Astrochemistry

Chandra Reveals the Elemental Nature of Cassiopeia A

Chandra Reveals the Elemental Nature of Cassiopeia A

Where do most of the elements essential for life on Earth come from? The answer: inside the furnaces of stars and the explosions that mark the end of some stars' lives.

Titan

Atmospheric Circulation, Chemistry, and  Infrared Spectra of Titan-like Exoplanets Around Different Stellar Types

Atmospheric Circulation, Chemistry, and Infrared Spectra of Titan-like Exoplanets Around Different Stellar Types

With the discovery of ever smaller and colder exoplanets, terrestrial worlds with hazy atmospheres must be increasingly considered.

Astrochemistry

Life's Building Blocks Observed in Spacelike Environment - Did life originate in space?

Life's Building Blocks Observed in Spacelike Environment - Did life originate in space?

Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates.

Extrasolar Planets

Carbon Cycling and Habitability of Earth-size Stagnant Lid Planets

Carbon Cycling and Habitability of Earth-size Stagnant Lid Planets

Models of thermal evolution, crustal production, and CO2 cycling are used to constrain the prospects for habitability of rocky planets, with Earth-like size and composition, in the stagnant lid regime.

Astrochemistry

Chemical Modeling for Predicting the Abundances of Certain Aldimines and Amines in Hot Cores

Chemical Modeling for Predicting the Abundances of Certain Aldimines and Amines in Hot Cores

We consider six isomeric groups (CH3N, CH5N, C2H5N, C2H7N, C3H7N and C3H9N) to review the presence of amines and aldimines within the interstellar medium (ISM).

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Rare Nitrogen Molecules Offers Clues To Makeup Of Other Life-supporting Planets

Rare Nitrogen Molecules Offers Clues To Makeup Of Other Life-supporting Planets

A team of scientists using a state-of-the-art UCLA instrument reports the discovery of a planetary-scale "tug-of-war" of life, deep Earth and the upper atmosphere that is expressed in atmospheric nitrogen.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Viruses Share Genes With Organisms Across The Tree of Life

Viruses Share Genes With Organisms Across The Tree of Life

A new study finds that viruses share some genes exclusively with cells that are not their hosts.

Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 6 December 2017: Traverse to Novolazarevskaya Station

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 6 December 2017: Traverse to Novolazarevskaya Station

Dale Andersen sent this via inReach on December 6, 2017 2:47:47 AM EST "Heading back to Novo in an hour nice sunny day. I'm starting my traverse, follow along at my MapShare! https://share.garmin.com/DaleAndersen " Dale sent this message from: Lat -71.332995 Lon 13.45293.

Extrasolar Planets

Two Super-Earths Orbit Star K2-18

Two Super-Earths Orbit Star K2-18

New research using data collected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth. Just as exciting, the same researchers also discovered for the first time that the planet has a neighbor.

SETI

Going Off Source: Time Away With SETI In West Virginia

Going Off Source: Time Away With SETI In West Virginia

20 years ago I made a trip to West Virginia to hang out with SETI researcher Jill Tarter and see how she searched the skies for evidence of life elsewhere.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

The Answer to Planetary Habitability Is Blowing in the Stellar Wind

The Answer to Planetary Habitability Is Blowing in the Stellar Wind

Is there life beyond Earth in the cosmos? Astronomers looking for signs have found that our Milky Way galaxy teems with exoplanets, some with conditions that could be right for extraterrestrial life.

More top stories from December.