Biosignatures & Paleobiology

A New Approach to SETI: Targeting Alien Polluters

A New Approach to SETI: Targeting Alien Polluters

Humanity is on the threshold of being able to detect signs of alien life on other worlds. By studying exoplanet atmospheres, we can look for gases like oxygen and methane that only coexist if replenished by life.

Extrasolar Planets

Direct Imaging of Exoplanets in the Habitable Zone with Adaptive Optics

Direct Imaging of Exoplanets in the Habitable Zone with Adaptive Optics

One of the primary goals of exoplanet science is to find and characterize habitable planets, and direct imaging will play a key role in this effort.

Oceanic Research

Oceans Are Vital for Life On Other Planets

Oceans Are Vital for Life On Other Planets

New research published today in the journal Astrobiology shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets.

Extrasolar Planets

Revision of Earth-sized Kepler Planet Candidate Properties with High Resolution Imaging by Hubble Space Telescope

Revision of Earth-sized Kepler Planet Candidate Properties with High Resolution Imaging by Hubble Space Telescope

We present the results of our Hubble Space Telescope program and describe how our image analysis methods were used to re-evaluate the habitability of some of the most interesting Kepler planet candidates.

Mars

Water in the Martian Regolith from OMEGA/Mars Express

Water in the Martian Regolith from OMEGA/Mars Express

Here we discuss one of the current reservoirs of water on Mars, the regolith and rocks exposed at the surface.

Extrasolar Planets

Stellar Activity Masquerading as Planets in the Habitable Zone of the M dwarf Gliese 581

Stellar Activity Masquerading as Planets in the Habitable Zone of the M dwarf Gliese 581

The M dwarf Gliese 581 is believed to host four planets, including one (GJ 581d) near the habitable zone that could possibly support liquid water on its surface if it is a rocky planet.

Europa

NASA Seeks Proposals for Europa Mission Science Instruments

NASA Seeks Proposals for Europa Mission Science Instruments

NASA has issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for proposals about science instruments that could be carried aboard a future mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Selected instruments could address fundamental questions about the icy moon and the search for life beyond Earth.

Astronomy

Effects of Refraction on Transit Transmission Spectroscopy: Application to Earth-like Exoplanets

Effects of Refraction on Transit Transmission Spectroscopy: Application to Earth-like Exoplanets

We quantify the effects of refraction in transit transmission spectroscopy on spectral absorption features and on temporal variations that could be used to obtain altitude-dependent spectra for planets orbiting stars of different stellar types.

Astrochemistry

Water Vapor in the Spectrum of the Extrasolar Planet HD 189733b

Water Vapor in the Spectrum of the Extrasolar Planet HD 189733b

We report near-infrared spectroscopy of the gas giant planet HD 189733b in transit. We used the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 (HST WFC3) with its G141 grism covering 1.1 um to 1.7 um and spatially scanned the image across the detector at 2\arcsecsāˆ’1.

Origin & Evolution of Life

Abiotic Ozone and Oxygen in Atmospheres Similar to Prebiotic Earth

Abiotic Ozone and Oxygen in Atmospheres Similar to Prebiotic Earth

The search for life on planets outside our solar system will use spectroscopic identification of atmospheric biosignatures.

Astrobiology (general)

Leading Space Experts to Discuss the Search for Life Beyond Earth

Leading Space Experts to Discuss the Search for Life Beyond Earth

NASA Television will air a panel discussion of leading science and engineering experts on Monday, July 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EDT, who will describe the scientific and technological roadmap that will lead to the discovery of potentially habitable worlds among the stars.

More top stories from July.