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This Week in Science: Bartending Robots, an Octopus’s Garden of DNA, and Salad in Space­­

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(The Week of August 10, 2015)

Seven days, lots of science in the news. Here’s our roundup of some of the week’s most notable and quotable items.

International Space Station astronauts chowed down on salads made with lettuce that had been grown in space (accented with a simple balsamic dressing).

A galactic survey confirms that our universe is “becoming a couch potato” on the way to its slow, inescapable death.

MIT scientists have programmed two robots to deliver beers to bar patrons.

Researchers sequenced the octopus genome.

The smallest supermassive black hole ever discovered is only as massive as a mere 50,000 suns.

Melting ice in Antarctica is mostly bad news, but there’s one small silver lining: It’s releasing lots of iron into the ocean that will benefit the phytoplankton occupying the bottom of the marine food chain.

Our solar system may have once had a fifth giant planet orbiting near Neptune.

Scientists are studying ancient Chinese cave graffiti to learn more about the history of droughts in the region.

The Perseid meteor shower lit up the night sky as the Earth passed through debris left behind the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet.

A 3D printed-device that looks a bit like a pizza can isolate one sound from a noisy room—a step towards solving the ‘cocktail party problem’ that has long confounded computers.

The comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reached perihelion, the closest point in its orbit to the sun, still carrying the Philae lander and its companion spacecraft Rosetta.

Listening to music before, during and after surgery seems to reduce patients’ pain as well as reducing the need for pain relievers after the operation.

Last week’s picture from NASA of the moon passing in front of Earth—and not resulting in an eclipse—explained.

Image: NASA


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