Astrochemistry

First Detection of Methyl Alcohol in a Planet-forming Disc

First Detection of Methyl Alcohol in a Planet-forming Disc

The organic molecule methyl alcohol (methanol) has been found by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disc.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

EXPRES: A Next Generation RV Spectrograph in the Search for Earth-like Worlds

EXPRES: A Next Generation RV Spectrograph in the Search for Earth-like Worlds

The EXtreme PREcision Spectrograph (EXPRES) is an optical fiber fed echelle instrument being designed and built at the Yale Exoplanet Laboratory to be installed on the 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope operated by Lowell Observatory.

Astrochemistry

Prebiotic Molecule Detected in Interstellar Cloud

Prebiotic Molecule Detected in Interstellar Cloud

Chiral molecules -- compounds that come in otherwise identical mirror image variations, like a pair of human hands -- are crucial to life as we know it.

Extrasolar Planets

Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water

Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water

Water is a hot topic in the study of exoplanets, including "hot Jupiters," whose masses are similar to that of Jupiter, but which are much closer to their parent star than Jupiter is to the sun.

Astrobiology (general)

Joint NASA-NSF Ideas Lab on the Origins of Life

Joint NASA-NSF Ideas Lab on the Origins of Life

The Astrobiology Program of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is joining with the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Directorate of Geosciences (GEO) of the National Science Foundation to sponsor an "Ideas Lab" activity on the Origins of Life.

Origin & Evolution of Life

The First Life In The Universe May Have Arisen on Carbon Planets

The First Life In The Universe May Have Arisen on Carbon Planets

Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different.

Microbiology

Microbes in Space: JPL Researcher Explores Tiny Life

Microbes in Space: JPL Researcher Explores Tiny Life

On May 11, a sealed capsule containing fungi and bacteria fell from the sky and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Microbiologist Kasthuri Venkateswaran could hardly wait to see what was inside it.

Extrasolar Planets

Hot Atmospheres Could Limit Number of Habitable Planets

Hot Atmospheres Could Limit Number of Habitable Planets

New research has revealed that fewer than predicted planets may be capable of harbouring life because their atmospheres keep them too hot.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Evolution Influenced By Temporary Microbes

Evolution Influenced By Temporary Microbes

Life on Earth often depends on symbiotic relationships between microbes and other forms of life.

comets

Rosetta's Comet Contains Ingredients For The Origin of Life

Rosetta's Comet Contains Ingredients For The Origin of Life

Ingredients regarded as crucial for the origin of life on Earth have been discovered at the comet that ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has been probing for almost two years.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Assessing The Habitability of Planets With Earth-like Atmospheres With 1D and 3D Climate Modeling

Assessing The Habitability of Planets With Earth-like Atmospheres With 1D and 3D Climate Modeling

The habitable zone (HZ) describes the range of orbital distances around a star where the existence of liquid water on the surface of an Earth-like planet is in principle possible.

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