February 2015

A research team led by Shuro Takano at NAOJ and Taku Nakajima at Nagoya University observed the spiral galaxy M77 with ALMA and discovered that organic molecules are concentrated in a region surrounding a supermassive black hole at its center.

The high abundances of Complex Organic Molecules (COMs) with respect to methanol, the most abundant COM, detected towards low-mass protostars, tend to be underpredicted by astrochemical models.

We studied the relation between the chemical composition and the type of dust present in a group of 20 Galactic planetary nebulae (PNe) that have high quality optical and infrared spectra.

The onset and nature of the earliest geomagnetic field is important for understanding the evolution of the core, atmosphere and
life on Earth.

Much of the geologic activity preserved on Europa's icy surface has been attributed to tidal deformation, mainly due to Europa's eccentric orbit.

Formamide (NH2CHO) has been proposed as a pre-biotic precursor with a key role in the emergence of life on Earth. While this molecule has been observed in space, most of its detections correspond to high-mass star-forming regions.

Understanding the collisional properties of ice is important for understanding both the early stages of planet formation and the evolution of planetary ring systems.

Atmospheres with a high C/O ratio are expected to contain an important quantity of hydrocarbons, including heavy molecules (with more than 2 carbon atoms).

Research by New York University Biology Professor Michael Rampino concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our Galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth.

We present an inversion method based on Bayesian analysis to constrain the interior structure of terrestrial exoplanets, in the form of chemical composition of the mantle and core size.

At least 5 mass extinction events have profoundly changed the history of life on Earth. But a new study led by researchers at the University of Gothenburg shows that plants have been very resilient to those events.

Recent research which has counted with the participation of the University of Granada Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences has yielded new data on chemical gardens, mysterious formations produced when certain solid salts (copper sulfate, cobalt chloride) are added to an aqueous solution of sodium silicate.

Simulations by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University indicate that Earth-like planets are more likely to be found orbiting Sun-like stars rather than lower-mass stars that are currently targeted, in terms of water contents of planets.

A spark from a lightning bolt, interstellar dust, or a subsea volcano could have triggered the very first life on Earth. But what happened next?

Comparison of their chemical compositions shows, to first order, a good agreement between the cometary and interstellar abundances.

The growth and composition of Earth is a direct consequence of planet formation throughout the Solar System.

Ideas about directing evolution of life forms on Earth and finding life on other planets are rapidly morphing from science-fiction fantasy into mainstream science, says David Lynn, a chemist at Emory University.

It is generally agreed that hydrogenation reactions dominate chemistry on grain surfaces in cold, dense molecular cores, saturating the molecules present in ice mantles.

In binary star systems, the winds from the two components impact each other, leading to strong shocks and regions of enhanced density and temperature.

We present new kinetics data on the radiolytic destruction of amino acids measured in situ with infrared spectroscopy.

We report new laboratory studies of the radiation-induced destruction of glycine-containing ices for a range of temperatures and compositions that allow extrapolation to Martian conditions.

As part of a national scientific network 'Pathways to Habitability' the formation of planets and the delivery of water onto these planets is a key question as water is essential for the development of life.

Observational data from the Cassini spacecraft are used to obtain a chemical model of ocean water on Enceladus.

A team of UK scientists and engineers have announced plans for a small satellite, named "Twinkle," that will give radical new insights into the chemistry, formation and evolution of planets orbiting other stars.

NASA seeks a new Director for the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The ideal candidate will be an internationally recognized scientist with proven experience in leading or managing large interdisciplinary research programs or projects, possessed with a vision for leading the Institute into the future.

Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life by The University of Edinburgh. Self-paced online course.

Planetary scientists have calculated that there are hundreds of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy which might support life.

Astrophysical ionizing radiation events have been recognized as a potential threat to life on Earth, primarily through depletion of stratospheric ozone and subsequent increase in surface-level solar ultraviolet radiation.

The insoluble organic matter (IOM) of an unequilibrated enstatite chondrite Sahara (SAH) 97096 has been investigated using a battery of analytical techniques.

The first discoveries of exoplanets around Sun-like stars have fueled efforts to find ever smaller worlds evocative of Earth and other terrestrial planets in the Solar System.