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Probing images: Spacecraft to photograph Mercury

Mercury, it's time for your close-up.

NASA's Mercury MESSENGER probe will shoot more than 1,200 photographs Monday as it flies by Mercury on its 4.9-billion-mile (7.9-billion-kilometer) journey that will eventually place it in orbit there 30 months from now.

October 2, 2008 — Jordan Lite

African colonization helped spread HIV and AIDS more than a century ago, study says

Although acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) didn't hit mainstream collective consciousness until the early 1980s, new research out of the University of Arizona in Tucson indicates that the most pervasive global strain of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) began spreading among humans between 1884 and 1924, a finding that suggests growing urbanization in colonial Africa set the stage for the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

October 1, 2008 — Larry Greenemeier

The white stuff: Falling snow spotted above Mars

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, having already uncovered water ice in the soil of the Red Planet's northern polar plains, has now spotted another sight familiar to those of us who dwell in the higher latitude climes back on Earth: falling snow.

September 30, 2008 — John Matson

Nuclear proliferation: Are we moving toward Cold War 2.0?

If you thought the Cold War was over—that long nuclear standoff that shaped the last five decades of the 20th century—think again. Following his American counterpart, and perhaps prompted by new tensions over the war in Georgia and the agreement between the U.S.

September 30, 2008 — David Biello

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