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Kid-friendly Feature Stories

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Ringside seats to a planetary bake off
Most Sun-like stars are found in binary systems, made up of two stars that tug at each other like fighting siblings, making it difficult for planets to form. However, astronomers have just discovered the ingredients for a potential planet around a binary star, and thanks to a nearby disc providing a nourishing lifeline it might just survive to become a planet!

Contact: Sarah Eve Roberts
Leiden University

Orbital sciences' third mission to Space Station ready to educate and inspire
On the next Orbital Sciences Corporation's commercial resupply trip to the space station, students and space go together like the Cygnus spacecraft's docking to the orbiting laboratory.

Contact: Laura Niles
NASA/Johnson Space Center

When lizards invade, it's time to evolve -- quick!
You might think of evolution as something that takes millions and millions of years to happen -- and yes, sometimes it does take that long for an animal or plant species to change. But scientists watching two species of lizards got a chance to see one of those lizard species evolve in just 10 years -- a biological blink of an eye.

Contact: Science Press Package Team
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Interstellar snowball fight seen for the first time!
For 30 years astronomers have been watching with fascination at the strange, flickering light of a young nearby star. We now know that this strange twinkling effect is caused by hundreds of comets passing in front of the star!

Contact: Sarah Eve Roberts
Leiden University

Carnegie Mellon to host second annual nationwide high school computer security contest
Carnegie Mellon University professor David Brumley and two student-run teams will host the second annual PicoCTF competition, a nation-wide computer security contest aimed to help high school students learn the basics of hacking in the context of a story-driven game. Nearly 2,000 teams from 1,000 schools participated in last year's event. This year's competition will be held Oct. 27-Nov. 7 at

Contact: Daniel Tkacik
Carnegie Mellon University

When herbivore numbers drop, plants ditch thorny defenses
Plants can persist in landscapes full of hungry plant eaters, or herbivores, either by shielding themselves with special defenses like thorns, or by putting down roots in risky regions where carnivores -- who hunt the herbivores -- roam.

Contact: Science Press Package
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Baby stars caught in a galactic spider web
Galaxy clusters are the largest groups in the entire Universe, containing hundreds or even thousands of gigantic star-filled galaxies. This week astronomers have been looking at the Spiderweb Galaxy forming at the center of a galaxy cluster. The Spiderweb Galaxy is one of the oldest galaxies ever discovered, and it's made up of dozens of smaller galaxies all merging together!

Contact: Sarah Eve Roberts
Leiden University

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