October 2014

How habitable was Mars in the past? Since the Curiosity rover touched down on Mars in August 2012, it has helped answer a few of these questions in the area surrounding its equatorial landing site of Gale Crater.

One of the beneficial outcomes of searching for life in the Universe is that it grants greater awareness of our own problems here on Earth.

We present fundamental stellar parameters and chemical abundances for a sample of 86 evolved stars with planets and for a control sample of 137 stars without planets.

During a live Google Hangout, three astrophysicists -- Zachory Berta-Thompson, Bruce Macintosh and Marie-Eve Naud -- discussed the huge variety of planets discovered so far, how close we are to being able to see other Earth-like planets, and all that remains unknown.

Like surgeons in an operating room, the technicians work gowned and masked in ESA's ultraclean microbiology laboratory, ensuring a high-tech sensor will not contaminate the Red Planet with terrestrial microbes.

New maps of Saturn's moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles.

We report the first spectroscopic detection of ethyl cyanide (C2H5CN) in Titan's atmosphere, obtained using spectrally and spatially resolved observations of multiple emission lines with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA).

How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions not only occupy the minds of scientists interested in the origin of life, but also researchers working with technology of the future.

In order to test planetary accretion and differentiation scenarios, we integrated a multistage core-mantle differentiation model with N-body accretion simulations.

A team of scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a planet orbiting another star, revealing secrets of air temperatures and water.

NASA's Astrobiology Institute (NAI) announced that the SETI Institute has been selected as a new member of theNAI for a 5-year research program, "Changing Planetary Environments and the Fingerprints of Life."

Recent observations by the Kepler space telescope have led to the discovery of more than 4000 exoplanet candidates consisting of many systems with Earth- to Neptune-sized objects that reside well inside the orbit of Mercury, around their respective host stars.

NASA has awarded five-year grants totaling almost $50 million to seven research teams nationwide to study the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.

About one-fifth of the Earth's atmosphere is oxygen, pumped out by green plants as a result of photosynthesis and used by most living things on the planet to keep our metabolisms running.

Earth-like planets within the liquid water habitable zone of M type stars may evolve into synchronous rotators.

The detection of small planets orbiting nearby stars is an important step towards the identification of Earth twins.

In 1930, Albert Einstein was asked for his opinion about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. "Other beings, perhaps, but not men," he answered. Then he was asked whether science and religion conflict. "Not really, though it depends, of course, on your religious views."

The international Cassini mission has revealed that a giant, toxic cloud is hovering over the south pole of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, after the atmosphere has cooled in a dramatic fashion.