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Get the latest Science news headlines from Yahoo News. Find breaking Science news, including analysis and opinion on top Science stories.

Israel uses military expertise to join commercial space race

A SpacePharma employee works on a miniature laboratory that will carry out experiments in space, in their offices near Tel AvivBy Ari Rabinovitch HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) - Israel is embarking on a five-year mission to stake its claim on a crowded new frontier, the $250 billion a year commercial space market. Using the expertise of a defense industry that created technology such as the "Iron Dome" missile interceptor, Israel plans to move beyond its current focus on spy and military communications satellites into producing civilian devices, some small enough to fit in your hand. "The idea was that we have a well-developed space infrastructure for our defense needs, and without a big financial investment, we can use it to grab a few percentage points of the commercial market as well," said Issac Ben-Israel, chairman of the Israel Space Agency. Ben-Israel hopes the country will capture at least a three percent market share, but it faces competition from global technology giants looking for new markets and industries.

U.S. science probe nears unexplored dwarf planet Ceres

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A NASA science satellite on Friday will wrap up a 7-1/2-year journey to Ceres, an unexplored dwarf planet in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, scientists said on Monday. Ceres, namesake of the Roman goddess of agriculture, is already providing intrigue.

U.S. ends program flagging 'sensitive' patent requests

A little known but controversial program that flagged sensitive patent applications involving potentially touchy subjects such as AIDS vaccines and abortion devices has been scrapped by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The program, called the Sensitive Application Warning System, began in 1994 and was meant to notify the agency's leadership of applications that could generate extensive or unfavorable publicity. "Upon careful consideration, the USPTO has concluded that the SAWS program has only been marginally utilized and provides minimal benefit," the agency said in a notice posted to its website on Monday night. The agency's review of the program, conducted in January, came after attorneys Kate Gaudry and Thomas Franklin at law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton revealed details of the program in December from documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

U.S. satellite likely exploded after temperature spike: Air Force

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A U.S. military weather satellite appears to have exploded while in orbit last month after a sudden temperature spike in its power system, producing 43 pieces of new space debris, the Air Force said on Tuesday. The blast, which was first reported by the industry trade publication Space News, was the second Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft to experience a catastrophic breakup in 11 years. Launched in 1995, the Air Force satellite was serving as an operational spare in the seven-member DMSP network. On Feb. 3, flight controllers observed a sudden temperature spike in the DMSP-F13 satellite's power system and quickly shut down its non-essential systems, but the spacecraft lost the ability to position itself, the Air Force said in a statement.

Harvard prevention trial studies tau, Alzheimer's other protein

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Alzheimer's researchers at Harvard for the first time are scanning the brains of healthy patients for the presence of a hallmark protein called tau, which forms toxic tangles of nerve fibers associated with the fatal disease. The new scans are part of a large clinical trial called Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer's or A4, the first designed to identify and treat patients in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, before memory loss begins. Patients accepted into the A4 trial already have deposits of beta amyloid, the other protein associated with Alzheimer's. The addition of the tau scan will allow scientists to get a much clearer picture of the events that lead to Alzheimer's. The disease affects 5 million Americans, and 16 million are projected to be afflicted by 2050. Dr. Reisa Sperling of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who is leading the 1,000-patient trial, said tau is commonly found in small amounts in healthy people over age 70, but it is generally confined to an area of the brain called the medial temporal lobe.

Cleaner Air Really Does Improve Kids' Lung Health

Tougher air pollution control strategies in California may have resulted in better lung health in children, a new study suggests. Researchers found that children in California experienced improved lung function as levels of air pollution in the state declined between 1994 and 2011. "We saw about a 10-percent improvement" in the amount that children's lung capacity grew over a four-year period, said study researcher Jim Gauderman, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

Sunken Japanese WWII Battleship Located in the Philippines

Sunken Japanese WWII Battleship Located in the PhilippinesMore than 70 years after it sank during World War II, the legendary Japanese battleship Musashi has been discovered off the coast of the Philippines. Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has been leading an expedition to find the Musashi — one of the biggest battleships ever built — aboard his high-tech 414-foot-long (125 meters) yacht, the M/Y Octopus.

