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"Life May Exist in the Milky Way that Dates Back 11 Billion Years" (Weekend Feature)

 

 

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"We now know that Earth-sized planets have formed throughout most of the Universe's 13.8-billion-year history, which could provide scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy," said Tiago Campante, research leader from the University of Birmingham. "It is extraordinary that such an ancient system of terrestrial-sized planets formed when the universe was just starting out, at a fifth its current age. Kepler-444 is two and a half times older than our solar system, which is only a youthful 4.5 billion years old. This tells us that planets this size have formed for most of the history of the universe and we are much better placed to understand exactly when this began happening."

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"The Mars-Earth Shuttle" --A 4.4 Billion-Year-Old Piece of Mars Found in Moroccan Desert

 

 

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NWA 7034, a meteorite found a few years ago in the Moroccan desert, is like no other rock ever found on Earth. It's been shown to be a 4.4 billion-year-old chunk of the Martian crust, and according to a new analysis, rocks just like it may cover vast swaths of Mars.

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Technological Civilizations --"Are Their Lifespans 200 years, 500 years or 50,000 years?" (Weekend Feature)

 

 

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"We have no idea how long a technological civilization like our own can last," says University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank. "Is it 200 years, 500 years or 50,000 years? Answering this question is at the root of all our concerns about the sustainability of human society. Are we the first and only technologically-intensive civilization in the entire history of the universe? If not, shouldn't we stand to learn something from the past successes and failures of other species?"

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Lunar Volcanoes --"Were Active During the Age of the Dinosaurs" (Today's Most Popular)

 

 

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has provided researchers strong evidence the moon’s volcanic activity slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago. Scores of distinctive rock deposits observed by LRO are estimated to be less than 100 million years old, scattered across the moon’s dark volcanic plains and are characterized by a mixture of smooth, rounded, shallow mounds next to patches of rough, blocky terrain. This time period corresponds to Earth’s Cretaceous period, the heyday of dinosaurs. Some areas may be less than 50 million years old.

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Image of the Day: "Massive Bubbles" --New 3-D Probe Inside an Iconic Milky Way Supernova

 

 

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This composite image shows two perspectives of a three-dimensional reconstruction of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. This new 3-D map provides the first detailed look at the distribution of stellar debris following a supernova explosion. Such 3-D reconstructions encode important information for astronomers about how massive stars actually explode. The blue-to-red colors correspond to the varying speed of the emitting gas along our line of sight. The background is a Hubble Space Telescope composite image of the supernova remnant.

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Previously Unknown Window --"May Reveal Existence of Hidden Dark-Matter Particles"

 

 

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Dark Matter is thought to exist because of its gravitational effects on stars and galaxies, gravitational lensing (the bending of light rays) around these, and through its imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background (the afterglow of the Big Bang). Researchers at the University of Southampton have proposed a new fundamental particle which could explain why no one has managed to detect 'Dark Matter', the elusive missing 85 per cent of the Universe's mass.

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A Quantum View of Space (Yet Another Win for Einstein!)

 

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Ever since Einstein proposed his special theory of relativity in 1905, physics and cosmology have been based on the assumption that space looks the same in all directions -- that it's not squeezed in one direction relative to another. A new experiment by physicists used partially entangled atoms -- identical to the qubits in a quantum computer -- to demonstrate more precisely than ever before that this is true: to one part in a billion billion.

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Extreme Worlds May be Habitable

 

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Two phenomena known to inhibit the potential habitability of planets -- tidal forces and vigorous stellar activity -- might instead help chances for life on certain planets orbiting low-mass stars by combining to transform uninhabitable "mini-Neptunes" -- big planets in outer orbits with solid cores and thick hydrogen atmospheres -- into closer-in, gas-free, potentially habitable worlds.

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"Since the Beginning of Time, It is Almost impossible that Mars Ever had Water"

 

 

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"Since the beginning of time, this planet was characterised by intense heat and volcanic activity, which would have evaporated any possible water and made the emergence of life highly unlikely," asserts ETH Zurich geophysicist Giovanni Leone.

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Dwarf Planet Ceres --"A Game Changer in the Solar System"

 

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"I think of Ceres actually as a game changer in the Solar System," said Britney Schmidt in 2013, science team liaison for the Dawn Mission. "Ceres is arguably the only one of its kind. "Ceres is like the gatekeeper to the history of water in the middle solar system."

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