New data from three NASA missions show that the heliosphere -- the bubble of the Sun's magnetic influence that surrounds the inner solar system -- may be much more compact and rounded than previously thought.
Extraterrestrial life, if it exists, could use different amino acid building blocks than living things here on Earth. To better understand what alien life might look like, researchers are studying which amino acids stand up to the types of extreme conditions found on other planets and moons.
For a planetary surface to boast extensive areas of both land and water, a delicate balance must be struck between the volume of water it retains and the capacity of its oceanic basins. Each of these two quantities may vary substantially across the full spectrum of water-bearing worlds. Why the Earth's values are so well balanced is an unresolved and long-standing conundrum.
An exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth may be the new holder of the title 'best place to look for signs of life beyond the solar system.' Using ESO's HARPS instrument, and other telescopes, astronomers discovered a 'super-Earth' orbiting in the habitable zone around the star LHS 1140. This world is larger and more massive than the Earth and has likely retained most of its atmosphere. This makes it one of the most exciting targets for atmospheric studies.
If an asteroid struck Earth, which of its effects -- scorching heat, flying debris, towering tsunamis -- would claim the most lives? A new study has the answer: violent winds and shock waves are the most dangerous effects produced by Earth-impacting asteroids.
Researchers have identified a new mineral in the oldest solar system solids from primitive meteorites. They've named it "rubinite" after Dr. Alan E. Rubin, a pioneering cosmochemist at University of California, Los Angeles. Rubinite was officially approved in March 2017 by the International Mineralogical Association.
Massive landslides, similar to those found on Earth, are occurring on the asteroid Ceres. That's according to a new study adding to the growing evidence that Ceres retains a significant amount of water ice.
Scientists hope to take advantage of LISA Pathfinder's record-breaking sensitivity to acceleration to map out the distribution of tiny dust particles shed by asteroids and comets far from Earth.
Experiments conducted high in the skies over New Mexico suggest that balloon-borne sensors could be useful in detecting the infrasound signals generated by small, extraterrestrial debris entering Earth's atmosphere.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have revealed extraordinary details about a recently discovered far-flung member of our solar system, the planetary body 2014 UZ224, more informally known as DeeDee.
By examining the atomic carbon line from two young star systems -- 49 Ceti and Beta Pictoris -- researchers had found atomic carbon in the disk, the first time this observation has been made at sub-millimeter wavelength, hinting that the gas in debris disks is not primordial, but rather is generated from some process of collisions taking place in the debris disk.
Images taken by NASA's New Horizons mission on its way to Pluto, and now the Kuiper Belt, have given scientists an unexpected tool for measuring the brightness of all the galaxies in the universe.
A Great Cold Spot comparable in scale to Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot (24,000 km west-east and 12,000 km north-south) has been found on the planet. The phenomenon, only recently observed, may have existed for thousands of years, however, this is the first direct evidence of a sustained weather system generated by polar aurorae and opens possibility on other planets.
Mars has electrically charged metal atoms (ions) high in its atmosphere, according to new results. The metal ions can reveal previously invisible activity in the mysterious electrically charged upper atmosphere (ionosphere) of Mars.
Using a giant galaxy cluster as a cosmic-scale lens, astronomers have discovered a galaxy from the early universe that they think is 'typical' of its time. This could help astronomers better understand the Epoch of Reionization when the first galaxies appeared.
What chemical processes in space could have created the building blocks of life is being researched by chemists. In their experiments, the scientists are simulating the conditions in space to understand in detail how certain chemical reactions occur.
Astronomers have detected an atmosphere on another Earth-like planet. This marks the first detection of an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet other than Earth itself, and thus is a significant step on the path towards the detection of life outside our Solar System.
On April 3, 2017, as Jupiter made its nearest approach to Earth in a year, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope viewed the solar system's largest planet in all of its up-close glory.
A major discovery has been made on the formation of icy bodies within the Kuiper Belt, unlocking unique evidence that Neptune's movement during early planet formation was a 'smooth and calm' journey.
New research has uncovered a mechanism, similar to one that occurs on Earth, which may allow new insights into forecasting space weather and activity on the sun.