the solar system for the first time.

And two Colorado companies are working to create a less-costly vehicle to send into the stratosphere. StarLight--a two-stage system with a planelike vehicle suspended below a massive gas-filled balloon--could be the answer to a longtime challenge.


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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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