Researchers at the University of Washington’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory have devised a new habitability index for judging how suitable alien planets might be for life. The point of the exercise is to help scientists prioritize future targets for close-ups from NASA’s yet-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope… »
Yesterday, NASA reignited our hopes of finding alien life when it announced the first direct evidence of liquid water on Mars. But before we start indulging in fantasies of space crabs and reptilian beings, we ought to remember that Mars is a frigid world with a thin atmosphere. And that raises an obvious question:… »
Last week, the human race met its very first Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star in the habitable zone. Kepler-452b’s discovery was met with resounding excitement, but the news was bittersweet. Because life on this distant world — if it exists at all — could be facing imminent extinction.
Yesterday, NASA’s Kepler team announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet. It may be larger than Earth, but this exoplanet is situated firmly within its star’s habitable zone—and it’s been there for a while. So could it actually sustain life? »
The image you’re looking at is a rare and beautiful event. Every 115 years, Venus crosses our Sun in Earth’s line of sight—twice. And when the most recent crossing took place, scientists used the event to take a peek at Venus’s atmosphere, refining tools that’ll one day help astronomers search distant worlds for signs… »
Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon, is a cold ball encrusted almost entirely in ice. One of its defining features are geyser-like jets of water vapor that shoot out of its surface. But a new analysis suggests those jets are not jets after all, but something odder: curtain eruptions. »
According to exobiologists at NASA, these mysterious shrimp and its symbiotic bacterium may hold clues "about what life could be like on other planetary bodies." It's life that may be similar—at the basic level—to what could be lurking in the oceans of Europa, deep under the icy crust of the Jupiter moon. »
You must watch the entire US Congress' hearing on the search for alien life—it has so many awesome moments. It fills me with hope that at last some people in Washington are truly interested in the greatest discovery that Humanity would ever make. »