Archives

May 2015


From the numerous detected planets outside the Solar system, no terrestrial planet comparable to our Earth has been discovered so far.

Locating planets in HabitableZones (HZs) around other stars is a growing field in contemporary astronomy.

Young terrestrial planets, when they are still embedded in a circumstellar disk, accumulate an atmosphere of nebula gas.

NASA has selected nine science instruments for a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa, to investigate whether the mysterious icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

The gas mass of protoplanetary disks, and the gas-to-dust ratio, are two key elements driving the evolution of these disks and the formation of planetary system.

Previous work on possible surface reflectance biosignatures for Earth-like planets has typically focused on analogues to spectral features produced by photosynthetic organisms on Earth, such as the vegetation red edge.

Carbonaceous chondrites are a class of meteorite known for having a high content of water and organics.

We present the thermal evolution and emergent spectra of solidifying terrestrial planets along with the formation of steam atmospheres.

The water ice or snow line is one of the key properties of protoplanetary disks that determines the water content of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone.

Priorities in exo-planet research are rapidly moving from finding planets to characterizing their physical properties. Of key importance is their chemical composition, which feeds back into our understanding of planet formation.

Our solar system, and other planetary systems, started as a disk of microscopic dust, gas, and ice around the young Sun. The amazing diversity of objects in the solar system today - the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets - was made from this primitive dust.

For centuries, people have imagined the possibility of life on Mars. But long-held dreams that Martians could be invaders of Earth, or little green men, or civilized superbeings, all have been undercut by missions to our neighboring planet that have, so far, uncovered no life at all.

Astronomers have long held that water -- two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom -- was a relative latecomer to the universe. They believed that any element heavier than helium had to have been formed in the cores of stars and not by the Big Bang itself.

NASA laboratory experiments suggest the dark material coating some geological features of Jupiter's moon Europa is likely sea salt from a subsurface ocean, discolored by exposure to radiation.

Self-organizing processes in chemical reaction/precipitation systems can lead to a variety of complex structures, including chemical gardens and inorganic membranes.

Understanding the surface and atmospheric conditions of Earth-size, rocky planets in the habitable zones (HZs) of low-mass stars is currently one of the greatest astronomical endeavors.

Together with colleagues from Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of Vienna in Austria, Steffen Leth Jrgensen from the Centre for Geobiology at the University of Bergen (UiB) has published the article Complex Archaea that bridge the gap between prokaryotes and eukaryotes in Nature, presenting the discovery of this new microbe.

DNA is synonymous with life, but where did it originate? One way to answer this question is to try to recreate the conditions that formed DNA's molecular precursors.

We present the first investigation of Th abundances in Solar twins and analogues to understand the possible range of this radioactive element and its effect on rocky planet interior dynamics and potential habitability.

Considerable progress has been made in recent years in observations of atmospheric signatures of giant exoplanets, but processes in rocky exoplanets remain largely unknown due to major challenges in observing small planets.

The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe that may have contributed to the devastation, according to a team of University of California, Berkeley, geophysicists.