Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • Scientists have discovered 'ultra-primitive' material in stratospheric dust samples collected by high-flying aircraft. The material likely wafted into the atmosphere of Earth as our planet passed through the tail of a comet, and could help scientists understand the early solar system and the role that
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  • Astronomers have reported 32 new exoplanets discovered using the HARPS spectrograph for ESO's 3.6-meter telescope. HARPS has provided a boost in the number of planets that are only a few times more massive than Earth. Some of these low-mass planets rest close to the habitable
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  • NASA scientists have recalculated the path of a large asteroid and determined that it is less likely to have a hazardous encounter with Earth than previously thought. The chances of Apophis hitting the Earth in 2036 are now thought to be about four-in-a-million.
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  • A newly-discovered exoplanet has an atmosphere that contains the same ingredients as rocks. In fact, a storm on COROT-7b may include pebbles condensing out of the air to rain into lakes of lava. COROT-7b is less than twice the size of Earth and can help
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  • A comet hitting Earth would seem to bring only death and destruction, but one group is studying how such an impact could promote certain necessary chemical steps in the origin of life. The researchers are focusing on how comet collisions might have influenced the molecular
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  • Scientists have confirmed the existence of a solid, rocky planet orbiting a distant star. The research also revealed a second Super Earth in the same solar system. Studies like these bring us closer to the discovery of habitable exoplanets similar to Earth.
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  • New studies of mixotrophic algae have shown how such organisms could survive the darkened skies that follow a major asteroid impact. Such studies indicate how life manages to survive after a mass extinction event.
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  • Scientists have discovered a fundamental building block of life in samples of a comet that were returned to Earth by NASA's Stardust spacecraft. The research supports the theory that some of the ingredients for life were delivered to the Earth by comet and meteorite impacts.
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  • Scientists have discovered a new planet that orbits its host star backwards. The finding casts new light on how planetary systems form and evolve.
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  • NASA's Kepler telescope has detected the atmosphere of a known gas giant planet orbiting a distant star. The finding demonstrates the telescope's scientific capabilities, which will help astrobiologists search for habitable worlds beyond our solar system.
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