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Mud Volcanoes on Mars
Topic: Mars
Spewing out material from deep underground, geological structures on Mars thought to be mud volcanoes could give scientists the clues they need to determine if life exists, or ever existed, on the Red Planet.

Where in the World is Europa?
Topic: Europa
Before they can be sent out to explore planets or moons, rovers first need to be tested in the field. While there is no perfect analog for Jupiter´s icy moon Europa, there are various spots on Earth and elsewhere that are similar enough to conduct trial runs.

Supernova´s Spin on Life
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
A bias in the way amino acids twist could be due to supernovae, researchers now suggest. If correct, this could be more evidence that the molecules of life came from elsewhere in the cosmos.

The Impact that Shattered Santa Fe
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
A large meteorite impact can have a profound effect on life. The explosive force is often compared to a nuclear detonation, and the debris tossed high into the atmosphere can alter our planet´s climate. In the mountains of New Mexico, scientists have found evidence for an ancient meteorite strike -- even though the impact crater is long gone.

Diving Robot Discovers Life in the Slow Lane
Topic: Extreme Life
Scientists have found amazingly diverse microbial life in the world's deepest water-filled sinkhole, even down where sunlight can't reach. The discovery adds new insight into life´s ability to thrive in Earth´s most extreme environments. This research also could aid the search for life elsewhere in our solar system, such as on Jupiter´s moon Europa.

Life after Catastrophe
Topic: Extreme Life
Scientists studying deep-sea hydrothermal vents have found that larvae travel hundreds of miles to re-colonize these harsh locations after a volcanic eruption. The new study could challenge existing beliefs about how life adapts to extreme environments.

Greening the Moon and Mars
Topic: Moon to Mars
Future missions to the Moon or Mars could use plants as bio-harvesters to extract valuable elements from the alien soils.

Odds for Life Better in Photosynthesis Zones
Topic: Alien Life
By calculating where photosynthesis might be possible around the galaxy, scientists are developing a new way to figure out where Earth-like planets with life might be located.

Tiny Satellites for Big Science
Topic: Missions
The shrinking technology of cell phones, laptops and cameras are now leading to palm-sized satellites. Easy to build and affordable, these small satellites offer a new way to conduct astrobiology research. They also could change the way we explore the universe.

Recipes for Renegade Planets
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Recent discoveries of gas giant planets in unusual orbits challenge the generally accepted theory of planet formation. While these discoveries do not disprove the theory, they have opened our eyes to chaotic solar systems quite unlike our own.
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