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Setting Sight on a Single Star
Topic: Missions
NASA recently selected 20 small satellites to fly as auxiliary cargo aboard rockets that are planned to launch in 2011 and 2012. The 'CubeSats' include the ExoPlanetSat, which will aid in the search for Earth-like planets by monitoring a single star.

Detecting Wandering Worlds That Host Life
Topic: Alien Life
Some planets that roam the galaxy without a star to call home still may be able to host life. Finding such rogue planets is difficult, but new research suggests these wandering worlds could be detected by their atmospheric auroras.

A Water Ocean on Titan?
Topic: Titan
Oddities in the rotation of Saturn's largest moon Titan might add to growing evidence that it harbors an underground ocean, researchers suggest.

Seeking Life´s Imprint in Shifting Desert Sand
Topic: Mars
From the deepest past to the present day, the deserts of Morocco provide a panorama of life´s history on Earth and give us insight for our investigations of Mars.

A Tale of Two Deserts
Topic: Extreme Life
All life as we know it needs water. But what organisms can survive when water is all but unavailable? To find out, one scientist is looking at soil from two of the driest places on Earth.

Titan-like Exoplanets
Topic: New Planets
A new study says that worlds that orbit red dwarfs, and even rogue planets with no stars to call home, might have surface oceans loaded with organic compounds. Like the seas of liquid methane on Saturn´s moon Titan, such environments are speculated to have the potential for alien life.

Thermophiles Lurking in your Basement
Topic: Extreme Life
Exotic life forms may be lurking in your home, and a new citizen science project seeks to find them. By sampling home water heaters to study the micro-organisms that thrive there, scientists can learn more about the types of life we may find beyond Earth.

Getting to Mars Means Stopping and Landing
Topic: Mars
With the space shuttle program reaching its end, scientists are focusing on technology that can take humans beyond Earth. All eyes are on Mars, but designing a spacecraft that can travel to and land on the Red Planet remains a prime challenge.

Searching for Alien Life? Try Failed Stars
Topic: Alien Life
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.

Mutant Microbes Test Radiation Resistance
Topic: Extreme Life
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 to test their reactions to conditions in space and on other worlds.
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