Genomics and Cell Biology

NASA Astrobiologists Create DNA-like Molecule

NASA Astrobiologists Create DNA-like Molecule

In a research breakthrough funded by NASA, scientists have synthesized a molecular system that, like DNA, can store and transmit information. This unprecedented feat suggests there could be an alternative to DNA-based life, as we know it on Earth -- a genetic system for life that may be possible on other worlds.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Habitable Zone Planet Finder Enables Discoveries Around Cool Stars

Habitable Zone Planet Finder Enables Discoveries Around Cool Stars

A new astronomical spectrograph built by a Penn State-led team of scientists provides the highest precision measurements to date of infrared signals from nearby stars, allowing astronomers to detect planets capable of having liquid water on their surfaces that orbit cool stars outside our solar system.

Astronomy

Astrocomb Opens New Horizons for Planet-Hunting Telescope

Astrocomb Opens New Horizons for Planet-Hunting Telescope

The hunt for Earth-like planets, and perhaps extraterrestrial life, just got more precise, thanks to record-setting starlight measurements made possible by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) "astrocomb."

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

How Did Snowball Earth Happen?

How Did Snowball Earth Happen?

A major volcanic event could have triggered one of the largest glaciations in Earth's history - the Gaskiers glaciation, which turned the Earth into a giant snowball approximately 580 million years ago.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Reliable Method For Detecting Extraterrestrial Life Is Used On Earth For The First Time

Reliable Method For Detecting Extraterrestrial Life Is Used On Earth For The First Time

Dutch scientists have developed an instrument capable of detecting the presence of living plants kilometres away.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Multiverse Predictions for Habitability: Number of Habitable Planets

Multiverse Predictions for Habitability: Number of Habitable Planets

How good is our universe at making habitable planets? The answer to this depends on which factors are important for life: Does a planet need to be Earth mass? Does it need to be inside the temperate zone?

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

Searching for Biosignatures in Exoplanetary Impact Ejecta

Searching for Biosignatures in Exoplanetary Impact Ejecta

With the number of confirmed rocky exoplanets increasing steadily, their characterisation and the search for exoplanetary biospheres is becoming an increasingly urgent issue in astrobiology.

Planetary Protection

A New Level 3 Biosafety and Astrobiology Laboratory in Pieve a Nievole (PT)

A New Level 3 Biosafety and Astrobiology Laboratory in Pieve a Nievole (PT)

We report our proposal for the establishment of a biocontainment and astrobiology laboratory in a strategic area of Pieve a Nievole (PT) at 28 mt above sea level - to face the lack of biological and astrobiological research centers and all the social, economic and cultural consequences that this project implicate.

Astrochemistry

Interstellar ices: a possible scenario for symmetry breaking of extraterrestrial chiral organic molecules of prebiotic interest

Interstellar ices: a possible scenario for symmetry breaking of extraterrestrial chiral organic molecules of prebiotic interest

In the laboratory, the photo-and thermochemical evolution of ices, made of simple molecules of astrophysical relevance, always leads to the formation of semi-refractory water-soluble organic residues.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets

Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets

We report improved masses, radii, and densities for four planets in two bright M-dwarf systems, K2-3 and GJ3470, derived from a combination of new radial velocity and transit observations. Supplementing K2 photometry with follow-up Spitzer transit observations refined the transit ephemerides of K2-3 b, c, and d by over a factor of 10.

Titan

Nitrogen-containing Anions and Tholin Growth in Titan's Ionosphere: Implications for Cassini CAPS-ELS Observations

Nitrogen-containing Anions and Tholin Growth in Titan's Ionosphere: Implications for Cassini CAPS-ELS Observations

The Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) Electron Spectrometer (ELS) instrument onboard Cassini revealed an unexpected abundance of negative ions above 950 km in Titan's ionosphere.

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