All good things must come to an end, and the Hubble Space Telescope - the most successful scientific instrument ever launched into space - is due to reach the end of its working life some time after 2014.
But all is not lost. Step forward the James Webb Space Telescope. A bigger and - so they hope - better "eye in the sky" that will carry forward the Hubble baton, dramatically extending and improving our view of the universe when it launches in 2018.
Scientists have taken a crucial step towards restoring the sight of people suffering from degenerative eye diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
Writing in the journal Nature the team, based at UCL's Institute of Opthalmology, show that transplanting light-sensitive photoreceptors into the eyes of visually impaired mice can restore their vision.
While instantly recognisable, few people associate Henry Moore's monumental abstract sculptures and reclining bronze figures - or as one critic somewhat derisively put it, "stones with holes in" - with the precise mathematics of geometric form.
But Moore was fascinated by what he described as the space an object displaced. "The hole became as important, as a shape, as the material that surrounded it. To try to know what actual three-dimensional reality is like".
Scientists are warning that a new campaign by animal rights activists - aimed at the companies involved in the transport of laboratory animals - threatens to undermine research into new cures and treatments for disease.
One by one airlines, ports, ferry companies and handling agents have been targeted on social media sites and bombarded with letters complaining about their involvement in the trade.
Physicists at Cern are powering up the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) again, ready for a final push to confirm the discovery of the Higgs boson - the final piece of the jigsaw known as the Standard Model of Particle Physics.
So what then? Such a fuss has been made about finally nailing down the Higgs you could be forgiven for thinking that - once the champagne had been quaffed and the Nobel Prizes handed out - we could all pack up and go home.
Another stunning set of images of the cosmos - this time of the Carina Nebula - from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope.
At 7,500 light-years from earth - deep in the heart of the southern Milky Way - this cloud of glowing gas and dust is one of the closest stellar nurseries to earth. An incubator that includes some of the heaviest and brightest stars in the night sky.
One of the main justifications for the billions we spend on big, state-of-the-art science projects like the Large Hadron Collider is not the discoveries they make (although those are obviously important in their own right), but the way in which these showcase projects drive technological innovation across a range of other applications.
So the space race put a man on the moon, but it also generated dramatic advances in computing, engineering, materials science and navigation - advances that we all take for granted today.
From John Keats' "light-winged Dryad of the trees" to Paul McCartney's "blackbird singing in the dead of night" it's a truth poets and songwriters down the ages have taken to be self-evident: Birdsong is good for you.
As the author of Birdwatching With Your Eyes Closed, Simon Barnes, puts it, "we're in Sybil Fawlty territory here. It's the bleedin' obvious.
Imagine a world in which the comatose could speak: Stroke victims, or those suffering from aphasia or locked-in syndrome, could communicate with those around them. A world in which the police and the courts could read your mind, and your partner was privy to your innermost thoughts.
Science fiction? Well maybe, but research published in the Journal PLoS Biology today, takes us on the first tentative steps down that road.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be much cleverer than you are?
Perhaps, if he'd been just a little bit smarter, Einstein might have been able to unite general relativity with quantum mechanics and come up with a unified Theory Of Everything. Then again, maybe it's enough just to be able to help with your children's maths homework or learn a new language.
The "All-seeing Eye", or Eye of Providence, has a long history.
Its origins can be traced back to Egyptian mythology and the Eye of Horus, and it appears in both Buddhist and Hindu doctrine. The Buddha himself is often referred to as "the eye of the world", while Lord Shiva has an all-seeing third eye in his forehead that watches over everything that happens in the world.
Going on the available evidence from our own solar system - and there's no obvious reason to assume it is unusual - you might plump for a ratio of 1:8. That would give you a ballpark figure of some 800 billion planets in the Milky Way, and something like 100 billion times that for the entire Universe.
Although retired from his post as the Lucasian professor of Mathematics at Cambridge - a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton - Professor Stephen Hawking's study in the University's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics is still a vibrant hub of activity.
The chalk boards - crammed with indecipherable equations - bear testament to the latest efforts of his students, while the walls strain under the weight of both the accumulated memorabilia of a lifetime's achievement at the cutting edge of science, and Professor Hawking's unique status as a scientist who has transcended the boundaries of academia and entered the public consciousness.
The European Southern Observatory gets the new year off to a colourful start with this image of the smoky pink core of the Omega Nebula, 6500 light-years from earth in the constellation Sagittarius.
The image was captured using ESO's Very Large Telescope and shows the rose tinted heart of this stellar nursery with its newest offspring burning a bright bluish-white. The dominant reddish colour is produced by hydrogen gas glowing in the intense ultraviolet light of these hot young stars.
I know Professor Hawking is that rare thing - a scientist who has transcended the boundaries of academia and entered the public consciousness - but even so the reaction to our "call out" for questions has been overwhelming.
Plans for one of the world's largest (and most prosaically named) scientific instruments - the European Extremely Large Telescope - should take a major step forward today when the organisation overseeing its development meets to approve interim funding for the project.
The European Southern Observatory's Council will consider a package of measures, including approval for some elements of the telescope that could take years to construct and building an access road up the side of a mountain in Chile, this afternoon.
It has been apparent for some time that the business model for big pharma is broken.
The so-called patent cliff - when drug companies' exclusive rights to a series of money-spinning drugs and treatments expire - is rapidly approaching, productivity from research and development continues to languish in long-term decline and customers like the NHS are becoming more savvy when it comes to demanding value for money.
Tom joined the BBC as a general news reporter in 1990, interviewing Mikhail Gorbachev on a train to Cornwall for Radio 1 and covering the conflict in Rwanda before joining the Today programme.
After a brief stint at Newsnight, Tom returned to Today to focus on science and the environment. He covers an eclectic mix of developments in physics and astronomy, medicine, genetics, wildlife and climate change - from super massive black holes to preserving adder habitats.
A former presenter of Radio 4's Costing the Earth, he won a Foreign Press Association award for his series on wildlife in Britain in 2000, and a British Environment and Media Award for his coverage of climate change in 2001.
He should have been part of the Sony award winning team that covered the launch of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in 2008, but sadly the giant atom smasher broke shortly before the awards ceremony and the judges looked elsewhere.
Born in 1964, Tom graduated from Sussex University in 1986. He lives in north London with his partner and three children.
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