August 2017

The ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 hosts seven Earth-size transiting planets, some of which could harbour liquid water on their surfaces.

In everyday life, ultraviolet, or UV, light earns a bad reputation for being responsible for sunburns and other harmful effects on humans. However, research suggests that UV light may have played a critical role in the emergence of life on Earth and could be a key for where to look for life elsewhere in the Universe.

An international team of astronomers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate whether there might be water on the seven earth-sized planets orbiting the nearby dwarf star TRAPPIST-1.

To first order, the Earth as well as other rocky planets in the Solar System and rocky exoplanets orbiting other stars, are refractory pieces of the stellar nebula out of which they formed.

Scientists have yet to understand and explain how life's informational molecules - proteins and DNA and RNA - arose from simpler chemicals when life on earth emerged some four billion years ago.

We use a statistical model to investigate the detectability (defined by the requirement that they are in causal contact with us) of communicating civilizations within a volume of the universe surrounding our location.

Up to now, mostly relatively simple molecules have been detected in interstellar diffuse molecular clouds in our galaxy, but more complex species have been reported in the diffuse/translucent medium of a z = 0.89 spiral galaxy.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will use its infrared capabilities to study the "ocean worlds" of Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, adding to observations previously made by NASA's Galileo and Cassini orbiters.

It has been a long-standing problem to detect interstellar glycine (NH2CH2COOH), the simplest amino acid, in studying a possible relation between the Universe and origin of life.

Context. Clouds have already been detected in exoplanetary atmospheres. They play crucial roles in a planet's atmosphere and climate and can also create ambiguities in the determination of atmospheric parameters such as trace gas mixing ratios.

The simplest cyanobenzene, benzonitrile (c-C6H5CN) have been possibly detected toward the cyanopolyyne peak in TMC-1.

UNSW Sydney scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way that the tiny organisms can share DNA that could help them grow and survive.

The ancestor philosophers' dream of thousands of new worlds is finally realised: about 3500 extrasolar planets have been discovered in the neighborhood of our Sun. Most of them are very different from those we used to know in our Solar System.

Tremendous amounts of soot, lofted into the air from global wildfires following a massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago, would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, new research finds.

High-precision astrometry at the sub-microarcsecond level opens up a window to study Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars, and to determine their masses.

On the surface of icy dust grains in the dense regions of the interstellar medium a rich chemistry can take place.

Kepler-96 is an active solar-type star harbouring a Super-Earth planet in close orbit. Its age of 2.3 Gyr is the same as the Sun when there was a considerable increase of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere due to micro-organisms living under the sea.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed technology that enables a smartphone to perform lab-grade medical diagnostic tests that typically require large, expensive instruments.

A high fraction of carbon bound in solid carbonaceous material is observed to exist in bodies formed in the cold outskirts of the solar nebula, while bodies in the terrestrial planets region contain nearly none.

The VVV survey has observed the southern disk of the Milky Way in the near infrared, covering 240 deg2 in the ZYJHKS filters.

Context: Modern versions of the Miller-Urey experiment claim that formamide (NH2CHO) could be the starting point for the formation of metabolic and genetic macromolecules.

Unmixing the disk-integrated spectra of exoplanets provides a clue to heterogeneous surfaces that we cannot directly resolve in the foreseeable future.

Astrophysicists at the University of Texas at Arlington have predicted that an Earth-like planet may be lurking in a star system just 16 light years away.

A new study by an international team of astronomers reveals that four Earth-sized planets orbit the nearest sun-like star, tau Ceti, which is about 12 light years away and visible to the naked eye.

If we want to know more about whether life could survive on a planet outside our solar system, it's important to know the age of its star.

The removal of noise typically correlated in time and wavelength is one of the main challenges for using the radial velocity method to detect Earth analogues.

Advanced telescopes, such as ALMA and JWST, are likely to show that the chemical universe may be even more complex than currently observed, requiring astrochemical modelers to improve their models to account for the impact of new data.

Astronomers like to say we are the byproducts of stars, stellar furnaces that long ago fused hydrogen and helium into the elements needed for life through the process of stellar nucleosynthesis. As the late Carl Sagan once put it: "The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff."

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has moved one step closer to launch after successfully passing its Systems Integration Review (SIR), an independent review from independent technical and scientific experts who have deemed the mission ready to begin installation of its scientific instrument onto the spacecraft.

We report the discovery from K2 of a transiting terrestrial planet in an ultra-short-period orbit around an M3-dwarf.

The bright M dwarf K2-18 at 34 pc is known to host a transiting super-Earth-sized planet orbiting within the star's habitable zone; K2-18b.

Several observational works have shown the existence of Jupiter-mass planets covering a wide range of semi-major axes around Sun-like stars.

We report the detection of linear and cyclic isomers of C3H and C3H2 towards various starless cores and review the corresponding chemical pathways involving neutral (C3Hx with x=1,2) and ionic (C3Hx+ with x = 1,2,3) isomers.

A specific 4641Da amino acid polymer entity is present in two CV3 meteorites Acfer 086 and Allende, together with its breakdown polymer fragments of mass < 2000Da.