The Galaxy’s September “Top Five” Most Viewed –From Geysers on Europa to China’s Search for Alien Life





The Helix Nebula –“Harbors Bizarre ‘Comets’ the Size of Our Solar System”




This amazing image from the robotic Spitzer Space Telescope shows infrared light from the well-studied Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) a mere 700 light-years away in the constellation of the Water Carrier Aquarius. The two light-year diameter shroud of dust and gas around a central white dwarf has long been considered an excellent example of a planetary nebula, representing the final stages in the evolution of a Sun-like star.


ESA’s Rosetta Mission Ends –“The First in History to Rendezvous with a Comet”



Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the Sun and its planets formed. By studying the gas, dust and structure of the nucleus and organic materials associated with the comet, via both remote and in situ observations, the Rosetta mission is a key to unlocking the history and evolution of our Solar System.


“Early Earth: The RNA and DNA Worlds Evolved Simultaneously” –New Theory of the Origin of Life


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A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) offers a twist on a popular theory for how life on Earth began about four billion years ago, challenging the “RNA world” hypothesis, a theory for how RNA molecules evolved to create proteins and DNA. Instead, the new research offers evidence for a world where RNA and DNA evolved simultaneously.



New Discovery –“Challenges Hidden Diversity of the Universe”



Astronomers have discovered a ‘hot molecular core’, a cocoon of molecules surrounding a newborn massive star, for the first time outside our Galaxy. The discovery, which marks the first important step for observational studies of extragalactic hot molecular cores and challenges the hidden chemical diversity of our universe.



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