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Sun-like stars grow into Red Giants.


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sun-like stars.
Most sun-like stars grow into Red Giants.

Dying stars could provide a second chance for life.

After a long life, most sun-like stars grow into Red Giants once they've depleted most of their Hydrogen fuel. The relatively small region around the star which is just at the right temperature to support liquid water will extend as the red giant expands. This means that previously frozen planets (like Mars) could thaw out and life might have a second chance to happen in a solar system. There are currently 150 red giant stars within 100 light-years of the Earth, and many of these could be a place to search for life in addition to main-sequence stars similar to our own Sun.

Galaxy collisions lead to starbirth.

Galaxies are built up over time through a series of collisions with other galaxies. Each time this happens, clouds of gas and dust collapse and become regions of furious star formation. The European Space Agency's ISO Infrared space telescope has shown the early stage of a collision between two Galaxies (NGC 4038/4039) 60 million light-years away. The overlapping region between the Galaxies is very rich in molecular Hydrogen in an excited state. The shock waves are just starting to collapse the gas, and should lead to starbirth in the next few million years.

Medusa Fossae region on Mars.

The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft took this image of the Medusa Fossae Region on the Red Planet. This is an unusual region of Mars that was probably built up by a series of volcanic flows or rains of ash, and then partially eroded by water. Finally, a large asteroid, several kilometres across, struck the region and "splashed" ejecta onto the plateau.

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