Astrobiology

Astrobiology is the study of life’s origins and how extraterrestrial life might develop on other planets in and beyond our solar system. These news stories will introduce you to all the various aspects of astrobiology. We cover everything from the chances of finding bacteria on Mars or in the subsurface oceans of Europa and Titan, to the characterization of habitable exoplanets, to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) such as signals from advanced civilizations that might be broadcasting their existence. This field of study has no extraterrestrial subjects – yet! – but that’s not stopping researchers from investigating what kinds of alien life might be possible.

Identifying Life from Varying Atmospheres

There’s no hiding — changes in Earth’s atmosphere over the seasons are a dead giveaway to the fact that Earth hosts life. Now a new study explores whether we might use atmospheric seasonality like Earth’s to detect life on other planets. Looking for Change Most of the searches for life beyond our planet focus on…

A Chaotic Planet-Forming Disk

A new map of Beta Pictoris reveals an asymmetric clump of carbon monoxide likely produced in cometary collisions. It provides a rare glimpse at the chaotic birth of a planetary system.