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Mars touchdown: NASA spacecraft survives supersonic plunge

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Minutes after touching down on Mars, NASA’s InSight spacecraft sent back a “nice and dirty” snapshot of its new digs. Yet the dust-speckled image looked like a work of art to scientists.

The photo revealed a mostly smooth and sandy terrain around the spacecraft with only one sizable rock visible.

Anxiety abounds at NASA as Mars landing day arrives

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A NASA spacecraft’s six-month journey to Mars neared its dramatic grand finale Monday in what scientists and engineers hoped would be a soft precision landing on flat red plains.

The InSight lander aimed for an afternoon touchdown, as anxiety built among those involved in the $1 billion international effort.

The scoop on how your cat’s sandpapery tongue deep cleans

WASHINGTON — Cat lovers know when kitties groom, their tongues are pretty scratchy. Using high-tech scans and some other tricks, scientists are learning how those sandpapery tongues help cats get clean and stay cool.

The secret: Tiny hooks that spring up on the tongue with scoops built in to carry saliva deep into all that fur.

Farm animals may soon get new features through gene editing

OAKFIELD, N.Y. — Cows that can withstand hotter temperatures. Cows born without pesky horns. Pigs that never reach puberty.

A company wants to alter farm animals by adding and subtracting genetic traits in a lab. It sounds like science fiction, but Recombinetics sees opportunity for its technology in the livestock industry.