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New Proof Finds the ‘Ultimate Instability’ in a Solar System Model
For the first time, mathematicians have proved that planetary orbits in a solar system will always be unstable.
A Dream of Discovering Alien Life Finds New Hope
For Lisa Kaltenegger and her generation of exoplanet astronomers, decades of planning have set the stage for an epochal detection.
Webb Space Telescope Snaps Its First Photo of an Exoplanet
The grainy image of a “super-Jupiter” is a sign of what’s to come as the telescope’s exoplanet observations ramp up.
Two Weeks In, the Webb Space Telescope Is Reshaping Astronomy
In the days after the mega-telescope started delivering data, astronomers reported new discoveries about galaxies, stars, exoplanets and even Jupiter.
Life Helps Make Almost Half of Earth’s Minerals
A new origins-based system for classifying minerals reveals the huge geochemical imprint that life has left on Earth. It could help us identify other worlds with life too.
What Is Life?
Without a good definition of life, how do we look for it on alien planets? Steven Strogatz speaks with Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and astrobiologist, and Sheref Mansy, a chemist, to learn more.
Astronomers Reimagine the Making of the Planets
Observations of faraway planets have forced a near-total rewrite of the story of how our solar system came to be.
Solving the Faint-Sun Paradox
We might have a past faint sun to owe for life’s existence. This has consequences for the possibility of life outside Earth.
The Webb Space Telescope Will Rewrite Cosmic History. If It Works.
The James Webb Space Telescope has the potential to rewrite the history of the cosmos and reshape humanity’s position within it. But first, a lot of things have to work just right.