Finding Habitable Exo-Moons

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Finding Habitable Exo-Moons
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Although more than 1,000 exoplanets have been discovered since the first one was found in 1995, only a handful of those are thought to be habitable, at least by life as we know it. New research shows that exomoons, too, could provide habitable environments. Although we are yet to find exomoons, we have good reasons to believe that there should be many, even more than exoplanets.

Kepler Telescope Discovers Most Earth-Like Planet

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Kepler Telescope Discovers Most Earth-Like Planet
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Astronomers have found the first Earth-sized exoplanet within a star's habitable zone. The planet is the closest thing yet to the coveted 'Goldilocks' orb that scientists have long sought — a world roughly the size of Earth orbiting a star at a distance that is just right for liquid water to exist.

"We definitely think it's one step closer to finding a true Sun–Earth analogue," says study co-author Elisa Quintana, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and at the nearby NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field. But because the star that the exoplanet orbits is a cool, dim one unlike the Sun, Quintana and her colleagues consider the planet more of a cousin to Earth than a twin.

Is There Still Flowing Water on Mars?

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Is There Still Flowing Water on Mars?
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The presence of water on Mars is often talked about in the past tense -- as in, billions of years in the past. But researchers have found clues that water could be flowing in the present, at least during warm seasons.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are looking at dark features on Martian slopes that are finger-shaped. They appear and disappear seasonally.

These flows represent the best suggestion we know of that Mars has water right now, scientists say. The study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Even An Asteroid Has Rings? Step Up Your Game Earth!

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Even An Asteroid Has Rings? Step Up Your Game Earth!
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Observations at many sites in South America, including the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that two dense and narrow rings surround the remote asteroid Chariklo. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the solar system — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disk of debris.