January 2018

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic nitrogen heterocycles are thought to be widespread throughout the Universe, because these classes of molecules are probably responsible for the unidentified infrared bands, a set of emission features seen in numerous Galactic and extragalactic sources.

Mountain ranges, volcanoes, trenches, and craters are common on rocky bodies throughout the Solar System, and we might we expect the same for rocky exoplanets.

We perform long-term simulations, up to ten billion years, of closely-spaced configurations of 2 -- 6 planets, each as massive as the Earth, traveling on nested orbits about either stellar component in alpha Centauri AB.

The planetary building blocks that formed in the terrestrial planet region were likely very dry, yet water is comparatively abundant on Earth. We review the various mechanisms proposed for the origin of water on the terrestrial planets.

Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets

We carry out 3-D numerical simulations to assess the penetration and bombardment effects of Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs), i.e. high-energy particle bursts during large flares and superflares, on ancient and current Mars.

Saturn's moon Titan may be nearly a billion miles away from Earth, but a recently published paper based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft reveals a new way this distant world and our own are eerily similar.

RNA was probably the first informational molecule. Now chemists from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have demonstrated that alternation of wet and dry conditions could have sufficed to drive the prebiotic synthesis of the RNA nucleosides found in all domains of life.

Given the fact that Earth is so far the only place in the Milky Way galaxy known to harbor life, the question arises of whether the solar system is in any way special. To address this question, I compare the solar system to the many recently discovered exoplanetary systems.

The current explosion in detection and characterization of thousands of extrasolar planets from the Kepler mission, the Hubble Space Telescope, and large ground-based telescopes opens a new era in searches for Earth-analog exoplanets with conditions suitable for sustaining life.

"Traditional SETI is not part of astrobiology" declares the NASA Astrobiology Strategy 2015 document. This is incorrect.

Dale Anderson sent this message from Lat -69.473398 Lon 39.604533 at 11:17:09 AM EST January 15, 2018 11:17:09 AM EST "Keith, quick note to provide you with our current location at The Kizahashi Hut located at Skarvsnes, one of the islands of the archipelago."

Two wayward space rocks, which separately crashed to Earth in 1998 after circulating in our solar system's asteroid belt for billions of years, share something else in common: the ingredients for life.

Scientists studying a cold molecular cloud of the Taurus region with radio telescopes have detected the presence of a particular organic molecule called benzonitrile.

10 January 2018: Southbound For Antarctica: I am now back in Cape Town, South Africa awaiting tomorrow's flight to the ice runway at Novolazarevskaya Station on the Antarctic continent.

Astronomers had a mystery on their hands. No matter where they looked, from inside the Milky Way to distant galaxies, they observed a puzzling glow of infrared light.

The goals of the astrobiology community are focussed on developing a framework for the detection of biosignatures, or evidence thereof, on objects inside and outside of our solar system.

The galactic environment has been suspected to influence planetary habitability in many ways. Very metal-poor regions of the Galaxy, or those largely devoid of atoms more massive than H and He, are thought to be unable to form habitable planets.

Future observations of terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres will occur for planets at different stages of geological evolution. We expect to observe a wide variety of atmospheres and planets with alternative evolutionary paths, with some planets resembling Earth at different epochs.

Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a fascinating new theory for how life on Earth may have begun. Their experiments, described today in the journal Nature Communications, demonstrate that key chemical reactions that support life today could have been carried out with ingredients likely present on the planet four billion years ago.

Colour equals information, so the more spectral bands an Earth-observing satellite sees, the greater quantity of environmental findings returned to its homeworld. Now ESA is ready to fly a hand-sized hyperspectral imager - small enough to fit on its next nanosatellite.

The extent to which a magnetosphere protects its planetary atmosphere from stellar wind ablation depends upon how well it prevents plasma from entering and how well it traps otherwise escaping plasma.

We model the evolution of ocean temperature and chemistry for rocky exoplanets with 10-1000 times Earth's H2O but without H2, taking into account C partitioning, high-pressure ice phases, and atmosphere-lithosphere exchange.

Considerable data and analysis support the detection of a supernova at a distance of about 50 pc, ~2.6 million years ago. This is possibly related to the extinction event around that time and is a member of a series of explosions which formed the Local Bubble in the interstellar medium.

The world's oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a new analysis by earth scientists at McGill University.