News About Extra Solar Planets
May 24, 2017
NASA Scientist Parlays Experience to Build Ocean Worlds Instrument
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 24, 2017
An instrument originally developed to search for organic molecules on Mars is being repurposed to potentially hunt for life on a handful of moons in the outer solar system that appear to host oceans, geysers and vents of ice volcanoes. Will Brinckerhoff, a NASA scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, helped build a mass spectrometer for the European Space Agency's 2020 ExoMars Rover mission. He then leveraged the same model to create an even more capable instrument for ... read more

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Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object
There's something new to look for in the heavens, and it's called a "synestia," according to planetary scientists Simon Lock at Harvard University and Sarah Stewart at the University of California, ... more
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Astronomers Confirm Orbital Details of TRAPPIST-1h
Scientists using NASA's Kepler space telescope identified a regular pattern in the orbits of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system that confirmed suspected details about the orbit of its outermost an ... more
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Study shows how radioactive decay could support extraterrestrial life
In the icy bodies around our solar system, radiation emitted from rocky cores could break up water molecules and support hydrogen-eating microbes. To address this cosmic possibility, a University of ... more
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Kepler Telescope Spies Details of Trappist-1's Outermost Planet
A University of Washington-led international team of astronomers has used data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope to observe and confirm details of the outermost of seven exoplanets orbiting the ... more
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How RNA formed at the origins of life
A single process for how a group of molecules called nucleotides were made on the early Earth, before life began, has been suggested by a UCL-led team of researchers. Nucleotides are essential ... more
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Radio Detection of Lonely Planet Disk Shows Similarity with Stars
A new study of the lonely, planet-like object OTS44 has provided evidence that this object has formed in a similar way as ordinary stars and brown dwarfs - a surprising result that challenges curren ... more
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New study sheds light on origins of life on Earth through molecular function
In the primordial soup that was early Earth, life started small. Elements joined to form the simple carbon-based molecules that were the precursors of everything that was to come. But there is debat ... more
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ALMA eyes icy ring around young planetary system
An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the ... more

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New 'styrofoam' planet provides tools in search for habitable planets
Fifth-graders making styrofoam solar system models may have the right idea. Researchers at Lehigh University have discovered a new planet orbiting a star 320 light years from Earth that has the dens ... more
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Primitive Atmosphere Found Around 'Warm Neptune'
A pioneering new study uncovering the 'primitive atmosphere' surrounding a distant world could provide a pivotal breakthrough in the search to how planets form and develop in far-flung galaxies. ... more
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Metabolism, not RNA, jump-started life's molecular beginnings
How did organic molecules come to birth life? ... more
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Variable Winds on Hot Giant Exoplanet Help Study of Magnetic Field
Senior Scientist Tamara M. Rogers of the Planetary Science Institute has discovered that substantial variability in the winds on the hot giant exoplanet HAT-P-7b are due to magnetism, and used those ... more
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'Warm Neptune' Has Unexpectedly Primitive Atmosphere
A study combining observations from NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes reveals that the distant planet HAT-P-26b has a primitive atmosphere composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. L ... more
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Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks
Fossil evidence of early life has been discovered by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara of Western Australia - pushing back by 3 billion years the earliest k ... more
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Bacteria living in marine sponge produce toxic compounds found in man-made products
Researchers have discovered for the first time that a common marine sponge hosts bacteria that specialize in the production of toxic compounds nearly identical to man-made fire retardants, a finding ... more
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Astrophysicists find that planetary harmonies around TRAPPIST-1 save it from destruction
When NASA announced its discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system back in February it caused quite a stir, and with good reason. Three of its seven Earth-sized planets lay in the star's habitable zone, mea ... more

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Two Webb instruments well suited for detecting exoplanet atmospheres
The best way to study the atmospheres of distant worlds with the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in late 2018, will combine two of its infrared instruments, according to a team of as ... more
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When a brown dwarf is actually a planetary mass object
Sometimes a brown dwarf is actually a planet-or planet-like anyway. A team led by Carnegie's Jonathan Gagne, and including researchers from the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at Univers ... more
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Taking the pulse of an ocean world
Jupiter's moon Europa is definitely an odd place. Discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei, it was first seen in detail only in the late 1970s, after spacecraft visited the Jovian system. Slightl ... more
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Lasers shed light on the inner workings of the giant larvacean
New laser technology is allowing MBARI scientists to look into the structure of giant larvaceans-tadpole-like marine animals that are important players in ocean ecosystems. In a recent paper in Scie ... more
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First SETI Institute Fellows Announced
At its first annual gala fundraiser, held on April 22nd, the SETI Institute recognized three dedicated individuals, universally respected for their exceptional contributions to scientific research a ... more
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SOFIA Confirms Nearby Planetary System Is Similar to Our Own
NASA's flying observatory, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, recently completed a detailed study of a nearby planetary system. The investigations confirmed that this nearb ... more
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Research Center A Hub For Origins of Life Studies
Research into the origin of life on Earth is notoriously difficult. The field has produced many new insights into how specific chemical building blocks form and the way an organism's basic architect ... more
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Nearby Star Confirmed as Good Model of Our Early Solar System
NASA's SOFIA aircraft, a 747 loaded with a 2.5-meter telescope in the back and stripped of most creature comforts in the front, took a big U-turn over the Pacific west of Mexico. The Stratosph ... more
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