sep 112013
 
Detecting Biomarkers on Exoplanets

  On Earth, life leaves tell-tale signals in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for the high oxygen levels and the thick ozone layer. Microbes emit methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, and seaweeds emit chloromethane gas. These chemicals, when present in sufficient quantities, are indicators of life and are known as atmospheric biomarkers. [continue reading]

mrt 052013
 
An Icy Cosmic Start for the Building Blocks of Life

  Using new technology at the telescope and in laboratories, researchers have discovered an important pair of prebiotic molecules in interstellar space. The discoveries indicate that some basic chemicals that are key steps on the way to life may have formed on dusty ice grains floating between the stars. The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank [continue reading]