Archives

November 2021


An international team of scientists may have solved a key mystery about the origins of the Earth's water, after uncovering persuasive new evidence pointing to an unlikely culprit -- the Sun.

PANOSETI (Pulsed All-Sky Near-infrared Optical Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) is a dedicated SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) observatory that is being designed to observe 4,441 sq. deg. to search for nano- to milli-second transient events.

The climates of terrestrial planets with a small amount of water on their surface, called land planets, are significantly different from the climates of planets having a large amount of surface water.

Europa has been spotted to have water outgassing activities by the space and ground-based telescopes as well as reanalysis of the Galileo data (Roth et al. 2014; Sparks et al. 2016, 2017; Paganini et al. 2020; Jia et al. 2018; Arnold et al. 2019).

Seven Earth-sized planets orbit the star TRAPPIST-1 in near-perfect harmony, and U.S. and European researchers have used that harmony to determine how much physical abuse the planets could have withstood in their infancy.

Hi Keith, All is well here at Lake Untersee in the mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. Our traverse from the ice-runway at Novolazarevskaya Station went well with good weather and visibility, and the new BRP Lynx Commander snowmobiles we used performed remarkably well and were very fuel efficient - which is very important to us during our 6 hour, 125 km ride inland.

Transmission spectra contain a wealth of information about the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets. However, large thermal and chemical gradients along the line of sight can lead to biased inferences in atmospheric retrievals.

In the strange, dark world of the ocean floor, underwater fissures, called hydrothermal vents, host complex communities of life.

The detection of sulphur species in the Martian atmosphere would be a strong indicator of volcanic outgassing from the surface of Mars.

Biologically relevant abiotic extraterrestrial soluble organic matter (SOM) has been widely investigated to study the origin of life and the chemical evolution of protoplanetary disks. Synthesis of biologically relevant organics, in particular, seems to require aqueous environments in the early solar system.

The Kepler and TESS missions have generated over 100,000 potential transit signals that must be processed in order to create a catalog of planet candidates.

We studied theoretically the cis-trans isomerization reactions of two astrophysically relevant acids, formic acid (HCOOH) and thioformic acid (HC(O)SH), where the latter has recently been discovered in space.

It is widely anticipated that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be transformative for exoplanet studies. It has even been suggested that JWST could provide the first opportunity to search for biosignatures in an alien atmosphere using transmission spectroscopy.

The first mass-estimate of an exoplanet around a Sun-like star, 51 Peg b and the first radius measurement of an exoplanet, HD209458b pointed to the challenges of understanding the atmosphere, interior, and evolution of exoplanets including the possibility of mass loss of planets on close-orbits that are exposed to strong irradiation.

The era of space exploration brings with it a new risk: invasion. The peril comes not from little green men arriving on flying saucers but, rather, from microbiological contamination of Earth from extraterrestrial environments and vice versa.

Mars explorers searching for signs of ancient life could be fooled by fossil-like specimens created by chemical processes, research suggests.

Scientists have revealed that climate change has already impacted all of Earth's 'life zones' and the effects are set to triple under business-as-usual emissions growth.

The detection of life beyond Earth is an ongoing scientific endeavour, with profound implications. One approach, known as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), seeks to find engineered signals (`technosignatures') that indicate the existence technologically-capable life beyond Earth.

Simple and complex organic molecules (COMs) are observed along different phases of star and planet formation and have been successfully identified in prestellar environments such as dark and translucent clouds.

A mission to discover new planets potentially capable of sustaining life around Earth's nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri, was announced today.

Instrument models (IMs) enable the reduction of systematic error in transit spectroscopy light curve data, but, since the model formulation can influence the estimation of science model parameters, characterization of the instrument model effects is crucial to the interpretation of the reduced data.

Chemistry along the star- and planet-formation sequence regulates how prebiotic building blocks -- carriers of the elements CHNOPS -- are incorporated into nascent planetesimals and planets.

Photometric space missions like Kepler and TESS continuously discover new exoplanets and advance the search for a second habitable world.

As the insolation of an Earth-like (exo)planet with a large amount of water increases, its surface and atmospheric temperatures also increase, eventually leading to a catastrophic runaway greenhouse transition.

If humanity is ever to consider substantial, long-term colonization of Mars, the resources needed are going to be extensive. For a long-term human presence on Mars to be established, serious thought would need to be given to terraforming the planet.

Planets smaller than Neptune and larger than Earth make up the majority of the discovered exoplanets. Those with H2-rich atmospheres are prime targets for atmospheric characterization.

The direct measurement of the Universe's expansion history and the search for terrestrial planets in habitable zones around solar-type stars require extremely high-precision radial velocity measures over a decade.

