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Two of the most fundamental questions asked by people are how life emerged on the Earth, and whether we are alone in the cosmos. These deeply important questions form the core of a new kind of science, one that recently has been rapidly gathering momentum: astrobiology. Lewis Dartnell explains.
With the thunderous launch of the Delta II rocket this weekend, not only was the Kepler space telescope lofted into the sky, but also our hopes of finding a Second Earth. But now, after those few minutes of intense excitement, comes several months of impatient waiting.
When you hear about near-misses from asteroids like 2009 DD45, so-called near-Earth objects, your first thoughts might be of the apocalyptic. Hollywood has ensured that we are all fully aware of the risks posed to planet Earth from such space rocks, perhaps not to extinguish all life on our planet Continue reading
The first world beyond our solar system was discovered in 1992, and since then astronomers have been finding such ‘extrasolar planets’ (also abbreviated to ‘exoplanets’) at an ever quickening rate. As techniques and telescopes increase in sensitivity, the race is on to be the first to announce the discovery of a truly terrestrial exoplanet – a Second Earth. Continue reading