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Luhman 16B is the nearest brown dwarf to Earth, and the third nearest star system to our solar system

Nasa's Hubble telescope finds signs of water on five distant planets

The water signatures are hazy due to atmospheric conditions, but scientists are 'very confident' that it exists

Nasa to grow plants on the moon by 2015: 'If they can thrive, we probably can too'

A 1kg "self-contained habitat" will be transported on a commercial spaceflight; on-board sensors and cameras will send back images and data to Earth

Comet ISON enters the field of view of the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

Comet Ison: Blow for stargazers as 'comet of the century' destroyed by the Sun

It was hoped that the comet would provide a spectacular sight in the sky next month - but the signs indicate that it had been burned up on its journey

In this composition image from Nasa, Comet Ison (bottom right) moves towards the sun

Comet Ison: Hope for 'comet of the century' after encounter with the Sun

Astronomers tracking the “comet of the century” believed it had flown too close to the Sun and had broken up, but hopes have now been reignited that part of it may have survived its close encounter.

A model of the Chinese solar-powered lunar rover Jade Rabbit

Chinese and American space agencies butt heads over competing moon landers

Nasa is worried that a new Chinese moon mission will jeopardise one of its major ongoing missions

Comet ISON shows off its tail

Will Comet Ison survive its close encounter with the sun?

All eyes will be firmly on the skies this Thursday as the 'star-grazer' brushes the sun's corona

The monster: Nasa telescopes have captured the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed.

'Monster' cosmic explosion capable of destroying Earth captured in distant galaxy

Scientists record the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, luckily it was in a far-off galaxy

Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa

The sun’s magnetic field will reverse polarity at some point in the coming weeks, sending ripples to the edge of interstellar space

2014 Sochi Olympic torch relay blasts off to space for historic walk

Unlit torch will tour International Space Station before being taken on its first ever trip outside the base

Astronaut Scott Carpenter dies ages 88

Fourth man in space has died in Colorado following complications from a stroke

Dark side of the Moon: Astronauts in row over naming of craters

William Anders and Jim Lovell - who were immortalised in Apollo 13 - among the first to orbit the Moon in 1968

No life on Mars? Nasa Curiosity struggles to find methane on the planet

Scientists have been left disappointed when the rover could not detect the gas, a strong sign of life

Being paid to lie down for NASA? Seven opportunities for wannabe astronauts

It takes an extraordinary physique, high IQ, and years of training to become a bona-fide space-travelling astronaut. But if that rules you out there are plenty of 'experiments' needing volunteers to boldly go where erm, other people might not really want to...

Is this the best job in the world: Nasa recruits volunteers to spend 70 days in bed

Volunteers will be paid £3,000 a month to stay in bed for 24 hours a day

Astronaut gets sweet delivery as private company ships chocolate and other foodstuffs to International Space Station

A US company is making its debut this week as a space station delivery service – to provide the lone American aboard the orbiting International Space Station with a fresh stash of chocolate.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas