Insufficient instrument thermo-mechanical stability is one of the many roadblocks for achieving 10cm/s Doppler radial velocity (RV) precision, the precision needed to detect Earth-twins orbiting Solar-type stars.
Origin & Evolution of Life
The UV environment is a key boundary condition for the origin of life. However, considerable uncertainty exists as to planetary conditions and hence surface UV at abiogenesis.
We retrieve vertical and meridional variations of methane mole fraction in Titan's lower troposphere by re-analyzing near-infrared ground-based observations from 17 July 2014 UT (Adamkovics et al., 2016).
The processes that govern the evolution of dust and water (in the form of vapor or ice) in protoplanetary disks are intimately connected. We have developed a model that simulates dust coagulation, dust dynamics (settling, turbulent mixing), vapor diffusion, and condensation/sublimation of volatiles onto grains in a vertical column of a protoplanetary disk.
The prospects for the habitability of M-dwarf planets have long been debated, due to key differences between the unique stellar and planetary environments around these low-mass stars, as compared to hotter, more luminous Sun-like stars.
Biosignatures & Paleobiology
Recognizing whether a planet can support life is a primary goal of future exoplanet spectral characterization missions, but past research on habitability assessment has largely ignored the vastly different conditions that have existed in our planet's long habitable history.
A comet strike may have triggered the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a rapid warming of the Earth caused by an accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide 56 million years ago, which offers analogs to global warming today.
We analyze data from the Quarter 1-17 Data Release 24 (Q1--Q17 DR24) planet candidate catalog from NASA's Kepler mission, specifically comparing systems with single transiting planets to systems with multiple transiting planets, and identify a distinct population of exoplanets with a necessarily distinct system architecture.
Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it's all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements.
The National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) is joining forces with the Breakthrough Initiatives to launch a coordinated search for evidence of intelligent life beyond Earth
Origin & Evolution of Life
The original recipe for gene soup may have been simple -- rain, a jumble of common molecules, warm sunshine, and nighttime cooling. Then add a pinch of thickener.
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