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Seeds of the Future
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Night of the living ants
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The nerve of one animal
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Silk’s superpowers
Lighting goes digital
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Computers with Attitude
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
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Winged Insects May Go Way Back
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Earth
Digging into a Tsunami Disaster
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
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Environment
A Change in Leaf Color
Lessons from a Lonely Tortoise
Snow Traps
Finding the Past
Stonehenge Settlement
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
Decoding a Beverage Jar
Fish
Electric Eel
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Trout
Food and Nutrition
A Taste for Cheese
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Strong Bones for Life
GSAT English Rules
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Human Body
Nature's Medicines
Hey batter, wake up!
A Sour Taste in Your Mouth
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Termites
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Humpback Whales
Mongooses
Armadillo
Parents
How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
One ring around them all
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Plants
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Getting the dirt on carbon
The algae invasion
Reptiles
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Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Icy Red Planet
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
Ready, Set, Supernova
Technology and Engineering
Dancing with Robots
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
A Clean Getaway
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Adjectives and Adverbs
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
How to Fly Like a Bat
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Catching Some Rays
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Arctic Melt
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Cousin Earth

As their search continues, astronomers are finding more and more planets orbiting nearby stars. This time, they've detected a solid planet that's just 15 light-years from Earth. Many details about the planet remain unknown because the astronomers didn't see it directly. Instead, they were able to detect how the planet's gravity makes its star wobble a little bit. Out of 156 planets discovered so far in other solar systems, the new extrasolar planet is the smallest one yet found. It's about 7.5 times heavier than Earth. Along with two, much bigger planets, the new world orbits a star called Gliese 876. The planet takes just 1.9 days to complete an orbit around Gliese 876. So, its year is much, much shorter than ours. It's so close to its star that its surface is hot enough to roast a chicken. Most extrasolar planets that have been found so far are big balls of gas, like Jupiter and Saturn. Because the planet's mass is low, it probably couldn't hold onto much gas. So, scientists suspect that it's rocky. "This could be the first [known] rocky planet around any normal star other than the sun," says team member Jack Lissauer of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Scientists are still trying to figure out how rocky planets might form so close to their stars. Whatever the answer, the new discovery gives researchers confidence that they will one day find even closer cousins to Earth somewhere in the universe. And, on a planet resembling Earth, they might also discover traces of life as we know it.—E. Sohn

Cousin Earth
Cousin Earth








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