41–60 of 65 results
chemical structure of glycolaldehyde

Stellar Science

Space a Little Sweeter

Astronomers have detected a simple sugar called glycolaldehyde in the gas around two young stars. The ALMA observations that led to the discovery are impressive, but don’t jump on the “life” bandwagon just yet.

Solar System

Smooth Sailing on Titan

Waves don't grow much — if at all — on Saturn's moon Titan. However, the calm lakes and seas might see some surface wrinkles in a few years when the northern hemisphere's summer arrives.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Asteroids, Planets, and Moons, Oh My

This week’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union brought together a variety of interesting science results, from water on Mars to the Sun’s effect on the Moon’s surface. Here’s a selection of curiosities for your perusing pleasure.


Kepler Finds a Possibly Habitable World

The hits just keep on coming for NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Today mission scientists announced that they've identified a thousand more candidate planets around other stars. One is Kepler-22 b, a world somewhat larger than Earth where you likely could walk around in shirtsleeve temperatures.

People, Places, and Events

SETI Projects Weather Recession

Although funding has eroded for [email protected] and the Allen Telescope Array in the past few years, both alien-hunting projects have survived, thanks to donors and volunteers.


Meteorite Cooks Up Its Organic Brew

A dash of this and a pinch of that — slow cooked with water inside an asteroid — could have yielded a rich and diverse soup of organic matter. That's the remarkable new finding from careful analysis of the super-primitive Tagish Lake meteorite.

Professional Telescopes

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.

Solar System

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.


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.


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.

Solar System

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.

Solar System

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.

Solar System

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

Spacecraft and Space Missions

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


(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.


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.


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.

Solar System

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.