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]

nov 262013
 
Did Greenhouse Gases Raise Ancient Martian Temperature?

  Much like the Grand Canyon, Nanedi Valles snakes across the Martian surface suggesting that liquid water once crossed the landscape, according to a team of researchers who believe that molecular hydrogen made it warm enough for water to flow. Split panel comparing (a) a section of Arizona’s Grand Canyon against (b) a section of [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]

jul 202013
 
How Mars' Atmosphere Got So Thin

    New insights from Curiosity    A pair of new papers report measurements of the Martian atmosphere’s composition by NASA’s Curiosity rover, providing evidence about loss of much of Mars’ original atmosphere. One of Vikings global mosaics of Mars, re-sized & sharpened by Jason Harwell of the Viking mission team. Image Credit: NASA/JPL Curiosity’s Sample [continue reading]

jul 112013
 
How the Early Earth Kept Warm Enough to Support Life

  Solving the “faint young Sun paradox” — explaining how the early Earth was warm and habitable for life beginning more than 3 billion years ago even though the Sun was 20 percent dimmer than today — may not be as difficult as believed, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. An artist’s conception [continue reading]