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exoplanets

  • Clever_Apes-Busted_Telescope_733x550

    Clever Apes, a Busted Telescope & the Adjacent Possible

    The Kepler spacecraft had a pretty good run. Launched in 2009, it soon settled into its intended orbit around the Sun, trained its image sensors up at a patch of sky about as big as your fist held at arm’s length, and began watching, which it’s been doing ever since. Kepler’s job is to find […]

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    How We Could Find Alien Life Soon—and Why We Probably Won’t

    Despite their great distance from Earthbound politics, exoplanets were the topic of a joint hearing on May 9th of the House space and research subcommittees. The recent discovery of a trio of temperate super-Earths was the hearing’s impetus, but most of the discussion was devoted to future prospects—chiefly, how and when scientists might learn whether […]

  • Desert planet

    Open Your Mind to What an “Earth-Like” Planet Could Be

    You are standing on a sandy plain lit only by the harsh, cold light of a blue-white spark flashing overhead in steady metronomic bursts. The pinprick of light almost seems like a distant star, but each flash raises a disturbing tingling sensation within you, suggesting the stroboscopic light source is somehow nearby, and must be […]

  • Carbon Fated lead image

    Carbon Fated: We’re Built This Way for a Reason

    In each issue of Nautilus, we shine a spotlight on one “Ingenious” scientist whose work makes us reconsider our world and ourselves. The Ingenious for our first issue, “What Makes You So Special,” is Columbia University astrophysicist Caleb Scharf, who contributed an essay about our place in the universe and talked about his life and […]

  • The_Fun_House_733x550

    The Fun-House Mirror Earths

    It’s been just over two decades since astronomers announced the first discoveries of exoplanets—planets orbiting stars other than the sun—and their progress in the intervening years has been so routinely remarkable its recitation now seems mundane: There are now thousands of cataloged exoplanets, and hundreds of billions more probably await discovery in the Milky Way […]