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Issue 48: Life beyond Earth

LIFE BEYOND EARTH: With more than 2,300 planets discovered outside the Solar System, we're closer than ever to locating new life – or finding future homes for humans. Will we finally meet our galactic neighbours? Plus, meet the extremophiles – denizens of the hottest, deepest and most devastated landscapes on Earth, and find out how these weird creatures could help develop new drugs for astronauts. Don’t miss these stories and others on cosmic rays, travelling at the speed of sound, how organic LED technology began its life as seaweed, why scientists in the 1950s went to war and many more.


Inside this issue

Features

Life: where did it all start?
Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago and life first appeared here about a billion years later.
Living on the edge
Extremophiles can live just about anywhere. Here are our top 10 super survivors.
Fringe dwellers
They’re some of the most extraordinary life forms, able to survive where nothing else can. Could extremophiles point the way to life on other worlds?
Into the deep
Living on a starvation diet, strange life forms are thriving deep beneath the sea floor.
In search of new Earths
Astronomers have discovered hundreds of bizarre planets in distant solar systems, but the search for somewhere just like home continues.

Regular sections

Foreword

Hurricane Sandy has brought global warming back into focus, says editor-in-chief Wilson da Silva.

Feedback

Readers’ letters; “Where in the COSMOS?” winners.

Gallery

SECRETS OF NATURE
From the grace and beauty of whale sharks to the cunning of an ant eluding its hunter, the natural world presents fascinating photography opportunities. The South Australian Museum’s ANZANG competition celebrates some of the best nature photography in Australia this year.

Profile

THROUGH A DARK CRYSTAL
Andrew Holmes’s academic career spans almost half a century and involves some of chemistry’s greatest minds and discoveries, writes Gemma Black.

Fiction

THE MISSING METATARSAL,br. “Mr Bayazati is an Abstainer,” Diana Scullen elaborated. “All of his archaeological samples are freighted by rail to avoid using any form of matter transmission.” Original fiction by Sean Williams.

Reviews

COSMOS talks to physicist, author and presenter Brian Cox about the Higgs boson, politics and the physics of life. We also review the latest science and science fiction books and reveal our favourite science-related gifts in the COSMOS Holiday Gift Guide.

Opinion

FAILURE IS AN OPTION
Clear communication of science isn’t only common sense; it can be a matter of life and death. But when risk is involved, it’s a complex task, says Mark Quigley.

Express

News, views, brain food, facts and trivia.

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