Astrobiology & The Search for Life

Inhabitable Exoplanets Might be Unveiled by New Tool

Inhabitable Exoplanets Might be Unveiled by New Tool

  Funding for SPIRou, a spectropolarimeter and a high-precision velocimeter optimized for both the detection of habitable Earth twins orbiting around nearby red dwarf stars and the study of the formation of Sun-like stars and their planets, was confirmed Monday November 4, 2013 by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) observatory. University of Montreal and France’s Institut [continue reading]

Habitable Planets Around Sun-Like Stars are Common

Habitable Planets Around Sun-Like Stars are Common

  Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of California, Berkeley now estimate that one in five stars like our Sun have planets about the size of Earth and a surface temperature conducive to life. This conclusion is based on a statistical analysis of all observations from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. [continue reading]

Carbon Worlds Likely Bone-Dry and Lifeless

Carbon Worlds Likely Bone-Dry and Lifeless

  Planets rich in carbon, including so-called diamond planets, may lack oceans, according to NASA-funded theoretical research.  This artist’s concept illustrates the fate of two different planets: the one on the left is similar to Earth, made up largely of silicate-based rocks with oceans coating its surface. The one on the right is rich in [continue reading]

Finding Life on Exoplanets may be Harder than Thought

Finding Life on Exoplanets may be Harder than Thought

  Finding life on exoplanets may be more difficult than people thought, said Feng Tian, a professor at the Center for Earth System Science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The report was presented October 7th to the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, CO. The result is of special interest [continue reading]

Water-rich Building Blocks Show Signs of Possible Past Life

Water-rich Building Blocks Show Signs of Possible Past Life

  Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found the building blocks of solid exoplanets that are capable of having substantial amounts of water. This rocky debris, currently orbiting a white dwarf star called GD 61, is considered a relic of an exoplanetary system that survived the burnout of its parent star. The finding suggests [continue reading]

No Methane on Mars Does Not Mean Life Never Arose There

No Methane on Mars Does Not Mean Life Never Arose There

  Data from NASA’s Curiosity rover has revealed the Martian environment lacks methane. This is a surprise to researchers because previous data reported by U.S. and international scientists indicated positive detections. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover examines a rock on Mars in this 2011 artist’s rendering. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech The roving laboratory performed extensive [continue reading]