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Islands of Life Across Space and Time
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
10/06/09
Scientists have provided the first quantitative evaluation of planetary habitability. The study shows how the habitability of Earth has changed in the past, and will aid astrobiologists in evaluating the habitability of other planets in our solar system and beyond.

Double Dust Disks
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/30/09
Astronomers have explored one of the most compact dust disks ever resolved around another star, where an inner disk is accompanied by an outer disk. The finding may be an example of a young planetary system just entering the last phase of planet formation and could teach us about the evolution and formation of habitable planets.

Planetary Petri Dish
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/29/09
Astronomers have discovered a clump of planet-forming material around a distant star that looks as if it is being pushed around by another star or planet. The observation is unlike anything seen before and offers a rare look into the early stages of planet formation.

Mothballs in Space
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/06/09
Astronomers have discovered gaseous napthalene drifting along through space in interstellar clouds. Studying the composition of interstellar clouds will help scientists understand chemical processes in space that formed many of the molecules present on Earth - including those necessary for the origin of life.

The Fate of the Milky Way
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
09/02/09
New simulations show that a collision between small, satellite galaxies and our own Milky Way will not tear apart the disk of our home galaxy. Our largest satellite galaxies are the Large and Small Megellanic Clouds, and astronomers once thought a collision with them would lead to disaster. But for now, it looks as though our future in the Milky Way is safe.

Dusty Disks Are Blowing in the Wind
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
08/30/09
Astrobiologists have long studied dusty disks around stars in order to better understand how planets form and evolve. One longstanding mystery is why these disks can have such a wide variety of unique and complicated shapes. Now, a new NASA study may have some answers.

The Origin of Solar Systems
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
08/20/09
A cosmic cloud that is crowded with budding stars and planetary systems is teaching scientists about the environment that our own solar system may have emerged from.

Smashing Planets
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
08/15/09
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence of a collision between two burgeoning planets around a young star. The two objects, one as big as our moon and the other as big as Mercury, could provide information about how collisions affect the development of planets in young solar systems.

Our Smashing Solar System
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/30/09
Like messages in a bottle, grains inside meteorites carry clues to the history of our solar system. Some of these tiny crystals are older than the solar system itself. A new study has determined the age of a set of grains from one meteorite. The results seem to indicate a galactic disturbance may have triggered the formation of our solar system.

From a Star's Death, Our Birth
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
07/26/09
New research may alter current ideas about how our solar system originated, and the connections between the solar system's early composition and the origin of life. Scientists have found radioactive nuclei in some of the earliest meteorites known that may have been delivered by a nearby dying star.

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