Earth’s atmosphere is leaking and NASA is sending rockets to understand how

Earth’s atmosphere is leaking: around 90 tonnes of material escapes and streams out into space from our planet’s upper atmosphere every single day. To understand this escape, NASA launches rockets into space. The space agency also sends scientists to a tiny Arctic town named Ny-Ålesund (English: New Alesund) on the island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard, …

Habitable Zone explained by astrophysicist

Elizabeth Tasker (@girlandkat on Twitter), the UK astrophysicist working at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the author of the popular science book “The Planet Factory” (see notes 1) says “the habitable zone is the worst name ever in the history of naming anything” in her perfect doodly she published on Twitter.

Are we alone in the Universe? Probably. Like the others.

Are we alone in the Universe? The American cartoonist Matthew Inman published a brilliant comic titled “The Oracle” on his website “The Oatmeal”. Inman’s comic gives the most probable answer (IMHO) to Fermi Paradox, which can be summarized in these three words – “Where is everybody”.

Where are the aliens? How a silent cosmos led humans to fear the worst [a brief history]

It is 1950 and a group of scientists are walking to lunch against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. They are about to have a conversation that will become a scientific legend. The scientists are at the Los Alamos Ranch School, the site for the Manhattan Project, where each of the group has lately …

In space, there really might be no place like home

Few topics in science command as much attention as the discovery of extrasolar planets – those as-yet-unseen worlds, light years beyond our own Sun. In the quest to learn whether we are alone in the cosmos, astronomers are teasing out subtle wobbles and periodic dimmings of distant stars: telltale signs that a planet, much too …

8 Things that make Life on Earth Possible

Earth, our blue planet is a tiny oasis in a vast, cold, and dark space. It is the only planet we know of that can support life. The fossil record tells us that life on Earth has lasted at least 3.5 billion years (the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old), with the oldest physical …

Moon Plants: Another historic first by China’s Lunar Lander

Scientists from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) have confirmed that the seedlings taken to the far side of the moon with Chang’e 4 lunar lander have started sprouting. Or to put it another way: this is the first time something has been grown on an astronomical body outside of the Earth! Now we have …

Proof of life: how would we recognize an alien if we saw one?

What would convince you that aliens existed? The question came up recently at a conference on astrobiology, held at Stanford University in California. Several ideas were tossed around – unusual gases in a planet’s atmosphere, strange heat gradients on its surface. But none felt persuasive. Finally, one scientist offered the solution: a photograph. There was …

To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

From blob-like jellyfish to rock-like lichens, our planet teems with such diversity of life that it is difficult to recognise some organisms as even being alive. That complexity hints at the challenge of searching for life as we don’t know it – the alien biology that might have taken hold on other planets, where conditions …