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US-SCIENCE Summary

Sep 15, 2011, 11:16 p.m.

U.S.-Russian space trio lands safely in Kazakhstan

ALMATY (Reuters) - A Russian Soyuz space capsule with three astronauts on board landed safely in Kazakhstan on Friday, leaving a single three-man crew aboard the International Space Station. U.S. astronaut Ron Garan and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Alexander Samokutyaev, who had manned the station since April, appeared in good health after landing on the Kazakh steppe at 0959 local time (0359 GMT).

Trio of space station crewmembers set for landing

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Three crewmembers left the International Space Station for Earth on Thursday while their replacements remain delayed by an investigation into a Russian launch accident. Former station commander Andrey Borisenko, cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev and U.S. astronaut Ron Garan sealed themselves inside one of two Russian Soyuz capsules parked at the outpost at 5:30 p.m. EDT/(2130 GMT), closing out a five-month mission.

Space probe detects a planet with a double sunset

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When the day ends on planet Kepler-16b there is a double sunset, scientists reported on Thursday in the journal Science. In a scene reminiscent of science fiction, researchers using observations from NASA's Kepler spacecraft have detected a distant planet orbiting two waltzing stars, the first time such a phenomenon has been confirmed.

Arctic ice melts to second-lowest level, says study

(Reuters) - Sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank to its second-smallest extent since modern records began, in keeping with a long-term trend, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on Thursday. The annual sea ice minimum was reached on September 9, the center said on its website http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2011/091511.html in a preliminary finding.

Japan robot to attempt Hawaii triathlon

TOKYO (Reuters) - After scaling the cliff walls of the Grand Canyon and driving the Le Mans racetrack for 24 hours, a tiny Japanese robot is set for a new challenge -- Hawaii's grueling Ironman Triathlon course. Fitted with three different bodies and three rechargeable batteries, the hand-sized "Evolta" from electronics firm Panasonic will swim, bicycle and run its way through one of the world's toughest triathlon routes, the company said on Thursday.

Possible meteor sightings dazzle Arizona and California

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Dozens of people reported observing a dazzling, bright light, or lights, streaking across the sky Wednesday night over Arizona and Southern California in what authorities said were likely meteor sightings. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office fielded more than a dozen such calls on Wednesday, and sheriff's deputies at Deer Valley Airport in north Phoenix reported a sighting themselves, an agency spokesman, Lieutenant Justin Griffin, said.

NASA unveils plan for giant deep space rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA unveiled plans on Wednesday for a mammoth deep-space rocket to carry astronauts to the moon, Mars and other destinations beyond the International Space Station. The rocket project would cost $10 billion through 2017, when the first test flight of the Space Launch System is scheduled to take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Arctic sea ice coverage second lowest on record: report

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