A new analysis of data from spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet suggests that gigantic calderas lie disguised on the planet’s surface. If the features are volcanoes, they could help explain the mysterious, fine-grain debris that coats Mars.
For 40 years astrobiologists have wrestled with how to make the early Earth warm enough to support life even though the young Sun was at least 30% fainter than it is now. New climate models, powered by supercomputers, are converging on a solution.
The results from the Curiosity rover's first rock-drilling are in: the rock formed in the presence of fairly neutral, not-too-salty water and has a chemical makeup that might have provided energy for microorganisms.
Astronomers had thought that ice on the Saturnian moon's methane-ethane seas would sink. But a new study suggests that, if the right conditions are met, ice could actually float on this alien-Earth world.
NASA's Kepler space observatory is finally achieving its goal of finding many Earth-size exoplanets with surface temperatures suitable for liquid water — and thus potentially habitable.
An international team of scientists has teased apart the secrets hidden inside a meteorite from Mars, including signs that the rock weathered acidic water while on the Red Planet.
Astronomers have detected a simple sugar called glycolaldehyde in the gas around two young stars. The ALMA observations that led to the discovery are impressive, but don’t jump on the “life” bandwagon just yet.
Waves don't grow much — if at all — on Saturn's moon Titan. However, the calm lakes and seas might see some surface wrinkles in a few years when the northern hemisphere's summer arrives.
This week’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union brought together a variety of interesting science results, from water on Mars to the Sun’s effect on the Moon’s surface. Here’s a selection of curiosities for your perusing pleasure.
The hits just keep on coming for NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Today mission scientists announced that they've identified a thousand more candidate planets around other stars. One is Kepler-22 b, a world somewhat larger than Earth where you likely could walk around in shirtsleeve temperatures.
Although funding has eroded for SETI@home and the Allen Telescope Array in the past few years, both alien-hunting projects have survived, thanks to donors and volunteers.
A dash of this and a pinch of that — slow cooked with water inside an asteroid — could have yielded a rich and diverse soup of organic matter. That's the remarkable new finding from careful analysis of the super-primitive Tagish Lake meteorite.
Astronomers have shut down the innovative Allen Telescope Array in northern California — a huge blow to the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
With a little help from neighboring Enceladus, Saturn's big moon Titan might well be cooking up an incredible mix of prebiotic molecules in its upper atmosphere.
It's been 50 years since a young radio astronomer named Frank Drake audaciously attempted, for the first time, to eavesdrop on radio transmissions from alien civilizations.
NASA's new planet-hunting spacecraft, launched seven months ago, has a few noisy detectors that make the stars under study appear to flicker. It's a problem the mission team knew about — and decided not to repair before sending the craft irretrievably into space.
Planetary astronomers had less than a day's notice before asteroid 2008 TC3 crashed into Earth one year ago. But they've made the most of the strange black fragments of it that fell to the ground that day.
Planetary scientists are crazy about Saturn's most active moon but can't agree on what powers the towering plumes gas and particles erupting from near its south pole. New findings, published this week, hint that the water vapor might be slowly evaporating from a salt-laced ocean in deeply buried caverns.
Frank Drake's famous equation helps to quantify our chance of finding ETs or at least to pose the essential questions.
One of Saturn's icy moons has a tummy ache, causing it to spew jets of gas and icy particles hundreds of miles into space. Researchers aren't sure of the cause — but they have some interesting guesses!
High-resolution images from orbit reveal tiny craters — created within the past year — surrounded by splashes of water ice dredged up from just below the Martian surface.
Last year, as a camera aboard the Phoenix lander looked on, drops of supersalty water grew, merged, and even dripped on one of the spacecraft's landing legs.
After a dramatic and flawless liftoff, NASA's newest space observatory is getting ready to observe a tract of Milky May with a single-minded purpose: find as many alien worlds as it can.
Mars, it seems, is not quite dead. A team of observers has found methane in the Red Planet's atmosphere. This finding proves either that Mars has (or once had) life — or that the planet's interior occasionally burps.
Plagued by a technical obstacles that could threaten its success, a $2 billion Mars rover has been postponed two years by NASA officials. The Mars Science Laboratory's new launch date is 2011.