Meteorites, Asteroids, & Comets

Baked Meteorites Yield Clues To Planetary Atmospheres

Baked Meteorites Yield Clues To Planetary Atmospheres

In a novel laboratory investigation of the initial atmospheres of Earth-like rocky planets, researchers at UC Santa Cruz heated pristine meteorite samples in a high-temperature furnace and analyzed the gases released.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Researchers Identify Five Double Star Systems Potentially Suitable For Life

Researchers Identify Five Double Star Systems Potentially Suitable For Life

Almost half a century ago the creators of Star Wars imagined a life-sustaining planet, Tatooine, orbiting a pair of stars. Now, 44 years later, scientists have found new evidence that that five known systems with multiple stars, Kepler-34, -35, -38, -64 and -413, are possible candidates for supporting life.

Astrochemistry

Thermal Desorption Of Astrophysical Relevant Ice Nixtures Of Acetaldehyde And Acetonitrile From Olivine Dust

Thermal Desorption Of Astrophysical Relevant Ice Nixtures Of Acetaldehyde And Acetonitrile From Olivine Dust

Millimeter and centimeter observations are discovering an increasing number of interstellar complex organic molecules (iCOMs) in a large variety of star forming sites, from the earliest stages of star formation to protoplanetary disks and in comets.

Astrochemistry

Infrared Spectroscopy Of Clathrate Hydrates For Planetary Science: The Ethylene Case

Infrared Spectroscopy Of Clathrate Hydrates For Planetary Science: The Ethylene Case

Hydrocarbons are observed in the gas or solid phases of solar system objects, including comets, Trans-Neptunian Objects, planets and their moons. In the presence of water ice in these environments, hydrocarbons-bearing clathrate hydrates could form.

comets

Neutral-Neutral Synthesis of Organic Molecules in Cometary Comae

Neutral-Neutral Synthesis of Organic Molecules in Cometary Comae

Remote and in-situ observations of cometary gases have revealed the presence of a wealth of complex organic molecules, including carbon chains, alcohols, imines and the amino acid glycine.

Astrochemistry

The Water-iceline As Birthplace Of Planets: Implications Of A Species-dependent Dust Fragmentation threshold

The Water-iceline As Birthplace Of Planets: Implications Of A Species-dependent Dust Fragmentation threshold

The thermodynamic structure of protoplanetary discs is determined by the dust opacities which depend on the size of the dust grains and their chemical composition.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Oxygen False Positives On Habitable Zone Planets Around Sun-Like Stars

Oxygen False Positives On Habitable Zone Planets Around Sun-Like Stars

Oxygen is a promising exoplanet biosignature due to the evolutionary advantage conferred by harnessing starlight for photosynthesis, and the apparent low likelihood of maintaining oxygen-rich atmospheres without life.

Enceladus

What Ocean Salinity Is Consistent With The Large Thickness Variation Of The Enceladus Shell?

What Ocean Salinity Is Consistent With The Large Thickness Variation Of The Enceladus Shell?

Of profound astrobiological interest is that not only does Enceladus have a water ocean, but it also appears to be salty, important for its likely habitability.

SETI

Searching For Interstellar Quantum Communications

Searching For Interstellar Quantum Communications

The modern search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) began with the seminal publications of Cocconi & Morrison (1959) and Schwartz & Townes (1961), who proposed to search for narrow-band signals in the radio spectrum, and for optical laser pulses.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Main Ways In Which Stars Influence The Climate And Surface Habitability Of Their Planets

Main Ways In Which Stars Influence The Climate And Surface Habitability Of Their Planets

We present a brief overview of the main effects by which a star will have an impact (positive or negative) on the surface habitability of planets in orbit around it.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

How Likely Are Snowball Episodes Near The Inner Edge Of The Habitable Zone?

How Likely Are Snowball Episodes Near The Inner Edge Of The Habitable Zone?

Understanding when global glaciations occur on Earth-like planets is a major challenge in climate evolution research. Most models of how greenhouse gases like CO2 evolve with time on terrestrial planets are deterministic, but the complex, nonlinear nature of Earth's climate history motivates study of non-deterministic climate models.

More top stories from April.