Astrobiology

Cassini Spacecraft Confirms Subsurface Ocean on Enceladus

by Nancy Atkinson April 3, 2014

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter Ever since the Cassini spacecraft first spied water vapor and ice spewing from fractures in Enceladus’ frozen surface in 2005, scientists have hypothesized that a large reservoir of water lies beneath that icy surface, possibly fueling the plumes. Now, gravity measurements […]

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New Technique Could Measure Exoplanet Atmospheric Pressure, an Indicator of Habitability

by Shannon Hall March 6, 2014

Measuring the atmospheric pressure of a distant exoplanet may seem like a daunting task but astronomers at the University of Washington have now developed a new technique to do just that. When exoplanet discoveries first started rolling in, astronomers laid emphasis in finding planets within the habitable zone — the band around a star where […]

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Martian Meteorite Could Have Contained Ancient Water And Life, NASA Paper Says

by Elizabeth Howell February 28, 2014

Could this meteorite show evidence of ancient water and life on Mars? That’s one possibility raised in a new paper led by NASA and including members of a team who made a contentious claim about Martian microfossils in another meteorite 18 years ago. “This is no smoking gun,” stated lead author Lauren White, who is based […]

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High Potential for Life Circling Alpha Centauri B, our Nearest Neighbor

by Shannon Hall February 5, 2014

While exoplanets make the news on an almost daily basis, one of the biggest announcements occurred in 2012 when astronomers claimed the discovery of an Earth-like planet circling our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri B, a mere 4.3 light-years away. That’s almost close enough to touch. Of course such a discovery has led to a heated […]

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Prebiotic Molecules May Form in Exoplanet Atmospheres

by Shannon Hall December 24, 2013

Before there was life as we know it, there were molecules. And after many seemingly unlikely steps these molecules underwent a magnificent transition: they became complex systems with the capability to reproduce, pass along information and drive chemical reactions. But the host of steps leading up to this transition has remained one of science’s beloved […]

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