Daily Archives: September 15, 2011

  • Pale Beige Dot

    “Follow the water” has been the mantra in the search for habitable worlds for a long time. Searching for signs of ancient water was the primary goal of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission. Europa’s suspected subsurface ocean leads some to wonder if it could harbor microbial life. In searching for life beyond our Solar System, there is great interest in “ocean planets” that could have vast surface seas.

    Now, researchers suggest that inhabited desert planets – like the fictional Arrakis from the novel Dune, or Tattooine from Star Wars

  • Mars as the Abode of Life

    This is the first in a series on the history of our understanding of Mars.

    Is Mars Habitable?

    At the start of the twentieth century, Percival Lowell was making observations of Mars and writing books claiming that the red planet harbored an intelligent civilization. The last in this series is where I got the title of this post: “Mars as the Abode of Life.” This was the most thorough of Lowell’s publications on the subject, and included arguments as to how Mars became habitable and why Lowell thought it was inhabited. He presented a compelling vision, that of a civilization working against

  • Earth 2.0?

    A new study suggests that a rocky planet orbiting a star 36 light years away – not far at all by cosmic standards – could be habitable. This world is about 3.6 times more massive than the Earth and sits within the “habitable zone” of its sun. Pretty neat finding by Lisa Kaltenegger and colleagues.