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Startup Aims to Bring Useless Farmland Back to Life

Technology Review writes: "Last week, Ceres, a biotechnology company in Thousand Oaks, CA, announced that it had developed a trait that allows several common crops to grow under highly saline conditions, even in seawater. Ceres researchers have tested the trait in Arabidopsis thaliana, rice, and switchgrass, a hardy perennial that's used as a feedstock for making ethanol and other biofuels. "The fact that we've seen this very high-level salt tolerance in three different plant species gives us a high degree of confidence that this trait will recapitulate itself in other energy grasses as well," says Ceres CEO Richard Hamilton."

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20°

Craters on Dwarf Planet Ceres Shine in Stunning New Up-Close Photos

The images were captured last month by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from a distance of just 240 miles (385 kilometers) — the final and closest of a series of orbits for the probe, which has been circling Ceres since March 2015.

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7 Strange Facts About Dwarf Planet Ceres

On Friday morning (March 6), NASA's Dawn spacecraft will arrive at Ceres, becoming the first probe ever to orbit a dwarf planet.

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the closest dwarf planet to Earth. Dawn is expected to provide a wealth of information about Ceres' evolution and composition.

While Dawn's work will be the first in-depth examination of Ceres, astronomers have learned a bit about the dwarf planet already using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Europe's Herschel Space Observatory and other instruments. Here are seven weird facts about Ceres.

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NASA Spacecraft Becomes First to Orbit a Dwarf Planet

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has become the first mission to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet. The spacecraft was approximately 38,000 miles (61,000 kilometers) from Ceres when it was captured by the dwarf planet’s gravity at about 4:39 a.m. PST (7:39 a.m. EST) Friday.

Stringerbell3325d ago

Cant wait to find out more about Ceres!