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In 2018, scientists made a discovery that could change our understanding of the dusty, dry red ball that is Mars.

Radar signals bounced from just below the planet's surface revealed a shining patch, consistent with nothing so much as an underground pool of liquid water. Subsequent searches turned up even more shiny patches, suggesting a whole network of underground lakes.

Groundbreaking stuff, right? Although Mars has water in the form of ice, to date not a single drop of the liquid stuff has ever been found on our red buddy.

There's just one problem. According to a new analysis, which has found dozens more of these shiny patches, some of them are in regions that are just too cold for liquid water, even a brine, which can have a lower freezing temperature than freshwater.

"We're not certain whether these signals are liquid water or not, but they appear to be much more widespread than what the original paper found," said planetary scientist Jeffrey Plaut of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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One of the great mysteries of modern space science is neatly summed up by the view from NASA's Perseverance, which just landed on Mars: Today it's a desert planet, and yet the rover is sitting right next to an ancient river delta.

The apparent contradiction has puzzled scientists for decades, especially because at the same time that Mars had flowing rivers, it was getting less than a third as much sunshine as we enjoy today on Earth.

But a new study led by University of Chicago planetary scientist Kite, an assistant professor of geophysical sciences and an expert on climates of other worlds, uses a computer model to put forth a promising explanation: Mars could have had a thin layer of icy, high-altitude clouds that caused a greenhouse effect.

"There's been an embarrassing disconnect between our evidence, and our ability to explain it in terms of physics and chemistry," said Kite. "This hypothesis goes a long way toward closing that gap."

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In recent years there has been an exhaustive study of red dwarf stars to find exoplanets in orbit around them. These stars have effective surface temperatures between 2400 and 3700 K (over 2000 degrees cooler than the Sun), and masses between 0.08 and 0.45 solar masses. In this context, a team of researchers led by Borja Toledo Padrón, a Severo Ochoa-La Caixa doctoral student at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), specializing in the search for planets around this type of stars, has discovered a super-Earth orbiting the star GJ 740, a red dwarf star situated some 36 light years from the Earth.

The planet orbits its star with a period of 2.4 days and its mass is around 3 times the mass of the Earth. Because the star is so close to the Sun, and the planet so close to the star, this new super-Earth could be the object of future researches with very large diameter telescopes towards the end of this decade. The results of the study were recently published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, a team of astronomers has directly measured winds in Jupiter's middle atmosphere for the first time. By analyzing the aftermath of a comet collision from the 1990s, the researchers have revealed incredibly powerful winds, with speeds of up to 1450 kilometers an hour, near Jupiter's poles. They could represent what the team have described as a "unique meteorological beast in our solar system."

Jupiter is famous for its distinctive red and white bands, swirling clouds of moving gas that astronomers traditionally use to track winds in Jupiter's lower atmosphere. Astronomers have also seen, near Jupiter's poles, the vivid glows known as aurorae, which appear to be associated with strong winds in the planet's upper atmosphere. But until now, researchers had never been able to directly measure wind patterns in between these two atmospheric layers, in the stratosphere.

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