Enceladus, Saturn’s icy moon: a study demonstrates the existence of a key element for life in the outer solar system

Saturn Moon Enceladus With Plume

Saturn’s moon Enceladus with plume. Through cracks in Enceladus’ ice crust, icy cryovolcanic jets erupt into space. Grains of ice are generated by the global ocean beneath the ice sheet several kilometers thick. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Kevin M. Gill Researchers from the Freie Universitt Berlin have discovered phosphorus in the subsurface of the ocean[{” attribute=””>Saturns moon Enceladus. … Read more

Life after death: Astronomers discover a mysterious planet that shouldn’t exist

Death-defying planet illustration

The Jupiter-like planet Halla survived the expansion of its sun Baekdus into a red giant, a process that should have engulfed it, according to astronomers at the University of Hawaii. The surprising survival suggests theories of planetary evolution, including potential origins of binary stars or Halla which is a newly formed second generation planet. Credit: … Read more

What causes bioluminescence in the ocean? Because marine life shines in the summer

Spectators watch bioluminescent plankton light up the shoreline as they bob in the waves at Dockweiler State Beach during the coronavirus outbreak, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Los Angeles, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Although these microscopic organisms are among the smallest in the oceans, their blooms are often visible from space. Phytoplankton are essential for making the planet livable and contribute to the global carbon cycle as key producers of oxygen. The composition of phytoplankton blooms could change over time as sea surface temperatures rise, scientists say. Phytoplankton … Read more

Zircons unlock Earth’s ancient history: Life sprung from a stagnant lid, not plate tectonics

Earth's crust billions of years ago

Plate tectonics involves the horizontal movement and interaction of large plates on the earth’s surface. Shifting plate tectonics, thought to be necessary for the creation of a habitable planet, did not occur on Earth 3.9 billion years ago, new research indicates. Credit: University of Rochester illustration / Michael Osadciw A University of Rochester study using … Read more

Foundation of all known life: Webb telescope detects crucial carbon molecule for first time

Webb Space Telescope Discovery of an Organic Molecule Concept Art

Scientists have detected a new carbon compound, methyl cation, for the first time in space using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. This compound, essential in the formation of complex carbon-based molecules, was found in a young star system in the Orion Nebula. The discovery could improve our understanding of the potential development of life beyond … Read more