12 Nov 2021 2:18 PM ET "We had a great ride to Untersee. Our BRP Lynx Commanders worked well as did the clothing they provided. We have the first tent set up now, time to eat!"

Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs) are cold, dense regions of the interstellar medium that are likely to represent the initial conditions for massive star and star cluster this is thus important to study the physical and chemical conditions of IRDCs to provide constraints and inputs for theoretical models of these processes.

Under the hypothesis that our Galaxy has been fully explored by self-reproducing probes forming an efficient communication network at the galactic scale by direct links between neighboring systems, using the systems' host stars as Gravitational Lenses (GL), we identify Wolf 359, the third nearest stellar system, as the best target for a search for interstellar communication from the hypothesized alien probes.

In this work we investigate the possibility of transporting material to the NEO region via the 8:3 MMR with Jupiter, potentially even material released from the dwarf planet Ceres.

The potential detection of ppb levels phosphine (PH3) in the clouds of Venus through millimeter-wavelength astronomical observations is extremely surprising as PH3 is an unexpected component of an oxidized environment of Venus.

The geology of Earth and super-Earth sized planets will, in many cases, only be observable via their atmospheres. Here, we use the creation of volcanic atmospheres as a key window into planetary geochemistry.

DAVINCI will send a meter-diameter probe to brave the high temperatures and pressures near Venus' surface to explore the atmosphere from above the clouds to near the surface of a terrain that may have been a past continent.

Earth's distant past and potentially its future include extremely warm "hothouse" climate states, but little is known about how the atmosphere behaves in such states.

Prior studies have hypothesized that some polluted white dwarfs record continent-like granitic crust--which is abundant on Earth and perhaps uniquely indicative of plate tectonics. But these inferences derive from only a few elements, none of which define rock type.

Using new large area maps of the cold neutral medium (CNM) fraction, fCNM, we investigate the relationship between the CNM, the abundance of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and the anomalous microwave emission (AME).

Dale Andersen sent this message from: Lat -70.822581 Lon 11.647224: "Will head to Novo Station later this morning by truck and snowmobile to pick up my dive hole melter and will give it an operational check later today."

A NASA sounding rocket will observe a nearby star to learn how starlight affects the atmospheres of exoplanets - key information in the hunt for life outside our solar system.

Context: Saturn's massive gravity is expected to causes a tide in Titan's atmosphere, producing a surface pressure variation through the orbit of Titan and tidal winds in the troposphere. The future Dragonfly mission could analyse this exotic meteorological phenomenon.

A team of researchers from the CSIC and the University of Tuscia (Italy) has demonstrated the role that glass played in the historical experiment carried out by Stanley Miller in 1952 to simulate the conditions that would have given rise to life on the early Earth.

Scientists studying SPT0311-58 found H20, along with carbon monoxide in the galaxy, which is located nearly 12.88 billion light years from Earth.

We report the results of the trajectory-based simulation of far-infrared collision-induced absorption (CIA) due to CH4−N2 pairs at temperatures between 70 and 400 K.

Weather is much nicer today, and while we still have some blowing snow, it is not too bad. We dug out the snowmobiles and got them up and running again.

The chemical abundances of planet-hosting stars offer a glimpse into the composition of planet-forming environments.

We all know that the dinosaurs died in a mass extinction. But did you know that there were other mass extinctions?

A study using the thermal history and biosignatures of the upper few kilometers of some of the oldest rocks on Earth place constraints on the evolutionary history of microbes in the deep biosphere.

Winds have picked up and visibility has dropped to under a half a kilometer. White out conditions will likely continue through tomorrow.

A team of physicists has discovered how DNA molecules self-organize into adhesive patches between particles in response to assembly instructions. Its findings offer a "proof of concept" for an innovative way to produce materials with a well-defined connectivity between the particles.

The Medium Resolution Spectrometer on board JWST/MIRI will give access to mid-IR spectra while retaining spatial information. With the unparalleled sensitivity of JWST and the MIRI detectors, the MRS has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of giant exoplanet atmospheres.

Under both engineering and natural conditions on Earth and in the Universe, some gas hydrates are found to be stabilised outside their window of thermodynamic stability by the formation of an ice layer-a phenomenon termed self-preservation.

Organic molecules revealed in Mars's Bagnold Dunes by Curiosity's derivatization experiment, Nature Astronomy

" .. No amino-acid derivatives were detected. However, chemically derivatized benzoic acid and ammonia were detected. Mass spectra matching derivatized phosphoric acid and phenol were present, as were several nitrogen-bearing molecules and as yet unidentified high-molecular-weight compounds. ... This derivatization experiment on Mars has expanded the inventory of molecules present in Martian samples and demonstrated a powerful tool to further enable the search for polar organic molecules of biotic or prebiotic relevance."

Another good day working with our cargo, the large traverse sled used to carry it all and working with the snowmobiles.