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Astrophysics and Extinctions
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: A new study is providing information about how radiation from space can damage life on Earth, and shows that a short gamma ray burst would be more significant than a longer gamma ray bust. If one of these bursts of energy occurred nearby, it could have lasting effects on Earth's surface and oceans.

Colliding Space Clutter
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: A new report from the National Research Council says that the problem of space debris in orbit around the Earth is getting worse. Hazards posed by abandoned equipment, spent rocket bodies, and other debris is an increasing risk for future space missions.

The Odds for Life on a Moonless Earth
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: If a rocky planet has no moon, could complex life still arise? New research looks at the effects a large moon can have on a planet´s orbital stability over time.

Minor Planets Disrupt Earth's Orbit
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: Long-term simulations show that close encounters between the minor planets Ceres and Vesta could affect the Earth's orbit.

Magnetic Reconnection
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: A phenomenon known as 'magnetic reconnection' is responsible for much of the space weather that affects Earth. NASA is now preparing a new mission dedicated to studying this dynamic magnetic system and its influence on our planet.

The Importance of Being Magnetized
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: Despite its magnetic field, Earth is losing its atmosphere to space at about the same rate as planets that lack this protective barrier against the solar wind. Scientists now are beginning to question whether magnetic fields really are vital to helping a planet hold on to its atmosphere.

Catching Space Weather in the Act
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: Special cameras on the IBEX spacecraft have snapped their first pictures of the complex interactions between space weather and Earth's magnetic field. The new data could help astrobiologists understand the links between the space environment and Earth's habitability.

Earth's Dust Tail Could Help Find Alien Worlds
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: Recent data from the Spitzer Space Telescope has helped scientist determine what the 'dust tail' of Earth looks like. The finding could help astrobiologists search for Earth-like planets because similar dust tails trailing behind extrasolar planets might actually be easier to spot than the planets themselves.

Carbon Dioxide is Key on Earth and Mars
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: There are many factors influencing the Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new study indicates that global temperature ultimately depends on atmospheric level of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide may also hold secrets about the climate history of Mars.

A Strange Solar Flare Connection
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: When researchers found an unusual linkage between solar flares and the inner life of radioactive elements on Earth, it touched off a scientific detective investigation that could end up protecting the lives of space-walking astronauts and maybe rewriting some of the assumptions of physics.

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