Nearby Water World Gives Life New Hope

Although some counterintuitive thinking was necessary to realize that planet GJ 1214b is full of water, scientists now believe there is a greater hope for extraterrestrial life than ever before. 

What's the Latest Development?


The discovery that the planet GJ 1214b contains a great deal of water and orbits a star smaller than our sun has increased the likelihood of finding life beyond Earth, say astronomers. The watery world, referred to as a Super Earth because of its size, orbits a cooler star called an M-dwarf. And although its proximity to the start makes its surface temperature a balmy 450°F, which prohibits life as we know it on Earth, other planets orbitting other smaller starts at larger distances could host new biology. 

What's the Big Idea?

When NASA's hunt for exoplanets began with missions like Kepler, observers concentrated on stars like our sun, thinking that Earth would be a model for life elsewhere. But now that GJ 1214b has been found, astronomers will continue to look for smaller star-planet systems. They could make some very surprising discoveries. GJ 1214b, for example, has a much greater surface gravity than Earth which would cause water to condense into ice hotter than the boiling point on our planet. Scientists hope to find planets with more hospitable orbits. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

How getting in sync with your partner can lead to increased intimacy and sexual desire

Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.

Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
  • Scientists say coordinating movements leads to increased intimacy and sexual desire in a couple.
  • The improved rapport and empathy was also observed in people who didn't know each other.
  • Non-verbal clues are very important in the development stages of a relationship.
Keep reading Show less

How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
  • Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
Keep reading Show less

Stan Lee, Marvel co-creator, is dead at 95

The comics titan worked for more than half a century to revolutionize and add nuance to the comics industry, and he built a vast community of fans along the way.

(Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Lee died shortly after being rushed to an L.A. hospital. He had been struggling with multiple illnesses over the past year, reports indicate.
  • Since the 1950s, Lee has been one of the most influential figures in comics, helping to popularize heroes that expressed a level of nuance and self-doubt previously unseen in the industry.
  • Lee, who's later years were marked by some financial and legal tumult, is survived by his daughter, Joan Celia "J.C." Lee.
Keep reading Show less