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Pictures | Mon Dec 5, 2011 | 9:30am EST

Pictures of the year: Science

<p>An aerial view shows vehicles with their headlights on converging on the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft carrying ISS crew members, U.S. astronaut Michael Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, after the spacecraft landed near the town of Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan, November 22, 2011. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov </p>

An aerial view shows vehicles with their headlights on converging on the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft carrying ISS crew members, U.S. astronaut Michael Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, after the spacecraft...more

An aerial view shows vehicles with their headlights on converging on the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft carrying ISS crew members, U.S. astronaut Michael Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, after the spacecraft landed near the town of Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan, November 22, 2011. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

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<p>Aurora Australis or "Southern lights" are seen in this picture captured by astronauts on the International Space Station with a digital camera while they passed over the Indian Ocean, September 17, 2011. 


REUTERS/NASA</p>

Aurora Australis or "Southern lights" are seen in this picture captured by astronauts on the International Space Station with a digital camera while they passed over the Indian Ocean, September 17, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

Aurora Australis or "Southern lights" are seen in this picture captured by astronauts on the International Space Station with a digital camera while they passed over the Indian Ocean, September 17, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

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<p>An artist's impression of a growing supermassive black hole located in the early Universe. Using the deepest X-ray image ever taken, astronomers found the first direct evidence that massive black holes were common in the early universe. Image released June 15, 2011. 


REUTERS/NASA/Chandra X-Ray Observatory/A.Hobart</p>

An artist's impression of a growing supermassive black hole located in the early Universe. Using the deepest X-ray image ever taken, astronomers found the first direct evidence that massive black holes were common in the early universe. Image...more

An artist's impression of a growing supermassive black hole located in the early Universe. Using the deepest X-ray image ever taken, astronomers found the first direct evidence that massive black holes were common in the early universe. Image released June 15, 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Chandra X-Ray Observatory/A.Hobart

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<p>A man uses a telescope to observe the firmament in the dunes of Samalayuca on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez for a 30-minute lesson on lunar observation, October 14, 2011. 


REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez</p>

A man uses a telescope to observe the firmament in the dunes of Samalayuca on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez for a 30-minute lesson on lunar observation, October 14, 2011. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

A man uses a telescope to observe the firmament in the dunes of Samalayuca on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez for a 30-minute lesson on lunar observation, October 14, 2011. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

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<p>A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle patrols the skies above NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral as Space Shuttle Atlantis takes off on its final journey to the International Space Station, July 8, 2011. 


REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Adam Buchannon</p>

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle patrols the skies above NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral as Space Shuttle Atlantis takes off on its final journey to the International Space Station, July 8, 2011. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Adam...more

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle patrols the skies above NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral as Space Shuttle Atlantis takes off on its final journey to the International Space Station, July 8, 2011. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Adam Buchannon

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<p>Space shuttle Atlantis is pictured while docked with the International Space Station, July 18, 2011. REUTERS/NASA</p>

Space shuttle Atlantis is pictured while docked with the International Space Station, July 18, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

Space shuttle Atlantis is pictured while docked with the International Space Station, July 18, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

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<p>A quintet of Saturn's moons come together in the Cassini spacecraft's field of view in a July 29, 2011 portrait.


REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute</p>

A quintet of Saturn's moons come together in the Cassini spacecraft's field of view in a July 29, 2011 portrait. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A quintet of Saturn's moons come together in the Cassini spacecraft's field of view in a July 29, 2011 portrait. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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<p>Samples of in-vitro meat, cultured meat grown in a laboratory, are seen at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, November 9, 2011. In-vitro meat is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a complete, living animal. 

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir </p>

Samples of in-vitro meat, cultured meat grown in a laboratory, are seen at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, November 9, 2011. In-vitro meat is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a complete, living animal....more

Samples of in-vitro meat, cultured meat grown in a laboratory, are seen at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, November 9, 2011. In-vitro meat is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a complete, living animal. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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<p>2011 Nobel Prize for Physics winner U.S. born Brian Schmidt arrives at a lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra the day after it was announced he had won, October 5, 2011. Schmidt and two other scientists, Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of exploding stars. 

