astrobiology

“Goldilocks” Stars May Be “Just Right” for Finding Habitable Worlds

“Goldilocks” Stars May Be “Just Right” for Finding Habitable Worlds

Scientists looking for signs of life beyond our solar system face major challenges, one of which is that there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone to consider. To narrow the search, they must figure out: What kinds of stars are most likely to host habitable planets?

Will We Know Life When We See It? NASA-led Group Takes Stock of the Science

Will We Know Life When We See It? NASA-led Group Takes Stock of the Science

In the last decade we have discovered thousands of planets outside our solar system and have learned that rocky, temperate worlds are numerous in our galaxy. The next step will involve asking even bigger questions. Could some of these planets host life? And if so, will we be able to recognize life elsewhere if we see it?

We Shouldn’t Worry About Contaminating Mars With Earth Microbes

We Shouldn’t Worry About Contaminating Mars With Earth Microbes

There may be no bigger question than whether we are alone in our solar system. As our spacecraft find new clues about the presence of liquid water now or in the past on Mars, the possibility of some kind of life there looks more likely. On Earth, water means life, and that’s why the exploration of Mars is guided by the idea of following the water.

Some earth life is ready to live on Mars, right now

Some earth life is ready to live on Mars, right now

For some time, scientists have suspected that life may have existed on Mars in the deep past. Owing to the presence of a thicker atmosphere and liquid water on its surface, it is entirely possible that the simplest of organisms might have begun to evolve there. And for those looking to make Mars a home for humanity someday, it is hoped that these conditions (i.e favorable to life) could be recreated again someday.

If we are to find life beyond Earth, we need to be explorers, not hunters

If we are to find life beyond Earth, we need to be explorers, not hunters

The news that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is to receive increased funding and data through the $100m (£64m) Breakthrough Listen project is welcome news for astrobiologists like myself. Launched by Stephen Hawking, it particularly helps to allay growing concerns in the field about having too narrow a focus in our search for life in the universe.