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An enhanced-color image of Jupiter's south pole created by citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko using data acquired by NASA's Juno spacecraft on February 2, 2017. Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Roman Tkachenko

Sometimes the value of scientific research and the implications of how science is done and regarded aren't understood for years. Still, some science stories from the past year stood out. From colliding neutron stars to DNA editing to that visitor from another solar system, here are our choices for the top stories of 2017:

  1. Astronomers announced a new era when they detected the collision of two neutron stars.
  2. DNA was edited in human embryos for the first time in the U.S. (Go deeper: researchers questioned the report. But gene editing has arrived in medicine — the first clinical trials in humans are expected to start in the next year or so.)
  3. In another first, an object from another solar system was spotted entering our stellar territory. Initially it was thought to be an asteroid but on further analysis it could be a comet.
  4. Our own origin story became a little messier with the discovery of the oldest human fossils to date in Morocco.
  5. AI got good at games: most notably, it learned to play Go by itself and triumphed over humans at a version of Texas Hold 'Em. (What's next: AI in 2018.)
  6. China flexed some serious physics muscles in a series of space-based quantum communications experiments.
  7. The Nobel prizes in the sciences were again awarded to men — most of them white Americans.
  8. The Antarctic peninsula will never look the same after an iceberg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf in July.
  9. Policy and politics: President Trump's initial budget proposal included steep funding cuts, he has been slow to fill key scientific positions in the government, and many of his nominees lack science degrees. Meanwhile, foreign leaders offered to take in U.S. scientists.
  10. Gene therapies made it to market, including a CAR-T cancer treatment for children and young adults with a certain form of leukemia approved by the FDA in August. The treatment involves modifying a patient's immune cells and then placing them back in the body to attack cancer cells. What to expect next: a debate over pricing the drugs.

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

6 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.