A headline-grabbing paper calculated the prevalence of Earth-sized planets with long orbital periods around Sun-like stars. But are these planets anything like Earth?
In search of a good origin story for the building blocks of life, the authors of this paper have set their sights higher. Literally higher, to exoplanets’ skies.
The Mars rover Curiosity found significant traces of water in the martian soil. This indicates the soil contains water, about 2% by weight.
Lots of people said lots of interesting things during the anniversary celebration for Caltech’s planetary science department.
NASA is looking for a new mission for the damaged Kepler space telescope. Here are some ideas.
Astronomers love to ignore magnetic fields. But they may strongly affect the pattern of atmospheric circulation in hot Jupiters.
This paper considers the possibility that Earth could suffer a runaway or moist greenhouse effect, which probably turned Venus into a hellish wasteland long ago.
Mercury’s high density has been a longstanding puzzle in planetary science. Its density means that it must have a significantly higher iron abundance than Venus, Earth, Mars, or the asteroids, probably in the form of a large iron core. NASA’s MESSENGER mission has challenged many of the hypothesized ways to create an iron-rich Mercury; a new hypothesis is required.
The existence of a conducting layer near the core/mantle boundary has profound implications for the operation of a dynamo in rocky exoplanets and for our ability to detect exoplanetary magnetic fields.
Detailed atmospheric models reveal that planets can be habitable much closer to their host star than previously thought, provided they have desert-like climates. This expanded definition of the habitable zone increases the number of planets that could support life by a factor of 2-3.