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NASA releases complete image of Pluto's crescent
AstronomyOn Thursday, NASA released the first complete picture of Pluto's crescent from the New Horizons probe. The probe captured the image with its Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) on July 14, fifteen minutes after closest approach to the planet.

After nine years' journey, New Horizons made closest approach to Pluto on July 14 and released the first coloured photo of the dwarf planet's atmospheric haze on October 8. An incomplete crescent photo of Pluto was released in September.

The photo shows different layers of the haze of Pluto's faint atmosphere with Sputnik Planum, an icy plain, visible on the right side and uneven plateaus on the dark left side.
After Mars, NASA announces water ice on Pluto
AstronomyNASA released yesterday the first coloured pictures of Pluto's blue atmosphere and water ice on the surface taken by the space probe New Horizons.

NASA said the haze particles may be grey or red in colour, but the scattering of light producing blue colour indicates the size of the particles. Smaller particles results in the scattering of the blue light. Scientists calls those soot like grey-red particles tholins.
NASA announces water on Mars
AstronomyOn Monday, NASA announced that signs of liquid water have been found on Mars. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft found evidence of the liquid on the Martian surface, in long dark spots on the Red Planet thought to be formed because of water flow.

In a news conference, NASA's planetary science director, Jim Green said, "We now know Mars was once a planet very much like Earth with warm salty seas and fresh water lakes [...] but something has happened to Mars, it lost its water."
Study estimates Earth has over three trillion trees
BiologyA study published yesterday by Nature estimates the global tree population at just over three trillion. Previous work estimated the total at 400 billion.

The international research, led by Yale University in the US, used satellite images to examine over 400,000 plots of land for estimated tree density. Subarctic regions of Scandinavia, Russia, and North America had the highest densities but the largest forested areas were tropical. The study puts 43% of trees in the tropics, where deforestation is particularly common.
Biologist Nick Bos tells Wikinews about 'self-medicating' ants
Biologist Nick Bos tells Wikinews about 'self-medicating' antsNick Bos, of the University of Helsinki, studies "the amazing adaptations social insects have evolved in order to fight the extreme parasite pressure they experience". In a recently-accepted Evolution paper Bos and colleagues describe ants appearing to self-medicate.

The team used Formica fusca, an ant species that can form thousand-strong colonies. This common black ant eats other insects, and also aphid honeydew. It often nests in tree stumps or under rocks and foraging workers can sometimes be spotted climbing trees.

Some ants were infected with Beauveria bassiana, a fungus. Infected ants chose food laced with toxic hydrogen peroxide, whereas healthy ants avoided it. Hydrogen peroxide reduced infected ant fatalities by 15%, and the ants varied their intake depending upon how high the peroxide concentration was.

In the wild, Formica fusca can encounter similar chemicals in aphids and dead ants. The Independent reported self-medicating ants a first among insects.
Scientists create micro-battery using 3D printing
Engineering and TechnologyScientists have successfully created a Lithium ion micro-battery the size of a grain of sand. A team of researchers from Harvard University and the University of Illinois were able to create the tiny battery using 3D printing technology.

In order to achieve this feat, the separate parts of the battery were printed layer-by-layer using materials thinner than a human hair. This resulted in two separate comb-like structures which, when interlocked, act as the anode and cathode. These were then immersed in an electrolyte solution which created a working battery.
Soyuz TMA-08M launches to International Space Station, arrives in record time
AstronomySoyuz TMA-08M, a Russian spacecraft with a crew of three aboard, launched from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) Thursday at 20:43 UTC (2:43 AM Friday, local time) and docked with the orbital outpost at 2:28 UTC on Friday after following a flight plan enabling a docking in record time.
Record size 17.4 million-digit prime found
Engineering and TechnologyCurtis Cooper, a mathematician and computer science professor at the University of Central Missouri, has discovered the largest known prime number to date on January 25. Several people verified the discovery using different hardware and software by the beginning of February and it was announced on Tuesday. Cooper found the prime as a participant in the distributed computing project known as the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS. Cooper runs the GIMPS client, called Prime95, on an estimated 1,000 computers at the university.
Study suggests successful depression treatment lowers youths' risk of drug abuse
HealthA new study by Duke University in the US suggests depressed adolescents who respond to treatment within twelve weeks are at a reduced risk of drug abuse later in their lives.

The research followed about half of a pool of 439 adolescents who had received treatment for major depression and volunteered for Duke University research. At the five-year study's conclusion the participants were aged 17?23. None of them had previously misused drink or drugs.
Expedition 31 crew members arrive at International Space Station
AstronomyThe Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft, which launched on Tuesday, arrived at the International Space Station yesterday with three members of the Expedition 31 long duration mission.

The Soyuz rocket launched on May 15 at 3:01:23 UTC (9:01:23 AM local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On board were Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, as well as NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba.

The Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on May 17, approximately two days after launch, at 4:36 UTC.
Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems
Engineering and TechnologyA recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.