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Solar Wind Transforms Venus into Shape of Comet

Earth's ionosphere never becomes cometlike largely because the planet has its own magnetic field that balances out the sun's influence, but Venus lacks its own magnetic field and is therefore subject to the whims of the sun's solar wind...

January 31, 2013 — Miriam Kramer and

"Habitable Zone" for Alien Planets Redefined

Scientists have altered the criteria for the habitable zone—an area not too close or far away from a star—taking into account whether planets can host liquid water. This redefines where researchers believe life-forms could exist...

January 29, 2013 — Clara Moskowitz and

Dry Ice "Smoke" Carves Up Sand Dunes on Mars

Springtime thawing of frozen carbon dioxide creates wandering patterns of grooves in the region's sand dunes, showing that Mars's topography is still changing despite its apparent lack of surface water and volcanoes...

January 28, 2013 — Mike Wall and

NASA Joins European Dark Energy Mission

NASA will provide 16 infrared detectors and four spares for one of the Euclid space telescope's planned science instruments. The mission is set to launch in 2020

January 25, 2013 — Mike Wall and

NASA Beams Mona Lisa to Moon with Laser

Scientists beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece to a spacecraft orbiting the moon—the first laser communication of its kind

January 18, 2013 — Miriam Kramer and

No "Death Star" for U.S. Military, White House Says

The U.S. government refuses to spend 85 quadrillion taxpayer dollars on a Death Star, based on a fictional space station in the movie Star Wars, saying the project's fatal flaws make it susceptible to attacks by one-man starships...

January 15, 2013 — Tariq Malik and

Largest Spiral Galaxy in Universe Revealed

Five times wider than our own galaxy, the Milky Way, scientists hypothesize that the universe's largest spiral galaxy may have formed several billion years ago

January 11, 2013 — Mike Wall and
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Scientific American Health & Medicine

Scientific American Health & Medicine