February 2020

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is the first single-cell green algae data to be submitted to NASA GeneLab's Data Repository. Microalgae such as this convert light, water, & carbon dioxide into biomass under artificial light conditions, a necessity for space photosynthetic production.

Emerging technologies and new strategies are opening a revitalized era in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

The Breakthrough Listen Initiative today (Friday, Feb. 14) released data from the most comprehensive survey yet of radio emissions from the plane of the Milky Way galaxy and the region around its central black hole, and it is inviting the public to search the data for signals from intelligent civilizations.

With radii ranging between those of the Earth (1 Rearth) and Neptune (~3.9 Rearth), small planets constitute more than half of the inventory of the 4000-plus exoplanets discovered so far.

Conditions on Saturn's moon Titan suggest dust devils, which are convective, dust-laden plumes, may be active.

Since their discovery in 1991, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) -- a novel one-dimensional carbon allotrope -- have attracted considerable interest worldwide because of their potential technological applications such as electric and optical devices.

We present our results from a mid-infrared interferometric survey targeted at the planet-forming region in the circumstellar disks around low- and intermediate-mass young stars.

The upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) combined with the unique features of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system should enable the young field of exoplanetology to enter into the realm of temperate Earth-sized worlds.

Briny water may form on the surface of Mars a few days per year, research by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Norbert Schorghofer shows.

In the interstellar medium, carbon is distributed between the gas and solid phases. However, while about half of the expected carbon abundance can be accounted for in the gas phase, there is considerable uncertainty as to the amount incorporated in interstellar dust.

Titan has an abundance of lakes and seas, as confirmed by Cassini. Major components of these liquid bodies include methane (CH4) and ethane (C2H6); however, evidence indicates that minor components such as ethylene (C2H4) may also exist in the lakes.

Understanding the Earth's carbon cycle has important implications for understanding climate change and the health of biospheres.

The world is waking up to the fact that human-driven carbon emissions are responsible for warming our climate, driving unprecedented changes to ecosystems, and placing us on course for the sixth mass extinction event in Earth's history.

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) may have major importance for planetary and stellar evolution. Stellar CME parameters, such as mass and velocity, have yet not been determined statistically.

Food and energy availability cause physical changes in acid-loving microorganisms that are used to study Earth's climate history, according to research from Dartmouth College.

We examine the mechanisms by which atmosphere can be eroded by giant impacts onto Earth-like planets with thin atmospheres, using 3D smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations with sufficient resolution to directly model the fate of low-mass atmospheres for the first time.

One of the chief paradoxes of molecular oxygen (O2) is that it is an essential requirement for multicellular eukaryotes on Earth while simultaneously posing a threat to their survival via the formation of reactive oxygen species.

Observations have revealed in the Kepler data a depleted region separating smaller super-Earths from larger sub-Neptunes. This can be explained as an evaporation valley between planets with and without H/He that is caused by atmospheric escape.

Robust atmospheric and radiative transfer modeling will be required to properly interpret reflected light and thermal emission spectra of terrestrial exoplanets.

In recent years, it has become clear that a substantial fraction of transiting exoplanets have some form of aerosol present in their atmospheres.

Researchers supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program have shown that carbon on Earth could be as much as seven billion years old.

Astrobiologists supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program have used autonomous technology to robotically explore the Kolumbo submarine volcano off the coast of Greece's Santorini Island.

Transit Timing Variations, or TTVs, can be a very efficient way of constraining masses and eccentricities of multi-planet systems. Recent measurements of the TTVs of TRAPPIST-1 led to an estimate of the masses of the planets, enabling an estimate of their densities.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) attempts to address the possibility of the presence of technological civilizations beyond the Earth.

Scientists studying so-called 'flammable ice' in the Sea of Japan have made a startling discovery - the existence of life within microscopic bubbles.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will devote significant observing time to the study of exoplanets. It will not be serviceable as was the Hubble Space Telescope, and therefore the spacecraft/instruments will have a relatively limited life.

The icy moons are in the focus of the exploration plans of the leading space agencies because of the indications of water-based life and geological activity observed in a number of these objects.

Over the last several years, spectroscopic observations of transiting exoplanets have begun to uncover information about their atmospheres, including atmospheric composition and indications of the presence of clouds and hazes.

Low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) containing neutron stars are both extremely luminous and compact, emitting up to ~10^6 L_sun within a kilometer-scale boundary layer. This combination allows for easy modulation, motivating X-ray SETI.

Final water inventories of newly formed terrestrial planets are shaped by their collision history. A setting where volatiles are transported from beyond the snowline to habitable-zone planets suggests collisions of very dry with water-rich bodies.

Context. GJ 1148 is an M-dwarf star hosting a planetary system composed of two Saturn-mass planets in eccentric orbits with periods of 41.38 and 532.02 days.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine along with the NASA Science Mission Directorate have reached consensus on the Statement of Task for the next decadal survey in planetary science and astrobiology. The Statement of Task will serve as a guiding document for the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032.

Scientists funded in part by the NASA Astrobiology program are providing new insights into how terrestrial planets are affected by coronal mass ejections (CMEs) early in the formation of a stellar system.