Microbiology

Ancient Microbes May Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Ancient Microbes May Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes, scientists have reconstructed what life was like for some of Earth's earliest organisms. These efforts could help us recognize signs of life on other planets, whose atmospheres may more closely resemble our pre-oxygen planet.

Astrochemistry

New Detections Of Phosphorus Molecules Towards Solar-type Protostars

New Detections Of Phosphorus Molecules Towards Solar-type Protostars

Phosphorus is a necessary element for life on Earth, but at present we have limited constraints on its chemistry in star- and planet-forming regions: to date, phosphorus carriers have only been detected towards a few low-mass protostars.

Microbiology

Virus Discovery Offers Clues About The Origins Of Complex Life

Virus Discovery Offers Clues About The Origins Of Complex Life

The first discovery of viruses infecting a group of microbes that may include the ancestors of all complex life has been found, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin report in Nature Microbiology.

Mars

Evidence of More Recent Presence of Water on Mars Revealed

Evidence of More Recent Presence of Water on Mars Revealed

Two papers on which Planetary Science Institute Research Scientist Alexander Morgan is an author help explain what happened to water on Mars.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Is There Also Long-term Liquid Water On Non-Earth-like Planets?

Is There Also Long-term Liquid Water On Non-Earth-like Planets?

Liquid water is an important prerequisite for life to develop on a planet. As researchers from the University of Bern, the University of Zurich and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS report in a new study, liquid water could also exist for billions of years on planets that are very different from Earth. This calls our currently Earth-centred idea of potentially habitable planets into question.

Analog Studies

Multiple Lab Analyses of Antarctic Minerals Offer a Better Understanding of Mars

Multiple Lab Analyses of Antarctic Minerals Offer a Better Understanding of Mars

Results of multiple and complementary lab analyses of minerals found in samples of material from Antarctica could give scientists a better understanding of the surface and subsurface environment of Mars, and indicate locations of potentially habitable subsurface locations, says a new paper by Planetary Science Institute Research Scientist Elizabeth C. Sklute.

Extrasolar Planets

Thermocline Depth On Water-rich Exoplanets

Thermocline Depth On Water-rich Exoplanets

Water-rich exoplanet is a type of terrestrial planet that is water-rich and its ocean depth can reach tens of to hundreds of kilo-meters with no exposed continents.

Extrasolar Planets

How Do We Optimally Sample Model Grids Of Exoplanet Spectra?

How Do We Optimally Sample Model Grids Of Exoplanet Spectra?

The construction and implementation of atmospheric model grids is a popular tool in exoplanet characterisation. These typically vary a number of parameters linearly, containing one model for every combination of parameter values.

Astrochemistry

Laboratory Experiments On The Radiation Astrochemistry Of Water Ice Phases

Laboratory Experiments On The Radiation Astrochemistry Of Water Ice Phases

Water (H2O) ice is ubiquitous component of the universe, having been detected in a variety of interstellar and Solar System environments where radiation plays an important role in its physico-chemical transformations.

Extrasolar Planets

Tidal Heating of Exomoons In Resonance and Implications For Detection

Tidal Heating of Exomoons In Resonance and Implications For Detection

The habitability of exoplanets can be strongly influenced by the presence of an exomoon, and in some cases the exomoon itself could be a possible place for life to develop. For moons outside of the habitable zone, significant tidal heating may raise their surface temperature enough to be considered habitable.

Microbiology

Giant Bacteria Challenges Traditional Concepts

Giant Bacteria Challenges Traditional Concepts

At first glance, the slightly murky waters in the tube look like a scoop of stormwater, complete with leaves, debris, and even lighter threads in the mix. But in the Petri dish, the thin vermicelli-like threads floating delicately above the leaf debris are revealed to be single bacterial cells, visible to the naked eye.

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