May 2016

Life on Earth often depends on symbiotic relationships between microbes and other forms of life.

Ingredients regarded as crucial for the origin of life on Earth have been discovered at the comet that ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has been probing for almost two years.

The habitable zone (HZ) describes the range of orbital distances around a star where the existence of liquid water on the surface of an Earth-like planet is in principle possible.

A distant planet known as Kepler-62f could be habitable, a team of astronomers reports.

The recent discovery of three Earth-sized, potentially habitable planets around a nearby cool star, TRAPPIST-1, has provided three key targets for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

We combine a semi-analytic model of galaxy evolution with constraints on circumstellar habitable zones and the distribution of terrestrial planets to probe the suitability of galaxies of different mass and type to host habitable planets, as well as its evolution with time.

We present a survey on binary star systems with stellar separations less than 100 astronomical units.

An analysis of the currently known exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) of their host stars is of interest in both the wake of the NASA Kepler mission and with prospects for expanding the known planet population through future ground- and space-based projects.

The liquid water habitable zone (HZ) describes the orbital distance at which a terrestrial planet can maintain above-freezing conditions through regulation by the carbonate-silicate cycle.

Our sun's adolescence was stormy-and new evidence shows that these tempests may have been just the key to seeding life as we know it.

The geologic shape of what were once shorelines through Mars' northern plains convinces scientists that two large meteorites - hitting the planet millions of years apart - triggered a pair of mega-tsunamis.

The Earth's albedo, or reflectance, is a fundamental atmospheric parameter having deep implications for temperature and climate change. For that reason, experiments have been performed to monitor it over the past two decades to reveal how it evolves.

Once a star leaves the main sequence and becomes a red giant, its Habitable Zone (HZ) moves outward, promoting detectable habitable conditions at larger orbital distances.

Recent results have strongly confirmed that multiple supernovae happened at distances ~100 pc consisting of two main events: one at 1.7 to 3.2 million years ago, and the other at 6.5 to 8.7 million years ago.

A new NASA study modeling conditions in the ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa suggests that the necessary balance of chemical energy for life could exist there, even if the moon lacks volcanic hydrothermal activity.

All throughout the universe, there are stars in varying phases and ages. Planetary diversity suggests that around other stars, initially frozen worlds could be the size of Earth and provide habitable conditions once the star becomes older.

Carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen (CNO) are key elements in stellar formation and evolution, and their abundances should also have a significant impact on planetary formation and evolution. We present a detailed spectroscopic analysis of 74 solar-type stars, 42 of which are known to harbour planets.

Formamide (NH2CHO) has previously been detected in several star-forming regions and is thought to be a precursor for different prebiotic molecules. Its formation mechanism is still debated, however.

Solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) produce adverse space weather effects at Earth. Planets in the close habitable zone of magnetically active M dwarfs may experience more extreme space weather than at Earth, including frequent CME impacts leading to atmospheric erosion and leaving the surface exposed to extreme flare activity.

We conducted survey observations of a glycine precursor, methanimine or methylenimine (CH2NH), with the NRO 45 m telescope and the SMT telescope towards 12 high-mass and two low-mass star-forming regions in order to increase number of CH2NH sources and to better understand the characteristics of CH2NH sources.

Scientists from Princeton University and NASA have confirmed that 1,284 objects observed outside Earth's solar system by NASA's Kepler spacecraft are indeed planets.

The idea that the young Earth had a thicker atmosphere turns out to be wrong. New research from the University of Washington uses bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion-year-old rocks to show that air at that time exerted at most half the pressure of today's atmosphere.

Scientists have dramatically expanded the tree of life by using genomic data from over 1,000 organisms that have not previously been cultivated in the laboratory. The new version of the tree of life includes Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya.

Perchlorate salts on Mars could allow liquid water to persist on the martian surface as brines, despite the cold and dry conditions.

In 1990, Voyager 1 captured the most distant portrait of our planet ever taken, revealing that from beyond Pluto's orbit, Earth appears as nothing more than a "pale blue dot."

Next-generation space telescopes will observe the atmospheres of rocky planets orbiting nearby M-dwarfs. Understanding these observations will require well-developed theory in addition to numerical simulations.

Many observed giant planets lie on eccentric orbits. Such orbits could be the result of strong scatterings with other giant planets. The same dynamical instability that produces giant planet scatterings can also alter the orbits of terrestrial planets.

Geochemists from Trinity College Dublin's School of Natural Sciences may have found a solution to a long-debated problem as to where - and how - life first formed on Earth.

Ultracool dwarfs (UCD) encompass the population of extremely low mass stars (later than M6-type) and brown dwarfs.

Saturn's moon Enceladus offers a unique opportunity in the search for life and habitable environments beyond Earth, a key theme of the National Research Council's 2013-2022 Decadal Survey.

Clouds may seem like distant, ephemeral features that have little to do with life on Earth. In fact, they affect everything from the viability of ecosystems, to how much carbon plants absorb, to the reproductive success of reptiles.

Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.

In an effort to derive temperature based criteria of habitability for multicellular life, we investigated the thermal limits of terrestrial poikilotherms, i.e. organisms whose body temperature and the functioning of all vital processes is directly affected by the ambient temperature.