Chinese spacecraft enters Mars’ orbit, joining Arab ship (AP)

A Chinese spacecraft went into orbit around Mars on Wednesday on an expedition to land a rover on the surface and scout for signs of ancient life, authorities announced in a landmark step in the country’s most ambitious deep-space mission yet. The arrival of Tianwen-1 after a journey of seven months and nearly 475 million kilometers is part of an unusual burst of activity at Mars: A spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates swung into orbit around the red planet on Tuesday, and a U.S. rover is set to arrive next week.

The U.A.E.'s Emirates Mars Mission Has Begun Orbiting The Red Planet (CNet)

The United Arab Emirates is now only the fifth country -- and the first Arab country -- to successfully arrive at Mars. The Al Amal (Hope) probe made history Tuesday by entering orbit around the red planet.

There’s a tantalizing sign of a habitable-zone planet in Alpha Centauri (technologyreview)

An international team of astronomers has found signs that a habitable planet may be lurking in Alpha Centauri, a binary star system a mere 4.37 light-years away. It could be one of the closest habitable planet prospects to date, although it’s probably not much like Earth if it exists. What’s Alpha Centauri? It’s the closest star system to our own, comprising three different stars. There are Alpha Centauri A and B, which are sun-like stars that form a tight binary orbit around one another about 4.37 light years away.