Extrasolar Planets

How Many Earth-like Planets Are Around Sun-like Stars?

How Many Earth-like Planets Are Around Sun-like Stars?

A new study provides the most accurate estimate of the frequency that planets that are similar to Earth in size and in distance from their host star occur around stars similar to our Sun.

Astrochemistry

Key Phosphorus-based Molecule For Life On Earth May Have Come From Space

Key Phosphorus-based Molecule For Life On Earth May Have Come From Space

The answer to "How did the first organisms on Earth incorporate the critical element phosphorus?" has been a quandary for researchers, but, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa physical chemists believe a meteoric visitor could be the critical link.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Earth As An Exoplanet: A Two-dimensional Alien Map

Earth As An Exoplanet: A Two-dimensional Alien Map

Resolving spatially-varying exoplanet features from single-point light curves is essential for determining whether Earth-like worlds harbor geological features and/or climate systems that influence habitability.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Fluorescent Glow May Reveal Hidden Life In The Cosmos

Fluorescent Glow May Reveal Hidden Life In The Cosmos

Astronomers have uncovered a new way of searching for life in the cosmos. Harsh ultraviolet radiation flares from red suns, once thought to destroy surface life on planets, might help uncover hidden biospheres. Their radiation could trigger a protective glow from life on exoplanets called biofluorescence, according to new Cornell University research.

Extrasolar Planets

Red Dots: A Temperate 1.5 Earth-mass Planet In A Compact Multi-terrestrial Planet System Around GJ1061

Red Dots: A Temperate 1.5 Earth-mass Planet In A Compact Multi-terrestrial Planet System Around GJ1061

Small low-mass stars are favourable targets for the detection of rocky habitable planets. In particular, planetary systems in the solar neighbourhood are interesting and suitable for precise characterisation. The Red Dots campaigns seek to discover rocky planets orbiting nearby low-mass stars.

TRAPPIST-1

James Webb Space Telescope Will Study TRAPPIST-1 Planet Atmospheres

James Webb Space Telescope Will Study TRAPPIST-1 Planet Atmospheres

The study, led by Jacob Lustig-Yaeger, a UW doctoral student in astronomy, finds that the James Webb telescope, set to launch in 2021, might be able to learn key information about the atmospheres of the TRAPPIST-1 worlds even in its first year of operation, unless -- as an old song goes -- clouds get in the way.

Astrochemistry

The Photolysis of Aromatic Hydrocarbons Adsorbed on the Surfaces of Cosmic Dust Grains

The Photolysis of Aromatic Hydrocarbons Adsorbed on the Surfaces of Cosmic Dust Grains

The work is devoted to the adaptation of the results of laboratory studies of the laser-induced dissociation of molecules of benzene adsorbed on a quartz substrate to the conditions of the interstellar medium.

Venus

Venus As A Laboratory For Exoplanetary Science

Venus As A Laboratory For Exoplanetary Science

The current goals of the astrobiology community are focused on developing a framework for the detection of biosignatures, or evidence thereof, on objects inside and outside of our solar system.

Astrochemistry

Volatile Species In Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Investigating Link From The ISM To The Terrestrial Planets

Volatile Species In Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Investigating Link From The ISM To The Terrestrial Planets

Comets contain abundant amounts of organic and inorganic species. Many of the volatile molecules in comets have also been observed in the interstellar medium and some of them even with similar relative abundances, indicating formation under similar conditions or even sharing a common chemical pathway.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Sulfate Aerosol Hazes and SO2 Gas as Constraints on Rocky Exoplanets' Surface Liquid Water

Sulfate Aerosol Hazes and SO2 Gas as Constraints on Rocky Exoplanets' Surface Liquid Water

Despite surface liquid water's importance to habitability, observationally diagnosing its presence or absence on exoplanets is still an open problem.

Space Life Science

NASA Selects Space Biology Research Proposals to Support Moon, Mars Exploration

NASA Selects Space Biology Research Proposals to Support Moon, Mars Exploration

NASA has awarded 15 grants for new space biology research designed to help the agency achieve its goals under the Artemis lunar exploration program.

More top stories from August.