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exoplanets

Photo of a diver between two tectonic plates in Silfra. reykjavik. Iceland
geophysics

Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life

Life needs more than water alone. Recent discoveries suggest that plate tectonics has played a critical role in nourishing life on Earth. The findings carry major consequences for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

astronomy

Stellar Disks Reveal How Planets Get Made

Detailed images of disks swirling around young stars show the details of how solar systems come to be.

Abstractions blog

Exoplanet Puzzle Cracked by Jazz Musicians

A system of seven Earth-like exoplanets appeared to be unstable. Now their orbits have been rewritten in the music of the spheres.

astrobiology

Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life

Searching for signs of life on faraway planets, astrobiologists must decide which telltale biosignature gases to target.

cosmology

Peering Into the Early Universe

Three “extremely large telescopes” poised to begin observations within a decade could help answer some of the universe’s oldest and best-kept secrets.