November 2016

Somewhere between Earth's creation and where we are today, scientists have demonstrated that some early life forms existed just fine without any oxygen.

A group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center among others has observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.

We use a simple organism lifecycle model to explore the viability of an atmospheric habitable zone (AHZ), with temperatures that could support Earth-centric life, which sits above an environment that does not support life.

A new study is the first to show that living organisms can be persuaded to make silicon-carbon bonds--something only chemists had done before. Scientists at Caltech "bred" a bacterial protein to have the ability to make the man-made bonds, a finding that has applications in several industries.

One of the open questions in astrochemistry is how complex organic and prebiotic molecules are formed.

The possible meteorite parent body origin of Earth's pregenetic nucleobases is substantiated by the guanine (G), adenine (A) and uracil (U) measured in various meteorites.

Approximately 60 percent of all stars in the solar neighbourhood (up to 80 percent in our Milky Way) are members of binary or multiple star systems. This fact led to the speculations that many more planets may exist in binary systems than are currently known.

The formation pathways of different types of organic molecules in protostellar envelopes and other regions of star formation are subjects of intense current interest.

The Kepler era of exoplanetary discovery has presented the Astronomical community with a cornucopia of planetary systems very different from the one which we inhabit.

The competition between the torques induced by solid and thermal tides drives the rotational dynamics of Venus-like planets and super-Earths orbiting in the habitable zone of low-mass stars.

Scientists studying the Chicxulub crater have shown how large asteroid impacts deform rocks in a way that may produce habitats for early life.

Two geo-scientists at Arizona State University have made a discovery among hot springs in Chile that may spur scientists to revisit a location on Mars explored several years ago by NASA's Spirit rover.

A liquid ocean lying deep beneath Pluto's frozen surface is the best explanation for features revealed by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, according to a new analysis.

The classical theory of grain nucleation suffers from both theoretical and predictive deficiencies. We strive to alleviate these deficiencies in our understanding of dust formation and growth by utilizing an atomistic model of nucleation.

Atmospheric tides can strongly affect the rotational dynamics of planets. In the family of Earth-like planets, such as Venus, this physical mechanism coupled with solid tides makes the angular velocity evolve over long timescales and determines the equilibrium configurations of their spin.

A strangely shaped depression on Mars could be a new place to look for signs of life on the Red Planet, according to a University of Texas at Austin-led study.

New research from North Carolina State University shows that a 75-million-year-old Mongolian oviraptor, preserved while brooding its eggs, also preserved the original keratinous claw sheath that covered its digits.

A new study published in Scientific Reports shows how higher latitude ecosystems recovered after the World's most cataclysmic extinction event 252 million years ago.

Build-up of relatively young (<∼3.6 Ga) deltas and alluvial fans on Mars required lakes to persist for >3 Kyr (assuming dilute flow), but the watersheds' little-weathered soils indicate a climate history that was >99% dry.

The 2175 \AA\ UV extinction feature was discovered in the mid-1960s, yet its physical origin remains poorly understood. One suggestion is absorption by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) molecules, which is supported by theoretical molecular structure computations and by laboratory experiments.

As many organic molecules, formic acid (HCOOH) has two conformers (trans and cis). The energy barrier to internal conversion from trans to cis is much higher than the thermal energy available in molecular clouds.

Traces of 2-3 Myr old 60Fe were recently discovered in a manganese crust and in lunar samples. We have found that this signal is extended in time and is present in globally distributed deep-sea archives.

According to research published in the journal Physical Review C, neutron stars and cell cytoplasm have something in common: structures that resemble multistory parking garages.

The detection of organic molecules with increasing complexity and potential biological relevance is opening the possibility to understand the formation of the building blocks of life in the interstellar medium.

The elemental compositions of planets define their chemistry, and could potentially be used as beacons for their formation location if the elemental gas and grain ratios of planet birth environments, i.e. protoplanetary disks, are well understood.

A sensing technique that the U.S. military currently uses to remotely monitor the air to detect potentially life-threatening chemicals, toxins, and pathogens has inspired a new instrument that could "sniff" for life on Mars and other targets in the solar system -- the Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument, or BILI.