Archives

October 2021


A new study shows how the chemicals in an exoplanet's atmosphere can, in some cases, reveal whether or not the temperature on its surface is too hot for liquid water.

Neptune's moon Triton shares many similarities with Pluto, including volatile cycles of N2, CH4 and CO, and represents a benchmark case for the study of surface-atmosphere interactions on volatile-rich KBOs.

Earth's surface environment is largely influenced by its budget of major volatile elements: carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and hydrogen (H).

We present EOS, a procedure for determining the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) and top-of-atmosphere (TOA) albedo for a wide range of conditions expected to be present in the atmospheres of rocky planets with temperate conditions.

The bulk chemical composition and interior structure of rocky exoplanets are of fundamental importance to understanding their long-term evolution and potential habitability.

Our ability to explore the cosmos by direct contact has been limited to a small number of lunar and interplanetary missions. However, the NASA Starlight program points a path forward to send small, relativistic spacecraft far outside our solar system via standoff directed-energy propulsion.

Molecular chirality is inherent to biology and cellular chemistry. In this report, the origin of enantiomeric selectivity is analyzed from the viewpoint of the "RNA World" model, based on the autocatalytic self-replication of glyceraldehyde as a precursor for simple sugars, and in particular ribose, as promoted by the formose reaction.

For more than 60 years, the predominant SETI search paradigm has entailed the observation of stars in an effort to detect alien electromagnetic signals that deliberately target Earth. However, this strategy is fraught with challenges when examined from ETs perspective.

An intriguing candidate signal picked up last year by the Breakthrough Listen project has been subjected to intensive analysis that suggests it is unlikely to originate from the Proxima Centauri system.

When considering the implications of thawing permafrost, our initial worries are likely to turn to the major issue of methane being released into the atmosphere and exacerbating global warming or issues for local communities as the ground and infrastructure become unstable. While this is bad enough, new research reveals that the potential effects of permafrost thaw could also pose serious health threats.

In response to ESA Voyage 2050 announcement of opportunity, we propose an ambitious L-class mission to explore one of the most exciting bodies in the Solar System, Saturn largest moon Titan.

We report the discovery of TOI-2285b, a sub-Neptune-sized planet transiting a nearby (42 pc) M dwarf with a period of 27.3 days.

A team led by Southwest Research Institute has updated its asteroid bombardment model of the Earth with the latest geologic evidence of ancient, large collisions.

While analyzing some of the world's oldest coloured gemstones, researchers from the University of Waterloo discovered carbon residue that was once ancient life, encased in a 2.5 billion-year-old ruby.

Rethinking the formation and growth of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), key contributors to harmful soot particles formed during fuel combustion and the smallest dust grains in interstellar matter, is helping KAUST researchers to develop greener and more efficient combustion processes, while also shedding light on interstellar evolution.

Nuclear war would cause many immediate fatalities, but smoke from the resulting fires would also cause climate change lasting up to 15 years that threatens worldwide food production and human health, according to a study by researchers at Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and other institutions.

Hold on to your hats, because scientists have found more evidence that Earth tips over from time to time.

The emergence of eukaryotic cells is considered as a critical biological evolutionary event on Earth.

Three structural isomers of the C2H4O2 molecule, namely, methyl formate (MF; HCOOCH3), acetic acid (AA; CH3COOH), and glycol aldehyde (GA; HOCH2CHO), have attracted considerable attention as targets for understanding pathways towards molecular complexity in the interstellar medium (ISM).

Massive steam and CO2 atmospheres have been proposed for magma ocean outgassing of Earth and terrestrial planets.

We report the detection of two isomers of ethynyl cyclopentadiene (c-C5H5CCH), namely 1- and 2-ethynyl-1,3-cyclopentadiene, in the direction of TMC-1.

Key questions surrounding the origin and evolution of Titan and the Saturnian system in which it resides remain following the Cassini-Huygens mission.

A new, more comprehensive model of gas-grain chemistry in hot molecular cores is presented, in which nondiffusive reaction processes on dust-grain surfaces and in ice mantles are implemented alongside traditional diffusive surface/bulk-ice chemistry.

