In MAVEN's first few weeks of instrument testing at the Red Planet, scientists have already created some of the most complete maps of atomic hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and ozone in the Martian atmosphere ever made. One of MAVEN's instruments even collected data as energetic particles blasted out by a massive solar eruption made it to Mars.
About 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus lives a star, which, though smaller and redder than the sun, has a planet that may look awfully familiar.
With a diameter just 10 percent bigger than Earth's, the newly found world is the first of its size found basking in the benign temperature region around a parent star where water, if it exists, could pool in liquid form.
Scientists on the hunt for Earth's twin are focused on worlds that could support liquid surface water, which may be necessary to brew the chemistry of life.