Our search for life beyond Earth is still in its infancy. We’re focused on Mars and, to a lesser extent, ocean moons like Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus. Should we extend our search to cover more unlikely places like molecular clouds?Continue reading “Could Life Exist in Molecular Clouds?”
As our newest, most perceptive eye on the ongoing unfolding of the cosmos, the James Webb Space Telescope is revealing many things that were previously unseeable. One of the space telescope’s science goals is to expand our understanding of how stars form. The JWST has the power to see into the cocoons of gas and dust that hide young protostars.
It peered inside one of these cocoons and showed us that what we thought was a single star is actually a binary star.Continue reading “JWST Reveals a Newly-Forming Double Protostar”
Twenty thousand years ago, a star in the constellation Cygnus went supernova. Like all supernovae, the explosion released a staggering amount of energy. The explosion sent a powerful shockwave into the surrounding space at half a million miles per hour, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
For twenty years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been watching some of the action.Continue reading “Astronomers Have Been Watching a Supernova’s Debris Cloud Expand for Decades with Hubble”
Life might have wiped itself out on early Mars. That’s not as absurd as it sounds; that’s sort of what happened on Earth.
But life on Earth evolved and persisted, while on Mars, it didn’t.Continue reading “Early Life on Mars Might Have Wiped Out Life on Mars”
Where did Earth’s water come from? That’s one of the most compelling questions in the ongoing effort to understand life’s emergence. Earth’s inner solar system location was too hot for water to condense onto the primordial Earth. The prevailing view is that asteroids and comets brought water to Earth from regions of the Solar System beyond the frost line.
But a new study published in the journal Nature Astronomy proposes a further explanation for Earth’s water. As the prevailing view says, some of it could’ve come from asteroids and comets.
But most of the hydrogen was already here, waiting for Earth to form.Continue reading “Water was Already Here Before the Earth Formed”
There are lots of potential uses for a Mars colony. It could be a research outpost, mining colony, or even a possible second home if something happens to go drastically wrong on our first one. But it could also be a potential source of what is sure to be one of the most valuable elements in the space economy – hydrogen.Continue reading “A Mars Colony Could be a Hydrogen Factory, Providing Propellant for the Inner Solar System”
White dwarfs are supposed to be dead remnants of stars, doomed to simply fade away into the background. But new observations show that some are able to maintain some semblance of life by wrapping themselves in a layer of fusing hydrogen.Continue reading “White Dwarfs can Continue Burning Hydrogen, Even After They’re Dead”
We’re waiting patiently for telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope to see first light, and one of the reasons is its ability to study the atmospheres of exoplanets. The idea is to look for biosignatures: things like oxygen and methane. But a new study says that exoplanets with hydrogen in their atmospheres are a good place to seek out alien life.Continue reading “Worlds With Hydrogen in Their Atmospheres Could Be the Perfect Place to Search for Life”
The Sun. It’s a big ball of fire, right? Apparently not. In fact, what’s going on inside of the Sun took us some time and knowledge of physics to finally figure out: stellar fusion. Let’s talk about the different kinds of fusion, and how we’re trying to adapt it to generate power here on Earth.
Visit the Astronomy Cast Page to subscribe to the audio podcast!
If you would like to support Astronomy Cast, please visit our page at Patreon here – https://www.patreon.com/astronomycast. We greatly appreciate your support!
If you would like to join the Weekly Space Hangout Crew, visit their site here and sign up. They’re a great team who can help you join our online discussions!
Want to support CosmoQuest? Here are specific ways you can help:
* Donate! (Streamlabs link) https://streamlabs.com/cosmoquestx
* Buy stuff from our Redbubble https://www.redbubble.com/people/cosmoquestx
* Help us find sponsors by sharing our program and fundraising efforts through your networks
* Become a Patreon of Astronomy Cast https://www.patreon.com/astronomycast
* Sponsor 365 Days of Astronomy http://bit.ly/sponsor365DoA
* A combination of the above!
We have comets and asteroids to thank for Earth’s water, according to the most widely-held theory among scientists. But it’s not that cut-and-dried. It’s still a bit of a mystery, and a new study suggests that not all of Earth’s water was delivered to our planet that way.