59 results

Astrobiology

Forced "Hibernation" for SETI Telescope

Astronomers have shut down the innovative Allen Telescope Array in northern California — a huge blow to the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Titan's Hazes: A Rich Brew

With a little help from neighboring Enceladus, Saturn's big moon Titan might well be cooking up an incredible mix of prebiotic molecules in its upper atmosphere.

Astrobiology

Project Ozma: The First SETI

It's been 50 years since a young radio astronomer named Frank Drake audaciously attempted, for the first time, to eavesdrop on radio transmissions from alien civilizations.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Kepler's Twitchy Detectors

NASA's new planet-hunting spacecraft, launched seven months ago, has a few noisy detectors that make the stars under study appear to flicker. It's a problem the mission team knew about — and decided not to repair before sending the craft irretrievably into space.

Astrobiology

A Fall to Earth, One Year Later

Planetary astronomers had less than a day's notice before asteroid 2008 TC3 crashed into Earth one year ago. But they've made the most of the strange black fragments of it that fell to the ground that day.

Astrobiology

A "Briny Deep" Inside Enceladus?

Planetary scientists are crazy about Saturn's most active moon but can't agree on what powers the towering plumes gas and particles erupting from near its south pole. New findings, published this week, hint that the water vapor might be slowly evaporating from a salt-laced ocean in deeply buried caverns.

Astronomy and Society

The Chance of Finding Aliens

Frank Drake's famous equation helps to quantify our chance of finding ETs — or at least to pose the essential questions.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

What's Going on Inside Enceladus?

One of Saturn's icy moons has a tummy ache, causing it to spew jets of gas and icy particles hundreds of miles into space. Researchers aren't sure of the cause — but they have some interesting guesses!

Ice around a Martian crater

Solar System

Craters Reveal Ice in the Martian Dust

High-resolution images from orbit reveal tiny craters — created within the past year — surrounded by splashes of water ice dredged up from just below the Martian surface.

Phoenix's powered landing

Astrobiology

(Drops of) Water on Mars?

Last year, as a camera aboard the Phoenix lander looked on, drops of supersalty water grew, merged, and even dripped on one of the spacecraft's landing legs.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Super Sendoff for Planet-Hunting Kepler

After a dramatic and flawless liftoff, NASA's newest space observatory is getting ready to observe a tract of Milky May with a single-minded purpose: find as many alien worlds as it can.

Astrobiology

The Curious Case of Martian Methane

Mars, it seems, is not quite dead. A team of observers has found methane in the Red Planet's atmosphere. This finding proves either that Mars has (or once had) life — or that the planet's interior occasionally burps.

Astrobiology

Martian Mega-Rover Gets a "Time Out"

Plagued by a technical obstacles that could threaten its success, a $2 billion Mars rover has been postponed two years by NASA officials. The Mars Science Laboratory's new launch date is 2011.

Astrobiology

Martian Dirt is Friendly to Life

The Phoenix lander's first wet chemical analysis of the Martian surface confirms water’s thumbprint and finds the kinds of inorganic minerals you'd have in a backyard garden.

Mars from Phoenix lander

Solar System

Is Mars Too Salty for Life?

A just-published study, coincidentally appearing as Phoenix prepares to get the dirt on Martian habitability, argues that the Red Planet's soil is at least 10 to 100 times saltier than Earth's oceans.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

A Rich Protoplanetary Soup

Infrared observations reveal a star with a protoplanetary disk infused with helpful organic compounds.

Astrobiology

Still Looking for Aliens

SETI@home is gearing up for a fresh influx of data.

Exoplanets

A Star with Five Planets

The Sun-like star 55 Cancri, just 41 light-years away, is now known to have at least five planets orbiting it.

Solar System

One Less "Possibility of Life"?

Just because Saturn's moon Enceladus has active geysers doesn't mean it harbors alien life. That's the take-home message from an upcoming scientific paper.

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