Earth can be a model for detecting vegetation on exoplanets

Back in December 1990, during its flyby of Earth, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies, pointed its instruments towards Earth, at the urging of Carl Sagan. And, it has found evidence of life on our planet. This can be a key to detecting …

Life on the Moon? New study suggests there was a habitability window 4 billion years ago

The Moon is completely uninhabitable and lifeless today – a dusty, dry rock. It has no atmosphere, there is no liquid water on the surface, and, maybe most important, it has no magnetosphere to protect its surface from solar wind and cosmic radiation. But, according to a new study published in Astrobiology, it may have looked …

We May Have Already Detected Signs of Alien Microbes on Saturn’s Moon Enceladus

According to a new study, microbes like those found in Earth’s deep ocean could potentially thrive in the underground ocean of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Both molecular hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) already have been detected in the plume. Researchers have shown that Methanothermococcus okinawensis, a methanogenic archaeon first isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent …

The oldest fossils suggest that life should be common in the Universe

Are we alone in the Universe? Or do any other life forms exist out there? A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS, see notes 1) suggests that life emerged so early on Earth, so it should be widespread. In other words, the …

How to tell if a planet harbors life?

Are we alone in the universe? Or are there any other “living planets” other than Earth? How to tell if a planet harbors life? Until 1992, we even don’t know if there are any other planets around the other stars or not. In 1992, two Swiss astrophysicists, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz the first “exoplanet” …

Kepler-452b

NASA’s space observatory Kepler may have discovered a possibly Earth-like planet, named Kepler-452b, a rocky world orbiting a Sun-like star at almost the exact same distance Earth orbits our own Sun. “The new Earth” is located 1,400 light-years from us. It orbits a Sun-like star that is 4% more massive and 10% brighter than our …

Are we alone in the Universe? Now is the time to find out (open letter)

Are we alone in the Universe? Some of the greatest thinkers in the world are about to try to answer this, which is one of the biggest questions ever asked. A group of scientists, astronauts, cosmonauts, scholars, Nobel Prize laureates, and chess world champions is creating a $100 million project called Breakthrough Life in the …