Archives

May 2014


Heat from a volcano erupting beneath an immense glacier would have created large lakes of liquid water on Mars in the relatively recent past.

Hundreds of lakes and a few seas of liquid hydrocarbons have been observed by the Cassini spacecraft to cover the polar regions of Titan.

A spectral survey in the 1 mm wavelength range was undertaken in the long-period comets C/2012 F6 (Lemmon) and C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) using the 30 m telescope of the Institut de radioastronomie millimetrique (IRAM) in April and November-December 2013.

We present an analysis of the VIMS solar occultations dataset, which extracts vertically resolved information on the characteristics of Titan's atmosphere between 100-700 km with a characteristic vertical resolution of 10 km.

The presence of valleys on ancient terrains of Mars suggest that liquid water flowed on the martian surface 3.8 billion years ago or before.

Understanding the atmosphere's composition during the Archean eon is a fundamental issue to unravel ancient environmental conditions.

The isotopic compositions of terrestrial hydrogen and nitrogen are clearly different from those of the nebular gas from which the solar system formed, and also differ from most of cometary values.

The question of whether we share the universe with other intelligent beings is of long standing.

SETI experiments are trying to determine whether other intelligent, technologically capable, life exists in the universe, to answer the question "Are we alone?" or "Is anybody out there?"

Some Sun-like stars are 'Earth-eaters.' During their development they ingest large amounts of the rocky material from which 'terrestrial' planets like Earth, Mars and Venus are made.

Scientists have discovered that the earliest living organisms on Earth were capable of making a mineral that may be found on Mars.

We present the characterization of the Kepler-93 exoplanetary system, based on three years of photometry gathered by the Kepler spacecraft.

Next week (21 May) there will be a hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology titled "Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe".

The composition of planets is largely determined by the chemical and dynamical evolution of the disk during planetesimal formation and growth.

The spin-rotation of a planet arises from the accretion of angular momentum during its formation, but the details of this process are still unclear.

Scientists from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos have discovered a new plant species with an unusual lifestyle -- it eats nickel for a living -- accumulating up to 18,000 ppm of the metal in its leaves without itself being poisoned.

Dynamical information along with survey data on metallicity and in some cases age have been used recently by some authors to search for candidates of stars that were born in the cluster where the Sun formed.

Exoplanet transit events are attractive targets for the ultrahigh-resolution capabilities afforded by optical interferometers.

Variations related to stellar activity and correlated noise can prevent the detections of low-amplitude signals in radial velocity data if not accounted for.

Several studies, observational and theoretical, suggest that planetary systems with only rocky planets should be the most common in the Universe.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have engineered a bacterium whose genetic material includes an added pair of DNA "letters," or bases, not found in nature. The cells of this unique bacterium can replicate the unnatural DNA bases more or less normally, for as long as the molecular building blocks are supplied.

The dynamics of systems of two and three planets, initially placed on circular and nearly coplanar orbits, is explored in the proximity of their stability limit.

A tidally-locked planet in its orbit around a star keeps the same face towards the star. This happens when the rotation period of the planet around its own axis becomes equal to its revolution period around the star.

A team of scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., has successfully reproduced, right here on Earth, the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star and lead to the formation of planet-forming interstellar dust.

The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project is an initiative that began in the 70s with funding from NASA, but that has evolved towards the collaboration of millions of Internet users for the processing of data from the Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico), where space tracking is carried out.

Circumbinary planets have been the subject of much recent work, providing both simulations and new discoveries. We present the first observationally based determination of the rate of occurrence of these planets.

In the movies, humans often fear invaders from Mars. These days, scientists are more concerned about invaders to Mars, in the form of micro-organisms from Earth. Three recent scientific papers examined the risks of interplanetary exchange of organisms using research from the International Space Station.

More than a mile beneath the ocean's surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.