The last few years have seen the throwing open of a whole series of remarkable new windows into our cosmic habitat, be it the stunning pictures from Mars, the extraordinary images of the snowball moon Europa, or much further afield a continuing stream of discoveries of new extra-solar planetary systems. Before too long, if all goes to plan, we have the promise of new insights into Titan and somewhat later the first proper investigation into a comet with the Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency. These are, of course, early days and many surprises surely await us, but from...

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