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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Health

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Be smart: There will be a coronavirus vaccine for adults long before there is one for kids.

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Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

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Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.