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Cassini’s final breathtaking close views of Saturn’s moon Dione

21 August 2015 Astronomy Now

A pockmarked, icy landscape looms beneath NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in new images of Saturn’s moon Dione taken during the mission’s last close approach to the small, frozen world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the best resolution ever. Cassini passed 295 miles (474 kilometres) above Dione’s surface at 7:33pm BST on 17 August 2015.

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Comet impacts may have led to life on Earth — and perhaps elsewhere

19 August 2015 Astronomy Now

Comet impacts on Earth are synonymous with great extinctions, but now research presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Prague shows that early comet collisions would have become a driving force to cause substantial synthesis of peptides — the first building blocks of life. This may have implications for the genesis of life on other worlds.