• New Images of Mercury Just the Beginning
    NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has returned 1500 images from orbit around Mercury. The instruments on MESSENGER are working, and the mission is now poised to help scientists understand the evolution of the small, rocky planet that lies closest to the Sun.
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    Free-floating planets and sub-brown dwarfs – objects with mass midway between planets and stars – could prove fertile grounds for extraterrestrial life, according to a new study.
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    A new study shows that wind is a much more powerful force in shaping mountains than previously thought.
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    NASA's Dawn spacecraft is preparing to enter orbit around the 'minor planet' Vesta. The data that Dawn returns will help astrobiologists understand how small rocky bodies in our solar system were formed.
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  • Not Only the Fittest Survive
    A new theory about evolution has called into question the idea that 'only the fittest survive.' This means that biodiversity may evolve where previously thought impossible.
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    A new study shows that the earliest rocks in our solar system were more like cotton candy than the hard rocks we're familiar with today. The research is providing a better picture of how rocky planets form and could help in the search for habitable
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    From extreme precipitation events to catastrophic droughts, the effects of climate change may be heralding in a new era of extreme weather. Scientists are trying to determine what the repercussions for the Earth's biosphere could be.
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    Intense global warming may have occurred more frequently in Earth's past than previously believed. New research shows that release of carbon dioxide from the deep oceans could have triggered these ancient 'hyperthermal' events.
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    Scientists have discovered that when icebergs cool and dilut the seas, they also raise chlorophyll levels. This may increase the amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed in the Southern Ocean, and could have global implications for Earth's climate.
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    A new study shows that prolonged oxygen deprivation after Earth's largest-known mass extinction severly delayed the recovery of Earth's biosphere. The study provides new insight into the causes of this extended period of low oxygen levels.
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    Could life on Earth have descended from organisms that originated on Mars, and then were carried to our planet by meteorites? A new instrument that is currently being developed could provide the answer.
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    NASA's Stardust spacecraft has sent its last transmission to Earth. Since its launch in 1999, Stardust has provided astrobiologists with a wealth of data about the composition and nature of comets.
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    By studying intramolecular communication within an enzyme, scientists have uncovered a partial glimpse of how the genetic coding of life may have emerged. The research could help astrobiologists understand a key step in life's origins on our planet.
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    Cassini has observed strange variations in radio waves controlled by Saturn's rotation. The findings change current assumptions about radio emissions from gas giants. Studying Saturn and its environment is important in determining the types of planets that exist in the Universe and the potential for
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  • Mutant Microbes Test Radiation Resistance
    The bacterium B. subtilis is capable of adapting to UV levels even higher than what existed on the primordial Earth – a harbinger of untapped potential that still lies within some organisms. Mutant versions of this microbe are now being exposed to space radiation
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