News Exclusive

  • Habitability: Betting on 37 Gem
    What star meets the current best guesses for habitability? This fascinating question is part of an ongoing research survey, in preparation for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. The answer, according to the largest such classification so far attempted, is the 37th brightest star in
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  • Metal in the Meadow
    Dave DeBoer, Project Engineer for Allen Telescope Array, discusses what the unique telescope will offer. The Allen Telescope Array is marked by many innovations crafted with express purpose of building a world-class state-of-the-art astronomical facility at a price of existing radio telescopes.
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  • Archaean Sunscreen
    Early life may have used sunscreen, allowing it to escape deep water and live relatively high and dry. Any life that may have existed on the surface of Mars also would have needed sunscreen to stand a chance.
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  • Galileo’s Spyglass
    Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute examines the revolution that the astronomer Galileo brought to the world by discovering moons around another planet. This changed what otherwise had persisted as a worldview since Aristotle placed Earth in the center of it the universe.
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  • What Iron Can Tell Us about Mars
    To the Mars Exploration Rover mission, water, past or present, is the grail. One way to look for past water is to analyze soil and rock surfaces for evidence of iron-containing minerals (or compounds), which differ depending on whether the environment in the past was
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  • High Tide on Europa
    Cynthia Phillips, an expert on Europa image analysis from SETI Institute, discusses the remarkable way that the Galilean satellites-get their warmth. The moons are heated by eccentric orbits. Called tidal heating, this source of energy has interesting implications for whether liquid water could exist so
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  • The End of Galileo
    On Sunday afternoon, the Galileo spacecraft crashed into the planet Jupiter. The spacecraft has redefined our understanding of Jupiter, the moons orbiting that gas giant planet, and the possibility of life elsewhere in our solar system.
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  • Chomping on Nano-Nuggets
    Eight years ago, nanometer-sized features resembling bacteria were discovered in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Although some scientists think nanometer-sized life can't exist, others contend that nanobacteria are the new frontier in life science.
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  • Planetary Primer: Mars and Venus
    The terrestrial neighborhood is rich with both extremes of hot and cold, depending on whether one looks to Venus or Mars. Whether Venus has too much atmosphere or whether Mars has too little determines whether they rank as hospitable or hostile.
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  • Discovering New Worlds
    Few modern scientific adventures can rival what is currently the task of those discovering new planets. While most of the hundred or so new worlds found so far have been found using the planet's inferred influence on its parent star's gravitational wobble, a few have
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  • Surveying the Scene – Martian Style
    After the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, land in January 2004, they'll take their first look around, literally, with their Pancam imaging system, a pair of cameras capable of panning 360-degrees around the rover's mast. Pancam will make the sharpest pictures yet of Mars'
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  • Life’s  Limit
    Extreme life forms can thrive in harsh conditions of salt, pressure, temperature and pH, but share a common theme of needing liquid water. Dr. Rocco Mancinelli of the SETI Institute describes his fascination with finding what are the environmental limits to life.
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  • Biology’s Theme Park: RNA World
    When a laboratory recipe for life starts to look daunting, scientists have retreated to a test-tube for what they term 're-evolving evolution'. Their model is one of the template molecules for life, the counterpart to DNA itself, called RNA, which replicates a pattern for cell
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  • Dialing Up Mars
    For those interested in understanding the red planet, a scientific stowaway aboard the two NASA Mars' probes promises to offer a unique view. A Cornell collaboration with Bill Nye, 'the Science Guy', and schoolchildren has launched the first interplanetary sundial.
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  • When Hubble Saw Mars
    If your views of Mars were somehow obscured by clouds or city lights, what the Hubble Space Telescope saw on the martian opposition provides a map and guide for conducting a grand tour of the red planet.
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