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Most liveable alien worlds ranked

Scientists have outlined which moons and planets are most likely to harbour extra-terrestrial life.
Among the most habitable alien worlds were Saturn's moon Titan and the exoplanet Gliese 581g - thought to reside some 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.
The international team devised two rating systems to assess the probability of hosting alien life.

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Exobiology
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New system would assess odds of life on other worlds

Within the next few years, the number of planets discovered in orbits around distant stars will likely reach several thousand or more. But even as our list of these newly discovered "exoplanets grows ever-longer, the search for life beyond our solar system will likely focus much more narrowly on the relatively few of these new worlds which exhibit the most Earth-like of conditions.
For much of the scientific community, the search for alien life has long been dominated by the notion that our own planet serves as the best model of conditions best suited to the emergence of life on other worlds. And while theres anundeniable logic to seeking life in the same sort of conditions in which you already know it to be successful, there are scientists like Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist with the Washington State University School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Abel Mendez, a modelling expert from the University of Puerto Rico at Aricebo, who also see such a model as the product of a potentially limiting form of earthling-biased thinking.

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It seems planets don't need a big satellite like Earth's in order to support life, increasing the number on which life could exist.
In 1993, Jacques Laskar of the Paris Observatory in France and colleagues showed that the moon helps stabilise the tilt of Earth's rotation axis against perturbations by Jupiter's gravity.
The result was taken by many to imply that complex life is rare in the universe, since Earth's large moon is thought to have coalesced from the debris of a freak collision between a Mars-sized planet and Earth. Less than 10 per cent of Earth-sized planets are expected to experience such a trauma, making large moons a rarity.
But a study now suggests moonless planets have been dismissed unfairly.

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Extraterrestrial technology
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Title: On the likelihood of non-terrestrial artifacts in the Solar System
Authors: Jacob Haqq-Misra, Ravi Kumar Kopparapu

Extraterrestrial technology may exist in the Solar System without our knowledge. This is because the vastness of space, combined with our limited searches to date, implies that any remote unpiloted exploratory probes of extraterrestrial origin would likely remain unnoticed. Here we develop a probabilistic approach to quantify our certainty (or uncertainty) of the existence of such technology in the Solar System. We discuss some possible strategies for improving this uncertainty that include analysis of moon- and Mars-orbiting satellite data as well as continued exploration of the Solar System.

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'No evidence' for extraterrestrials, says White House

The US government has formally denied that it has any knowledge of contact with extraterrestrial life.
The announcement came as a response to submissions to the We The People website, which promises to address any petition that gains 5,000 signatories.

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Seeking ET Beyond the Radio Silence

Any intelligent extraterrestrial life that exists probably won't announce itself by blowing up the White House, or win over the hearts of children as a lovable alien with a glowing finger. Many scientists simply hope to find evidence of them by scanning the skies for a radio signal from a distant star's alien civilization. But such efforts may also risk overlooking clues of past alien activity right here on Earth.
If aliens did leave their mark on Earth by some wild chance, we could search for the possible "footprints" of alien technology or even analyse the DNA of terrestrial organisms for signs of intelligent messages or tinkering.

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Alien Life More Likely on 'Dune' Planets

Desert planets strikingly like the world depicted in the science fiction classic "Dune" might be the more common type of habitable planet in the galaxy, rather than watery planets such as Earth, researchers suggest.
Their findings also hint that Venus might have been a habitable desert world as recently as 1 billion years ago.

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Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilisations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer said on Monday.
Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Applied Astronomy Institute, said 10% of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth.

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Stephen Hawking's Universe Gas Giant Life



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Royal Observatory Astronomer finds possible new life

In the early hours of this morning, top ROG astronomer Firla Pool made a chance discovery while observing that could potentially reshape our understanding of alien life.
Making observations late into the night at the ROG's famous 17-inch telescope, Ms Pool stopped by the astronomers' refrigerator for a sustaining snack. On opening the door, she was amazed to be met by an array of colourful, pulsating lifeforms which had apparently evolved super-rapidly on an abandoned pot of pro-biotic yogurt, several years over its use-by date.

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