Archives

June 2015


The UV environment of a host star affects the photochemistry in the atmosphere, and ultimately the surface UV environment for terrestrial planets and therefore the conditions for the origin and evolution of life.

The prospect of finding ocean-bearing exoplanets has been boosted, thanks to a pioneering new study. An international team of scientists, including from the University of Exeter, has discovered an immense cloud of hydrogen escaping from a Neptune-sized exoplanet.

We model the atmospheres and spectra of Earth-like planets orbiting the entire grid of M dwarfs for active and inactive stellar models with Teff = 2300K to Teff = 3800K and for six observed MUSCLES M dwarfs with UV radiation data.

Understanding whether M-dwarf stars may host habitable planets with Earth-like atmospheres and biospheres is a major goal in exoplanet research.

We study the origin and escape of catastrophically outgassed volatiles (H2O, CO2) from exomoons with Earth-like densities and masses of 0.1M⊕, 0.5M⊕ and 1M⊕ orbiting an extra-solar gas giant inside the habitable zone of a young active solar-like star.

Carbonaceous chondrite meteorites are known for having high water and organic material contents, including amino acids.

The outer solar system may provide a potential habitat for extraterrestrial life. Remote sensing data from the Galileo spacecraft suggest that the jovian icy moons, Europa, Ganymede, and possibly Callisto, may harbor liquid water oceans underneath their icy crusts.

The evolution and escape of the martian atmosphere and the planet's water inventory can be separated into an early and late evolutionary epoch. The first epoch started from the planet's origin and lasted ∼500 Myr.

To find life in the universe, it helps to know what it might look like. If there are organisms on other planets that do not rely wholly on photosynthesis -- as some on Earth do not -- how might those worlds appear from light-years away?

Scientists at UCL have observed how a widespread polar wind is driving gas from the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan.

Beyond Earth, Jupiter's moon Europa is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of present-day life, and a new NASA mission to explore this potential is moving forward from concept review to development.

To sort out the biological intricacies of Earth-like planets, astronomers have developed computer models that examine how ultraviolet radiation from other planets' nearby suns may affect those worlds, according to new research published June 10 in Astrophysical Journal.

An international team of researchers has discovered traces of methane in Martian meteorites, a possible clue in the search for life on the Red Planet.

An international research team, including scientists at Western University, has found methane - a plausible energy source for sustaining life - deep within the crust or subsurface of Mars.

In 2009, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked on a NASA-funded mission to the Mid-Cayman Rise in the Caribbean, in search of a type of deep-sea hot-spring or hydrothermal vent that they believed held clues to the search for life on other planets.

Planets with volcanic activity are considered better candidates for life than worlds without such heated internal goings-on.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, such deposits might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet.

When a NASA spacecraft sets off to explore Jupiter's icy moon Europa to look for the ingredients of life, radar equipment designed to pierce the ice of Antarctica will be among the passengers.

By now, observations of exoplanets have found more than 50 binary star systems hosting 71 planets.

Ozone is an important radiative trace gas in the Earth's atmosphere. The presence of ozone can significantly influence the thermal structure of an atmosphere, and by this e.g. cloud formation.

Viewed from above, our solar system's planetary orbits around the sun resemble rings around a bulls-eye. Each planet, including Earth, keeps to a roughly circular path, always maintaining the same distance from the sun.