Latest Planetary habitability Stories

2006-01-30 09:25:00

Cambridge, MA -- 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. A new study by Charles Lada of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) demonstrates that most star systems are made up of single stars. Since planets probably are easier to form around single stars, planets also may be more common than previously suspected. Astronomers have long known...

2005-11-17 18:40:00

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent WASHINGTON -- 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. Most remnants of the very early crust, formed more than 4 billion years ago, are gone -- recycled as part of the steady ongoing process known as plate tectonics. But...

2005-11-17 17:23:10

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. The team came to the conclusion following an analysis of a rare metal element known as hafnium in ancient minerals from the Jack Hills in Western Australia, thought to be among the oldest rocks on Earth. Hafnium is found in association with...

2005-11-17 07:25:00

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. But at a recent workshop held at the SETI Institute, a multidisciplinary group of researchers concluded not only that M dwarfs might host habitable planets, but that they might also be good targets in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Astrobiology Magazine -- Scientists have been searching...

2005-10-19 07:03:44

Astrobiology Magazine -- 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. Gedanken experiments, which have been used for hundreds of years by scientists and philosophers to ponder thorny problems, rely on the power of one's imagination to project these scenarios to logical conclusions. They do not involve lab equipment or,...

2005-08-29 13:25:54

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. Astrobiology Magazine -- When you look up at the night sky, none of the stars you see are M dwarfs. These diminutive stars, much smaller and dimmer than our own sun aren't bright enough to see with the naked eye. Yet M dwarfs (also known as red dwarfs)...

2005-06-20 23:07:41

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. Professor David Catling at Bristol University, along with colleagues at the University of Washington and NASA, contend that significant oxygen in the air and oceans is essential for the evolution of multicellular organisms, and that on Earth the time required for oxygen levels to reach a point...

2005-05-04 07:50:00

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. Astrobiology Magazine -- The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft has been orbiting Mars for over a year. While the high resolution images of the planet's many craters,...

2005-04-28 07:25:00

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". Astrobiology Magazine -- Maggie Turnbull, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution, has spent many years...

2005-04-21 12:09:54

Of the 500 scientifically interesting stars within 30 light-years, how many habitable zones will astronomers be able to image? If there's a planet in those habitable zones, how detectable will that planet be? Carnegie's Maggie Turnbull presented a talk, "Remote Sensing of Life and Habitable Worlds: Habstars, Earthshine and TPF," at a NASA Forum for Astrobiology Research on March 14, 2005. This edited transcript of the lecture is part three of a four-part series. Astrobiology Magazine -- From...

Latest Planetary habitability Reference Libraries

Planetary Astronomy
2014-01-12 00:00:00

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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Word of the Day
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'