Results tagged “astrobiology”

With its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), New Horizons has observed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique phase angles, as well as Centaurs at extremely high phase angles to search for forward-scattering rings or dust.

Is there life beyond our solar system? If there is, our best bet for finding it may lie in three nearby, Earth-like exoplanets.

Astrobiologists like Jason Dworkin are keenly interested in the origins of life on Earth, but the evidence that they seek was erased long ago by Earth's geology and chemistry.

Based on stories in the New York Times (and elsewhere) it would seem that the NASA New Horizons mission team is redefining what it means to be a "planet" and a "moon". Do NASA and the IAU agree?

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recently began its long-awaited, historic encounter with Pluto.

Mars: To Boldly Stay

NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay studies the most extreme parts of Earth to understand how life might survive in other perts of the universe. But he's also studying another life form living in space: humans.

The Look of a Young Mars

This artist's concept depicts the early Martian environment (left) - believed to contain liquid water and a thicker atmosphere - versus the cold, dry environment seen at Mars today (right).

Earth's Water Is Much Older Than the Sun

Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets.

NASA ScienceCasts: One Year to Pluto

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is only a year away from Pluto. Researchers are buzzing with anticipation as NASA prepares to encounter a new world for the first time in decades.

Dale Andersen: I took the DJI Phantom quadcopter out for a quick flight so I could get a shot of our camp here at Lake Obersee, Antarctica.


NASA's Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars' past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions.

The Sounds of New Horizons

What does New Horizons say when it calls home? Nothing, without the help of software that transforms zeros and ones from New Horizons' computers into images, instrument readings, or useful information on the spacecraft's status. Those datasets are then transmitted to Earth by the telecommunications (radio) system aboard New Horizons.

A new look at the early solar system introduces an alternative to a long-taught, but largely discredited, theory that seeks to explain how biomolecules were once able to form inside of asteroids.

For the past few years, a research team in Antarctica has been drilling through several miles of ice in an effort to reach Lake Vostok. Lake Vostok is the largest of a number of bodies of fresh water trapped deep in the ice and isolated from the rest of Earth's biosphere for millions of years. What forms of life may exist in Lake Vostok are of interest not only to terrestrial ecologists but also astrobiologists given that moons such as Europa, Ganymede, and Enceladus may have water oceans underneath their outer icy surfaces.

In this paper, the detectability of habitable exomoons orbiting around giant planets in M-dwarf systems using Transit Timing Variations (TTVs) and Transit Timing Durations (TDVs) with Kepler-class photometry is investigated. Light curves of systems with various configurations were simulated around M-dwarf hosts of mass 0.5 Msun and radius 0.55 Rsun.

Did A Comet Kill the Dinosaurs?

In a geological moment about 66 million years ago, something killed off almost all the dinosaurs and some 70 percent of all other species living on Earth. Only those dinosaurs related to birds appear to have survived. Most scientists agree that the culprit in this extinction was extraterrestrial, and the prevailing opinion has been that the party crasher was an asteroid.

Complex Chemistry at Titan

A laboratory experiment at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., simulating the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan suggests complex organic chemistry that could eventually lead to the building blocks of life extends lower in the atmosphere than previously thought.

Bacteria in Earth's Deepest Trench

An international research team announces the first scientific results from one of the most inaccessible places on Earth: the bottom of the Mariana Trench located nearly 11 kilometers below sea level in the western Pacific, which makes it the deepest site on Earth.

The number of potentially habitable planets is greater than previously thought, according to a new analysis by a Penn State researcher, and some of those planets are likely lurking around nearby stars.

Even dying stars could host planets with life -- and if such life exists, we might be able to detect it within the next decade. This encouraging result comes from a new theoretical study of Earth-like planets orbiting white dwarf stars. Researchers found that we could detect oxygen in the atmosphere of a white dwarf's planet much more easily than for an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star.

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