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.
A century ago, miners working in California's Death Valley reported seeing boulders on the desert floor with long trails behind them — as if the stones had been pushed across the sand. But despite 60 years of trying, no one ever saw what moved them.
Now scientists think they've solved the mystery of the "slithering rocks of Death Valley." Using GPS tags pasted to the boulders, and a video camera, a geologist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and his engineer cousin have evidence that broad, jagged panes of melting ice push the stones across the desert, nudged in one direction or another by the breeze. The team details their results in the current issue of the journal Plos One.
A mysterious crater has appeared at the "end of the world" in Siberia, leaving a pit 80m wide and so deep it has not yet been measured. Researchers are being dispatched to investigate the hole, which has confounded scientists with its dramatic appearance. Some have speculated it could have been made by a meteorite striking earth, an underground explosion, or is a sinkhole caused by collapsing rock, the Siberian Times reported.
Scientists looking for signs of life in the universe -- as well as another planet like our own -- are a lot closer to their goal than people realize.
That was the consensus of a panel on the search for life in the universe held at NASA headquarters Monday in Washington. The discussion focused not only on the philosophical question of whether we're alone in the universe but also on the technological advances made in an effort to answer that question.
"We believe we're very, very close in terms of technology and science to actually finding the other Earth and our chance to find signs of life on another world," said Sara Seager, a MacArthur Fellow and professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.