Titan

Ethyl Cyanide on Titan: Spectroscopic Detection and Mapping Using ALMA

Ethyl Cyanide on Titan: Spectroscopic Detection and Mapping Using ALMA

We report the first spectroscopic detection of ethyl cyanide (C2H5CN) in Titan's atmosphere, obtained using spectrally and spatially resolved observations of multiple emission lines with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA).

Origin & Evolution of Life

Scientists Create Possible Precursor to Life

Scientists Create Possible Precursor to Life

How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions not only occupy the minds of scientists interested in the origin of life, but also researchers working with technology of the future.

Extrasolar Planets

Accretion and Differentiation of the Terrestrial Planets

Accretion and Differentiation of the Terrestrial Planets

In order to test planetary accretion and differentiation scenarios, we integrated a multistage core-mantle differentiation model with N-body accretion simulations.

Extrasolar Planets

Hubble Maps Temperature and Water Vapor on an Exoplanet

Hubble Maps Temperature and Water Vapor on an Exoplanet Video in Story

A team of scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a planet orbiting another star, revealing secrets of air temperatures and water.

Mars

The Search for the Fingerprints of Life on Mars Begins

The Search for the Fingerprints of Life on Mars Begins

NASA's Astrobiology Institute (NAI) announced that the SETI Institute has been selected as a new member of theNAI for a 5-year research program, "Changing Planetary Environments and the Fingerprints of Life."

Extrasolar Planets

Formation of Close in Super-Earths and Mini-Neptunes

Formation of Close in Super-Earths and Mini-Neptunes

Recent observations by the Kepler space telescope have led to the discovery of more than 4000 exoplanet candidates consisting of many systems with Earth- to Neptune-sized objects that reside well inside the orbit of Mercury, around their respective host stars.

Astrobiology (general)

NASA Selects New Science Teams for Astrobiology Research

NASA Selects New Science Teams for Astrobiology Research

NASA has awarded five-year grants totaling almost $50 million to seven research teams nationwide to study the origins, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe.

Biochemistry

Making Oxygen Before Life

Making Oxygen Before Life

About one-fifth of the Earth's atmosphere is oxygen, pumped out by green plants as a result of photosynthesis and used by most living things on the planet to keep our metabolisms running.

Extrasolar Planets

Geothermal Heating Enhances Atmospheric Asymmetries on Synchronously Rotating Planets

Geothermal Heating Enhances Atmospheric Asymmetries on Synchronously Rotating Planets

Earth-like planets within the liquid water habitable zone of M type stars may evolve into synchronous rotators.

Extrasolar Planets

Hubble Search for a Sub-Earth-Sized Exoplanet in the GJ 436 System

Hubble Search for a Sub-Earth-Sized Exoplanet in the GJ 436 System

The detection of small planets orbiting nearby stars is an important step towards the identification of Earth twins.

Societal Issues

Are the World's Religions Ready for E.T.?

Are the World's Religions Ready for E.T.? Video in Story

In 1930, Albert Einstein was asked for his opinion about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. "Other beings, perhaps, but not men," he answered. Then he was asked whether science and religion conflict. "Not really, though it depends, of course, on your religious views."

More top stories from October.