Astrochemistry

Searching for Trans Ethyl Methyl Ether in Orion KL

Searching for Trans Ethyl Methyl Ether in Orion KL

We report on the tentative detection of trans Ethyl Methyl Ether (tEME), t−CH3CH2OCH3, through the identification of a large number of rotational lines from each one of the spin states of the molecule towards Orion KL.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Plate Tectonic-Climate Coupling, Exposed Land Area, and Habitable Climates on Rocky Planets

Plate Tectonic-Climate Coupling, Exposed Land Area, and Habitable Climates on Rocky Planets

The long-term carbon cycle is vital for maintaining liquid water oceans on rocky planets due to the negative climate feedbacks involved in silicate weathering.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Detection of Water Vapor in Terrestrial Planet Forming Region of a Transition Disk

Detection of Water Vapor in Terrestrial Planet Forming Region of a Transition Disk

We report a detection of water vapor in the protoplanetary disk around DoAr 44 with the Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph - a visitor instrument on the Gemini north telescope.

Oceanic Research

Evidence of Ancient Life Discovered in Mantle Rocks Deep Below the Seafloor

Evidence of Ancient Life Discovered in Mantle Rocks Deep Below the Seafloor

Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Virginia Tech, and the University of Bremen.

Extinction events

Mini-Neptunes Might Host Life Under Right Conditions

Mini-Neptunes Might Host Life Under Right Conditions

Researchers with the NASA Astrobiology Institute's Virtual Planetary Laboratory Lead Team at the University of Washington have described how mini-Neptune planets could become viable for life around M-Dwarf stars.

Climate

Snowball Earth Might Be Slushy

Snowball Earth Might Be Slushy

Imagine a world without liquid water just solid ice in all directions. It would certainly not be a place that most life forms would like to live.

Extrasolar Planets

ExTrA: Exoplanets in Transit and their Atmospheres

ExTrA: Exoplanets in Transit and their Atmospheres

The ExTrA facility, located at La Silla observatory, will consist of a near-infrared multi-object spectrograph fed by three 60-cm telescopes.

Astrobiology (general)

Interstellar Seeds Could Create Oases of Life

Interstellar Seeds Could Create Oases of Life

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars.

Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments

Earth's Extremes Point The Way to Extraterrestrial Life

Earth's Extremes Point The Way to Extraterrestrial Life

Bizarre creatures that go years without water. Others that can survive the vacuum of open space.

Mars

Drilling for Data: Simulating the Search for Life on Mars

Drilling for Data: Simulating the Search for Life on Mars

Toiling in barren rock fields in southern Spain under temperatures as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit, a team from NASA's Ames Research Center, Honeybee Robotics, and Spain's Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB, INTA-CSIC) is changing dirt into data in a way that could one day be replicated on Mars.

comets

Organics Sniffed Out on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Organics Sniffed Out on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

While the Rosetta spacecraft orbits the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, the Philae lander, deployed from Rosetta on November 2014, has gathered data on the surface of the comet that indicate the potential existence of prebiotic organics during the early solar system.

More top stories from September.