When astronomers confirmed the discovery of an Earth-sized world orbiting Proxima Centauri just 4.25 light years away, hopes were ignited that there may be more planetary real estate in our cosmic neighbourhood. To find out, a team of ex-NASA scientists is now seeking private funding to scour the Alpha Centauri system for habitable planets.
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Image Cache: Tilt-shift lenses can make whole cities look like desktop miniatures through some amazing optical trickery. Unfortunately, we don't have any of them up in space, but it hasn't stopped some cosmic creatives from trying to mimic the effect on photos taken by NASA, ESO and other space research groups.
As Arctic sea ice flirts with its lowest levels in recorded history, polar scientists are taking the opportunity to remind us that it isn't just humans who are screwed because of melting ice caps. Remember polar bears, global warming's first darling poster child? They're still around, and they're not happy with what we've done to the planet.
Tomorrow morning, an asteroid-bound mission will launch towards a shadowy space rock, Bennu. There, it will scoop up a bit of dirt and deliver it back to us, all without ever attempting a landing. It's not just any dirt, though. Bound up in these grains could be the answer to how life first emerged here on Earth.