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Lichen on Mars
Topic: Extreme Life
Summary: Astrobiology's study of life in the universe has much to say about how humans live sustainably on Earth.

First Planet Found Around Solar Twin in Star Cluster
Topic: New Planets
Summary: Astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. One of these new exoplanets is orbiting a star that is a rare solar twin — a star that is almost identical to the Sun in all respects.

A Decade in the Dust
Topic: Mars
Summary: NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rovers landed on Mars in January of 2004 to begin their 90-day primary mission on the red planet. Ten years later, the Opportunity rover is still returning data from the surface.

The Universe to 1-Percent Accuracy
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) has measured the scale of the universe to an accuracy of one percent. This and future measures at this precision are the key to determining the nature of dark energy.

Small Exoplanets Covered in Gas
Topic: New Planets
Summary: The Kepler mission has measured masses for roughly 60 exoplanets that are larger than Earth, but smaller than Neptune. Data shows that many of these planets are likely covered in gas.

NASA's Fermi Makes First Gamma-ray Study of a Gravitational Lens
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: An international team of astronomers, using NASA's Fermi observatory, has made the first-ever gamma-ray measurements of a gravitational lens, a kind of natural telescope formed when a rare cosmic alignment allows the gravity of a massive object to bend and amplify light from a more distant source.

Mapping Amino Acids to Understand Life's Origins
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Summary: New research uses computer models to construct a large database of amino acids that life could have used, revealing thousands of possible amino acid structures.

Struggling to Adapt to Climate Change
Topic: Climate
Summary: A new study shows that human-induced climate change could pose more of a threat to plants and agriculture than previously thought.

A Celestial Object That Defies Description
Topic: New Planets
Summary: Astrophysicists have discovered a strange celestial object that could challenge theories of how stars and planets form. They are not sure if the object itself is a planet... or a star.

Challenging General Relativity
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
Summary: Astronomers have found a system with three stars that are packed tightly into a space smaller than Earth's orbit. This unique system is helping scientists study the nature of gravity.

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