Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments

Underground Life Has A Carbon Mass Hundreds Of Times Larger Than Humans Do

Underground Life Has A Carbon Mass Hundreds Of Times Larger Than Humans Do

Microorganisms living underneath the surface of the earth have a total carbon mass of 15 to 23 billion tons, hundreds of times more than that of humans, according to findings announced by the Deep Carbon Observatory and coauthored by UT Professor of Microbiology Karen Lloyd.

Astrogeology

OSIRIS-REx Finds Water On Asteroid Bennu

OSIRIS-REx Finds Water On Asteroid Bennu

Recently analyzed data from NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has revealed water locked inside the clays that make up its scientific target, the asteroid Bennu.

Ceres

Evidence for Carbon-Rich Surface on Ceres

Evidence for Carbon-Rich Surface on Ceres

A team led by Southwest Research Institute has concluded that the surface of dwarf planet Ceres is rich in organic matter.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Life Has A New Ingredient

Life Has A New Ingredient

Our prehistoric Earth, bombarded with asteroids and lightening, rife with bubbling geothermal pools, may not seem hospitable today. But somewhere in the chemical chaos of our early planet, life did form.

SETI

The Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life: No Evidence of Claimed Periodic Spectral Modulations in High Resolution Optical Spectra of Nearby Stars

The Breakthrough Listen Search for Intelligent Life: No Evidence of Claimed Periodic Spectral Modulations in High Resolution Optical Spectra of Nearby Stars

We report on high-resolution spectra obtained by the Automated Planet Finder and high resolution optical Levy Spectrometer and the search for periodic spectral modulations, such as those reported in Borra (2016).

Space Weather

Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Tropospheric Variability

Termination of Solar Cycles and Correlated Tropospheric Variability

The Sun provides the energy required to sustain life on Earth and drive our planet's atmospheric circulation. However, establishing a solid physical connection between solar and tropospheric variability has posed a considerable challenge across the spectrum of Earth-system science.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

The Limits of the Primitive Equations of Dynamics for Warm, Slowly Rotating Small Neptunes and Super Earths

The Limits of the Primitive Equations of Dynamics for Warm, Slowly Rotating Small Neptunes and Super Earths

We present significant differences in the simulated atmospheric flow for warm, tidally-locked small Neptunes and super Earths (based on a nominal GJ 1214b) when solving the simplified, and commonly used, primitive dynamical equations or the full Navier-Stokes equations.

Extrasolar Planets

Observability of Hydrogen-rich Exospheres in Earth-like Exoplanets

Observability of Hydrogen-rich Exospheres in Earth-like Exoplanets

Context. The existence of an extended neutral hydrogen exosphere around small planets can be used as an evidence for the presence of water in their lower atmosphere but, to date, such feature has not been securely detected in rocky exoplanets.

Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 5 December 2018: The Final Stretch

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 5 December 2018: The Final Stretch

"The last few days have been very nice with mild temperatures (-7°C to +2°C), sunshine and little wind."

Astrochemistry

Water on Saturn's Moon Phoebe Is Unusual

Water on Saturn's Moon Phoebe Is Unusual

By developing a new method for measuring isotopic ratios of water and carbon dioxide remotely, scientists have found that the water in Saturn's rings and satellites is unexpectedly like water on the Earth, except on Saturn's moon Phoebe, where the water is more unusual than on any other object so far studied in the solar system.

SETI

Radio Search For Artificial Emissions From 'Oumuamua

Radio Search For Artificial Emissions From 'Oumuamua

It's the first time a visitor from another star system has been seen nearby. But what is it? An asteroid, a comet ... or an alien artifact?

More top stories from December.