Agriculture
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Fast-flying fungal spores
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Bullfrogs
Tree Frogs
Animals
Eyes on the Depths
A Tongue and a Half
Crocodile Hearts
Behavior
Pondering the puzzling platypus
Storing Memories before Bedtime
How Much Babies Know
Birds
Crows
Ospreys
Rheas
Chemistry and Materials
The Buzz about Caffeine
The science of disappearing
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Computers
It's a Small E-mail World After All
New eyes to scan the skies
A Classroom of the Mind
Dinosaurs and Fossils
A Rainforest Trapped in Amber
Ferocious Growth Spurts
The bug that may have killed a dinosaur
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Earth
Rodent Rubbish as an Ice-Age Thermometer
Killer Space Rock Snuffed Out Ancient Life
Greener Diet
Environment
Giant snakes invading North America
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Alien Invasions
Finding the Past
Traces of Ancient Campfires
Watching deep-space fireworks
Ancient Cave Behavior
Fish
Electric Catfish
Salmon
Flounder
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
The Essence of Celery
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Who vs. Whom
Capitalization Rules
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Preparing for the GSAT Exam
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GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Deep-space dancers
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Human Body
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Taking the sting out of scorpion venom
Germ Zapper
Invertebrates
Lice
Octopuses
Sea Urchin
Mammals
African Zebra
Chipmunks
Mongooses
Parents
Children and Media
How children learn
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Project Music
Road Bumps
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Plants
Surprise Visitor
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Seeds of the Future
Reptiles
Gila Monsters
Garter Snakes
Cobras
Space and Astronomy
Saturn's Spongy Moon
Zooming In on the Wild Sun
Big Galaxy Swallows Little Galaxy
Technology and Engineering
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
Searching for Alien Life
Beyond Bar Codes
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
What is a Verb?
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
Where rivers run uphill
Ready, unplug, drive
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Weather
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Warmest Year on Record
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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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