Plant Biology

Prospects for Detecting Oxygen, Water, and Chlorophyll in an Exo-Earth

Prospects for Detecting Oxygen, Water, and Chlorophyll in an Exo-Earth

The goal of finding and characterizing nearby Earth-like planets is driving many NASA high-contrast flagship mission concepts, the latest of which is known as the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST).

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Strong Dependence of the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone on Planetary Rotation Rate

Strong Dependence of the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone on Planetary Rotation Rate

Planetary rotation rate is a key parameter in determining atmospheric circulation and hence the spatial pattern of clouds. Since clouds can exert a dominant control on planetary radiation balance, rotation rate could be critical for determining mean planetary climate.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Habitable Zones Around Main-Sequence Stars: Dependence on Planetary Mass

Habitable Zones Around Main-Sequence Stars: Dependence on Planetary Mass

The ongoing discoveries of extrasolar planets are unveiling a wide range of terrestrial mass (size) planets around their host stars.

Extrasolar Planets

N-body Simulations of Terrestrial Planet Formation under the Influence of a Hot Jupiter

N-body Simulations of Terrestrial Planet Formation under the Influence of a Hot Jupiter

We investigate the formation of multiple-planet systems in the presence of a hot Jupiter using extended N-body simulations that are performed simultaneously with semi-analytic calculations.

Field Reports

Dale Andersen's Astrobiology Field Report: Axel Heiberg

Dale Andersen's Astrobiology Field Report: Axel Heiberg

I am currently in the high arctic sitting (Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada) in a tent next to the Stolz Diapir spring site at Whitsunday Bay.

Astrochemistry

Vitamin B3 Might Have Been Made in Space, Delivered to Earth by Meteorites

Vitamin B3 Might Have Been Made in Space, Delivered to Earth by Meteorites

Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Earth-like Habitats in Planetary Systems

Earth-like Habitats in Planetary Systems

Understanding the concept of habitability is related to an evolutionary knowledge of the particular planet-in-question. Additional indications so-called "systemic aspects" of the planetary system as a whole governs a particular planet's claim on habitability.

Extrasolar Planets

Formation, Tidal Evolution and Habitability of the Kepler-186 System

Formation, Tidal Evolution and Habitability of the Kepler-186 System

The Kepler-186 system consists of five planets orbiting an early-M dwarf. The planets have physical radii of 1.0-1.50 R⊕ and orbital periods of 4 to 130 days.

Extrasolar Planets

New Rocky Planet May Have Liquid Water

New Rocky Planet May Have Liquid Water

San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane and an international team of researchers have announced the discovery of a new rocky planet that could potentially have liquid water on its surface.

Extrasolar Planets

Effect of Planetary Illumination on Climate Modelling of Earthlike Exomoons

Effect of Planetary Illumination on Climate Modelling of Earthlike Exomoons

From analytical studies of tidal heating, eclipses and planetary illumination, it is clear that the exomoon habitable zone (EHZ) - the set of moon and host planet orbits that permit liquid water on an Earthlike moon's surface - is a manifold of higher dimension than the planetary HZ.

Mars

Meteorites Yield Clues to Mars' Early Atmosphere

Meteorites Yield Clues to Mars' Early Atmosphere

Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks.

More top stories from April.