Earliest Human Species Possibly Found in Ethiopia

Earliest Human Species Possibly Found in EthiopiaAn ancient jawbone fragment is the oldest human fossil discovered yet, a bone potentially from a new species that reveals the human family may have arose a half million years earlier than previously thought, researchers say. These extinct lineages were members of the genus Homo just as modern humans are. For decades, scientists have been searching Africa for signs of the earliest phases of the human family, during the shift from more apelike Australopithecus species to more human early Homo species. Until now, the earliest credible fossil evidence of the genus Homo was dated to about 2.3 million or 2.4 million years ago.

Gemini Constellation Holds Starry Treats for March Stargazers

Gemini Constellation Holds Starry Treats for March StargazersThe constellation Gemini is currently well placed in the evening sky, just above and to the left of Orion for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. The Gemini constellation is marked by two of the brightest stars in the sky, Castor and Pollux.

How an Ion Drive Helped NASA's Dawn Probe Visit Dwarf Planet Ceres

How an Ion Drive Helped NASA's Dawn Probe Visit Dwarf Planet CeresA NASA probe that takes four days to go from 0 to 60 mph is about to make space exploration history. NASA's Dawn spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, early Friday morning (March 6). If all goes according to plan, Dawn will become the first probe ever to orbit a dwarf planet, as well as the first to circle two celestial bodies beyond the Earth-moon system. The $473 million Dawn mission's unprecedented deep-space feats are enabled by its innovative ion propulsion system, which is about 10 times more efficient than traditional chemical thrusters.

In a Zombie Outbreak, Head for the Rocky Mountains

In a Zombie Outbreak, Head for the Rocky MountainsIn the event of a zombie outbreak, the best way to avoid getting infected is to stay away from populated areas, according to a new study. To figure out the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse, a team of researchers modeled what would happen if an epidemic of the undead were to hit the United States. "We did a full U.S.-scale simulation of 307 million individuals and thousands of outbreaks, to see who ended up infected and who did not," said Alex Alemi, a graduate student in theoretical physics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

UK scientists work out weight of Sophie the Stegosaurus

This undated handout photo issued by the Natural History Museum, shows an artist's impression of how Sophie, the world's most complete Stegosaurus skeleton, may have looked. Scientists at a British museum have worked out the weight of Sophie, one of the world’s most complete Stegosaurus skeletons, it was reported on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. London’s Natural History Museum says Sophie, a young adult when it died, weighed around 1.6 tons and was about the same size as a small rhinoceros. The scientists worked out the dinosaur's body mass after creating a 3D digital version of its skeleton, calculating the volume of flesh around the bones, and comparing the data with information from similar-sized modern animals. (AP Photo/PA, Bob Nicholls/Natural History Museum)LONDON (AP) — Scientists at a British museum have worked out the living weight of Sophie, one of the world's most complete Stegosaurus skeletons.

Image Captures Light's Spooky Dual Nature for 1st Time

Image Captures Light's Spooky Dual Nature for 1st TimeThis strange behavior is a consequence of quantum mechanics, bizarre rules of physics that govern the behavior of subatomic particles. "This experiment demonstrates that, for the first time ever, we can film quantum mechanics — and its paradoxical nature — directly," study co-author Fabrizio Carbone, a researcher at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, said in a statement.

