Ocean Planets on the Brink of Detection

Imagine a world with no land at all, merely the impenetrable depths of a seething ocean. Models of planet formation predict the existence of such worlds, even though our own solar system has none. Indeed, their formation ...

Terrestrial Planet Formation in Binary Star Systems

The list of confirmed extrasolar planets keeps growing, and has now passed two hundred members — almost all of which are gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn. But the hunt is on for Earth-like worlds! With the successful ...

Researchers Study Formation Of Chemical Precursors to Life

In just two years of work, an international research team has discovered eight new complex, biologically-significant molecules in interstellar space using the National Science Foundation's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope ...

Mars' dust storms may produce peroxide snow

The planet-wide dust storms that periodically cloak Mars in a mantle of red may be generating a snow of corrosive chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, that would be toxic to life, according to two new studies published ...

A simple survey yields a cosmic conundrum

A survey of galaxies observed along the sightlines to quasars and gamma-ray bursts--both extremely luminous, distant objects--has revealed a puzzling inconsistency. Galaxies appear to be four times more common in the direction ...

Pre-life molecules present in comets

Evidence of atomic nitrogen in interstellar gas clouds suggests that pre-life molecules may be present in comets, a discovery that gives a clue about the early conditions that gave rise to life, according to researchers from ...

Cassini finds evidence for hydrocarbon lakes on Titan

The Cassini spacecraft, using its radar system, has discovered very strong evidence for hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. Dark patches, which resemble terrestrial lakes, seem to be sprinkled all over the high latitudes surrounding ...

Models show one nearby star system could host Earth-like planet

The steady discovery of giant planets orbiting stars other than our sun has heightened speculation that there could be Earth-type worlds in nearby planetary systems capable of sustaining life. Now researchers running computer ...

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