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When scientists think of a very early Earth, they think of a hot, hostile place not too long after the birth of the solar system more than 4 billion years ago. This time in the Earth’s history is called the Hadean Eon, named after the ancient Greek God of the Underworld Hades, and would have been just about when the…

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You sit down at a restaurant and peruse the menu for the best wine to pair with your dinner. Do you choose a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, or something crisper and lighter like Riesling? Do you choose the cheapest one within the category, or first look to see the vineyards listed? The differences between wine…

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Here on Earth, scientists study layers of sediment like dirt and sand to better understand how rocks form. The same contextual clues geologists use to explain how sedimentary rocks form on Earth can also be applied to extraterrestrial planets. Recent studies of Mars, for example, have looked at photos of sedimentary…

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During the last days of the summer of 1991, tourists hiking in the Ötztal Alps near the Italy – Austria border found the remains of an incredibly well-preserved man. This man, dubbed Ötzi, was dated back to the “Copper Age”: an informal name given to the transitional period between stone and iron working,…

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How long has life been around on Earth? Is life an inevitable part of planet formation? The second question is tough to answer, but if life formed soon after the planet formed, then this has important ramifications for the abundance of life in the Universe. In an article published in the leading journal Nature by…