Astrobiology (general)

Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) Coverage

Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) Coverage

Keith's note: This coming week I will be at the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon). I will be tweeting about the meeting from @NASAWatch and @Astrobiology and posting updates at astrobiology.com. AbSciCon Sessions will be streamed live at http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/livestream

Astrobiology (general)

Breakthrough Discuss Conference Closes with Full Day Dedicated to Newly Discovered Exoplanets and SETI

Breakthrough Discuss Conference Closes with Full Day Dedicated to Newly Discovered Exoplanets and SETI

Day Two of Breakthrough Discuss opened with Michaƫl Gillon describing the discovery of TRAPPIST-1, which has seven temperate planets, including three in the habitable zone.

Astrobiology (general)

Breakthrough Discuss Opens with Lively Sessions Dedicated to the Search for Planets and Life in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

Breakthrough Discuss Opens with Lively Sessions Dedicated to the Search for Planets and Life in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

The first day of Breakthrough Discuss 2017 explored planets around nearby stars and their potential for life. Charles Alcock opened the conference with the statement that, "The far-fetched ideas of today are the discoveries of tomorrow," and Peter Michelson emphasized that the last century of scientific investigation has transformed questions about origins from the realm of metaphysics to a place where they can be investigated observationally.

Extrasolar Planets

The O2 A-band in Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-like Exoplanets

The O2 A-band in Fluxes and Polarization of Starlight Reflected by Earth-like Exoplanets

Earth-like, potentially habitable exoplanets are prime targets in the search for extraterrestrial life. Information about their atmosphere and surface can be derived by analyzing light of the parent star reflected by the planet.

Biosignatures & Paleobiology

NIR-Driven Moist Upper Atmospheres of Synchronously Rotating Temperate Terrestrial Exoplanets

NIR-Driven Moist Upper Atmospheres of Synchronously Rotating Temperate Terrestrial Exoplanets

H2O is a key molecule in characterizing atmospheres of temperate terrestrial planets, and observations of transmission spectra are expected to play a primary role in detecting its signatures in the near future.

Analog Studies

Detecting Life in the Driest Place on Earth

Detecting Life in the Driest Place on Earth

Few places are as hostile to life as Chile's Atacama Desert. It's the driest place on Earth, and only the hardiest microbes survive there. Its rocky landscape has lain undisturbed for eons, exposed to extreme temperatures and radiation from the sun.

Proxima Centauri b

Cosmic Rays Near Proxima Centauri b

Cosmic Rays Near Proxima Centauri b

Cosmic rays are an important factor of space weather determining radiation conditions near the Earth and it seems to be essential to clarify radiation conditions near extrasolar planets too. Last year a terrestrial planet candidate was discovered in an orbit around Proxima Centauri.

Astrobiology (general)

Breakthrough Listen Initiative Publishes Initial Results

Breakthrough Listen Initiative Publishes Initial Results

Breakthrough Listen - the initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe - has released its 11 events ranked highest for significance as well as summary data analysis results.

Proxima Centauri b

Breakthrough Initiatives Summit on Life in the Universe and Space Exploration

Breakthrough Initiatives Summit on Life in the Universe and Space Exploration

Breakthrough Initiatives today announced its second annual Breakthrough Discuss scientific conference, which will bring together leading astronomers, engineers, astrobiologists and astrophysicists to advance discussion surrounding recent discoveries of potentially habitable planets in nearby star systems. The conference will take place on Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21, at Stanford University and will be webcast live.

Extrasolar Planets

Making Terrestrial Planets: High Temperatures, FU Orionis Outbursts, Earth, and Planetary System Architectures

Making Terrestrial Planets: High Temperatures, FU Orionis Outbursts, Earth, and Planetary System Architectures

Current protoplanetary dust coagulation theory does not predict dry silicate planetesimals, in tension with the Earth. While remedies to this predicament have been proposed, they have generally failed numerical studies, or are in tension with the Earth's (low, volatility dependent) volatile and moderately volatile elemental abundances.

Extrasolar Planets

A Temperate Rocky Super-Earth Transiting a Nearby Cool Star

A Temperate Rocky Super-Earth Transiting a Nearby Cool Star

M dwarf stars, which have masses less than 60 per cent that of the Sun, make up 75 per cent of the population of the stars in the Galaxy [1]. The atmospheres of orbiting Earth-sized planets are observationally accessible via transmission spectroscopy when the planets pass in front of these stars [2,3].

More top stories from April.