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Finding Earth's Twin
Topic: New Planets
Summary: NASA researchers have demonstrated that a space telescope rigged with the right equipment could actually photograph an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. The accomplishment is a major step forward in the search for habitable environments beyond the Solar System.

Water in Extrasolar Planet's Atmosphere
Topic: New Planets
Summary: For the first time, strong evidence for water has been identified in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet. The planet, HD209458b, is located 150 light years from Earth.

Light from Alien Words
Topic: New Planets
Summary: NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured enough light from exoplanets to identify signatures of molecules in their atmospheres. The feat is a significant step toward being able to identify life beyond our solar system.

Cutting into Planet Layers
Topic: New Planets
Summary: NASA's powerful Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to study for the first time the layer-cake structure of a planet orbiting another star.

Modeling Other Earths
Topic: New Planets
Summary: Of the more than 200 extrasolar planets found so far, most are not rocky worlds like the Earth. That doesn´t mean Earths are rare – we just don´t have the technological ability to detect their subtle signatures. In this interview, Barrie Jones discusses why astrobiologists can expect to find many Earth-like planets someday.

Astrobiology Top 10: Icy Super Earth
Topic: New Planets
Summary: Astrobiology Magazine is looking back over 2006, highlighting the Top 10 astrobiology stories of the year. At number 6 is the discovery of an icy "Super Earth." Astronomers have found over 200 planets orbiting other stars, but most of them are more massive than the planet Jupiter.

Pale Blue Dot III: An Astrobiological Field Report
Topic: New Planets
Summary: In this essay, David Grinspoon provides an overview of the "Pale Blue Dot III" workshop recently held in Chicago. While the overall scientific theme of the workshop was finding habitable Earthlike planets around other stars, communicating that science to the general public was also a major focus.

Rocky Worlds
Topic: New Planets
Summary: The COROT space telescope is proceeding smoothly towards its launch in December 2006. Once in orbit, COROT will become the first spacecraft devoted to the search for rocky planets, similar to our own Earth.

Planets by Numbers
Topic: New Planets
Summary: More than a decade after the first planets beyond our solar system were found, astronomers have discovered about 200 of these "extrasolar planets," as they're called. Using a common-sense definition, scientists have calculated how many potentially habitable planets might be detected around other stars by the SIM PlanetQuest mission.

Fire and Ice
Topic: New Planets
Summary: NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has made the first measurements of the day and night temperatures of a planet outside our solar system. The infrared observatory revealed that the Jupiter-like gas giant planet circling very close to its sun is always as hot as fire on one side, and potentially as cold as ice on the other.

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