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Outer Space Oreos
Topic: Extreme Life
Scientists have previously exposed organisms and biomolecules to the many rigors of space, but those experiments only managed to take "before" and "after" pictures of their samples. A planned small satellite will monitor on a continuous basis the negative effects of space on biology.

Focused on Phobos
Topic: Mars
Mars has two tiny asteroid-like moons, Phobos and Deimos. The moons have not been the focus of Mars studies, but there are several missions in the planning stages that aim to change that.

Reanimating Extinct Genes
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Can evolution be played over again in the lab? A group of researchers plans to insert an ancient gene in a modern day bacteria and see if this gene will mutate back to its current-day form. The results will give insight into how unique the evolutionary path may be.

Double Discovery: Super-Earth and Ocean World
Topic: New Planets
Researchers have made two amazing discoveries regarding the Gliese 581 system. The star is orbited by the lightest exoplanet ever found, less than twice the mass of the Earth. One of the other planets in this system, a super-Earth, orbits within the star´s habitable zone. Astronomers may have found a solar system where alien life is possible.

Destination: Ceres!
Topic: Missions
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.

Living with a Red Dwarf
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Not astrobiologists' first choice, red dwarf stars have now gained acceptance as potential hosts for habitable planets. They may not be great to live by in the first couple billion years, but they eventually settle down into relatively pleasant stars.

How Life Shatters Chemistry's Mirror
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Handedness, or "chirality," is when molecules come in two forms that are mirror images of each other, like right- and left-handed gloves. Even though chiral molecules are produced equally in nature, life seems to prefer one hand over the other. The reason for this is a mystery that scientists are struggling to answer.

Life Out of the Tropics
Topic: Biosphere
The diversity of life on Earth is concentrated near the equator, with a steep falloff towards the poles. A recent study finds this is because new species tend to form in the tropics and then migrate out. This historical pattern might point to a fundamental property of life.

Welcome to the Red Planet
Topic: Mars
Looking for someplace inexpensive to go on your next vacation? Consider Mars. Now that Google Earth 5.0, with its built-in Mars mode, has been released, you can check out the most stunning vistas the Red Planet has to offer – and you won´t have to spend a dime.

Life´s Crystal Code
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
What do we have in common with a crystal chandelier? We´re both made of material that replicates its own structure. In our case it´s DNA, while the crystals in the chandelier grew from minerals like quartz. One scientist thinks for early life on Earth, certain mineral crystals played the role that DNA does for us today.
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