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AP Science NewsBrief at 7:34 p.m. EDT
[September 09, 2008]

AP Science NewsBrief at 7:34 p.m. EDT

(AP Online Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Scientists in Switzerland to do the monster smashGENEVA (AP) _ Scientists will launch an experiment in a tunnel deep beneath the French-Swiss border Wednesday, hoping to find evidence of extra dimensions, invisible "dark matter," and an elusive particle called the "Higgs boson." And although leading physicists such as Stephen Hawking say the atom-smashing experiment will be absolutely safe, some skeptics fear the proton collisions could unleash microscopic black holes that would eventually doom the Earth.

Cold water rings dinner bell for West Coast salmonA federal oceanographer says a flip-flop in atmospheric conditions is creating a feast for salmon and other sea life off the West Coast, reversing a trend that contributed to a virtual shutdown of West Coast salmon fishing this summer. Bill Peterson of NOAA Fisheries in Newport said Tuesday the change in cycle of an atmospheric condition known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation last fall has brought cold water flows from the Gulf of Alaska, which are carrying an abundance of tiny animals known as copepods that are the foundation of the food chain.

Hubble shuttle flight faces higher space junk riskCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ Next month's shuttle flight to the Hubble Space Telescope faces an increased risk of a destructive hit by space junk because it will be in a higher, more littered orbit than usual, NASA said Monday. Managers at NASA's highest levels will need to sign off on the mission because of the increased risk. New number-crunching puts the odds of a catastrophic strike by orbital debris including bits of space junk at about 1-in-185 during Atlantis' upcoming mission to Hubble. That compares to 1-in-300 odds for a shuttle flight to the international space station, shuttle program director John Shannon said Monday.

Malaria researcher among Heinz Award winnersPITTSBURGH (AP) _ A molecular biologist who is searching for a cure for malaria is among five people being named Heinz Award winners on Tuesday. The annual $250,000 prize is given to people who make notable contributions in the arts and humanities; the environment; the human condition; public policy; and technology, the economy and employment.

CERN fires up new atom smasher to near Big BangGENEVA (AP) _ It has been called an Alice in Wonderland investigation into the makeup of the universe _ or dangerous tampering with nature that could spell doomsday. Whatever the case, the most powerful atom-smasher ever built comes online Wednesday, eagerly anticipated by scientists worldwide who have awaited this moment for two decades.

China to launch space mission in late SeptemberBEIJING (AP) _ China will launch its third manned space mission in late September, featuring its first-ever space walk, a state news agency said. The Shenzhou 7 launch is to take place between Sept. 25 and 30, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Saturday.

High-resolution satellite launched in CaliforniaVANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) _ A super-sharp Earth-imaging satellite that can detail an area the size of a baseball diamond's home plate from space has been launched into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Central California coast. A Delta 2 rocket carrying the GeoEye-1 satellite lifted off at 11:50 a.m. Saturday. Video on the GeoEye Web site showed the satellite separating from the rocket moments later on its way to an eventual polar orbit.

Spacecraft flies by remote asteroid, camera stopsDARMSTADT, Germany (AP) _ The European deep space probe Rosetta successfully completed a flyby of an asteroid millions of miles from earth, but its high resolution camera stopped shortly before the closest pass, space officials said Saturday. Rosetta caught up with the Steins asteroid, also known as Asteroid 2867, just after 8:45 p.m. (1845 GMT) Friday in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The probe came within 500 miles (805 kilometers) of the asteroid _ which turned out to be slightly larger than scientists expected.

Cassini detects partial rings with Saturn's moonsPASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ The latest images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft show faint, partial rings orbiting with two of Saturn's small inner moons, scientists said Friday. Cassini detected a partial ring, or arch, orbiting with Anthe for the first time, and confirmed the presence of another arch near Methone, scientists said.

Oldest gorilla in captivity dies in Dallas at 55DALLAS (AP) _ The oldest gorilla in captivity, a 55-year-old female named Jenny, has died at the Dallas Zoo _ her home for more than half a century, a spokesman said Friday. Zoo officials decided to euthanize Jenny on Thursday night because of an inoperable tumor in her stomach. Jenny had stopped eating and drinking recently, and tests showed she was unlikely to recover, zoo spokesman Sean Greene said.

Copyright ? 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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