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Other planets in our Solar System.

Stardust Sweeps Past Comet Wild 2.

The Stardust spacecraft made history today when it passed through the tail of Comet Wild-2, and took some of the best pictures of a Comet ever seen. During the flyby, Stardust got within only 230 kilometers of the comet's nucleus, and captured just a few grams of particles from Wild-2's tail. The collected particles, which are stored in a sample return capsule, will be brought back to Earth in 2006; it'll touchdown at a US Air Force testing range in Utah.

Life Found Under 1,350 Metres of Rock.

A team of scientists have discovered bacteria inside a hole that was drilled 1,350 metres into the volcanic rock near Hilo, Hawaii. The hole began in igneous rock on the Mauna Loa volcano, and then passed through lava from Mauna Kea. At 1,000 metres they encountered fractured basalt glass which formed when the lava flowed into the ocean. Upon close examination, they found that this lava had been changed by microorganisms. Using electron microscopy, they found tiny microbe spheres, and they were able to extract DNA. scientists are finding life in more remote regions of the planet, and this gives hope that it might be on the other planets in our solar system as well.

Eighth Attempt to Reach Beagle 2 Fails.

The search for Beagle 2 continues. Operators announced on December 31 that the British lander had failed to report in for the eighth time. At this point, the lander will have switched to a new mode where it tries to communicate twice a day. Although unlikely, it's possible that Beagle 2's onboard timer was reset during the landing, which would mean it was trying to communicate out of sync with Mars Odyssey and Earth-based radio telescopes. Mars Express will start searching on January 5, which operators believe will bring their best chances of finding it.

Hubble Finds a Distant Proto-Cluster of Galaxies.

An international team of Astronomers have gathered evidence that Galaxies formed very quickly after the Big Bang. The team found a proto-galaxy cluster more than 12 billion light-years away - the Galaxies are so young that Astronomers can see a flurry of stars forming inside them. This means they're only 1.5 billion years old, a time when the universe was only 10% of its current age. It's believed that these clusters formed so quickly because these areas were incredibly dense with material.

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