Archives

October 2018


Until now, in the scientific community there has been the prevailing view that thermal processes associated exclusively with the combustion and high-temperature processing of organic raw materials such as oil, coal, wood, garbage, food, tobacco underpin the formation of PAHs

The word "HAZMAT" describes substances that pose a risk to the environment, or even to life itself. Imagine the term being applied to entire planets, where violent flares from the host star may make entire worlds uninhabitable by affecting their atmospheres.

We announce the discovery of two planetary companions orbiting around the low mass stars Ross 1020 (GJ 3779, M4.0V) and LP 819-052 (GJ 1265, M4.5V).

Tomorrow (17 October) my team and I will depart for Cape Town, South Africa the first leg in our journey to Lake Untersee in the Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.

Radio SETI experiments aim to test the hypothesis that extraterrestrial civilizations emit detectable signals from communication, propulsion, or other technologies.

Extraterrestrial amino acids, the chemical building blocks of the biopolymers that comprise life as we know it on Earth are present in meteoritic samples.

An international team of scientists, including high performance computing (HPC) experts from the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST), astronomers from the Paris Observatory and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), in collaboration with NVIDIA, is taking the search for habitable planets and observation of first epoch galaxies to the next level.

The surface of Europa contains many quasi-circular morphologies called lenticulae. Although the formation mechanism of lenticulae is not understood, sill intrusion from the subsurface ocean is one promising hypothesis.

Since its inception six decades ago, astrobiology has diversified immensely to encompass several scientific questions including the origin and evolution of Terran life, the organic chemical composition of extraterrestrial objects, and the concept of habitability, among others.

A bacterium named Moorella thermoacetica won't work for free. But UC Berkeley researchers have figured out it has an appetite for gold. And in exchange for this special treat, the bacterium has revealed a more efficient path to producing solar fuels through artificial photosynthesis.

A recently published study led by researchers at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology reveals Ganymede, an icy moon of Jupiter, appears to have undergone complex periods of geologic activity, specifically strike-slip tectonism, as is seen in Earth's San Andreas fault.

Planetary rotation rate has a significant effect on atmospheric circulation, where the strength of the Coriolis effect in part determines the efficiency of latitudinal heat transport, altering cloud distributions, surface temperatures, and precipitation patterns.

Ecosystem-bedrock interactions power the biogeochemical cycles of Earth shallow crust, supporting life, stimulating substrate transformation, and spurring evolutionary innovation.

We present detections of methane in R of 1300, L band spectra of VHS 1256 b and PSO 318.5, two low gravity, red, late L dwarfs that share the same colors as the HR 8799 planets.

In molecular clouds at temperatures as low as 10 K, all species except hydrogen and helium should be locked in the heterogeneous ice on dust grain surfaces. Nevertheless, astronomical observations have detected over 150 different species in the gas phase in these clouds.

This tutorial is an introduction to techniques used to characterize the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets. We intend it to be a useful guide for the undergraduate, graduate student, or postdoctoral scholar who wants to begin research in this field, but who has no prior experience with transiting exoplanets.

Exoplanet interior modelling usually makes the assumption that the elemental abundances of a planet are identical to those of its host star. Host stellar abundances are good proxies of planetary abundances, but only for refractory elements.

We present an analytic model to estimate the total number of rocky or icy objects that could be captured by planetary systems within the Milky Way galaxy and result in panspermia should they harbor life. We estimate the capture rate of objects ejected from planetary systems over the entire phase space as well as time.

The relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen is a potent tracer of planet formation and evolution. Jupiter and Saturn have protosolar D/H ratios, a relic of substantial gas accretion from the nebula, while Neptune and Uranus are enhanced in D by accretion of ices into their envelopes. For terrestrial planets, D/H ratios are used to determine the mechanisms of volatile delivery and subsequent atmosphere loss over the lifetime of the planet.

To advance the search for life in the universe, NASA should support research on a broader range of biosignatures and environments, and incorporate the field of astrobiology into all stages of future exploratory missions, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Astrobiology, the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe, is a rapidly changing field, especially in the years since the publication of NASA's Astrobiology Strategy 2015. Recent scientific advances in the field now provide many opportunities to strengthen the role of astrobiology in NASA missions and to increase collaboration with other scientific fields and organizations. The report finds that these changes necessitate an updated science strategy for astrobiology.

A team including Berkeley Lab scientists homes in on a 'missing link' in Titan's one-of-a-kind chemistry.

A study of the Northwest Africa 869 (NWA869) meteorite has provided new information about the physical characteristics of asteroids. NW869 refers to a collection of samples from an L chondrite strewn field discovered in Morocco in 2000.

The climate of early Mars remains a topic of intense debate. Ancient terrains preserve landscapes consistent with stream channels, lake basins, and possibly even oceans, and thus the presence of liquid water flowing on the Martian surface 4 billion years ago.

Recently, many Earth-sized planets have been discovered around stars other than the Sun that might possess appropriate conditions for life.

All living beings need cells and energy to replicate. Without these fundamental building blocks, living organisms on Earth would not be able to reproduce and would simply not exist.

Using NASA's Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, astronomers have uncovered tantalizing evidence of what could be the first discovery of a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system.

"Are we alone in the universe?" The question has fascinated, tantalized and even disconcerted humans for as long as we can remember.

Simulations with animal models meant to mirror galactic cosmic radiation exposure to astronauts are raising red flags for investigators at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) about the health of astronauts during long voyages, such as to Mars.

Solar twins are objects of great interest in that they allow us to understand better how stellar evolution and structure are affected by variations of the stellar mass, age and chemical composition in the vicinity of the commonly accepted solar values. We aim to use the existing spectrophotometric, interferometric and asteroseismic data for the solar twin 18 Sco to constrain stellar evolution models.

The search for technosignatures from hypothetical galactic civilizations is going through a new phase of intense activity. For the first time, a significant fraction of the vast search space is expected to be sampled in the foreseeable future, potentially bringing informative data about the abundance of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations, or the lack thereof.

The Mid-Infrared instrument (MIRI) on board the James Webb Space Telescope will perform the first ever characterization of young giant exoplanets observed by direct imaging in the 5-28 microns spectral range.