Archives

February 2021


A team of researchers from the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography and their collaborators have revealed that the abundant microbes living in ancient sediment below the seafloor are sustained primarily by chemicals created by the natural irradiation of water molecules.

Researchers believe they have closed the case of what killed the dinosaurs, definitively linking their extinction with an asteroid that slammed into Earth 66 million years ago by finding a key piece of evidence: asteroid dust inside the impact crater.

Since the formation of the terrestrial planets, atmospheric loss has irreversibly altered their atmospheres, leading to remarkably different surface environments - Earth has remained habitable while Venus and Mars are apparently desolate.

Tidally locked exoplanets likely host global atmospheric circulations with a superrotating equatorial jet, planetary-scale stationary waves and thermally-driven overturning circulation.

Having a memory of past events enables us to take smarter decisions about the future.

Astronomers have long been looking into the vast universe in hopes of discovering alien civilisations. But for a planet to have life, liquid water must be present.

Some microbes on Earth could temporarily survive on the surface of Mars, finds a new study by NASA and German Aerospace Center scientists.

The evolution of a single raindrop falling below a cloud is governed by fluid dynamics and thermodynamics fundamentally transferable to planetary atmospheres beyond modern Earth's.

Abundances and partitioning of ices and gases produced by gas-grain chemistry are governed by adsorption and desorption on grains. Understanding astrophysical observations rely on laboratory measurements of adsorption and desorption rates on dust grains analogs.

Early Mars is considered as an environment where life could possibly have existed. There was a time in the geological history of Mars when it could have been very similar to Earth and harbored life as we know it.

A research team including the geobiologist Dr. Helge Missbach from the University of Cologne has detected organic molecules and gases trapped in 3.5 billion-year-old rocks.

The temporary breakdown of Earth's magnetic field 42,000 years ago sparked major climate shifts that led to global environmental change and mass extinctions, a new international study co-led by UNSW Sydney and the South Australian Museum shows.

We present high-resolution near-infrared spectra taken during eight transits of 55 Cancri e, a nearby low-density super-Earth with a short orbital period (< 18 hours).

When the agency's newest rover mission searches for fossilized microscopic life on the Red Planet, how will scientists know whether they've found it?

Lakes underneath the Antarctic ice sheet could be more hospitable than previously thought, allowing them to host more microbial life.

Thanks to the Cassini-Huygens mission, Titan, the pale orange dot of Pioneer and Voyager encounters has been revealed to be a dynamic, hydrologically-shaped, organic-rich ocean world offering unparalleled opportunities to explore prebiotic chemistry.

If we find life on the Red Planet, we'll have astrobiologists like Dr. Kennda Lynch to thank.

We present the results of a search for additional exoplanets in all multiplanetary systems discovered to date, employing a logarithmic spacing between planets in our Solar System known as the Titius-Bode (TB) relation.

With more than 4,300 confirmed exoplanets and counting, the next milestone in exoplanet research is to determine which of these newly found worlds could harbor life.

Human health and ecosystems could be affected by microbes including cyanobacteria and algae that hitch rides in clouds and enter soil, lakes, oceans and other environments when it rains, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.

Both Earth and Mars currently have oxidising atmospheres, which is why iron-rich materials in daily life develop rust (a common name for iron oxide) during the oxidation reaction of iron and oxygen.

New theory explains possible origin of the Armageddon-causing object. It forever changed history when it crashed into Earth about 66 million years ago. The Chicxulub impactor, as it's known, left behind a crater off the coast of Mexico that spans 93 miles and runs 12 miles deep.

Far underneath the ice shelves of the Antarctic, there's more life than expected, finds a recent study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, published this week (15 February 2021).

Ten years ago, researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, reported the discovery of centimeter-long cable bacteria, that live by conducting an electric current from one end to the other.

We investigate the impact of photochemical hazes and disequilibrium gases on the thermal structure of hot-Jupiters, using a detailed 1-D radiative-convective model.

It is not yet entirely clear whether Mars began as a warm and wet planet that evolved towards the present-day cold and dry body or if it always was cold and dry with just some sporadic episodes of liquid water on its surface.

