Archives

June 2019


It is widely believed that water and complex organic molecules (COMs) first form in the ice mantle of dust grains and are subsequently returned into the gas due to grain heating by intense radiation of protostars.

Salt-tolerant bacteria grown in brine were able to revive after the brine was put through a cycle of drying and rewetting.

The first detection of an interstellar asteroid/comet-like object visiting the solar system two years ago has sparked the ideas about the possibility of interstellar travel.

A Twitter sequence about the present and future of Astrobiology.

Sometimes Twitter is a better way to encapsulate a thought than a simple narrative.

Low-gravity waterworlds (M≲0.1M⊕) are of interest for their potential habitability. The weakly bound atmospheres of such worlds have proportionally larger radiative surfaces and are more susceptible to escape.

Cyanide and carbon monoxide are both deadly poisons to humans, but compounds containing iron, cyanide, and carbon monoxide discovered in carbon-rich meteorites by a team of scientists at Boise State University and NASA may have helped power life on early Earth.

Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of electrically-charged molecules in space shaped like soccer balls, shedding light on the mysterious contents of the interstellar medium (ISM) - the gas and dust that fills interstellar space.

The subsurface ocean of Saturn's moon Enceladus probably has higher than previously known concentrations of carbon dioxide and hydrogen and a more Earthlike pH level, possibly providing conditions favorable to life, according to new research from planetary scientists at the University of Washington.

The frigid lakeshores of Saturn's moon Titan might be encrusted with strange, unearthly minerals, according to new research being presented here.

A new international study led by Western University shows that Mars' first 'real chance' at developing life started very early, 4.48 billion years ago, when giant, life-inhibiting meteorites stopped striking the red planet.

This week, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover found a surprising result: the largest amount of methane ever measured during the mission -- about 21 parts per billion units by volume (ppbv).

AbSciCon 2019 is the next in a series of conferences organized by the astrobiology community. AbSciCon will be held 24-28 June 2019 in Bellevue, Washington.

The main idea is easy to grasp: Set Goldilocks loose in our galaxy and let her choose a planet that's "just right." For decades, the Goldilocks zone has been the go-to shorthand for scientists. More formally known as the "habitable zone," it's the region around a star where the temperature is just right for liquid water to pool on the surface of planets with suitable atmospheres.

Magnetochiral phenomena may be responsible for the selection of chiral states of biomolecules in meteoric environments.

Breakthrough Listen (BL) is a ten-year initiative to search for signatures of technologically capable life beyond Earth via radio and optical observations of the local Universe.

DNA, the hereditary material, may have appeared on Earth earlier than has been assumed hitherto. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich chemists led by Oliver Trapp show that a simple reaction pathway could have given rise to DNA subunits on the early Earth.

The quest to discover what drove one of the most important evolutionary events in the history of life on Earth has taken a new, fascinating twist.

An international research team led by the University of Göttingen has discovered two new Earth-like planets near one of our closest neighboring stars.

Breakthrough Listen - the astronomical program searching for signs of intelligent life in the Universe - has submitted two publications to leading astrophysics journals, describing the analysis of its first three years of radio observations and the availability of a petabyte of radio and optical telescope data.

High-energy radiation caused by exoplanetary space weather events from planet-hosting stars can play a crucial role in conditions promoting or destroying habitability in addition to the conventional factors.

New instruments and telescopes, such as SPIRou, CARMENES and TESS, will increase manyfold the number of known planets orbiting M dwarfs.

Researchers at Stanford University have found an aquatic highway that releases nutrients from within the Earth and ferries them up to surface waters off the coast of Antarctica. There the nutrients stimulate explosive growth of microscopic ocean algae.

The collaboration is looking at a group of organisms called 'extremophiles'--organisms that live in extremely hot or extremely cold environments unsuited to human habitation.

Planets in the "Habitable Zones" around M-type stars are important targets for characterization in future observations.

Because of their importance in biological systems, in our understanding of the solar system and in other applications, seven heterocycles; furan, imidazole, pyridine, pyrimidine, pyrrole, quinoline and isoquinoline have been astronomically searched for in different molecular clouds.

Thousands of exoplanets have been detected to date, and with future planned missions this tally will increase.

The recent identification of the first complex chiral molecule, propylene oxide (PrO) in space opens up a new window to further study the origin of homochirality on the Earth.

A new study from researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Harvard University may help settle a long-standing question--how small amounts of organic carbon become locked away in rock and sediments, preventing it from decomposing.

A familiar ingredient has been hiding in plain sight on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

An outstanding, multi-disciplinary goal of modern science is the study of the diversity of potentially Earth-like planets and the search for life in them.

The most abundant stars in the Galaxy, M dwarfs, are very commonly hosts to diverse systems of low-mass planets. Their abundancy implies that the general occurrence rate of planets is dominated by their occurrence rate around such M dwarfs.

Exoplanetary systems host giant planets on substantially non-circular, close-in orbits.

Scientists may need to rethink their estimates for how many planets outside our solar system could host a rich diversity of life.

Planets similar to Earth - but slightly more irradiated - are expected to enter into a runaway greenhouse state, where all surface water rapidly evaporates, forming an optically thick H2O-dominated atmosphere.

Breakthrough Watch, the global astronomical program looking for Earth-like planets around nearby stars, and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Europe's foremost intergovernmental astronomical organization, today announced "first light" on a newly-built planet-finding instrument at ESO's Very Large Telescope in the Atacama desert, Chile.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and collaborators have demonstrated a compact frequency-comb apparatus that rapidly measures the entire infrared band of light to detect biological, chemical and physical properties of matter.

Differentiating biotic and abiotic processes in nature remains a persistent challenge, specifically in evaluating microbial contributions to geochemical processes through time.

Extraterrestrial impacts are a ubiquitous process in the solar system, reshaping the surface of rocky bodies of all sizes.

Orbital phase-dependent variations in thermal emission and reflected stellar energy spectra can provide meaningful constraints on the climate states of terrestrial extrasolar planets orbiting M dwarf stars.

The Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) project is an instrument on the Subaru telescope that is pushing the frontiers of what is possible with ground-based high-contrast imaging of extrasolar planets.

A clutch of marine fossil specimens unearthed in northern Portugal that lived between 470 and 459 million years ago is filling a gap in understanding evolution during the Middle Ordovician period.

Chemical analyses of meteorites allow for a better estimation of the chemical composition of the Earth and its potential building blocks.

Moons orbiting planets outside our solar system could offer another clue about the pool of worlds that may be home to extra-terrestrial life, according to an astrophysicist at the University of Lincoln.

The Gaia hypothesis postulates that life regulates its environment to be favorable for its own survival. Most planets experience numerous perturbations throughout their lifetimes such as asteroid impacts, volcanism, and the evolution of a star's luminosity

The first minerals to form in the universe were nanocrystalline diamonds, which condensed from gases ejected when the first generation of stars exploded.

We investigate the hypothesis that the size of the habitable zone around hardened binaries in dense star-forming regions increases. Our results indicate that this hypothesis is essentially incorrect.

A recent study has revealed new details about the composition and fragmentation of a meteorite reportedly discovered in the deserts of southwestern Morocco in 2012.

A recent study on the isotopic compositions of the South Byron Trio iron meteorite grouplet (SBT) shows that all three meteorites likely came from a single parent body that formed in the Solar nebula.