August 2018

The conditions for life surviving on planets entirely covered in water are more fluid than previously thought, opening up the possibility that water worlds could be habitable, according to a new paper from the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University.

How did life arise on Earth? Rutgers researchers have found among the first and perhaps only hard evidence that simple protein catalysts - essential for cells, the building blocks of life, to function - may have existed when life began.

An expedition that will help NASA search for life in deep space launched today - not with a rocket's roar, but with a gentle splash into the deep Pacific Ocean.

A possible surface type that may form in the environments of M-dwarf planets is sodium chloride dihydrate, or "hydrohalite" (NaCl 2H2O), which can precipitate in bare sea ice at low temperatures.

Estimates of the time at which life arose on Earth make use of two types of evidence. First, astrophysical and geophysical studies provide a timescale for the formation of Earth and the Moon, for large impact events on early Earth, and for the cooling of the early magma ocean.

Bacterial classification has been given a complete makeover by a team of University of Queensland researchers, using an evolutionary tree based on genome sequences.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may be capable of finding biogenic gases in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets around low mass stars.

In the present research, we study the effects of a single giant planet in the dynamical evolution of water-rich embryos and planetesimals, located beyond the snow line of systems around Sun-like stars -

We present results of simulations of the climate of the newly discovered planet Proxima Centauri B, performed using the Met Office Unified Model (UM).

We investigate the thermal equation of state, bulk modulus, thermal expansion coefficient, and heat capacity of MH-III (CH4 filled-ice Ih), needed for the study of CH4 transport and outgassing for the case of Titan and super-Titans.

We present four daytime thermal images of Europa taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. Together, these images comprise the first spatially resolved thermal dataset with complete coverage of Europa's surface.

The John W. Kluge Center has opened the competition for the 2019 Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology

We present a large ensemble of simulations of an Earth-like world with an increasing range of insolation & length of day. We show how important cloud parameterization can be for determining the habitable zone & the importance of ocean dynamics.

The ALMA telescope in Chile has transformed how we see the universe, showing us otherwise invisible parts of the cosmos.

Scientists have shown that water is likely to be a major component of those exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) which are between two to four times the size of Earth.

Microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton are known to support the diversity of life in the ocean.

Exoplanetary atmospheric retrieval refers to the inference of atmospheric properties of an exoplanet given an observed spectrum.

With the number of confirmed rocky exoplanets increasing steadily, their characterisation and the search for exoplanetary biospheres is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in astrobiology.

Accurate stellar properties are crucial for determining exoplanet characteristics. Gaia DR2 presents revised distances, luminosities, and radii for 1.6 billion stars.

When you first take a biology class the focus is on memorizing vocabulary and basic principles. If you are really paying attention certain patterns and forms start to emerge from the tedium of rote memorization. A few more classes and the patterns start to reveal the rules that underly those patterns.

If you are also taking chemistry and physics and math then you're already familiar with the rules that govern matter and how to express them. Biology just takes a little more time to reveal itself. Add in some astronomy classes and talk of other worlds like our own and the origin of all of the elements of life being forged in the hearts of dying stars and you arrive at the core premise of "The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution" by Charles Cockell.

A NASA scientist wants to create a planetary robot that would mimic what biologists do every day in terrestrial laboratories: look through microscopes to visually identify microbial life living in samples.

Given that the macromolecular building blocks of life were likely produced photochemically in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) light, we identify some general constraints on which stars produce sufficient UV for this photochemistry.

With the recent discoveries of terrestrial planets around active M-dwarfs, destruction processes masking the possible presence of life are receiving increased attention in the exoplanet community.

The oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere was thanks, in part, to iron and silica particles in ancient seawater, according to a new study by geomicrobiologists at the University of Alberta. But these results solve only part of this ancient mystery.

Despite their activity, low-mass stars are of particular importance for the search of exoplanets by the means of Doppler spectroscopy, as planets with lower masses become detectable.

LHS 1140 is a nearby mid-M dwarf known to host a temperate rocky super-Earth (LHS 1140 b) on a 24.737-day orbit.

Molecules with an amide functional group resemble peptide bonds, the molecular bridges that connect amino acids, and may thus be relevant in processes that lead to the formation of life.

Scientists have identified a group of planets outside our solar system where the same chemical conditions that may have led to life on Earth exist.

The search for exoplanets has encompassed a broad range of stellar environments, from single stars in the solar neighborhood to multiple stars and various open clusters. The stellar environment has a profound effect on planet formation and stability evolution and is thus a key component of exoplanetary studies.

In addition to long-lived radioactive nuclei like U and Th isotopes, which have been used to measure the age of the Galaxy, also radioactive nuclei with half-lives between 0.1 and 100 million years (short-lived radionuclides, SLRs) were present in the early Solar System (ESS), as indicated by high-precision meteoritic analysis.