Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Studying Microbial Mats to Understand Ancient Biosignatures

Studying Microbial Mats to Understand Ancient Biosignatures

A recent study supported in part by the NASA Exobiology Program provides further details about lipid biomarkers in stromatolites. The research focuses on microbial mat communities in ponds at Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Geobiology

Rethinking Sulfide in the Ancient Oceans

Rethinking Sulfide in the Ancient Oceans

Researchers supported in part by the Exobiology Program have provided new information about the oxygenation history of the Earth's oceans during the mid-Proterozoic using uranium (U) isotope data.

Astrochemistry

Sorting Out Peptide Mixtures

Sorting Out Peptide Mixtures

Scientists supported in part by the NASA Astrobiology Program have developed a new method to analyze mixtures of glycine and glycine oligomers using ion-pair high-performance liquid chromatography (IP-HPLC).

Astrobiology (general)

AbGradCon 2019 Talks Are Now Online

AbGradCon 2019 Talks Are Now Online

The 15th Astrobiology Graduate Conference (AbGradCon) was held from July 22-26, 2019 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, with 75 participants presenting 31 talks and 44 posters.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Water Vapor in The Atmosphere Of The Habitable-zone Eight Earth-mass Planet K2-18 b

Water Vapor in The Atmosphere Of The Habitable-zone Eight Earth-mass Planet K2-18 b

In the past decade, observations from space and ground have found H2O to be the most abundant molecular species, after hydrogen, in the atmospheres of hot, gaseous, extrasolar planets. Being the main molecular carrier of oxygen, H2O is a tracer of the origin and the evolution mechanisms of planets.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

A Goldilocks Zone For Planet Size

A Goldilocks Zone For Planet Size

In The Little Prince, the classic novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the titular prince lives on a house-sized asteroid so small that he can watch the sunset any time of day by moving his chair a few steps.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Water Vapor On The Habitable-Zone Exoplanet K2-18b

Water Vapor On The Habitable-Zone Exoplanet K2-18b

Ever since the discovery of the first exoplanet, astronomers have made steady progress towards finding and probing planets in the habitable zone of their host stars, where the conditions could be right for liquid water to form and life to sprawl.

SETI

Model Of The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence With Coronagraphic Imaging

Model Of The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence With Coronagraphic Imaging

We present modeled detection limits of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and the Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) to an optical and infrared laser which could be used by an extraterrestrial civilization to signal their presence.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

The Climates of Other Worlds: A Review of the Emerging Field of Exoplanet Climatology

The Climates of Other Worlds: A Review of the Emerging Field of Exoplanet Climatology

The discovery of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun has accelerated over the past decade, and this trend will continue as new space- and ground-based observatories employ next-generation instrumentation to search the skies for habitable worlds.

comets

Simulations Of Ice Chemistry In Cometary Nuclei

Simulations Of Ice Chemistry In Cometary Nuclei

The first computational model of solid-phase chemistry in cometary nuclear ices is presented. An astrochemical kinetics model, MAGICKAL, is adapted to trace the chemical evolution in multiple layers of cometary ice, over a representative period of 5 Gyr.

Impact events

Rocks At Asteroid Impact Site Record First Day Of Dinosaur Extinction

Rocks At Asteroid Impact Site Record First Day Of Dinosaur Extinction

When the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs slammed into the planet, the impact set wildfires, triggered tsunamis and blasted so much sulfur into the atmosphere that it blocked the sun, which caused the global cooling that ultimately doomed the dinos.

More top stories from September.