December 2017

On August 21, 2017, about 215 million American adults watched one of nature's most dramatic events: a total solar eclipse. However, most of the country could only see a partial eclipse.

A breakthrough in the understanding of how cosmic rays from supernovae can influence Earth's cloud cover and thereby climate has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Japanese researchers have discovered a new species of the enigmatic marine worm Xenoturbella, which they have named Xenoturbella japonica, as reported in a new study published in BMC Evolutionary Biology.

NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments.

When searching for life, scientists first look for an element key to sustaining it: fresh water.

The energetic particle environment on the Martian surface is influenced by solar and heliospheric modulation and changes in the local atmospheric pressure (or column depth).

Water content and the internal evolution of terrestrial planets and icy bodies are closely linked. The distribution of water in planetary systems is controlled by the temperature structure in the protoplanetary disk and dynamics and migration of planetesimals and planetary embryos.

It is theoretically possible that habitable planets exist around pulsars. Such planets must have an enormous atmosphere that convert the deadly X-rays and high-energy particles of the pulsar into heat.

The three domains of life - archaea, bacteria, and eukarya - may have more in common than previously thought. Over the past several years, Ariel Amir, Assistant Professor in Applied Mathematics at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has been studying how cells regulate size.

A new analysis of the oldest known fossil microorganisms provides strong evidence to support an increasingly widespread understanding that life in the universe is common.

Yale astronomers have taken a fresh look at the nearby Alpha Centauri star system and found new ways to narrow the search for habitable planets there.

A fundamental prerequisite for life on earth is the ability of living organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Physicists at the Technical University of Munich and the University of California San Diego have now determined that the regulation mechanisms used by bacteria to adapt to different environments are based on a global control process that can be described in a single equation.

No evidence of artificial signals emanating from the object so far detected by the Green Bank Telescope, but monitoring and analysis continue. Initial data are available for public inspection in the Breakthrough Listen archive.

Just imagine, you are sitting on a sunny beach, contentedly letting the warm sand trickle through your fingers. Millions of sand grains. What you probably can't imagine: at the same time, billions upon billions of bacteria are also trickling through your fingers.

How long might a rocky, Mars-like planet be habitable if it were orbiting a red dwarf star? It's a complex question but one that NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission can help answer.

Where do most of the elements essential for life on Earth come from? The answer: inside the furnaces of stars and the explosions that mark the end of some stars' lives.

With the discovery of ever smaller and colder exoplanets, terrestrial worlds with hazy atmospheres must be increasingly considered.

Where do the molecules required for life originate? It may be that small organic molecules first appeared on earth and were later combined into larger molecules, such as proteins and carbohydrates.

Models of thermal evolution, crustal production, and CO2 cycling are used to constrain the prospects for habitability of rocky planets, with Earth-like size and composition, in the stagnant lid regime.

We consider six isomeric groups (CH3N, CH5N, C2H5N, C2H7N, C3H7N and C3H9N) to review the presence of amines and aldimines within the interstellar medium (ISM).

A team of scientists using a state-of-the-art UCLA instrument reports the discovery of a planetary-scale "tug-of-war" of life, deep Earth and the upper atmosphere that is expressed in atmospheric nitrogen.

A new study finds that viruses share some genes exclusively with cells that are not their hosts.

Dale Andersen sent this via inReach on December 6, 2017 2:47:47 AM EST "Heading back to Novo in an hour nice sunny day. I'm starting my traverse, follow along at my MapShare! " Dale sent this message from: Lat -71.332995 Lon 13.45293.

New research using data collected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has revealed that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could well be a scaled-up version of Earth. Just as exciting, the same researchers also discovered for the first time that the planet has a neighbor.

20 years ago I made a trip to West Virginia to hang out with SETI researcher Jill Tarter and see how she searched the skies for evidence of life elsewhere.