Exobiology

By Michael Windelspecht | A look at the search for life beyond Earth.

Jupiter’s moon Europa may host life

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may host life in an ocean of liquid water hidden under its 10 kilometre-deep ice crust, scientists say.<p>Researchers from the …

Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars

New NASA images show layers of ice peeking out of eroded cliffs—a potential boon for future humans on the red planet.<p>At sites across the midsection of Mars, scientists have found layers of water ice buried mere feet beneath the red planet’s surface. The discovery adds crucial detail to Mars’s …

Lake Superior

NASA wants to look for alien life on Saturn's moon with its most advanced machine ever

As scientists have learned more about our solar system, they've realized our best bet for finding life in the neighborhood is buried in ice-covered …

We may have just found 20 habitable worlds

Habitable Worlds<p>Common sense may find it strange that Earth-sized habitable exoplanets are a fairly common phenomenon. However, one study asserts …

Advanced aliens, if they exist, may not look so different from us after all

Nearly every depiction of extraterrestrial life are of green figures with large heads, and bug eyes, that look, well, <i>alien</i>. But new research suggests …

Would Aliens Look Like Us?

The universe is teeming with earth-like planets.<p>In February, three were discovered circling a star, Trappist-1, 40 light years away. Last November, one even closer yet was found — four light years away — orbiting our next-door neighbor, Proxima Centauri. By one estimate, there are as many as 40 …

Paleontology

Mars rover's home crater was a potential hotbed for life

NASA landed the Curiosity rover in Mars' Gale Crater precisely because it promised to be a sort of open book that revealed a lot about the planet's history. Well, scientists have been busy reading... and it looks like the crater had an intriguing past. Two newly published research papers indicate …

An ancient Martian lake could have been teeming with lots of kinds of life

Curiosity keeps delivering<p>Once upon a time on Mars, there was a crater that had a massive lake that may have hosted life. Now researchers are saying that a whole variety of organisms could have flourished there. Sure, that life was probably just microbial, but this is another exciting step toward …

NASA’s Hubble telescope spots potential water plumes on Europa for a second time

NASA made all the announcements today<p>There’s more evidence that plumes of water are erupting from underneath the crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa. NASA announced the findings today at a press conference, at the same time that the agency also announced new clues that Saturn’s moon Enceladus may have …

NASA’s New Mission to Europa Is All About Finding Aliens

On Thursday, NASA announced that a flyby mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, planned for the 2020s, will be called Europa Clipper and it will look for …

Astronomy

Exoplanet Tour: Meet the 7 Earth-Size Planets of TRAPPIST-1

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech<p>Slide 1 of 17<p>TRAPPIST-1: A system full of possibility<p>Astronomers have discovered the first known system to host seven …

Why search for life on Mars begins in Hawaii

At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, researchers will develop new protocols for collecting – and protecting – biological samples.<p>The search for Martian …

National Parks

World's Biggest Alien-Hunting Project Takes Aim At Mysterious Star

If there's a megastructure around Tabby's Star, this is our best shot at hearing the aliens that built it<p>Even as they acknowledge that it's not likely, legitimate scientists are speculating about the possibility of alien life around a star named KIC 8462852 (a.k.a. "Tabby's Star"). Today they're …

Telescopes

Everything We Know About Our Neighbor Proxima b

A potentially habitable world only 4.2 light years away<p>This summer, scientists announced that they had discovered an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting our sun's nearest neighbor: Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star 4.2 light years away. The exoplanet, Proxima b, is located in its star's habitable zone, …

Universe

If Europa Has Life, This Scientist Will Help Find It

Astrobiologist Kevin Hand's search for life on other planets is centered on one of Jupiter's ice moons.<p>The potential for life on other planets has vexed scientists for ions. For astrobiologist Kevin Hand, it's an obsession that began when he was a sci-fi-crazed kid and is likely to consume him well …

Astronomy

Scientists Say Data From NASA's 1976 Mars Landing Need to Be Reconsidered For Signs of Life

"We cannot rule out the biological explanation."<p>Scientists have revisited data from NASA's 1976 mission to Mars, and say the recent evidence of …

What missing lander means for Europe’s quest to find life on Mars

Researchers at the European Space Operations’ Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, had another one of those nervous days – waiting to hear first from a …

World's Biggest Radio Telescope Joins The Search For Alien Life

China's 'FAST' telescope lends an ear to Yuri Milner's Breakthrough Listen project<p>Scientists searching for extraterrestrial life have added a big ear to their arsenal. This week, the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) announced they'll be joining Breakthrough Listen Initiative, a …

Paranormal

Jupiter's Moon Europa May Be Venting Water Plumes, NASA Says

The discovery could hasten the search for alien life.<p>Plumes of water vapor appear to be escaping from the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa, scientists announced today in a dramatic news briefing held by NASA.<p>Evidence of the plumes is visible in recent observations made by the Hubble Space …

Astronomy

Newly Found Ancient Fossils Show Possibilities For Finding Martian Life

Fossilized remains are a fascinating thing. For paleontologists, these natural relics offer a glimpse into the past and a chance to understand what …

Earth Science

'Alien' Signal Source Reportedly Located (It Wasn't The Vulcans)

If it were a phone call, we might call it a butt dial: A strong radio signal that set off questions about whether it emanated from an advanced alien race earlier this week is now believed to have come from a terrestrial source, and possibly from a Russian military satellite.<p>The clarification came …

Russian Military

A Call From Outer Space, or a Cosmic Wrong Number?

It’s probably just a piece of cosmic spam, the astrophysical equivalent of butt dialing. But nobody really knows for sure.<p>The attention of the world’s astronomers has been riveted these last few days on a star in the constellation Hercules, wondering if the end of humanity’s cosmic loneliness was …

Paranormal

'Wow!' Again? SETI Mystery Signal Could Long Puzzle Astronomers

A recently detected SETI signal could end up being this generation's version of the famous "Wow!" signal of 1977: an intriguing mystery that keeps …

Aliens

A Strong Signal From A Neighboring Solar System Has E.T. Seekers Speculating

Could this transmission come from intelligent life?<p>Is someone trying to phone home? Astronomers at the SETI institute have detected "a strong signal" in the direction of HD164595, a star 95 light years from Earth. At least one Neptune-sized planet orbits this star.<p>It was observed by the RATAN-600 …

Aliens

Earth-sized planet around nearby star is astronomy dream come true

Planet orbiting Proxima Centauri is likely to be the focus of future interstellar voyages.<p>Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun, has an …

Are We The Earliest Intelligent Life In The Universe?

The study of the formation and logic of the universe — cosmology — and the study of exoplanets and their conduciveness to life do not seem to intersect much.<p>Scientists in one field focus on the deep physics of the cosmos, while the others search for the billions upon billions of planets out there — …

Astronomy

Fossilized rivers suggest warm, wet ancient Mars

Extensive systems of fossilised riverbeds have been discovered on an ancient region of the Martian surface, supporting the idea that the now cold and …

Mars

Looking for Life on Saturn's Moon Enceladus: Send a Flyby or Lander?

BOULDER, Colo. — NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn has transformed scientists' understanding of the ringed planet and its retinue of icy moons.<p>For …