apr 192014
 
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]

apr 042014
 
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]

dec 112013
 
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]

nov 182013
 
New Models Aid the Search for Earth-Like Planets

  Researchers from Bern have developed a method to simplify the search for Earth-like planets: By using new theoretical models they rule out the possibility of Earth-like conditions, and therefore life, on certain planets outside our Solar System – and limit their search by doing so. An artist’s perception of the planet Kepler-22b, discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. [continue reading]

nov 052013
 
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]

okt 282013
 
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]