1–20 of 65 results
Meteoroids deliver organics

Astrobiology

Scientists Wonder: Is the Origin of Life Extraterrestrial?

A new analysis method has revealed DNA building blocks in meteorites, suggesting that these prebiotic molecules might have formed during the solar system's earliest years.

Dimethyl ether detection in protoplanetary disk

Astrobiology

Largest Molecule Yet Found in Planet-forming Disk

The detection of a complex organic molecule in the disk around an infant star suggests prebiotic chemistry starts in the space between stars.

Astrobiology

Is the Phosphine Biosignature on Venus a Calibration Error?

The already tentative detection of phosphine is under heavy scrutiny from the scientific community. A problem with the ALMA data hasn't helped.

EnVision Orbiter

Solar System

Race to Venus: How We’ll Verify Phosphine

Confirming phosphine's presence on Venus is difficult from Earth . . . and that makes a good case for a mission to our sister planet.

Gibbous Venus from Akatsuki

Solar System

Potential Biosignature Found in Venus’s Clouds

Astronomers might have found a potential indication of life in the clouds of Venus.

radar map of Titan's north pole

Astrobiology

Winds and Tides Drive Sea Waves on Titan

Sunlight glittering off rough patches of sea on Saturn’s largest moon indicates ever-changing waves.

E. oli bacteria

Astrobiology

Could There Be Life Under a Hydrogen Sky?

Scientists have discovered that life could survive within a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere. The finding is not necessarily a surprise but could have implications for the search for life.

Astrobiology

Searching for Alien Needles in the Cosmic Haystack

Humanity’s search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence has been underway, in one form or another, for decades. But how much searching have we really done?

water plume on Europa

Astrobiology

Source for Europa Geysers Missing

A new look at old data suggests there’s something missing from suspected plumes on Europa: a heat source.

Saturn's moon Enceladus

Astrobiology

Potential Trouble for Life on Icy Moons

A lack of dry land on moons such as Europa and Enceladus might make it difficult to seed oceans with phosphorus, an element essential for life as we know it.

MSL rover

Solar System

Planet-Protection Policies: Due For Revision?

A new National Academies study assesses NASA's efforts to protect neighboring worlds from contamination and recommends ways the space agency could do a better job.

Astrobiology

Identifying Life from Varying Atmospheres

There’s no hiding — changes in Earth’s atmosphere over the seasons are a dead giveaway to the fact that Earth hosts life. Now a new study explores whether we might use atmospheric seasonality like Earth’s to detect life on other planets. Looking for Change Most of the searches for life…

artist's concept of Cassini at Enceladus

Solar System

Organics Inside Enceladus: Complex Enough for Life?

Scientists aren't comfortable yet saying that organics on Saturn's icy moon arose from life, but they have an idea of what to look for next.

Astrobiology

Some Plants Grow Well in Martian Soil

Astrobiology students cultivated leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and even hops in simulated Martian dirt.

Rosetta's Comet 67P

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Rosetta Finds Clues to Earth's “Xenon Paradox”

Xenon measured by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has shed light on a long-standing mystery about the role comets played in Earth's formation.

map near 8.3N lat, 47.95E

Solar System

How Hard Did It Rain on Ancient Mars?

Mars was once far wetter than it is now — but just how much rain fell, and when?

artist's concept of Cassini at Enceladus

Astrobiology

Enceladus: Hydrothermal Heating Confirmed

Astronomers have more evidence that the hidden ocean inside Saturn’s moon Enceladus is heated by hydrothermal activity.

how sputtering works

Solar System

Mars Lost Atmosphere to Space

NASA’s MAVEN mission has confirmed that the solar wind stripped the Red Planet of its atmosphere.

artist's concept of TRAPPIST-1 system

Stellar Science

Seven-Planet Star Hides Age, Might Be Deadly

The star with seven exoplanets puts out enough high-energy radiation to tear away the inner planets’ atmospheres in a few billion years.

illustration of TRAPPIST-1 planet sky

Exoplanets

Seven Earth-Sized Planets Found Orbiting Dim Star

Astronomers have found seven Earth-sized planets around a cool red dwarf, all of which have the potential for liquid surface water.

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