Latest Planetary habitability Stories
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Astronomers looking for extraterrestrial life now have a short list of places to point their telescopes.
Common wisdom among astronomers holds that most star systems in the Milky Way are multiple, consisting of two or more stars in orbit around each other. Common wisdom is wrong. This means planets may be more common than previously suspected.
Tiny zircon crystals dug up from ancient Australian deposits appear to have been formed right after the birth of the planet -- a finding that suggests that early on, Earth had a cool crust much like today's that could have harbored life, scientists said on Thursday.
A surprising new study by an international team of researchers has concluded Earth's continents most likely were in place soon after the planet was formed, overturning a long-held theory that the early planet was either moon-like or dominated by oceans.
More than half the stars in our galaxy are small, dim M dwarfs. Until recently, scientists believed these stars put out too little light to support life on any planets that orbited them. Now, that opinion has changed.
With this essay by Steven Soter, Astrobiology Magazine presents the first in our series of 'Gedanken', or thought, experiments - musings by noted scientists on scientific mysteries in a series of "what if" scenarios.
M-dwarf stars, much smaller, dimmer and cooler than stars like our sun, are by far the most common type of star in our galaxy. Yet scientists searching for life on other worlds have not shown much interest in M dwarfs. That's about to change.
Recent research argues that an atmosphere rich in oxygen is the most likely source of energy for complex life to exist anywhere in the Universe, thereby limiting the number of places life may exist.
Bernard Foing, Chief Scientist for the European Space Agency, provides on overview of the most notable discoveries made during the Mars Express mission, Europe's first trip to the Red Planet. In part two of this overview, Foing looks at how these discoveries could help pinpoint the prospects for life on Mars.
Looking for biosignatures that would be characteristic of intelligent life is not always about extrapolating the most intelligent things a species might be doing. For instance, would one look for pollutants in the atmosphere? Carnegie Institutions' Maggie Turnbull answers that and other questions from colleagues following her lecture, "Remote Sensing of Life and Habitable Worlds".
Image Caption: Artistic concept of a planetary system. Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/JPL-Caltech The term Astronomy encompasses a broad range of topics, including the study of stars, galaxies, and planets. In order to focus on the different areas of study, many subfields of astronomy emerge. One such area is the study of planets known, appropriately, as Planetary Astronomy. Observational Planetary Astronomy Even within the field of Planetary Astronomy, there are several divisions to...
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