Astrochemistry

Carbon Abundances in Stars With and Without Planets Using The CH Band

Carbon Abundances in Stars With and Without Planets Using The CH Band

Context. Carbon, oxygen and nitrogen (CNO) are key elements in stellar formation and evolution, and their abundances should also have a significant impact on planetary formation and evolution.

Pluto

Could There Be Life In Pluto's Ocean?

Could There Be Life In Pluto's Ocean?

Pluto is thought to possess a subsurface ocean, which is not so much a sign of water as it is a tremendous clue that other dwarf planets in deep space also may contain similarly exotic oceans, naturally leading to the question of life, said one co-investigator with NASA's New Horizon mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Europa

From Monterey Bay to Europa

From Monterey Bay to Europa

If you think operating a robot in space is hard, try doing it in the ocean. Saltwater can corrode your robot and block its radio signals. Kelp forests can tangle it up, and you might not get it back. Sharks will even try to take bites out of its wings.

Proxima Centauri b

Upper limits for Mass and Radius of objects around Proxima Cen from SPHERE/VLT

Upper limits for Mass and Radius of objects around Proxima Cen from SPHERE/VLT

The recent discovery of an earth-like planet around Proxima Centauri has drawn much attention to this star and its environment.

Fossils

Ancient Rocks Hold Evidence Of Life Before Oxygen

Ancient Rocks Hold Evidence Of Life Before Oxygen

Somewhere between Earth's creation and where we are today, scientists have demonstrated that some early life forms existed just fine without any oxygen.

Extrasolar Planets

Timing the Shadow of a Potentially Habitable Extrasolar Planet

Timing the Shadow of a Potentially Habitable Extrasolar Planet

A group of researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of Tokyo, and the Astrobiology Center among others has observed the transit of a potentially Earth-like extrasolar planet known as K2-3d using the MuSCAT instrument on the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory 188-cm telescope.

Extrasolar Planets

Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres

Atmospheric Habitable Zones in Y Dwarf Atmospheres

We use a simple organism lifecycle model to explore the viability of an atmospheric habitable zone (AHZ), with temperatures that could support Earth-centric life, which sits above an environment that does not support life.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Earth Life Can Be Designed To Make Silicon-Carbon Bonds

Earth Life Can Be Designed To Make Silicon-Carbon Bonds Video in Story

A new study is the first to show that living organisms can be persuaded to make silicon-carbon bonds--something only chemists had done before. Scientists at Caltech "bred" a bacterial protein to have the ability to make the man-made bonds, a finding that has applications in several industries.

Astrochemistry

First detections of ethylene oxide, acetone and propanal toward the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293-2422

First detections of ethylene oxide, acetone and propanal toward the low-mass protostar IRAS 16293-2422

One of the open questions in astrochemistry is how complex organic and prebiotic molecules are formed.

Astrochemistry

Meteorites and the RNA World: A Thermodynamic Model of Nucleobase Synthesis within Planetesimals

Meteorites and the RNA World: A Thermodynamic Model of Nucleobase Synthesis within Planetesimals

The possible meteorite parent body origin of Earth's pregenetic nucleobases is substantiated by the guanine (G), adenine (A) and uracil (U) measured in various meteorites.

Extrasolar Planets

On the Possibility of Habitable Trojan Planets in Binary Star Systems

On the Possibility of Habitable Trojan Planets in Binary Star Systems

Approximately 60 percent of all stars in the solar neighbourhood (up to 80 percent in our Milky Way) are members of binary or multiple star systems. This fact led to the speculations that many more planets may exist in binary systems than are currently known.

More top stories from December.