March 2017

We analyze short cadence K2 light curve of the TRAPPIST-1 system. Fourier analysis of the data suggests Prot=3.295±0.003 days.

Recently, astronomers announced the discovery that a star called TRAPPIST-1 is orbited by seven Earth-size planets. Three of the planets reside in the "habitable zone," the region around a star where liquid water is most likely to exist on the surface of a rocky planet.

So far, more than 130 extrasolar planets have been found in multiple stellar systems. Dynamical simulations show that the outcome of the planetary formation process can lead to different planetary architectures (i.e. location, size, mass, and water content) when the star system is single or double.

We combine Spitzer and ground-based KMTNet microlensing observations to identify and precisely measure an Earth-mass (1.32+0.41−0.28M⊕) planet OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb at 1.11+0.13−0.10 AU orbiting a 0.072+0.014−0.010M⊙ ultracool dwarf, likely a brown dwarf.

Many of the multi-planet systems discovered to date have been notable for their compactness, with neighbouring planets closer together than any in the Solar System.

The gas giant planets in the Solar System have a retinue of icy moons, and we expect giant exoplanets to have similar satellite systems.

New NASA research reveals that the giant Martian volcano Arsia Mons produced one new lava flow at its summit every 1 to 3 million years during the final peak of activity.

It is widely believed that the carbonate-silicate cycle is the main agent to trigger deglaciations by CO2 greenhouse warming on Earth and on Earth-like planets when they get in frozen state.

ESA astronauts Pedro Duque and Matthias Maurer have completed geology training to prepare them to be effective partners of planetary scientists and engineers in designing future exploration missions.

The ~1.6 Ga Tirohan Dolomite of the Lower Vindhyan in central India contains phosphatized stromatolitic microbialites. We report from there uniquely well-preserved fossils interpreted as probable crown-group rhodophytes (red algae).

A recent NASA-funded study has shown how the hydrocarbon lakes and seas of Saturn's moon Titan might occasionally erupt with dramatic patches of bubbles.

What caused the largest glaciation event in Earth's history, known as 'snowball Earth'? Geologists and climate scientists have been searching for the answer for years but the root cause of the phenomenon remains elusive.

The TRAPPIST-1 system is the first transiting planet system found orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star. At least seven planets similar to Earth in radius and in mass were previously found to transit this host star.

The tree of life, which depicts how life has evolved and diversified on the planet, is getting a lot more complicated.

Do mass extinctions, like the fall of the dinosaurs, and the formation of large impact craters on Earth occur together at regular intervals?

Hunting for habitable exoplanets now may be easier: Cornell University astronomers report that hydrogen pouring from volcanic sources on planets throughout the universe could improve the chances of locating life in the cosmos.

One major mystery about life's origin is how phosphate became an essential building block of genetic and metabolic machinery in cells, given its poor accessibility on early Earth.

We present a simple model for estimating the probability of interplanetary panspermia in the recently discovered system of seven planets orbiting the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, and find that panspermia is potentially orders of magnitude more likely to occur in the TRAPPIST-1 system compared to the Earth-to-Mars case.

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered by an international team led by UCL scientists, providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.