Astrobiology (general)

Space Kombucha in the Search for Life and Its Origin

Space Kombucha in the Search for Life and Its Origin

You might know it as a drink for hipsters or as an ancient brew drunk for centuries in Eurasia, but the culture that ferments sugary tea into Kombucha is going around the world. Bolted to the outside of the International Space Station are the same bacteria and yeasts that are used in making Kombucha.

Astrochemistry

The Astrobiological Periodic Table

The Astrobiological Periodic Table

The Astrobiological Periodic Table has been developed by astrobiologist Charles Cockell.

Astrochemistry

Dust and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon in the HD 34700 Debris Disk

Dust and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon in the HD 34700 Debris Disk

The debris disk around the Vega-type star HD 34700 is detected in dust thermal emission from the near infrared (IR) to millimeter (mm) and submm wavelength range.

Extrasolar Planets

Kepler-452b: A 1.6-Re Super Earth Exoplanet in the Habitable Zone of a G2 Star

Kepler-452b: A 1.6-Re Super Earth Exoplanet in the Habitable Zone of a G2 Star

We report on the discovery and validation of Kepler-452b, a transiting planet identified by a search through the 4 years of data collected by NASA's Kepler Mission.

Astrogeology

Is Iron A Biological Element?

Is Iron A Biological Element?

Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.

Extrasolar Planets

Finding Another Earth

Finding Another Earth

The discovery of a super-Earth-sized planet orbiting a sun-like star brings us closer than ever to finding a twin of our own watery world.

Extrasolar Planets

Kepler Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

Kepler Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the "habitable zone" around a sun-like star.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Bleach a Possible Key to Life on Earth

Bleach a Possible Key to Life on Earth

Hydrogen peroxide -- commonly used as hair bleach -- may have provided the energy source for the development of life on Earth, two applied mathematicians have found.

Astrogeology

Planetary Sweet Spot: Plate Tectonics Depend on Elemental Abundances

Planetary Sweet Spot: Plate Tectonics Depend on Elemental Abundances

Planet Earth is situated in what astronomers call the Goldilocks Zone -- a sweet spot in a solar system where a planet's surface temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.

Panspermia

Statistical Signatures of Panspermia in Exoplanet Surveys

Statistical Signatures of Panspermia in Exoplanet Surveys

A fundamental astrobiological question is whether life arose spontaneously on earth or was transported here from an extrasolar system.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Finding the Origins of Life in a Drying Puddle

Finding the Origins of Life in a Drying Puddle

Anyone who's ever noticed a water puddle drying in the sun has seen an environment that may have driven the type of chemical reactions that scientists believe were critical to the formation of life on the early Earth.

More top stories from August.