March 2015

Atmospheric chemical disequilibrium has been proposed as a method for detecting extraterrestrial biospheres from exoplanet observations.

Luke Skywalker's home in "Star Wars" is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars.

Results from exoplanet surveys indicate that small planets (super-Earth size and below) are abundant in our Galaxy. However, little is known about their interiors and atmospheres.

A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA's Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments.

Astronomers have expanded the search for extraterrestrial intelligence into a new realm with detectors tuned to infrared light. Their new instrument has just begun to scour the sky for messages from other worlds.

Astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets in our galaxy, the Milky Way, using the Kepler satellite and many of them have multiple planets orbiting the host star.

There are four different stable climate states for pure water atmospheres, as might exist on so-called "waterworlds".

The weak orbital-phase dependent reflection signal of an exoplanet contains information on the planet surface, such as the distribution of continents and oceans on terrestrial planets.

"Who in his wildest dreams could have imagined that, beneath the crust of our Earth, there could exist a real ocean...a sea that has given shelter to species unknown?"

While looking for life on planets beyond our own solar system, a group of international scientists has created a colorful catalog containing reflection signatures of Earth life forms that might be found on planet surfaces throughout the cosmic hinterlands.

tau Ceti (HD10700), a G8 dwarf with solar mass of 0.78, is a close (3.65 pc) sun-like star where 5 possibly terrestrial planet candidates (minimum masses of 2, 3.1, 3.5, 4.3, and 6.7 Earth masses) have recently been discovered.

Fullerenes have been recently detected in various circumstellar and interstellar environments, raising the question of their formation pathway.

Absorption lines from water, methane and carbon monoxide are detected in the atmosphere of exoplanet HR8799b.

As telescopes of ever-greater power scan the cosmos looking for life, knowing where to look and where not to waste time looking will be of great value.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first clear evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of present-day hydrothermal activity which may resemble that seen in the deep oceans on Earth.

The detection of biologically important, organic molecules on Mars is an important goal that may soon be reached.

We use a planetary albedo model to investigate variations in visible wavelength phase curves of exoplanets. The presence of clouds on these exoplanets significantly alters their planetary albedo spectra.

Most models of volatile delivery to accreting terrestrial planets assume that the carriers for water are similar in water content to the carbonaceous chondrites in our Solar System.

We investigate the possibility of constraining the sin i degeneracy of alpha Cen B b -- with orbital period P=3.24 d; a = 0.042 AU; msini = 1.1 M_earth -- to estimate the true mass of the newly reported terrestrial exoplanet in the nearest stellar system to our Sun.

In the present study we explore the astrobiological significance of F-type stars of spectral type between F5 V and F9.5 V, which possess Jupiter-type planets within or close to their climatological habitable zones.

NASA will host a teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, March 12, to discuss Hubble Space Telescope's observations of Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon. These results will help scientists in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth.

A primitive ocean on Mars once held more water than Earth's Arctic Ocean, according to NASA scientists who measured signatures of water in the planet's atmosphere using the most powerful telescopes on Earth including the W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii.

NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory.

A new type of methane-based, oxygen-free life form that can metabolize and reproduce similar to life on Earth has been modeled by a team of Cornell University researchers.