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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang'e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China's quest to send a...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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ScienceShot: Alien Earths Have Been Around for a While
13 June 2012 4:00 pm
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—If there are other species like us in the universe, they've probably been around for a lot longer than we have. According to new research presented here today at the 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society and published online today in Nature, habitable Earthlike planets orbiting other stars may have formed billions of years before ours did. Earlier, researchers had found that giant, gaseous exoplanets preferably form around stars with a relatively high abundance of heavier elements like iron. Since heavier elements are forged in earlier generations of stars and then dispersed through supernova explosions, Jupiterlike giants must be pretty new to the scene. However, a study of the parent stars of a few hundred smaller exoplanets found by NASA's Kepler space telescope reveals that they have a wide variety of heavy-element abundance. Apparently, small planets can easily form around stars that were born much earlier in the history of the universe. Who knows how many civilizations have already risen and fallen in the cosmic past.
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