This paper aims to derive a map of relative planet occurrence rates that can provide constraints on the overall distribution of terrestrial planets around FGK stars.

We discuss the current state of knowledge of terrestrial planet formation from the aspects of different planet formation models and isotopic data from 182Hf-182W, U-Pb, lithophile-siderophile elements, 48Ca/44Ca isotope samples from planetary building blocks, 36Ar/38Ar, 20Ne/22Ne, 36Ar/22Ne isotope ratios in Venus' and Earth's atmospheres, the expected solar 3He abundance in Earth's deep mantle and Earth's D/H sea water ratios that shed light on the accretion time of the early protoplanets.

This study presents a 13 years survey of haze UV extinction profiles, monitoring the temporal evolution of the detached haze layer (DHL) in Titan's upper atmosphere (350-600 km).

A major quest in Mars exploration is hunting for atmospheric gases linked to biological or geological activity, as well as understanding the past and present water inventory of the planet, to determine if Mars could ever have been habitable and if any water reservoirs could be accessible for future human exploration.

If there's an advanced extraterrestrial civilization inhabiting a nearby star system, we might be able to detect it using its own atmospheric pollution, according to new NASA research.

Giant exoplanets on wide orbits have been directly imaged around young stars. If the thermal background in the mid-infrared can be mitigated, then exoplanets with lower masses can also be imaged.

Breakthrough Watch, the global astronomical program looking for Earth-like planets around nearby stars, today announced a new observing technique with unprecedented sensitivity to directly image exoplanets. Their initial observations also resulted in the detection of a weak signal in the habitable zone of Alpha Centauri A, part of the star system nearest to Earth.

The huge forces generated by the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories are being used to replicate the gravitational pressures on so-called "super-Earths" to determine which might maintain atmospheres that could support life.

The capacity to sense gradients efficiently and acquire information about the ambient environment confers many advantages like facilitating movement toward nutrient sources or away from toxic chemicals.

New research led by Carnegie's Yingwei Fei provides a framework for understanding the interiors of super-Earths--rocky exoplanets between 1.5 and 2 times the size of our home planet--which is a prerequisite to assess their potential for habitability.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on Earth today has biogenic and anthropogenic sources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, observations of global NO2 emissions have shown significant decrease in urban areas.

Observations of exoplanet atmospheres have shown that aerosols, like in the Solar System, are common across a variety of temperatures and planet types. The formation and distribution of these aerosols are inextricably intertwined with the composition and thermal structure of the atmosphere.

The discovery of a planet orbiting around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, opens new avenues for the remote observations of the atmosphere and surface of an exoplanet, Proxima b.

The building blocks of Titan and Enceladus are believed to have formed in a late-stage circumplanetary disk around Saturn.

Motivated by the development of high-dispersion spectrographs in the mid-infrared (MIR) range, we study their application to the atmospheric characterization of nearby non-transiting temperate terrestrial planets around M-type stars.

An origin of Earth life on Mars would resolve significant inconsistencies between the inferred history of life and Earth's geologic history.

Data and results from the WISH key program are summarized, designed to provide a legacy data set to address its physics and chemistry.

A search for laser light from Proxima Centauri was performed, including 107 high-resolution, optical spectra obtained between 2004 and 2019. Among them, 57 spectra contain multiple, confined spectral combs, each consisting of 10 closely-spaced frequencies of light.

An early challenge turned into a surprise success on the International Space Station that could be a boon for the future of space crop production.

The IBeA research group from the University of the Basque Country's Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, is participating in NASA's Mars2020 space mission, which is scheduled to touch down on Mars in February this year.

The growing database of exoplanets have shown us the statistical characteristics of various exoplanet populations, providing insight towards their origins.

Energetic processing of interstellar ice mantles and planetary atmospheres via photochemistry is a critical mechanism in the extraterrestrial synthesis of prebiotic molecules.

We investigate atmospheric responses of modeled hypothetical Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of the M-dwarf AD Leonis to reduced oxygen (O2), removed biomass (dead Earth), varying carbon dioxide (CO2) and surface relative humidity (sRH).