Europa’s fabled ocean has inspired science fiction movies and actual space missions alike — and yet we aren’t even sure it exists. NASA has gotten so curious, it recently greenlit a mission to Europa that’ll hopefully settle the matter once and for all. And the space agency has just produced an excellent video… »
It’s generally assumed that we will eventually find signs of life in the galaxy. But rarely do we consider searching for advanced civilizations that have destroyed themselves. Here’s how we could do it—and what the search for dead aliens could tell us about our own future. »
Curious about how life got started on Earth 3.8 billion years ago? Here’s a thought: Why not recreate ancient hydrothermal vents in the lab, and see if they produce enough juice to power a lightbulb? That, at least, is what a bunch of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab decided to do—and the electrifying results are… »
Last week, a slew of scientific papers told the story of comet lander Philae’s bumpy touchdown, comet 67P’s surprisingly fluffy surface, and — most exciting — the discovery of life’s building blocks there. We haven’t found life. But we may have found part of life’s origin story, buried on this icy rock.
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? »
Given the vastness of space, it may only be a matter of time before we make contact with intelligent extraterrestrials. But how might an alien civilization react to such a monumental meet-and-greet, and can we possibly know their intentions? Here’s what we might expect. »
When we think “ancient Mars,” we often picture roaring rivers, warm oceans, and if we’re being optimistic, perhaps some simple life forms. But it’s also possible the Mars of eons past was not a water-covered paradise at all. It may, in fact, have resembled a giant, dirty snowball. »
Twenty years ago, discovering another Earth sounded like a science fictional dream. But within a generation, astronomers now believe we might do just that. »
SimEarth was right about one thing. The best way to wet up a planet? Hurl a bunch of icy asteroids at it. »
The number of exoplanets that might harbor alien life grows every year. But now, astronomers now think we can check one of science fiction’s most beloved staples off the list: Tau Ceti. »
A pioneering infrared scan of 100,000 galaxies by Penn State astronomers has failed to detect any signs of galaxy-spanning extraterrestrial supercivilizations. This result, though very preliminary, may be a sign that aliens aren't capable of conquering entire galaxies. »
Four hundred and fifty five light years away sits a newborn star that bears striking resemblance to our Sun. It’s awash in a sea of complex organic molecules which could, one day, coalesce to form proteins, nucleic acids, even life itself.
Volcanoes are often painted as harbingers of destruction—and for good reason. But sometimes, they can help life survive, by feeding energy-starved ecosystems elemental carbon. »
By studying the subtle shifts of aurorae on Ganymede, scientists working with the Hubble Space Telescope have concluded that Jupiter's largest moon hosts a massive subterranean ocean. Quite suddenly, the outer reaches of our solar system appear to be a very wet place, indeed. »
Move over Europa, there's another moon out to claim the title of first place we'll discover extraterrestrial life. New research from Cornell University finds that alien microbes could, just maybe, eek it out on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. But these critters wouldn't be like anything we've ever seen before—not even… »
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. »