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How (and When) Earth Got its Plated Shell
Topic: Geology
Summary: New research suggests how and when Earth came to develop one of its most distinct features — rigid tectonic plates — and why Venus, Earth's twin-like neighbor, never has.

From Martian Rocks, a Planet’s Watery Story Emerges
Topic: Mars
Summary: After 18 months on Mars, the rover Curiosity has taken more than 120,000 measurements of surface rocks and soil, painting a more detailed image of how much water was once on the Red Planet.

Ancient Fossil Reveals Oldest Known Circulatory System
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
Summary: A fossil creature buried in an "invertebrate version of Pompeii" more than half a billion years ago reveals the first-known cardiovascular system in exquisitely preserved detail.

Science Fiction Stories with Good Astronomy & Physics
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: A selective list of short stories and novels that use more or less accurate science and can be used for teaching or reinforcing astronomy or physics concepts.

Mars Exploration in a Deep Mine
Topic: Extreme Life
Summary: Scientists are testing technologies for Mars exploration in a 1.3 kilometer-deep mine. The project is part of the Mars Analogues for Space Exploration (MASE) program.

Arctic Melt Season Lengthening, Ocean Rapidly Warming
Topic: Climate
Summary: The length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade, and an earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap's thickness.

First Sightings of Solar Flare Phenomena Confirm 3-D Models of Space Weather
Topic: Spaceship Earth
Summary: Scientists have for the first time witnessed the mechanism behind explosive energy releases in the Sun's atmosphere, confirming new theories about how solar flares are created.

Microbes and Mass Extinction
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: A new study shows how microbes may be guilty of causing the largest known mass extinction in Earth's history.

Counting Calories in the Fossil Record
Topic: Biosphere
Summary: Why did the ancestors of clams and oysters flourish after one of the worst mass extinctions in Earth's history while another class of shelled creatures, the brachiopods, sharply decline? By using fossils to calculate the food intake of both groups, scientists are one step closer to solving one of paleontology's great mysteries.

Don’t Forget F-type Stars in Search for Life
Topic: Alien Life
Summary: Scientists searching for habitable planets beyond Earth shouldn't overlook F-type stars in favor of their more abundant, smaller and cooler cousins, researchers say.

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