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Pandas rebounding, but their habitat isn’t: study

PARIS:┬áChina's fiercely protected giant panda had a smaller habitat in 2013 than when it was declared endangered more than 20 years earlier, researchers said Monday. What living space they had was much more fragmented, and often in areas under threat from earthquakes, road construction, tourism or global warming, they wrote in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. Last year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) moved the giant panda from the "endangered" to the less-threatened…

Home-made bricks for a habitat on Mars

PARIS: Scientists said Thursday that they have manufactured tiny bricks out of artificial Martian soil, anticipating the day when humans may construct colonies on the Red Planet. Remarkably, the technique requires only that the red-hued building blocks be compressed in a precise way -- no additives or baking required. "The people who will go to Mars will be incredibly brave, they will be pioneers and I would be honoured to be their brick maker," said Yu Qiao, a professor at the University of California San Diego and lead…