Feature Stories

  • A new model could indicate whether an exoplanet has a light but extended atmosphere, or a relatively thin and heavy atmosphere. This knowledge could help refine the targets in the search for planets like Earth capable of sustaining life.
    more...
  • When NASA's Dawn mission investigates the potentially icy dwarf planet Ceres, it may find more than originally expected. The closest frozen body to Earth, Ceres may be as promising when it comes to hosting life than the more distant moons of the gas giants.
    more...
  • Previous studies suggested that planets in the habitable zone of red dwarfs should be dry, but more recent work refreshes the possibility of water on these distant worlds.
    more...
  • In 2006, a multinational crew of scientists discovered methane seeps in the Pacific that were unlike seeps seen anywhere else. The sites support a unique food web dominated by worms that feed on methane-filtering microbes.
    more...
  • From a solid icy Earth to a slushy planet, scientists’ understanding of the most dramatic ice ages have evolved over two decades.
    more...
  • In a discovery that further demonstrates just how unexpected and unusual nature can be, scientists have found two strains of bacteria whose symbiotic relationship is unlike anything seen before.
    more...
  • Prior attempts to look for alien laser signals concentrated on isolated and intense bursts of light. Now scientists are focusing on repetitive but much fainter laser signals received over a longer amount of time.
    more...
  • Future life-seeking missions on other worlds may be in for a tough time if all evidence of past or present life is below the surface. In a talk at given for the STScI Astrobiology Lecture Series, Jan Amend discussed how his team is taking
    more...
  • A new study takes a deeper look into the fate of water on Earth-like planets that orbit red dwarf stars. Many of these exoplanets quickly become "tidally locked," with one side always facing their reddish star while the other side freezes in permanent night.
    more...
  • By monitoring the color changes in the ocean, such as those caused by photosynthetic pigments in phytoplankton, scientists learn more about the overall health and functioning of our planet. Such studies also could help future missions better observe and understand alien oceans.
    more...