Astrochemistry

Chemistry in Protoplanetary Disks: Gas-phase CO/H2 Ratio and the Carbon Reservoir

Chemistry in Protoplanetary Disks: Gas-phase CO/H2 Ratio and the Carbon Reservoir

The gas mass of protoplanetary disks, and the gas-to-dust ratio, are two key elements driving the evolution of these disks and the formation of planetary system.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Nonphotosynthetic Pigments as Potential Biosignatures

Nonphotosynthetic Pigments as Potential Biosignatures

Previous work on possible surface reflectance biosignatures for Earth-like planets has typically focused on analogues to spectral features produced by photosynthetic organisms on Earth, such as the vegetation red edge.

Astrochemistry

Meteoritic Abundances of Nucleobases and Potential Reaction Pathways

Meteoritic Abundances of Nucleobases and Potential Reaction Pathways

Carbonaceous chondrites are a class of meteorite known for having a high content of water and organics.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Magma Oceans with a Steam Atmosphere: Detectability by Future Direct Imaging

Magma Oceans with a Steam Atmosphere: Detectability by Future Direct Imaging

We present the thermal evolution and emergent spectra of solidifying terrestrial planets along with the formation of steam atmospheres.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

The Snow Line - Water Delivery to Terrestrial Planets in the Habitable Zone

The Snow Line - Water Delivery to Terrestrial Planets in the Habitable Zone

The water ice or snow line is one of the key properties of protoplanetary disks that determines the water content of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone.

Extrasolar Planets

The Bulk Composition of Exo-planets

The Bulk Composition of Exo-planets

Priorities in exo-planet research are rapidly moving from finding planets to characterizing their physical properties. Of key importance is their chemical composition, which feeds back into our understanding of planet formation.

comets

Comet Wild 2: A Window Into the Birth of the Solar System?

Comet Wild 2: A Window Into the Birth of the Solar System?

Our solar system, and other planetary systems, started as a disk of microscopic dust, gas, and ice around the young Sun. The amazing diversity of objects in the solar system today - the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets - was made from this primitive dust.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Researchers Hone Technique for Finding Signs of Life on Mars

Researchers Hone Technique for Finding Signs of Life on Mars

For centuries, people have imagined the possibility of life on Mars. But long-held dreams that Martians could be invaders of Earth, or little green men, or civilized superbeings, all have been undercut by missions to our neighboring planet that have, so far, uncovered no life at all.

Astrochemistry

Water Was Plentiful in the Early Universe

Water Was Plentiful in the Early Universe

Astronomers have long held that water -- two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom -- was a relative latecomer to the universe. They believed that any element heavier than helium had to have been formed in the cores of stars and not by the Big Bang itself.

Europa

Europa's Mystery Dark Material Could Be Sea Salt

Europa's Mystery Dark Material Could Be Sea Salt

NASA laboratory experiments suggest the dark material coating some geological features of Jupiter's moon Europa is likely sea salt from a subsurface ocean, discolored by exposure to radiation.

Astrobiology (general)

Astrobiology Colloquium: Self-Organizing Chemical Systems: From Materials Science to Astrobiology

Astrobiology Colloquium: Self-Organizing Chemical Systems: From Materials Science to Astrobiology

Self-organizing processes in chemical reaction/precipitation systems can lead to a variety of complex structures, including chemical gardens and inorganic membranes.

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