Feature Stories

  • Rethinking Jupiter
    The planet Jupiter is thought to act as a "cosmic vacuum cleaner," sucking up comets and asteroids that could potentially hit the Earth and endanger all life on our planet. But new research has more closely examined Jupiter's ability to protect the inner solar
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  • Predicting Planets
    Finding new planets around distant stars has become commonplace. But now a team of astronomers has succeeded in predicting the orbit of a planet that hadn´t yet been discovered. The last time that happened was more than 150 years ago.
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  • Phoenix Takes Flight
    Phoenix, NASA´s latest mission to Mars, will land in the planet´s northern polar region. It will dig down into the permafrost, which lies just below the surface, and look for signs of past habitability.
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  • Our Earliest Animal Ancestors
    How has life changed Earth? How has Earth changed life? And why did animal life appear on Earth some time around 600 million years ago – and not at another time? A new NASA Astrobiology Institute group will tackle big questions about the origin of
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  • The Origin of Life: First Steps
    One of the biggest puzzles in astrobiology is how did life emerge on Earth, and under what conditions might it arise on other planetary bodies? From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a review of "From Suns to Life," which investigates the various pieces of
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  • Robot Dives Deep for Sinkhole Slime
    DEPTHX, an underwater robot capable of navigating without human control, has recovered microbial biofilm samples from the deepest water-filled sinkhole in the world. Microbiologist John Spear is looking forward to learning what the ‘bot brought home.
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  • The Violent Origin of the Solar System
    We know that our solar system has at least one planet with life – Earth. Perhaps solar systems that formed in ways similar to our own also will have the potential for life. But how normal was the formation of our solar system? In
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  • When Fungi Ruled the World
    One of the strangest mysteries of the fossil world concerns a tall, cylindrical structure dating to 420 million years ago. Some scientists have called it fungus, others a lichen, still others an alga. A new isotopic analysis has settled the debate, and has helped researchers
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  • Phosphate Does a Body Good?
    To better understand what caused life to evolve or die out in the past, scientists are studying the chemistry of the fossil record. Jim Elser thinks phosphate may have played a key role in the Cambrian explosion and the mass extinction that preceded it.
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  • Building a Habitable Earth
    To understand the origin of life we need to know about the conditions on the early Earth, but the rock record for the first 700 million years of Earth history is gone. From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a story about techniques scientists are
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