There’s a red dwarf about 35 light-years from here that’s spewing powerful, life crushing solar flares into space. These types of stellar objects are fairly common, leading to speculation that our galaxy is less habitable than we thought. »
Astronomers have discovered a rocky, Earth-sized planet 39 light years from home—right in our cosmic backyard. With a surface temperature of 440 degrees Fahrenheit, GJ 1132b is more of an intergalactic furnace than a vacation prospect. Yet some are hailing it “the most important planet ever found outside our solar… »
“Pale orange haze” conjures up some unpleasant imagery, from chemical warfare to Sriracha plants to 19th century England. But hazy orange days didn’t always go hand-in-hand with hazmat suits. Two and a half billion years ago, a tangerine tinge in the air might have kept you alive. »
A few weeks back, the humans of planet Earth worked themselves into a frenzy over the possibility that the Kepler space telescope had discovered an alien megastructure. Since then, the astronomers behind the hubbub have had their heads down, hunting for the technobabble that might lend credence to the wild theory. »
The Kepler Space Telescope recently picked up unprecedented flickering behavior from a distant star, leading to speculation that—among other things—it might be an alien megastructure. Now, some astronomers are saying it might just be caused by a rapidly spinning and irregularly shaped star.
With NASA’s Kepler mission still turning up cosmic wonders, and a slew of exoplanet-hunting scopes on deck, the chance of finding a second Earth has never seemed higher. And yet, time may be against us when it comes to meeting our squishy galactic brethren: according to a new theoretical study, 92% of Earth-like… »
The ancient Earth was a pretty miserable place. But from this eruptive, radiation-blasted, asteroid-pummeled wasteland, life did arise. Now, scientists have uncovered a tantalizing clue that Earth’s first hardy colonizers appeared much earlier than we thought. »
A strange star located 1,500 light-years from Earth is exhibiting strange flickering behavior that’s leading some scientists to speculate that an alien megastructure is blocking the light. But what would such a structure be exactly and how likely is it that the Kepler space telescope has actually spotted one? »
This week, the internet worked itself into a frenzy over the possibility that we’ve found an alien megastructure. But whether or not there’s a Dyson sphere buried in the Kepler data, the discovery of a strange, flickering star is very interesting. »
On Wednesday, NASA’s Cassini probe made its closest pass yet above the north pole of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, coming within 1,142 miles (1,839 kilometers) of the icy, eruptive satellite. Yesterday, we started to get back images of the encounter — and dang, they are beautiful. »
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:… »
After a weekend of rampant speculation, NASA has confirmed our suspicions: There’s probably liquid water on Mars today. The landmark finding makes the notion of life on the Red Planet all the more plausible. »
Discovering life on another planet, only to contaminate that world with our own pesky microbes, is one of NASA’s nightmare scenarios. To find out whether single-celled Earthlings can hitchhike to Mars and survive on the Red Planet’s surface, NASA is going to see how they like it 120,000 feet up.
Jupiter’s moon Io is an eruptive mystery. Based on scientific models, the tiny Jovian moon’s volcanoes flare up in the “wrong” places. How could that be? Well apparently, our models didn’t account for a massive subsurface ocean of lava. »
If you hopped in the Tardis and traveled back four billion years, you’d find yourself on a hot, miserable wasteland of a planet with nary an oxygen molecule to breathe. Earth used to be an asphyxiating hellscape, but over the eons, tiny green microbes filled the air with oxygen. New research finds they’ve been at it… »