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Tidal Forces Could Squeeze Out Planetary Water
Topic: Alien Life
02/09/12
Alien planets might experience tidal forces powerful enough to remove all their water, leaving behind hot, dry worlds like Venus.

High Planetary Tilt Lowers Odds for Life?
Topic: Alien Life
02/06/12
Highly-tilted worlds would have extreme seasons, subjecting life to alternating periods of scorching and subzero temperatures. This could make the development of all but hardiest, simplest creatures a long shot.

Elements of ExoPlanets
Topic: New Planets
02/02/12
By looking at the wavelengths of light from nearby stars, researchers have determined the abundance of certain elements for more than a hundred stars. Trace elements in such stars may influence their habitable zones, where planets with life might dwell.

Earth’s Cloudy Past Could Reveal Exoplanet Details
Topic: Spaceship Earth
01/23/12
The pattern of clouds on Earth is largely determined by the arrangement of the continents below. Now, astronomers are modeling the clouds at different periods in Earth’s past to better understand what alien worlds might look like.

A Salt-Free Primordial Soup?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
01/19/12
Most scientists who study the origin of life assume that it occurred in the ocean. But a minority view is that ions in seawater may interfere with prebiotic chemistry, making a freshwater environment more likely.

Loss of Planetary Tilt Could Doom Alien Life
Topic: Alien Life
01/12/12
Gravitational interactions between red dwarf stars and habitable planets could erase a world's axial tilt, which moderates global temperatures and creates seasons, before life gets a chance to develop.

Wanted: Habitable Moons
Topic: Alien Life
01/05/12
Rocky moons that orbit gas giant planet and reside in the habitable zone of their star could contain the seeds of life. Thanks to new research, finding those moons just got a little easier.

Tidal Locking Could Render Habitable Planets Inhospitable
Topic: Cosmic Evolution
12/08/11
Planets that are tidally locked, with the same side always facing their sun, could end up with climates that spiral out of control.

SAM I Am
Topic: Mars
12/05/11
When the Mars Science Laboratory rover ‘Curiosity” lands on Mars in August 2012, its SAM instrument will “follow the carbon” to better understand the past and present habitability of our planetary neighbor.

Could Natural Nuclear Reactors Have Boosted Life on This and Other Planets?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
12/01/11
Natural nuclear reactors have arisen on Earth and possibly on other planets. The radiation and energy released by these reactors would have had complex effects on any developing life.
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