Mars

Could Life Exist Deep Underground On Mars?

Could Life Exist Deep Underground On Mars?

Recent science missions and results are bringing the search for life closer to home, and scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) and the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) may have figured out how to determine whether life is--or was--lurking deep beneath the surface of Mars, the Moon, and other rocky objects in the universe.

Geobiology

Understanding Earth's Carbon Cycle

Understanding Earth's Carbon Cycle

A new study led by a University of Alberta PhD student--and published in Nature--is examining the Earth's carbon cycle in new depth, using diamonds as breadcrumbs of insight into some of Earth's deepest geologic mechanisms.

Astrochemistry

Water Is Trapped In Star Dust

Water Is Trapped In Star Dust

The matter between the stars in a galaxy - called the interstellar medium - consists not only of gas, but also of a great deal of dust.

Mars

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Will Use X-Rays to Hunt Fossils

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Will Use X-Rays to Hunt Fossils

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has a challenging road ahead: After having to make it through the harrowing entry, descent, and landing phase of the mission on Feb. 18, 2021, it will begin searching for traces of microscopic life from billions of years back.

Extrasolar Planets

Water on Exoplanet Cloud Tops Could Be Found with Hi-Tech Instruments

Water on Exoplanet Cloud Tops Could Be Found with Hi-Tech Instruments

University of Warwick astronomers have shown that water vapour can potentially be detected in the atmospheres of exoplanets by peering literally over the tops of their impenetrable clouds.

Panspermia

Transfer of Life Between Earth and Venus with Planet-Grazing Asteroids

Transfer of Life Between Earth and Venus with Planet-Grazing Asteroids

Recently, phosphine was discovered in the atmosphere of Venus as a potential biosignature.

Extrasolar Planets

Multi-orbital-phase And Multi-band Characterization Of Exoplanetary Atmospheres With Reflected Light Spectra

Multi-orbital-phase And Multi-band Characterization Of Exoplanetary Atmospheres With Reflected Light Spectra

Direct imaging of widely separated exoplanets from space will obtain their reflected light spectra and measure atmospheric properties.

Enceladus

Hints of Fresh Ice in Northern Hemisphere Of Enceladus

Hints of Fresh Ice in Northern Hemisphere Of Enceladus

New composite images made from NASA's Cassini spacecraft are the most detailed global infrared views ever produced of Saturn's moon Enceladus. And data used to build those images provides strong evidence that the northern hemisphere of the moon has been resurfaced with ice from its interior.

Extrasolar Planets

Estimating the Ultraviolet Emission of M dwarfs with Exoplanets from Ca II and Hα

Estimating the Ultraviolet Emission of M dwarfs with Exoplanets from Ca II and Hα

M dwarf stars are excellent candidates around which to search for exoplanets, including temperate, Earth-sized planets. To evaluate the photochemistry of the planetary atmosphere, it is essential to characterize the UV spectral energy distribution of the planet's host star.

Venus

Feasibility Analysis and Preliminary Design of ChipSat Entry for In-situ Investigation of the Atmosphere of Venus

Feasibility Analysis and Preliminary Design of ChipSat Entry for In-situ Investigation of the Atmosphere of Venus

Recent miniaturization of electronics in very small, low-cost and low-power configurations suitable for use in spacecraft have inspired innovative small-scale satellite concepts, such as ChipSats, centimeter-scale satellites with a mass of a few grams.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Abundant Atmospheric Methane From Volcanism On Terrestrial Planets Is Unlikely And Strengthens The Case For Methane As A Biosignature

Abundant Atmospheric Methane From Volcanism On Terrestrial Planets Is Unlikely And Strengthens The Case For Methane As A Biosignature

The disequilibrium combination of abundant methane and carbon dioxide has been proposed as a promising exoplanet biosignature that is readily detectable with upcoming telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope.

More top stories from September.