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Atom & Cosmos

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Venus

HOT SPOT Venus, seen in this radar map from the Magellan spacecraft, might have once been habitable, new simulations suggest.

illustration of the distance to Proxima Centauri

Proxima Centauri, the nearest member of the Alpha Centauri triple star system, is just a little more than 4 light-years away from the sun. With a proposed propulsion scheme using alpha particle decay, travel time to the star's newly discovered planet would be no shorter than 4,000 years.

illustration of the surface of Proxima b

A WORLD NEXT DOOR  Proxima Centauri casts a reddish glow over the surface of Proxima b (illustrated), the closest exoplanet to Earth, while two companion stars, Alpha Centauri A and B, appear as bright pinpricks of light.

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