A University of New South Wale (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered a potentially habitable Earth-like planet that is only 16 light years away. An artist’s impression of the new planet and Earth. Image Credit: PHL, University of Puerto Rica, Arecibo The “super-Earth” planet, GJ 832c, takes 16 days to orbit its red-dwarf star, GJ [continue reading]
Astrobiology & The Search for Life
Earth’s “Twin” Discovered, But Does it Host Life?
Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star in the “habitable zone” — the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable [continue reading]
Large Ocean Inside Saturn’s Moon Enceladus
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network have uncovered evidence Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean of liquid water, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes. Gravity measurements by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network suggest that Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which has jets of water vapor [continue reading]
Life on the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn through Panspermia?
A new study suggests the possibility of transfer of life from the inner Solar System to the moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, although very rare, cannot be ruled out. A comparison portrait of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, each with different characteristics. (In this image composite, Jupiter is not at [continue reading]
Signatures of Water on Five Hazy Exoplanets Found
Using the powerful eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, two teams of scientists have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets. NASA scientists found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets orbiting three different stars. All five planets appear to be hazy. This illustration shows a star’s light [continue reading]
Which Ancient Minerals Gave Rise to Life?
Life originated as a result of natural processes that exploited early Earth’s raw materials. Scientific models of life’s origins almost always look to minerals for such essential tasks as the synthesis of life’s molecular building blocks or the supply of metabolic energy. But this assumes that the mineral species found on Earth today are [continue reading]