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    • Mars Close Approach
      Never previously in modern human history has Mars been as bright or as close to Earth as tonight. Look for it in the night sky, as it will be easily recognized by its red tinge. As with all planets, its light will also stand
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    • Alien Infection
      As we look toward exploring other worlds, and perhaps even bringing samples back to Earth for testing, astrobiologists have to wonder: could there be alien pathogens in those samples that will wreak havoc on our world?
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    • Infrared Eyes Set For the Sky
      A new Sun-circling telescope will reveal the universe with infrared eyes. Unlike what the Hubble Space Telescope shows in visible light, this Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) will look for heat. The longer, infrared wavelengths can penetrate dust and gas clouds that otherwise obscure.
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    • Life from the Heavens?
      The scientific community has been impressed with the robustness of environments that can support life, ranging from Antarctic lakes to salt mines to nuclear reactors. But conventional wisdom has presumed that life traveling to Earth on a fiery meteor--if possible--would meet a quick sterilizing death.
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    • Spying on Biodiversity
      Monitoring of species which may have natural habitats in remote areas is no easy task. Using internet cameras, a group of Alaska biologists can keep warm, while watching the great outdoors.
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    • Fascination with Distant Worlds
      On September 21, the Galileo space probe will dive into the atmosphere of Jupiter. Its trek to the giant planet has revealed stunning images of the Jovian moons, in particular one of its frozen satellites, Europa. Cynthia Phillips of The SETI Institute provides an account
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    • Mars Up Close
      The Mars Exploration Rovers provide geologists with their first chance to do field work on Mars, so the rovers took along the space version of a common geologist's tool, the pocket magnifying glass or hand lens.
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    • Star Bright: Part II
      In Part I of this article, the differences between typical stars, brown dwarfs and sub-brown dwarfs were discussed. Stars have a mass of 75 Jupiters or greater, brown dwarfs have a mass between 13 and 75 Jupiters, and sub-brown dwarfs are less than 13 Jupiter
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    • Diamonds in the Rough
      Friedemann Freund is investigating the complex chemistry of common rocks like granite, in hopes of uncovering more clues to the origin of life and how oxygen came to support it since the early Earth.
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    • Star Bright: Part I
      Starlight aside, one way to distinguish between stars and planets is to have them weigh in. Stars need a hefty amount of mass to fuse hydrogen, while planets are mere dust motes in comparison. But over past few years, astronomers found planetary-mass objects
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    • The Rise of Oxygen
      When one looks back on our planet from space, an intriguing finding centers on its apparent biochemical contradictions: Earth has lots of chlorophyl and thus plants, but also has lots of oxygen, which is a poisonous element or vegetative waste product.
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    • Picking on Mars
      An ancient dry lakebed called Gusev Crater is a landing target for the Mars Exploration Rover early next year. The long arduous process of finalizing what are called paleolake sites is described, and the trip is surprising--from Paris to Mountain View, California.
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    • Follow the Sun
      This is the second in a series of articles on a research project, Life in the Atacama, that recently began in Chile's Atacama desert. This article will focus on the innovative Hyperion rover that is being used in the project, a rover designed to travel
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    • Inevitability Beyond Billions
      A sky survey by Anglo-Australian astronomers has put forward a new calculation for the number of stars in the visible universe. Their estimate is larger than the number of sand grains on Earth.
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    • Earth Without Life?
      The Mars Express spacecraft snapped a new panorama of the Earth and Moon in silhouette against a dark sky. The views back at our own planet reveal a blue dot, rich with oceans and clouds, but how does our planet's chemistry hold up for comparison
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