Indeed, as we search for life on other planets, we've used the Earth as our standard reference. Practically speaking, it's the only model we've got — and it appears to be a pretty damned good one; Earth has been teeming with life for billions of years and, quite importantly, it's even spawned a radio-capable, space-faring civilization. That being said, what makes us so sure it's the best model for habitability? Could other planets or moons be even more suitable for life? A pair of astrobiologists say yes. To find a habitable and ultimately an inhabited world, they argue we should adopt a biocentric approach rather than a geo- or anthropocentric one.
It's a "build your own volcano" kit like no other. A team of geologists in Germany has built a model volcano that crackles with lightning as it erupts. But this is no toy science kit for kids – it could offer insights into the disruption risk to aircraft in the aftermath of an eruption.