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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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  • Ancient Planet Discovered
    Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have identified the oldest and most distant known planet orbiting two burned-out stars. Its sky location in the constellation Scorpius places the planet as the M4 globular cluster. The discovered world is also the only planet found to orbit
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  • The World Goes to Mars
    The quartet of science missions headed to the Red Planet is now complete, with the successful Monday launch of the last Mars Exploration Rover, called Opportunity. Not since 1976, have multiple landers explored Mars simultaneously.
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  • Similar Solar System at 90 Light Years
    Astronomers have found the first sun-like star with a giant gas planet in an orbit similar to Jupiter's. At a distance of 90 light-years, the similar solar system to ours means that this gas giant could attract most of the dangerous impact debris.
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  • Matrix
    Estimating the frequency for communicating with an extrasolar civilization is a multi-dimensional challenge. The answer, according to two scientists at the Hungarian Astronomical Association, is less like an equation, and more like a matrix.
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  • Synchronizing Molecular Clocks
    The frequency of changes in a species' genetic code acts like a kind of molecular clock, which can trace the branches of a family tree back to the original root. Evolutionary biologists are using molecular clocks to time how fast a species may be changing,
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  • Cave Slime
    Caves - some pitch black, some with poisonous atmospheres - teem with microbes that rot rock and make unique crystals and chemicals. Cave-microbe researchers hope to gain insight from these unusual microscopic creatures about what life signs to search for in extraterrestrial environments.
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