Planetary Protection

Report: Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

Report: Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes

Protecting Earth's environment and other solar system bodies from harmful contamination has been an important principle throughout the history of space exploration. For decades, the scientific, political, and economic conditions of space exploration converged in ways that contributed to effective development and implementation of planetary protection policies at national and international levels.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

What Recipes Produce a Habitable Planet?

What Recipes Produce a Habitable Planet?

NASA's interdisciplinary Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) project has awarded Rice University $7.7 million for a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research program aimed at finding many different recipes nature might follow to produce rocky planets capable of supporting life.

Astrochemistry

Water in Small Dust Grains Can Explain Large Amounts of Water on Earth

Water in Small Dust Grains Can Explain Large Amounts of Water on Earth

Water trapped in dust grains from which the Earth formed can explain the current large amount of water on Earth.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Modeling the albedo of Earth-like magma ocean planets with H2O-CO2 atmosphere

Modeling the albedo of Earth-like magma ocean planets with H2O-CO2 atmosphere

During accretion, the young rocky planets are so hot that they become endowed with a magma ocean. From that moment, the mantle convective thermal flux control the cooling of the planet and an atmosphere is created by outgassing.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Idealized Wind-driven Ocean Circulations On Exoplanets

Idealized Wind-driven Ocean Circulations On Exoplanets

Motivated by the important role of the ocean in the Earth climate system, here we investigate possible scenarios of ocean circulations on exoplanets using a one-layer shallow water ocean model.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Differences in water vapor radiative transfer among 1D models can significantly affect the inner edge of the habitable zone

Differences in water vapor radiative transfer among 1D models can significantly affect the inner edge of the habitable zone

An accurate estimate of the inner edge of the habitable zone is critical for determining which exoplanets are potentially habitable and for designing future telescopes to observe them.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Direct Imaging in Reflected Light: Characterization of Older, Temperate Exoplanets With 30-m Telescopes

Direct Imaging in Reflected Light: Characterization of Older, Temperate Exoplanets With 30-m Telescopes

Direct detection, also known as direct imaging, is a method for discovering and characterizing the atmospheres of planets at intermediate and wide separations.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Role of Gaseous Giants in the Dynamical Evolution of Terrestrial Planets and Water Delivery in the Habitable Zone

Role of Gaseous Giants in the Dynamical Evolution of Terrestrial Planets and Water Delivery in the Habitable Zone

In the present research, we study the effects of a single giant planet in the dynamical evolution of water-rich embryos and planetesimals, located beyond the snow line of systems around Sun-like stars, in order to determine what kind of terrestrial-like planets could be formed in the habitable zone (hereafter HZ) of these systems.

Habitable Zones & Global Climate

Water Worlds Could Support Life

Water Worlds Could Support Life

The conditions for life surviving on planets entirely covered in water are more fluid than previously thought, opening up the possibility that water worlds could be habitable, according to a new paper from the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Scientists Identify Protein That May Have Existed When Life Began on Earth

Scientists Identify Protein That May Have Existed When Life Began on Earth

How did life arise on Earth? Rutgers researchers have found among the first and perhaps only hard evidence that simple protein catalysts - essential for cells, the building blocks of life, to function - may have existed when life began.

Oceanic Research

Underwater Robots Help NASA Plan Future Deep-Space Missions

Underwater Robots Help NASA Plan Future Deep-Space Missions

An expedition that will help NASA search for life in deep space launched today - not with a rocket's roar, but with a gentle splash into the deep Pacific Ocean.

More top stories from September.