Mars

Detailed Map of Potential Mars Rover Landing Site

Detailed Map of Potential Mars Rover Landing Site

Brown University researchers have published the most detailed geological history to date for a region of Mars known as Northeast Syrtis Major, a spot high on NASA's list of potential landing sites for its next Mars rover to be launched in 2020.

Tricorder

A Faster Biosensor For Your Tricorder

A Faster Biosensor For Your Tricorder

DGIST research team led by Professor CheolGi Kim has developed a biosensor platform which has 20 times faster detection capability than the existing biosensors using magnetic patterns resembling a spider web.

Astrobiology (general)

Astrobiology Has Arrived: A Personal Recollection

Astrobiology Has Arrived: A Personal Recollection

I am currently attending the Astrobiology Science Conference where the world's astrobiologists all meet to showcase their results and share ideas. There was a time, barely 20 years ago, when there were no astrobiologists. I was one of the lucky people to be present as this amazing 21st century discipline came into existence.

Oceanic Research

Most Habitable Planets May Lack Dry Land

Most Habitable Planets May Lack Dry Land

When it comes to exploring exoplanets, it may be wise to take a snorkel along. A new study, published in a paper in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, has used a statistical model to predict that most habitable planets may be dominated by oceans spanning over 90% of their surface area.

Astrobiology (general)

Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) Coverage

Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) Coverage

Keith's note: This coming week I will be at the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon). I will be tweeting about the meeting from @NASAWatch and @Astrobiology and posting updates at astrobiology.com. AbSciCon Sessions will be streamed live at http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/livestream

Astrobiology (general)

Breakthrough Discuss Conference Closes with Full Day Dedicated to Newly Discovered Exoplanets and SETI

Breakthrough Discuss Conference Closes with Full Day Dedicated to Newly Discovered Exoplanets and SETI

Day Two of Breakthrough Discuss opened with Michaƫl Gillon describing the discovery of TRAPPIST-1, which has seven temperate planets, including three in the habitable zone.

Astrobiology (general)

Breakthrough Discuss Opens with Lively Sessions Dedicated to the Search for Planets and Life in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

Breakthrough Discuss Opens with Lively Sessions Dedicated to the Search for Planets and Life in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

The first day of Breakthrough Discuss 2017 explored planets around nearby stars and their potential for life. Charles Alcock opened the conference with the statement that, "The far-fetched ideas of today are the discoveries of tomorrow," and Peter Michelson emphasized that the last century of scientific investigation has transformed questions about origins from the realm of metaphysics to a place where they can be investigated observationally.

Extrasolar Planets

The O2 A-band in Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-like Exoplanets

The O2 A-band in Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-like Exoplanets

Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmosphere and surface can be derived by analyzing light of the parent star reflected by the planet.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

NIR-Driven Moist Upper Atmospheres of Synchronously Rotating Temperate Terrestrial Exoplanets

NIR-Driven Moist Upper Atmospheres of Synchronously Rotating Temperate Terrestrial Exoplanets

H2O is a key molecule in characterizing atmospheres of temperate terrestrial planets, and observations of transmission spectra are expected to play a primary role in detecting its signatures in the near future.

Analog Studies

Detecting Life in the Driest Place on Earth

Detecting Life in the Driest Place on Earth

Few places are as hostile to life as Chile's Atacama Desert. It's the driest place on Earth, and only the hardiest microbes survive there. Its rocky landscape has lain undisturbed for eons, exposed to extreme temperatures and radiation from the sun.

Proxima Centauri b

Cosmic Rays Near Proxima Centauri b

Cosmic Rays Near Proxima Centauri b

Cosmic rays are an important factor of space weather determining radiation conditions near the Earth and it seems to be essential to clarify radiation conditions near extrasolar planets too. Last year a terrestrial planet candidate was discovered in an orbit around Proxima Centauri.

More top stories from May.