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Science News: Strange-Shaped Orbits of Giant 'Warm Jupiter' Planets Explained

Strange-Shaped Orbits of Giant 'Warm Jupiter' Planets Explained"Our results imply that there is a diversity of architectures for planetary systems, and that planetary systems aren't always flat like the solar system," said study lead author Rebekah Dawson of the University of California, Berkeley. Dawson and co-author Eugene Chiang, also of UC Berkeley, investigated "warm Jupiters," enormous exoplanets that orbit much closer to their host stars than Saturn and Jupiter do in Earth's solar system (but not as close as "hot Jupiters," some of which can complete one lap around their parent stars in less than a day). Warm and hot Jupiters must have migrated inward significantly, astronomers say, because theory predicts that gas giants can only form relatively far from their stars — generally, beyond the "snow line," where it's cold enough for water and other volatile materials to condense into ice grains.


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Science News: Best Alien Planet Weather Map Ever Reveals a Scorching World

Best Alien Planet Weather Map Ever Reveals a Scorching WorldA super-hot planet 260 light-years from Earth is showing signs of water vapor in its atmosphere, despite scorching temperatures that are hot enough to melt steel, according to the best weather map ever created of an alien world. "WASP-43b is extreme in many ways," study co-author Jean-Michel Désert, of the University of Colorado Boulder, said in statement. "It's the size of Jupiter with twice its mass. Its orbit around its host star, called an orange dwarf, takes only about 19 hours, the blink of an eye compared to the 365 days it takes Earth to orbit the sun." [The Strangest Alien Planets (Gallery)]


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Science News: Rattlesnake repertoire boosts snake-like robot's skills

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - How do you make a better snake robot? You study snakes, of course. Researchers on Thursday said they conducted experiments to learn precisely how sidewinder rattlesnakes are able to climb sandy hills, then applied the reptiles' repertoire to an existing snake robot so it could do the same thing. The study, published in the journal Science, is an example of how scientists are applying knowledge of biology to improve technology. ...

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Science News: Lab-Grown Penises Could Help Men with Groin Injuries

Lab-Grown Penises Could Help Men with Groin InjuriesResearch into growing the organs in a lab is still in the experimental stages at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the Guardian reported. "Our target is to get the organs into patients with injuries or congenital abnormalities," institute director Dr. Anthony Atala told the Guardian. Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine is providing money for the study. "There have been many attempts to re-create or reproduce a penis, owing to the many men who have lost their penis at some point in time," Dr. Andrew Kramer, a urologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, told Live Science in an email.


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Science News: Contact Sports Athletes More Likely to Carry MRSA

Contact Sports Athletes More Likely to Carry MRSACollege athletes who play football, soccer and other contact sports are more likely to harbor the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than athletes who play non-contact sports, a new study suggests. In the study, contact sports athletes were more than twice as likely to carry MRSA in their noses and throats, and they tended to carry the microbe for longer periods of time, compared with athletes in non-contact sports such as baseball and golf. Over the course of the two-year study of college athletes, between 8 and 31 percent of contact sports athletes carried MRSA at any given time, compared with 0 to 23 percent of athletes in non-contact sports, and 5 to 10 percent of the general population.


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