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Solar System Shield
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Water vapor in planet-forming disks may block ultraviolet radiation from destroying water and other important molecules for life, according to new calculations.

How Earth Survived Birth
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Planets are thought to grow from swirling disks of dust and gas around stars. New simulations show how small planets like Earth can survive in these tumultuous environments instead of crashing into their host stars. The key is inward and outward migrations that trap the planets on orbits.

Our Uncommon Solar System
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
A new study shows that just 15 percent of solar systems in the galaxy are like our own. The finding may have implications in the search for habitable worlds in the Universe.

View from the Center of the Solar System
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
New results from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have overturned a decades-old belief about the shape of our solar system. The findings yield important information about the fundamental traits of our solar system.

Superior Super Earths
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Super Earths are named for their size, but these planets – which range from about 2 to 10 Earth masses – could be superior to the Earth when it comes to sustaining life. They could also provide an answer to the ‘Fermi Paradox´: Why haven´t we been visited by aliens?

Terzan 5, Galaxy Building Block
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
New research shows that an unusual mix of stars at the center of our galaxy might be the remnants of a dwarf galaxy that merged with the Milky Way long ago. The findings could help astrobiolgists understand how galaxies evolve and, ultimately, the processes behind solar system and planet formation.

Subaru Spots Strange Spin
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Astronomers have found that the extrasolar planet HAT-P-7b has a retrograde or highly tilted orbit. Studying such planets is important in understanding the diversity of planetary systems and assessing current models of how planets migrate. The findings could help astrobiologists in the search for habitable planets beyond our solar system.

Lacking Lithium
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
A census of 500 stars has successfully linked the 'lithium mystery' observed in our Sun to the presence of planetary systems. The study shows that Sun-like stars with planetary systems lack lithium, and could help astronomers identify more stars that host planets.

Unsettled Youth
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered a young star where young planets jostle about like unsettled children. The system may be similar to our own solar system before our planets settled into their familiar orbits.

Detecting Life-Friendly Moons
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
The search for life-friendly real estate around distant stars doesn't have to be limited to planets. New research shows that habitable exomoons can be detected with a new method using current technology.

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