REUTERS/Lukas Coch </p>

2011 Nobel Prize for Physics winner U.S. born Brian Schmidt arrives at a lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra the day after it was announced he had won, October 5, 2011. Schmidt and two other scientists, Saul Perlmutter and Adam...more

2011 Nobel Prize for Physics winner U.S. born Brian Schmidt arrives at a lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra the day after it was announced he had won, October 5, 2011. Schmidt and two other scientists, Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of exploding stars. REUTERS/Lukas Coch

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<p>Space shuttle Endeavour lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, June 1, 2011. 

REUTERS/Joe Skipper</p>

Space shuttle Endeavour lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, June 1, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Space shuttle Endeavour lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, June 1, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

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<p>The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft rests on its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, November 14, 2011. 


REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool </p>

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft rests on its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, November 14, 2011. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft rests on its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, November 14, 2011. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/Pool

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<p>Earth's airglow is seen with an oblique view of the Mediterranean Sea area, including the Nile River with its delta and the Sinai Peninsula, October 15, 2011. 



REUTERS/NASA</p>

Earth's airglow is seen with an oblique view of the Mediterranean Sea area, including the Nile River with its delta and the Sinai Peninsula, October 15, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

Earth's airglow is seen with an oblique view of the Mediterranean Sea area, including the Nile River with its delta and the Sinai Peninsula, October 15, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

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<p>The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft is transported to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, November 11, 2011. 


REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov </p>

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft is transported to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, November 11, 2011. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft is transported to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome, November 11, 2011. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

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<p>A new species of giant crayfish, named Barbicambarus simmonsi, found in Tennessee, is pictured in an image released January 20, 2011. The new crayfish, at about 5 inches long, is twice the size of other species. REUTERS/Carl Williams</p>

A new species of giant crayfish, named Barbicambarus simmonsi, found in Tennessee, is pictured in an image released January 20, 2011. The new crayfish, at about 5 inches long, is twice the size of other species. REUTERS/Carl Williams

A new species of giant crayfish, named Barbicambarus simmonsi, found in Tennessee, is pictured in an image released January 20, 2011. The new crayfish, at about 5 inches long, is twice the size of other species. REUTERS/Carl Williams

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<p>Freddy Porter, 5, of Raleigh N.C. plays with a toy space shuttle in the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Cape Canaveral, July 7, 2011. 

REUTERS/Hans Deryk </p>

Freddy Porter, 5, of Raleigh N.C. plays with a toy space shuttle in the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Cape Canaveral, July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk

Freddy Porter, 5, of Raleigh N.C. plays with a toy space shuttle in the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Cape Canaveral, July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk

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<p>An unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights shows the shuttle on its way home as photographed from the International Space Station, July 21, 2011. 


REUTERS/NASA</p>

An unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights shows the shuttle on its way home as photographed from the International Space Station, July 21, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

An unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights shows the shuttle on its way home as photographed from the International Space Station, July 21, 2011. REUTERS/NASA

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<p>Space Shuttle Discovery (R) awaits its turn to approach shuttle Endeavour outside Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at the Kennedy Space Center, August 11, 2011. 



REUTERS/NASA/Frankie Martin/Handout</p>

Space Shuttle Discovery (R) awaits its turn to approach shuttle Endeavour outside Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at the Kennedy Space Center, August 11, 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Frankie Martin/Handout

Space Shuttle Discovery (R) awaits its turn to approach shuttle Endeavour outside Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at the Kennedy Space Center, August 11, 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Frankie Martin/Handout

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<p>Australian Institute Of Marine Science divers examine cores of large Porites coral at Clerke Reef, Western Australia, February 10, 2011. The study of the coral cores aimed to reveal a centuries-old climate record for the region. 

