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Engineer in race to become Space Agency astronaut

An engineer from Cambridge has made the final 32 people competing to be part of a Canadian Space Agency drive to find new astronauts.

Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia reporter Chloe Keedy

Dr Jenni Sidey. Credit: Dr Jenni Sidey

An engineer from Cambridge has become one of 32 people competing for two positions as part of a Canadian Space Agency initiative to find new astronauts.

Last year 3,772 applications were received by the Canadian Space Agency after its announcement that it would add two new astronauts to its roster.

Dr Jenni Sidey has made the shortlist following a rigorous selection process which lasts almost a year and involves several interviews, written exams and a range of physical and mental fitness tests.

It feels great to have progressed this far in the selection process, I'm so pleased to be a part of something with so many incredible Canadians.

I'm looking forward to spending more time with them, regardless of the outcome.

– Dr Jenni Sidey

Cambridge scientists create first 3D DNA structures

Scientists took 100,000 measurements of where different parts of DNA are close to each other. Credit: University of Cambridge

Scientists from the University of Cambridge have created the first 3D structures of DNA.

Researchers used a combination of imaging and up to 100,000 measurements of where different parts of the DNA are close to each other to examine the genome in a mouse embryonic stem cell.

It's thought the findings could help identify what causes diseases such as cancer.

Researchers say the findings could help identify what causes cancer. Credit: University of Cambridge

"Visualising a genome in 3D at such an unprecedented level of detail is an exciting step forward in research and one that has been many years in the making.

"This detail will reveal some of the underlying principles that govern the organisation of our genomes – for example how chromosomes interact or how structure can influence whether genes are switched on or off.

"If we can apply this method to cells with abnormal genomes, such as cancer cells, we may be able to better understand what exactly goes wrong to cause disease, and how we could develop solutions to correct this.”

– Dr Tom Collins, Genetics and Molecular Sciences team, The Wellcome Trust

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Uk's first sci-fi and fantasy centre opens in Cambridge

Una McCormack (right) is a leading science fiction writer. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy has been officially launched in Cambridge.

It's the first university-based research group of its kind in the UK.

The Centre, which will connect the areas of writing and publishing with literary criticism, will hold a series of events and conferences designed to bring together academics, authors, editors, and members of the book publishing industry.

We're living in a very uncertain time, and I think science fiction and fantasy offer us tools to think about the world.

So that's what the centre is doing. It's bringing people with those shared interests together to work on these texts, discuss ideas and in my case, to write science fiction novels.

– Una McCormack, Science fiction writer

Satellite built in Stevenage blasts off into space

An artists impression of the satellite in space. Credit: Airbus

A communications satellite built in Stevenage was launched into space last night.

The main structure and propulsion system were constructed in Stevenage, before being shipped off to Toulouse to be assembled.

It blasted off from a launch site in French Guiana in South America.

The satellite is seven and half metres long and 3 metres wide. Its solar rays unfold to 45 metres - the equivalent of three double decker buses.

The satellite was constructed in Stevenage. Credit: Airbus

Contractor appointed for £40million teaching centre in Luton

An artist's impression of the new STEM building Credit: University of Bedfordshire

The construction of a £40 million teaching and research 'STEM' building for science and engineering at the University of Bedfordshire is a step closer. Construction firm 'RG Carter' has been appointed to build the STEM centre at the Luton Campus which will be dedicated to teaching and research in the 'stem' subjects such of maths, science, engineering and technology.

“This is part of the University’s wider vision for high-level skills growth in Luton and Bedfordshire. Our new STEM building will support the ambitions of regional policymakers to enhance the skills base in Luton, extending opportunity for local residents and attracting investment to the region.”

– The University’s Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell

The building will also be home to a new Science and Engineering Outreach Centre, which will promote the value of science and engineering to local schools.

RG Carter has been involved in construction projects with universities and other education providers, including Norwich University College of Arts, Cambridge University, The University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University.

The STEM building is due for completion in 2018.

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