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    Plans are being drawn up for a low-cost mission to land on the dwarf planet Ceres. Known as the Ceres Polar Lander, it would examine polar regions and search for alien organisms.
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  • Could Life on Earth Have Come From Ceres?
    The dwarf planet Ceres is rarely mentioned as a candidate for habitability, but the possible presence of an ocean and hydrothermal vents suggests it is plausible. If life developed on Ceres long ago, could it have seeded the young Earth?
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  • Plate Tectonics Could be Essential for Life
    Planetary scientists have been considering the potential importance of plate tectonics. Some believe that this geological process is essential for the development of complex lifeforms, and in the future could even be used as a biosignature to detect habitable worlds.
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  • Stepping-Stone to the Stars
    There is fierce debate over the direction humanity should take when exploring the solar system. One argument claims that a "one step at a time" approach is essential, with Moon bases being the next key step.
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  • Some Planets are Better for Life
    A new idea proposes that worlds with the potential to host organisms can be split into four categories, each with their own likelihood of being inhabited. With extrasolar planet detection methods becoming ever-more advanced, these ideas could influence which worlds are studied first.
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  • Cold Storage for Alien Organisms
    Some lunar craters may be perfect for preserving samples of life from Earth, and possibly even from Mars or other planets. Ancient organic remnants could have been delivered to the Moon as debris that was thrown into space after asteroids impacted rocky worlds.
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  • "Alien" Water Bears Amaze Scientists
    Tardigrades, commonly known as "water bears", have been reared under laboratory conditions and subjected to a barrage of tests. Their survivability shows that animals can survive extreme conditions, and also may indicate how humans could adapt to the rigors of space.
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  • Swashbuckling Scientists Discover Northern Vents
    From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a story of how researchers recently explored the ocean floor between Greenland and Norway. They discovered hydrothermal vents that support an extremophile ecosystem. The find supports the idea that biological communities could exist on other worlds.
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  • Drilling Down to Alien Oceans
    A new method of exploring thick icy sheets and what lies below them has been devised. Combining a drill and a melting tip, this probe is particularly useful for exploring icy locations such as the polar caps of Mars and Jupiter´s moon Europa.
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  • Dress Rehearsal for Mars
    Life-searching instruments are being tested in Rio Tinto, ready to be used as part of an upcoming mission to Mars.
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  • Cosmic Collisions
    Researchers have been using a vast database to show that asteroids are shaped by small impacts over time.
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  • Building Life’s Foundations
    New research conducted by the MARTE project team has shown that microbes can make barren areas suitable for life. This could have important implications for the search for life on Mars and other planets.
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  • Testing Times for Robotic Explorers
    A team of scientists have been investigating how signs of life on Mars can be spotted using instruments on robotic probes.
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  • A Vision for Exploration
    Bernard Foing is chief scientist of the European Space Agency´s Research and Scientific Support Department. He sees exploration of our Moon as only the first step toward understanding the potential for life in our solar system and beyond.
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  • Life on Frosted Earths
    The search for life beyond the Earth is closely linked with hunting for habitable worlds. Astronomers have always hoped to find planets in the so-called "Goldilocks zone" around their parent stars, where the temperature is just right.
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