REUTERS/Eric Matson/AIMS</p>

Australian Institute Of Marine Science divers examine cores of large Porites coral at Clerke Reef, Western Australia, February 10, 2011. The study of the coral cores aimed to reveal a centuries-old climate record for the region. REUTERS/Eric...more

Australian Institute Of Marine Science divers examine cores of large Porites coral at Clerke Reef, Western Australia, February 10, 2011. The study of the coral cores aimed to reveal a centuries-old climate record for the region. REUTERS/Eric Matson/AIMS

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<p>Baby mice born from sperm produced from stem cells are seen at Kyoto University on November 8, 2010. Researchers in Japan used embryonic stem cells to grow healthy mouse sperm on laboratory dishes, a development which could help treat human infertility. 


REUTERS/Mitinori Saitou-Kyoto University</p>

Baby mice born from sperm produced from stem cells are seen at Kyoto University on November 8, 2010. Researchers in Japan used embryonic stem cells to grow healthy mouse sperm on laboratory dishes, a development which could help treat human...more

Baby mice born from sperm produced from stem cells are seen at Kyoto University on November 8, 2010. Researchers in Japan used embryonic stem cells to grow healthy mouse sperm on laboratory dishes, a development which could help treat human infertility. REUTERS/Mitinori Saitou-Kyoto University

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<p>People watch as the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, May 16, 2011. 

 REUTERS/Hans Deryk </p>

People watch as the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk

People watch as the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk

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<p>Employees of Russian space agency surround the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft after its landing near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, March 16, 2011. 

REUTERS/Dmitry Kostyukov/Pool </p>

Employees of Russian space agency surround the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft after its landing near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, March 16, 2011. REUTERS/Dmitry Kostyukov/Pool

Employees of Russian space agency surround the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft after its landing near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, March 16, 2011. REUTERS/Dmitry Kostyukov/Pool

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<p>Hubble's panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals a vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust in an image  released on June 16, 2011. The warped shape of Centaurus A's disk of gas and dust is evidence of a past collision and merger with another galaxy. The resulting shockwaves cause hydrogen gas clouds to compress, triggering a firestorm of new star formation. At a distance of just over 11 million light-years, Centaurus 


REUTERS/NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration</p>

Hubble's panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals a vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust in an image released on June 16, 2011. The...more

Hubble's panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals a vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust in an image released on June 16, 2011. The warped shape of Centaurus A's disk of gas and dust is evidence of a past collision and merger with another galaxy. The resulting shockwaves cause hydrogen gas clouds to compress, triggering a firestorm of new star formation. At a distance of just over 11 million light-years, Centaurus REUTERS/NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

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<p>An artist's concept of Europa's "Great Lake," what appears to be a body of liquid water, equal in volume to the North American Great Lakes, beneath the icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa. 

REUTERS/Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/University of Texas at Austin</p>

An artist's concept of Europa's "Great Lake," what appears to be a body of liquid water, equal in volume to the North American Great Lakes, beneath the icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa. REUTERS/Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/University of...more

An artist's concept of Europa's "Great Lake," what appears to be a body of liquid water, equal in volume to the North American Great Lakes, beneath the icy surface of Jupiter's moon, Europa. REUTERS/Britney Schmidt/Dead Pixel VFX/University of Texas at Austin

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<p>The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) in an image made from the parabolic antennas of the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array) project at the El Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama desert in Chile, October 3, 2011. 

REUTERS/ALMA</p>

The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) in an image made from the parabolic antennas of the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array) project at the El Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama desert in Chile, October 3, 2011....more

The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) in an image made from the parabolic antennas of the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array) project at the El Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama desert in Chile, October 3, 2011. REUTERS/ALMA

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<p>Hurricane Irene moving over the Caribbean in a photo taken by astronaut Ron Garan on the International Space Station, August 22, 2011. 



REUTERS/NASA/Ron Garan</p>

Hurricane Irene moving over the Caribbean in a photo taken by astronaut Ron Garan on the International Space Station, August 22, 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Ron Garan

Hurricane Irene moving over the Caribbean in a photo taken by astronaut Ron Garan on the International Space Station, August 22, 2011. REUTERS/NASA/Ron Garan

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