Field Reports

Dale Andersen's Astrobiology Field Report: Axel Heiberg

Dale Andersen's Astrobiology Field Report: Axel Heiberg

I am currently in the high arctic sitting (Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada) in a tent next to the Stolz Diapir spring site at Whitsunday Bay.

Astrochemistry

Vitamin B3 Might Have Been Made in Space, Delivered to Earth by Meteorites

Vitamin B3 Might Have Been Made in Space, Delivered to Earth by Meteorites

Ancient Earth might have had an extraterrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites, according to a new analysis by NASA-funded researchers. The result supports a theory that the origin of life may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Earth-like Habitats in Planetary Systems

Earth-like Habitats in Planetary Systems

Understanding the concept of habitability is related to an evolutionary knowledge of the particular planet-in-question. Additional indications so-called "systemic aspects" of the planetary system as a whole governs a particular planet's claim on habitability.

Extrasolar Planets

Formation, Tidal Evolution and Habitability of the Kepler-186 System

Formation, Tidal Evolution and Habitability of the Kepler-186 System

The Kepler-186 system consists of five planets orbiting an early-M dwarf. The planets have physical radii of 1.0-1.50 R⊕ and orbital periods of 4 to 130 days.

Extrasolar Planets

New Rocky Planet May Have Liquid Water

New Rocky Planet May Have Liquid Water

San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane and an international team of researchers have announced the discovery of a new rocky planet that could potentially have liquid water on its surface.

Extrasolar Planets

Effect of Planetary Illumination on Climate Modelling of Earthlike Exomoons

Effect of Planetary Illumination on Climate Modelling of Earthlike Exomoons

From analytical studies of tidal heating, eclipses and planetary illumination, it is clear that the exomoon habitable zone (EHZ) - the set of moon and host planet orbits that permit liquid water on an Earthlike moon's surface - is a manifold of higher dimension than the planetary HZ.

Mars

Meteorites Yield Clues to Mars' Early Atmosphere

Meteorites Yield Clues to Mars' Early Atmosphere

Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks.

Origin & Evolution of Life

New Study Outlines 'Water World' Theory of Life's Origin

New Study Outlines 'Water World' Theory of Life's Origin

Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?

Extrasolar Planets

Fluctuating Orbital Tilt Does Not Preclude Possibility of Life

Fluctuating Orbital Tilt Does Not Preclude Possibility of Life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, sometimes it helps.

Impact events

Meteorite Impact Craters May Have Hosted Early Life on Earth

Meteorite Impact Craters May Have Hosted Early Life on Earth

A new study from Western University explores the possibility that Earth's earliest life forms may have been cultivated by a meteorite impact event.

Genomics and Cell Biology

Bringing Extinct Plants to Life

Bringing Extinct Plants to Life

Jeff Benca is an admitted ueber-geek when it comes to prehistoric plants, so it was no surprise that, when he submitted a paper describing a new species of long-extinct lycopod for publication, he ditched the standard line drawing and insisted on a detailed and beautifully rendered color reconstruction of the plant. This piece earned the cover of March's centennial issue of the American Journal of Botany.

More top stories from April.