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Habitable Zones & Global Climate: December 2019


Before about 500 million years ago, most probably our planet experienced temporary snowball conditions, with continental and sea ices covering a large fraction of its surface.

New research strongly suggests that the distinct 'oxygenation events' that created Earth's breathable atmosphere happened spontaneously, rather than being a consequence of biological or tectonic revolutions.

The presence of a liquid solvent is widely regarded as an essential prerequisite for habitability. We investigate the conditions under which worlds outside the habitable zones of stars are capable of supporting liquid solvents on their surface over geologically significant timescales via combined radiogenic and primordial heat.

Two million-year old ice from Antarctica recently uncovered by a team of researchers provides a clearer picture into the connections between greenhouse gases and climate in ancient times and will help scientists understand future climate change.

Small exoplanets of nearby M dwarf stars present the possibility to find and characterize habitable worlds within the next decade. TRAPPIST-1, an ultracool M dwarf star, was recently found to have seven Earth-sized planets of predominantly rocky composition.

Earth's breathable atmosphere is key for life, and a new study suggests that the first burst of oxygen was added by a spate of volcanic eruptions brought about by tectonics.