Geobiology

When Viruses Infect Phytoplankton It Can Change The Clouds

When Viruses Infect Phytoplankton It Can Change The Clouds

Microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton are known to support the diversity of life in the ocean.

Extrasolar Planets

Atmospheric Retrieval of Exoplanets

Atmospheric Retrieval of Exoplanets

Exoplanetary atmospheric retrieval refers to the inference of atmospheric properties of an exoplanet given an observed spectrum.

Impact events

Searching for Biosignatures in Exoplanetary Impact Ejecta

Searching for Biosignatures in Exoplanetary Impact Ejecta

With the number of confirmed rocky exoplanets increasing steadily, their characterisation and the search for exoplanetary biospheres is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in astrobiology.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Revised Exoplanet Radii and Habitability Using Gaia Data Release 2

Revised Exoplanet Radii and Habitability Using Gaia Data Release 2

Accurate stellar properties are crucial for determining exoplanet characteristics. Gaia DR2 presents revised distances, luminosities, and radii for 1.6 billion stars.

Astrobiology (general)

Review: The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution

Review: The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution

When you first take a biology class the focus is on memorizing vocabulary and basic principles. If you are really paying attention certain patterns and forms start to emerge from the tedium of rote memorization. A few more classes and the patterns start to reveal the rules that underly those patterns.

If you are also taking chemistry and physics and math then you're already familiar with the rules that govern matter and how to express them. Biology just takes a little more time to reveal itself. Add in some astronomy classes and talk of other worlds like our own and the origin of all of the elements of life being forged in the hearts of dying stars and you arrive at the core premise of "The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution" by Charles Cockell.

Tricorder

Developing An Instrument for Finding Extraterrestrial Bacteria

Developing An Instrument for Finding Extraterrestrial Bacteria

A NASA scientist wants to create a planetary robot that would mimic what biologists do every day in terrestrial laboratories: look through microscopes to visually identify microbial life living in samples.

Astrochemistry

The Origin of RNA Precursors on Exoplanets

The Origin of RNA Precursors on Exoplanets

Given that the macromolecular building blocks of life were likely produced photochemically in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) light, we identify some general constraints on which stars produce sufficient UV for this photochemistry.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

New Insights into Cosmic Ray induced Biosignature Chemistry in Earth-like Atmospheres

New Insights into Cosmic Ray induced Biosignature Chemistry in Earth-like Atmospheres

With the recent discoveries of terrestrial planets around active M-dwarfs, destruction processes masking the possible presence of life are receiving increased attention in the exoplanet community.

Astrogeology

Iron-silica Particles Unlock Part of the Mystery of Earth's Oxygenation

Iron-silica Particles Unlock Part of the Mystery of Earth's Oxygenation

The oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere was thanks, in part, to iron and silica particles in ancient seawater, according to a new study by geomicrobiologists at the University of Alberta. But these results solve only part of this ancient mystery.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

A Neptune-mass Planet Traversing the Habitable Zone Around HD 180617

A Neptune-mass Planet Traversing the Habitable Zone Around HD 180617

Despite their activity, low-mass stars are of particular importance for the search of exoplanets by the means of Doppler spectroscopy, as planets with lower masses become detectable.

Extrasolar Planets

A Second Planet with an Earth-like Composition Orbiting The Nearby M dwarf LHS 1140

A Second Planet with an Earth-like Composition Orbiting The Nearby M dwarf LHS 1140

LHS 1140 is a nearby mid-M dwarf known to host a temperate rocky super-Earth (LHS 1140 b) on a 24.737-day orbit.

More top stories from August.