When it comes to exploring exoplanets, it may be wise to take a snorkel along. A new study, published in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has used a statistical model to predict that most habitable planets may be dominated by oceans spanning over 90% of their surface area.
Keith's note: This coming week I will be at the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon). I will be tweeting about the meeting from @NASAWatch and @Astrobiology and posting updates at astrobiology.com. AbSciCon Sessions will be streamed live at http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/livestream
Day Two of Breakthrough Discuss opened with Michaël Gillon describing the discovery of TRAPPIST-1, which has seven temperate planets, including three in the habitable zone.
The first day of Breakthrough Discuss 2017 explored planets around nearby stars and their potential for life. Charles Alcock opened the conference with the statement that, "The far-fetched ideas of today are the discoveries of tomorrow," and Peter Michelson emphasized that the last century of scientific investigation has transformed questions about origins from the realm of metaphysics to a place where they can be investigated observationally.
Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmosphere and surface can be derived by analyzing light of the parent star reflected by the planet.
Biosignatures & Paleobiology
H2O is a key molecule in characterizing atmospheres of temperate terrestrial planets, and observations of transmission spectra are expected to play a primary role in detecting its signatures in the near future.
Few places are as hostile to life as Chile's Atacama Desert. It's the driest place on Earth, and only the hardiest microbes survive there. Its rocky landscape has lain undisturbed for eons, exposed to extreme temperatures and radiation from the sun.
Proxima Centauri b
Cosmic rays are an important factor of space weather determining radiation conditions near the Earth and it seems to be essential to clarify radiation conditions near extrasolar planets too. Last year a terrestrial planet candidate was discovered in an orbit around Proxima Centauri.
Breakthrough Listen - the initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe - has released its 11 events ranked highest for significance as well as summary data analysis results.
Proxima Centauri b
Breakthrough Initiatives today announced its second annual Breakthrough Discuss scientific conference, which will bring together leading astronomers, engineers, astrobiologists and astrophysicists to advance discussion surrounding recent discoveries of potentially habitable planets in nearby star systems. The conference will take place on Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21, at Stanford University and will be webcast live.
Current protoplanetary dust coagulation theory does not predict dry silicate planetesimals, in tension with the Earth. While remedies to this predicament have been proposed, they have generally failed numerical studies, or are in tension with the Earth's (low, volatility dependent) volatile and moderately volatile elemental abundances.
Recent Status Reports