Oct 3, 2011, 2:55 a.m.

Three share medicine Nobel prize for immune system work

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman won the 2011 Nobel prize for medicine or physiology for increasing understanding of the immune system, the prize-awarding institute said on Monday. "This year's Nobel Laureates have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its facilitation," Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

U.S. closes atom smasher, passes baton to Europe

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The powering down of Fermilab's Tevatron particle accelerator on Friday marked the end of a quarter-century of U.S. dominance in high-energy particle physics. The Tevatron, which accelerates and collides protons and antiprotons in a four-mile-long underground ring, has been replaced by the Large Hadron Collider under the French-Swiss border, which began operating in March 2010.

China successfully launches "Heavenly Palace" space craft

JIUQUAN, China (Reuters) - China successfully launched an experimental craft on Thursday paving the way for its first space station amid a blaze of national pride, bringing the growing Asian power closer to matching the United States and Russia with a long-term manned outpost in space. The Tiangong 1, or "Heavenly Palace," blasted off from a remote site in the Gobi Desert at 9:16 pm (1316 GMT), adding a high-tech sheen to China's National Day celebrations on October 1.

Mercury's close-up shows lava flows and "hollows"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mercury may have a lot in common with Earth, but close-up images and data captured by NASA'S MESSENGER probe this year show it's still a bit of a planetary weirdo. Just like Earth, Mercury has lava flows. But these are deep flows that smoothly cover the small planet's northern polar region, with no Earth-type volcanoes in sight.

Aerosol particles dry out South Asian monsoons: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Summer monsoons that provide up to 80 percent of the water South Asia needs have gotten drier in the past half century, possibly due to aerosol particles spewed by burning fossil fuels, climate scientists said on Thursday. Monsoon rains are driven by looping air circulation patterns over India, and the aerosols appear to have interfered with these patterns, researchers reported in the journal Science.

Doomed satellite landed in Pacific, NASA says

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Debris from a defunct six-ton NASA science satellite that crashed to Earth on Saturday fell harmlessly in a remote area of the South Pacific Ocean, NASA said on Tuesday. Experts estimated that as much as 1,100 pounds (495 kg) of debris survived the bus-sized satellite's fiery plunge through the atmosphere, which started at midnight EDT on Saturday (0400 GMT on Sunday).

North Sea platforms are fish magnets: researcher

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil platforms in the North Sea are attracting more cod and haddock than previously thought and wind farm installations could be designed with reefs in mind to help attract fish. Scientists have long been aware of the "reef effect" whereby artificial structures in the sea act as havens for fish, but a two year study by Aberdeen University academic Toyonobu Fujii has found structures in the sea attract more fish than previously thought.

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