April 2015

Geological activity is thought to be important for the origin of life and for maintaining planetary habitability. We show that transient sulfate aerosols could be a signature of exoplanet volcanism, and therefore a geologically active world.

We propose a method for observing transiting exoplanets with near-infrared high-resolution spectrometers. We aim to create a robust data analysis method for recovering atmospheric transmission spectra from transiting exoplanets over a wide wavelength range in the near infrared.

Hydrocarbon organic material, as found in the interstellar medium, exists in complex mixtures of aromatic and aliphatic forms.

We introduce a novel Earth-like planet surface temperature model (ESTM) for habitability studies based on the spatial-temporal distribution of planetary surface temperatures.

Many view Antarctica as a frozen wasteland. Turns out there are hidden interconnected lakes underneath its dry valleys that could sustain life and shed light on ancient climate change.

A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, California, and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15, and 24 days.

How soon after the Big Bang could water have existed? Not right away, because water molecules contain oxygen and oxygen had to be formed in the first stars.

Methyl acetate (CH_3COOCH_3) has been recently observed by IRAM 30 m radio telescope in Orion though the presence of its deuterated isotopomers is yet to be confirmed.

It is long debated if pre-biotic molecules are indeed present in the interstellar medium. Despite substantial works pointing to their existence, pre-biotic molecules are yet to be discovered with a complete confidence.

As the search continues for Earth-size planets orbiting at just the right distance from their star, a region termed the habitable zone, the number of potentially life-supporting planets grows.

NASA announced this week the creation of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science network that will study planets beyond our solar system for habitability and other features tapping the expertise of researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies , Goddard Space Flight Center and other locations.

After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced extraterrestrial life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory has found no evidence of advanced civilizations in them.

We present stellar evolution models for 0.5 - 1.2 \Msol at scaled metallicities of 0.1 - 1.5 Z\sol and O/Fe values of 0.44 - 2.28 O/Fe\sol.

The potential habitability of a terrestrial planet is usually defined by the possible existence of liquid water on its surface.

Exomoon detections might be feasible with NASA's Kepler or ESA's upcoming PLATO mission or the ground-based E-ELT. To use observational resources most efficiently we need to know where the largest, most easily detected moons can form.

A new study published in Science looks beyond the question of whether Earth's oceans can be traced to comets or other objects from space, and instead asks the question: where did the water in comets come from?

For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star, indicating that the conditions that spawned our Earth and Sun are not unique in the universe.

As NASA missions explore our solar system and search for new worlds, they are finding water in surprising places. Water is but one piece of our search for habitable planets and life beyond Earth, yet it links many seemingly unrelated worlds in surprising ways.

The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Milan.

Learn about planets beyond our solar system, far-flung missions and possible life in the cosmos at "(un)Discovered Worlds," a one-day Cornell University space sciences conference, May 9, to inaugurate the new Institute for Pale Blue Dots.

The oxygen isotope record in sedimentary chert and the compelling case for a near constant isotopic oxygen composition of seawater over geologic time support thermophilic surface temperatures prevailing in the Archean, with some support for hot conditions lasting until about 1.5 billion years ago, aside from lower temperatures including glacial episodes at 2.1-2.4 Ga and possibly an earlier one at 2.9 Ga.

NASA Television will air an event from 1 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 7, featuring leading science and engineering experts discussing the recent discoveries of water and organics in our solar system, the role our sun plays in water-loss in neighboring planets, and our search for habitable worlds among the stars.