Astrochemistry

Interstellar ices: a possible scenario for symmetry breaking of extraterrestrial chiral organic molecules of prebiotic interest

Interstellar ices: a possible scenario for symmetry breaking of extraterrestrial chiral organic molecules of prebiotic interest

In the laboratory, the photo-and thermochemical evolution of ices, made of simple molecules of astrophysical relevance, always leads to the formation of semi-refractory water-soluble organic residues.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets

Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets

We report improved masses, radii, and densities for four planets in two bright M-dwarf systems, K2-3 and GJ3470, derived from a combination of new radial velocity and transit observations. Supplementing K2 photometry with follow-up Spitzer transit observations refined the transit ephemerides of K2-3 b, c, and d by over a factor of 10.

Titan

Nitrogen-containing Anions and Tholin Growth in Titan's Ionosphere: Implications for Cassini CAPS-ELS Observations

Nitrogen-containing Anions and Tholin Growth in Titan's Ionosphere: Implications for Cassini CAPS-ELS Observations

The Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) Electron Spectrometer (ELS) instrument onboard Cassini revealed an unexpected abundance of negative ions above 950 km in Titan's ionosphere.

Meteorites, Asteroids, & Comets

Clues To Delivery of Water to Earth From Carbonaceous Chondrites

Clues To Delivery of Water to Earth From Carbonaceous Chondrites

An international study led by researchers from the Institute of Space Sciences, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya has discovered that carbonaceous chondrites, a class of meteorites, incorporated hydrated minerals along with organic material from the protoplanetary disk before the formation of planets.

SETI

A Proposed Method for a Photon-Counting Laser Coherence Detection System to Complement Optical SETI

A Proposed Method for a Photon-Counting Laser Coherence Detection System to Complement Optical SETI

The detection of laser radiation originating from space is a positive indicator of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI).

Origin & Evolution of Life

Discovery Of The Oldest Evidence Of Mobility On Earth

Discovery Of The Oldest Evidence Of Mobility On Earth

An international and multi-disciplinary team coordinated by Abderrazak El Albani at the Institut de chimie des milieux et matériaux de Poitiers (CNRS/Université de Poitiers) has uncovered the oldest fossilised traces of motility.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Life May Have Thrived On Earth 3.5 Billion Years Ago

Life May Have Thrived On Earth 3.5 Billion Years Ago

Three and a half billion years ago Earth hosted life, but was it barely surviving, or thriving? A new study carried out by a multi institutional team with leadership including the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) of Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) provides new answers to this question.

Fossils

Fossilized Tracks Suggest Multicellular Life Far Older Than Previously Thought

Fossilized Tracks Suggest Multicellular Life Far Older Than Previously Thought

Newly discovered fossilized tracks suggest multicellular life could be 1.5 billion years older than previously thought, according to a new study by an international team of researchers including scientists at the University of Alberta.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Undersea Gases Could Superheat Earth

Undersea Gases Could Superheat Earth

The world's oceans could harbor an unpleasant surprise for global warming, based on new research that shows how naturally occurring carbon gases trapped in reservoirs atop the seafloor escaped to superheat the planet in prehistory.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Stellar Activity Effects on Moist Habitable Terrestrial Atmospheres Around M dwarfs

Stellar Activity Effects on Moist Habitable Terrestrial Atmospheres Around M dwarfs

Transit spectroscopy of terrestrial planets around nearby M dwarfs is a primary goal of space missions in coming decades. 3-D climate modeling has shown that slow-synchronous rotating terrestrial planets may develop thick clouds at the substellar point, increasing the albedo.

TRAPPIST-1

Tidal Heating and the Habitability of the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets

Tidal Heating and the Habitability of the TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets

Context. New estimates of the masses and radii of the seven planets orbiting the ultracool M-dwarf TRAPPIST-1 star permit improved modelling of their compositions, heating by tidal dissipation, and removal of tidal heat by solid-state convection.

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