December 2016

In a recent opinion piece Seth Shostak from the SETI Institute makes a strange claim: only Americans are interested in SETI.

Yale researchers have found a data-driven way to detect distant planets and refine the search for worlds similar to Earth.

Current observations of the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets are predominantly obtained with two techniques: low-resolution spectroscopy with space telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground.

Building on previous work, we have expanded our catalog of evolutionary models for stars with variable composition; here we present models for stars of mass 0.5 - 1.2 Msol, at scaled metallicities of 0.1 - 1.5 Zsol, and specific C/Fe, Mg/Fe, and Ne/Fe values of 0.58 - 1.72 C/Fe_sol, 0.54 - 1.84 Mg/Fe_sol and 0.5 - 2.0 Ne/Fe_sol, respectively.

NASA's Curiosity rover is climbing a layered Martian mountain and finding evidence of how ancient lakes and wet underground environments changed, billions of years ago, creating more diverse chemical environments that affected their favorability for microbial life.

What will happen to Earth when, in a few billion years' time, the Sun is a hundred times bigger than it is today?

The Kepler mission has shown that a significant fraction of all stars may have an Earth-size habitable planet. A dramatic support was the recent detection of Proxima Centauri b.

The field of exoplanetary science has seen discovery rates increase dramatically over recent years, due largely to the data from the Kepler mission. Even so, individual discoveries of planets orbiting nearby stars are very important for studies of characterization and near-term follow-up prospects.

Nitrogen is a major nutrient for all life on Earth and could plausibly play a similar role in extraterrestrial biospheres.

The photochemistry of ices with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been extensively studied, but to date no investigation has been made of PAHs in interaction with low numbers (n < 4) of molecules of water.

Detecting the atmospheres of low-mass low-temperature exoplanets is a high-priority goal on the path to ultimately detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets.

It has been pointed out by various astronomers that very interesting relationship exists between interstellar alcohols and the corresponding thiols (sulfur analogue of alcohols) as far as the spectroscopic properties and chemical abundances are concerned.

Recent observations indicate potentially carbon-rich exoplanet atmospheres. Spectral fitting methods for brown dwarfs and exoplanets have invoked the C/O ratio as additional parameter but carbon-rich cloud formation modeling is a challenge for the models applied.

Context. Carbon, oxygen and nitrogen (CNO) are key elements in stellar formation and evolution, and their abundances should also have a significant impact on planetary formation and evolution.

Pluto is thought to possess a subsurface ocean, which is not so much a sign of water as it is a tremendous clue that other dwarf planets in deep space also may contain similarly exotic oceans, naturally leading to the question of life, said one co-investigator with NASA's New Horizon mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

If you think operating a robot in space is hard, try doing it in the ocean. Saltwater can corrode your robot and block its radio signals. Kelp forests can tangle it up, and you might not get it back. Sharks will even try to take bites out of its wings.

The recent discovery of an earth-like planet around Proxima Centauri has drawn much attention to this star and its environment.