Archives

September 2018


In 1977 NASA launched two golden records into deep space on the Voyager I and II probes. Having left our solar system, they are the most distant human-made objects. The records carry sounds and images of our planet and human brainwaves.

Since the beginning of civilization, humanity has wondered whether we are alone in the universe. As NASA has explored our solar system and beyond, it has developed increasingly sophisticated tools to address this fundamental question.

Are we alone in the universe? Astrobiology, the study of the origins of life in the universe and the search for life on other worlds, is a highly interdisciplinary and rapidly changing field at the intersection of biology, chemistry, geology, planetary science, and physics.

The high reflection of land vegetation in the near-infrared, the vegetation red edge (VRE), is often cited as a spectral biosignature for surface vegetation on exoplanets.

High dispersion spectroscopy of brown dwarfs and exoplanets enables exciting science cases, e.g., mapping surface inhomogeneity and measuring spin rate.

A new study shows evidence that ancient Mars probably had an ample supply of chemical energy for microbes to thrive underground.

Astrobiology, the study of the origin, evolution and future of life on Earth and beyond, is a multidisciplinary field that has expanded rapidly over the last two decades.

The discovery of a microorganism that gives a candy-pink lagoon in central Spain its startling colour is providing new evidence for how life could survive on a high-salt diet on Mars or Europa.

The TRAPPIST-1 planetary system provides an unprecedented opportunity to study terrestrial exoplanet evolution with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and ground-based observatories.

It is not known whether the original carriers of Earth's nitrogen were molecular ices or refractory dust.

Protecting Earth's environment and other solar system bodies from harmful contamination has been an important principle throughout the history of space exploration. For decades, the scientific, political, and economic conditions of space exploration converged in ways that contributed to effective development and implementation of planetary protection policies at national and international levels.

NASA's interdisciplinary Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) project has awarded Rice University $7.7 million for a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research program aimed at finding many different recipes nature might follow to produce rocky planets capable of supporting life.

Water trapped in dust grains from which the Earth formed can explain the current large amount of water on Earth.

During accretion, the young rocky planets are so hot that they become endowed with a magma ocean. From that moment, the mantle convective thermal flux control the cooling of the planet and an atmosphere is created by outgassing.

Motivated by the important role of the ocean in the Earth climate system, here we investigate possible scenarios of ocean circulations on exoplanets using a one-layer shallow water ocean model.

An accurate estimate of the inner edge of the habitable zone is critical for determining which exoplanets are potentially habitable and for designing future telescopes to observe them.

Direct detection, also known as direct imaging, is a method for discovering and characterizing the atmospheres of planets at intermediate and wide separations.

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, in order to determine what kind of terrestrial-like planets could be formed in the habitable zone (hereafter HZ) of these systems.