As the old saying goes, life can move pretty fast, but this is especially true in space, where the difference in orbital velocities between two different objects can literally be faster than a speeding bullet. Last month, British astronaut Tim Peake posted a photograph of a 7 mm (1/4 inch) impact chip in one of the International Space Station’s Cupola windows, suspected to have been caused by a miniscule piece of debris no bigger than a few thousandths of a millimeter across.
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A team of astronomers have discovered a system of three Earth-like exoplanets orbiting a small star that is only 40 light-years away from Earth, that are considered good candidates for supporting life.

The star in question, an ultracool dwarf called TRAPPIST-1, is only a bit bigger than Jupiter, and only emits approximately one two-hundredths of the output of our Sun, making it too faint to see with the naked eye. The planets in question, however, orbit very close to the star, allowing them to gather enough light from the star to keep warm. Because of their extremely close orbits, the planets orbit TRAPPIST-1 extremely quickly: the innermost planet takes 1.5 Earth days for a single revolution, and the second planet’s year is only 2.4 days.
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One of astronomy’s most secretive phenomena, black holes, has yielded yet another fascinating puzzle to astronomers — and in the process, offering what may be new insight into how the universe formed. A recent survey of a region of deep space has found that the powerful jets that are propelled by some supermassive black holes are uncannily aligned, all pointing in the same direction.
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While life was once thought to just be a happy accident by mainstream science, the building blocks of DNA and RNA are proving to be not only tenacious, these organic molecules also appear to be able to form in the most unlikely of places, including in deep space on the surface of comets.

In 2014, the Philae lander touched down on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and during it’s investigation of the comet’s chemical makeup, it detected the presence of 16 types of organic compounds. These findings prompted the development of an organics detector for the lander, which led to experiments that simulated the chemical makeup and environmental conditions of the comet to determine what could be found there.
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