Does a planet need plate tectonics to develop life?

Plate tectonics may be a phase in the evolution of planets that has implications for the habitability of exoplanets, according to new research published this month in the journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.

Distant planet's interior chemistry may differ from our own

As astronomers continue finding new rocky planets around distant stars, high-pressure physicists are considering what the interiors of those planets might be like and how their chemistry could differ from that found on Earth. ...

Peering into giant planets from in and out of this world

Lawrence Livermore scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system.

Probing methane's secrets: From diamonds to Neptune

Hydrocarbons from the Earth make up the oil and gas that heat our homes and fuel our cars. The study of the various phases of molecules formed from carbon and hydrogen under high pressures and temperatures, like those found ...

Magnesium oxide: From Earth to super-Earth

The mantles of Earth and other rocky planets are rich in magnesium and oxygen. Due to its simplicity, the mineral magnesium oxide is a good model for studying the nature of planetary interiors. New work from a team led by ...

Thermal conductivity of argon at high pressures and temperatures

Diamond anvil cells (DACs) are used routinely in laboratories to apply extreme pressure to materials, recreating conditions that normally only occur deep in planetary interiors or during certain industrial manufacturing techniques. ...

Scientists help define structure of exoplanets

Using models similar to those used in weapons research, scientists may soon know more about exoplanets, those objects beyond the realm of our solar system.

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