Anomalies in the distribution of hydrogen at Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres reveal an icy crust, says a new paper led by Tom Prettyman, a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute.

With future space exploration in mind, a Cornell-led team of astronomers has published the final maps of Titan's liquid methane rivers and tributaries - as seen by NASA's late Cassini mission - so that may help provide context for Dragonfly's upcoming 2030s expedition.

When a physicist says that a theory is fine-tuned, they mean that it must make a suspiciously precise assumption in order to explain a certain observation.

Chirality, or handedness, enters astrophysics in three distinct ways. Magnetic field and vortex lines tend to be helical and have a systematic twist in the northern and southern hemispheres of a star or a galaxy.

Earth has had oceans for nearly four billion years and Mars had lakes and rivers 3.5-3.8 billion years ago. However, it is still unknown whether water has ever condensed on the surface of Venus because the planet - now completely dry - has undergone global resurfacing events that obscure most of its history.

Dear Astrobiology Community: We at NASA Astrobiology are continuing to prioritize thoughts and efforts in justice, equity, and belonging. We are seeking your inputs at this time on several fronts toward building momentum for growth, change, and action... for ourselves and our beloved community.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter's icy moon Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapor - but, mysteriously, only in one hemisphere.

Whether Venus, one of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets, ever had oceans remains an unsolved puzzle.

With First Martian Samples Packed, Perseverance Initiates Remarkable Sample Return Mission NASA, along with the European Space Agency, is developing a campaign to return the Martian samples to Earth.

A planet's surface conditions can significantly impact its climate and habitability. In this study, we use the 3D general circulation model ExoPlaSim to systematically vary dayside land cover on a synchronously rotating, temperate rocky planet under two extreme and opposite continent configurations, in which either all of the land or all of the ocean is centred at the substellar point.

Stand on the ocean's shore and take a big whiff of the salt spray and you'll smell the unmistakably pungent scent of the sea. That ripe, almost rotting smell? That's sulfur.

Since the Perseverance rover landed in Jezero crater on Mars in February, the rover and its team of scientists back on Earth have been hard at work exploring the floor of the crater that once held an ancient lake.

Context. Sulfur is used as a tracer of the evolution from interstellar clouds to stellar systems. However, most of the expected sulfur in molecular clouds remains undetected.

The cosmic origin of carbon, a fundamental building block of life, is still uncertain. Yield predictions for massive stars are almost exclusively based on single star models, even though a large fraction interact with a binary companion.

Planetary Climate Models (PCMs) are developed to explore planetary climates other than the Earth. Therefore, the methods implemented need to be suitable for a large diversity of conditions. Every planet with a significant atmosphere has condensible cycles (e.g., hydrological cycle), which can play an essential role in the planet's appearance and environment.

As the number of detected rocky extrasolar planets increases, the question of whether their surfaces could be habitable is becoming more pertinent. On Earth, the long-term carbonate silicate cycle is able to regulate surface temperatures over timescales larger than one million years.

We propose a planet formation scenario to explain the elevated occurrence rates of transiting planets around M dwarfs compared to sun-like stars discovered by Kepler.

A new report that could make it simpler to send spacecraft to some areas of Mars while still protecting the planet from Earth-based contamination was presented today at a press conference at the 53rd annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Amanda Hendrix.

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are a diverse group of charismatic microscopic invertebrates that are best known for their ability to survive extreme conditions.

Reservoir computing (RC) tackles complex problems by mimicking the way information is processed in animal brains.

Not long after the dawn of complex animal life, tens of millions of years before the first of the "Big Five" mass extinctions, a rash of die-offs struck the world's oceans. Then, for reasons that scientists have debated for at least 40 years, extinctions slowed down.

Amines, in particular primary amines (R-NH2) are closely related to the primordial synthesis of amino acids since they share the same structural backbone.

While biologists have not yet reached a consensus on the definition of life, homochirality - the specific molecular handedness of biomolecules - is a phenomenon only produced by life.

Ultraviolet (UV) light plays a key role in surficial theories of the origin of life, and numerous studies have focused on constraining the atmospheric transmission of UV radiation on early Earth.