Buried inside ancient grains of rock salt, a team of geologists has discovered traces of a breathable, animal-friendly atmosphere. If confirmed, the finding will push back the rise of oxygen on Earth hundreds of millions of years, raising new questions about the evolution of complex life both here and beyond our solar…
Saturn’s moon Titan is a frigid hellscape by Earth standards, but it’s also one of the most hopeful spots for discovering alien life in our solar system. A new scientific paper hints that conditions on Titan’s surface might be favorable for the chemistry of life to emerge.
Since the 1960s, the Drake Equation has been used to predict how many communicative extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Along these same lines, a new formula seeks to estimate the frequency at which life emerges on a planet—a calculation that might allow us to figure out the likelihood of…
Using some of the world’s most sophisticated telescopes, a pair of astronomers has discovered a first-of-its-kind organic molecule in an enormous star-forming cloud thousands of light years away. And it could shed light on one of most poorly-understood properties of life on Earth.
Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the galaxy. But new research suggests that life within these systems may be limited, due to the stiflingly hot atmospheres on Earth-sized planets that orbit the red dwarfs.
Mars may be a frigid, dusty wasteland today, but evidence is mounting that the Red Planet was warm and wet long ago. Future missions to Mars will seek out signs of life from that livelier era—and a recent geologic analysis has revealed where we should begin our search.
If a massive solar storm struck the Earth today, it could wipe out our technology and hurl us back to the dark ages. Lucky for us, events like this are quite rare. But four billion years ago, extreme space weather was probably the norm. And rather than bringing the apocalypse, it might have kickstarted life.
Remember all that fuss last year about the supposed discovery of an alien megastructure? A new study is taking issue with some of the data used in support of the theory, claiming that the observations were tarnished by the inconsistent use of telescopes down here on Earth.
It looks like the set from a 1950s scifi flick, but this toxic, funhouse-colored hot spring isn’t humanity’s first deadly encounter with alien biology. Although it is home to some very strange life forms, and we’re not sure what would happen if those gloves came off.
In further proof that our planet still has amazing secrets to give up, scientists are reporting evidence of an enormous, never-before-seen subglacial lake, buried beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet. Cthulhu hunters, take note.
The case that we’re all just highly organized lumps of space candy keeps getting better. For the first time, scientists have created ribose—the key sugar underlying RNA—in laboratory conditions simulating the cold, radiation-blasted vacuum of outer space.
NASA gets all the glory when it comes to Martian exploration, but two other space agencies are now hoping to change that. Early next week, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos are launching the first phase of their joint ExoMars mission, a major new scientific effort with an badass goal: discovering signs of life…
A team of astronomers is proposing a new way to hunt for intelligent life that sounds rather obvious when you think about it: We need to be the aliens. Or at least, we need to put ourselves in their shoes and think about where in the sky they can see us.
We have yet to discover a single trace of alien life, despite the extremely high probability that it exists somewhere. This contradiction is popularly known as the Fermi Paradox. A new theory attempts to solve this conundrum by suggesting that habitable planets are quite common in our galaxy, but nascent life gets…
With Pluto millions of miles behind us and construction of the James Webb Space Telescope moving swiftly along, astronomers are already thinking about the Next Big Mission. At the top of their wish list? A forty foot-wide orbital telescope that’ll search for proof of life beyond Earth.
For three decades, humans have searched for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth, and yet we’ve only sampled a tiny drop of our vast cosmic ocean. If we’re ever to find a radio-hot, spacefaring civilization, we need to know where to point our telescopes.
If you thought the Kepler spacecraft’s glory days were over, think again. Today at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers announced a whopping 234 new exoplanet candidates discovered by Kepler in 2014. The best part? All of them are just tens of light years away.
Jupiter, that blustery ball of noxious gas, is probably the last place that comes to mind when you hear the words “life supporting.” But for twenty years, astronomers have suspected Jupiter of doing just that: supporting life on Earth, by shielding us from destructive comets. Now, one scientist is saying that’s dead…
Earlier this year, a scan of 100,000 galaxies showed no signs of alien mega-civilizations, dashing the hopes of those longing for a close encounter of the extra-terrestrial kind. A follow-up analysis of the data suggests it’s even worse than we thought, concluding that advanced galaxy-spanning civilizations don’t…