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Astronomers turn up smallest exoplanet yet

Astronomers turn up smallest exoplanet yet

The exoplanet express just keeps on rolling: The European Space Agency (ESA) today announced the discovery of the smallest known planet orbiting a normal star other than the sun.

February 3, 2009 — John Matson
It's raining hydrocarbons on Saturn's mysterious moon

It's raining hydrocarbons on Saturn's mysterious moon

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, has a curious abundance of methane, both in its atmosphere and in massive liquid pools on the surface. As with Mars, the presence of the relatively short-lived compound on Titan raises questions about its origin.

February 3, 2009 — John Matson
Daschle withdraws as HHS secretary nominee

Daschle withdraws as HHS secretary nominee

Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination as health secretary today following growing criticism of his failure to pay more than $120,000 in taxes, according to published reports.

February 3, 2009 — Jordan Lite
Iran launches a satellite into space

Iran launches a satellite into space

Iran says it launched a satellite last night as part of what officials there described as the country’s bid to develop a space program.

The satellite, named Omid, or “hope,” was “successfully sent into orbit” with a Safir 2 (or "ambassador") rocket, according to IRNA, Iran’s official news agency.

February 3, 2009 — Jordan Lite
Farewell, pygmy rabbit? Officials may give up on an endangered species

Farewell, pygmy rabbit? Officials may give up on an endangered species

It may be the end of the road for an endangered species of rabbit. After eight years and several million dollars, federal officials will likely halt a program by the end of this year designed to save the Columbia basin pygmy rabbit from extinction, according to the Associated Press.

February 3, 2009 — Ivan Oransky
Skin check for cancer? You may not need one

Skin check for cancer? You may not need one

Do you obsessively scrutinize your skin for unusual blemishes and visit your doc for an annual whole-body check for cancer? It may not do you any good, a panel of government experts says.

February 2, 2009 — Jordan Lite
A blood test for predicting postpartum depression?

A blood test for predicting postpartum depression?

Identifying women at risk for postpartum depression might be as easy as measuring hormone levels in the blood during pregnancy, suggests a study published today in the Archives of General Psychiatry .

February 2, 2009 — Coco Ballantyne
Darwin 200 years later: Evolution by selection of quotations

Darwin 200 years later: Evolution by selection of quotations

Editor's Note: This post is also appearing at the American Institute for Biological Sciences' Year of Science 2009: Celebrate Evolution. For more on Darwin's 200th birthday, see our January 2009 issue on evolution.

February 2, 2009 — Steve Mirsky

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