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Scientists might soon have a much easier time discovering every last nuance of other planets. Researchers have developed a quantum cascade laser (which sounds like an amazing sci-fi weapon, by the way) that can cover a very wide range of infrared wavelengths at the same time, making short work of...

August 19th 2015 at 4:31pm 0 Comments
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It's likely not the first time you'll hear scientists compare an exoplanet to Jupiter. According to a team of astronomers, though, this one called the 51 Eridani b isn't only similar in size -- it's "very much what models suggest Jupiter was like in its infancy." 51 Eri b, which has an atmosphere...

August 14th 2015 at 10:10am 0 Comments
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In the hunt for planets around distant stars, the stars themselves are often the worst enemy. They're so bright that you rarely spot anything smaller than a gas giant, which isn't much help when you're trying to find habitable worlds. An alliance of American and Dutch researchers may have the tick...

June 28th 2015 at 8:43pm 0 Comments
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NASA knows that it can't rely solely on astronomers and robotic rovers to find life on other worlds, so it's recruiting some help. The space agency has formed the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), a coalition of scientists who study astrophysics, Earth, other planets and the Sun. The g...

April 22nd 2015 at 3:00pm 0 Comments
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The quest to find proof of life beyond Earth hasn't been without its setbacks, but NASA isn't deterred. If anything, it's optimistic -- Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan now claims that there will be "definitive evidence" of extraterrestrial life within the next 10 to 20 years. Given the sheer number o...

April 8th 2015 at 11:19am 0 Comments
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It's tempting to think of gas planets as permanently hostile to life as we know it. A pair of University of Washington researchers beg to differ, however. They've used computer modelling to determine that these worlds can become habitable when their stars get particularly grabby. If a relatively s...

February 1st 2015 at 12:29pm 0 Comments
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NASA's Kepler telescope is still discovering new, distant exoplanets in our corner of the Milky Way, but oftentimes they're hard to visualise and easily forgotten about by some of us normal folk. Now, to get everyone dreaming about these potentially habitable worlds, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laborato...

January 8th 2015 at 8:20am 0 Comments
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We know that it's no longer rare to discover alien worlds, but NASA just made it downright commonplace. The space agency has confirmed the existence of 715 exoplanets discovered using the Kepler space telescope, ballooning the number of verified planets to nearly 1,700. Scientists validated the hu...

February 26th 2014 at 5:06pm 0 Comments
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Although it has been possible to take direct photos of exoplanets for a few years, the technology involved has been low-resolution and slow -- it can take up to an hour to get a crude shot of a dimly-lit world. It's much easier with the recently launched Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), though. Scienti...

January 8th 2014 at 11:49pm 0 Comments