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Detecting life on a planet beyond Earth would be one of the coolest things ever! In our paper, we talk about detecting signs of life on other planets that breathe out oxygen. While this strategy would only detect Earth-like life, it is a good starting point. To accomplish this, we want ask two questions. Does this…

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Tabby’s Star, located 1,276 light years from Earth and named for its discoverer Tabetha S. Boyajian, created quite a buzz among astronomers when it was found in 2009 by the Kepler Space Observatory. It glowed a yellowish white and had temperature of around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit! However, scientists wondered…

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When the NASA Space Shuttle was flying, it carried a variety of scientific equipment for running experiments. One of these devices was an enclosure for mice and rats. This equipment was used to test the effects of extremely low gravity on living creatures. The results of these studies are crucial so we can understand…

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All life on Earth survives because of the sun. Plants use a process called photosynthesis to transfer energy from the Sun’s rays into the sugars that build their stems and leaves. Animals either eat the plants directly, or eat other animals that have eaten plants. Countless other organisms, like bacteria, algae, and…

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A new international study casts doubt on the leading theory of what causes ice ages around the world — changes in the way the Earth orbits the sun. The researchers found that glacier movement in the Southern Hemisphere is influenced primarily by sea surface temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide rather than…

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For more than 250 million years, four-limbed land animals known as tetrapods have repeatedly conquered the Earth’s oceans. These creatures–such as plesiosaurs, penguins and sea turtles–descended from separate groups of terrestrial vertebrates that convergently evolved to thrive in aquatic…

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Surface meltwater regularly travels to the bottom of the Greenland Ice Sheet and lubricates the flow of the ice into the ocean, but new research indicates that future increasing volumes of this meltwater are unlikely to speed the flow of the ice sheet. How is the Greenland Ice Sheet like an oil drill site?  They both…

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Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet On two separate occasions in March and April 2012, amateur astronomers reported definite plume-like features developing on the planet. The plumes were seen rising to altitudes of over 250 km…