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Under Pressure: How the Density of Exoplanets' Atmospheres Weighs on the Odds for Alien Life
Topic: Alien Life
A recent study explores how atmospheric pressure on Earth-like worlds could impact their ability to possess liquid water on their surfaces.

Eyeball Earths
Topic: New Planets
Some alien worlds orbiting red dwarf stars might resemble giant eyeballs. Researchers are now proposing experiments to simulate these distant planets and see how capable they are of supporting life.

The Rio Scale: Quantifying the Consequences of an ET Discovery
Topic: Alien Life
The Rio Scale index (RSI) provides a way to estimate the significance for our civilization of contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Digging Down Below the Tree of Life
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Genomic studies consistently show that all life on Earth is related, but our earliest ancestors may not have evolved in the same way we do now.

'Bizarre Bacteria' in Lake Vostok Study Likely a Contaminant
Topic: Extreme Life
Last week, reports began to emerge that scientists had discovered a previously unknown bacteria in samples from Antarctica’s Lake Vostok. Word quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, but the bacteria in question is likely just a contaminant.

The 'Habitable Edge' of Exomoons
Topic: New Planets
Exomoons -- moons of alien planets -- have many hurdles to habitability, such as eclipses and tidal heating, that are different from the planets they orbit.

Detecting Life on Planets that Orbit White Dwarf Stars
Topic: Alien Life
A white dwarf is a dead star that slowly cools down until it fades into oblivion. Yet it has been predicted that habitable planets can orbit a white dwarf. If we can somehow detect these planets, would we also be able to spot signs of life?

Searching for Organics in a Nibble of Soil
Topic: Missions
An all-in-one chemical analysis instrument -- currently under development -- could potentially detect a single amino acid in a gram of Martian soil.

Microbes Survive a Mixed Bag of Mars ‘Biocidals’
Topic: Extreme Life
For the first time, scientists find that microbes from Earth can survive and grow even in the mix of drastically low pressure, freezing temperatures and oxygen-starved conditions seen on Mars.

Habitable Binary Star Systems
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Habitable planets hoping to see a double sunset stand the best chance when orbiting twin stars that are close together.
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