Ceres Science: NASA Probe to Study Dwarf Planet's Bright Spots and More

Ceres Science: NASA Probe to Study Dwarf Planet's Bright Spots and MoreThere's something highly reflective on Ceres twinkling at NASA's Dawn spacecraft, and scientists hope to figure out what it is after the probe arrives at the dwarf planet later this week. The bright-spot mystery is just one question Dawn will tackle after it enters orbit around Ceres at about 7:20 a.m. EST (1220 GMT) on Friday (March 6). "Ceres has really surprised us, and the first images have produced some really puzzling features that have got the team, and I think some other people, really excited," Dawn Deputy Principal Investigator Carol Raymond, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said during a news conference Monday (March 2). The two bright spots are close to each other inside a 57-mile-wide (92 kilometers) crater that sits at about 19 degrees north latitude on Ceres, which is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Global Warming Brought on California's Severe Drought

Global Warming Brought on California's Severe DroughtCalifornia's severe and ongoing drought is just a taste of the dry years to come, thanks to global warming, a new study finds. "California's warming trend is driving an increase in the risk of drought," said study co-author Daniel Swain, a doctoral student in climate science at Stanford University in California. "Warming in California has made it more probable that when a low precipitation year occurs, it occurs in warm conditions and is more likely to produce severe drought," said lead study author Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford.

Curt Michel, Scientist-Astronaut Who Left NASA After Losing the Moon, Dies at 80

Curt Michel, Scientist-Astronaut Who Left NASA After Losing the Moon, Dies at 80Curt Michel, an astrophysicist who was among NASA's first scientist-astronauts but who resigned when it became clear he would not fly to the moon, died on Feb. 23. Curt Michel's death was reported on Friday (Feb. 27) by Rice University in Houston, where served as a faculty member before and after his time with NASA. "Although he retired in 2000 after 37 years at Rice, Michel continued to keep an office on campus, where he pursued his studies of solar winds [and] radio pulsars," stated the university in a press release. Michel was an assistant professor for space science at Rice when he was selected with NASA's fourth group of astronauts in June 1965.

Disney's 'Miles from Tomorrowland': A Space Romp for Kids with Real Science

Disney's 'Miles from Tomorrowland': A Space Romp for Kids with Real ScienceA new animated TV show from Disney Junior is letting the imaginations of young space fans of tomorrow run wild through the universe, and it's even trying to teach them a little space science along the way. "As a young, impressionable person, stories that have good values to them — never give up, that science and technology can help us and make life better … that you can be part of this whole thing — those are really important stories," John Spencer, one of the "Miles" consultants, said. Spencer, the founder of the Space Tourism Society, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Randii Wessen helped the "Miles from Tomorrowland" team craft the show.

Against the Science, Meat Pushes Back into U.S. Diet (Op-Ed)

Dr. Michael Greger is the director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States. Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issue the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," which are intended to encourage individuals to eat a healthful diet. The advisory council's report, just published for the 2015 guidelines, is cause for celebration on many fronts. The nutrition experts who created it seemed to be less susceptible to industry influence, and their report could lead to the most evidence-based dietary guidelines the nation has ever adopted.

Syria's civil war linked partly to drought, global warming

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2014 file photo, Lebanese police inspectors, investigates the site of a deadly car bomb that exploded near a gas station, in the predominately Shiite town of Hermel, about 10 miles from the Syrian border in northeast Lebanon. Global warming worsened record droughts in war-torn Syria and peaceful California, contributing to the unrest that has torn the Middle Eastern country apart, two new studies say. In what scientists say is one of the most detailed and strongest connections between violence and human caused climate change, researchers from Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara trace Syria’s drought to the collapse of farming to the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities to poverty to civil unrest. Syria’s drought started in 2007 and went until at least 2010 _ maybe longer with weather records harder to get in wartime. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla. File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The conflict that has torn Syria apart can be traced, in part, to a record drought worsened by global warming, a new study says.

Using Faulty Forensic Science, Courts Fail the Innocent (Op-Ed)

Karen Kafadar is Commonwealth Professor and chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of Virginia and a member of the Forensic Science Standards Board. Anne-Marie Mazza is the director of the Committee on Science, Technology and Law of the National Academy of Sciences. Historically, forensic science has had a huge impact on identifying and confirming suspects in the courtroom, and on the judicial system more generally. Forensic scientists have been an integral part of the judicial process for more than a century.

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