Archive for the ‘alien life’ category: Page 5

Feb 3, 2024

‘Missing link’ that created water in our solar system discovered

Posted by in categories: alien life, evolution

SANTIAGO, Chile — Astronomers have traced the source of Earth’s oceans, rivers, and lakes back to a stellar nursery located 1,300 light years away. They’re describing this finding as the “missing link” in the evolution of life as we know it.

“We can now trace the origins of water in our Solar System to before the formation of the Sun,” says lead author Dr. John Tobin of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

The international team discovered gaseous water in a substantial planet-forming disc around the star V883 Orionis. This star, located in the Orion constellation in the southwestern sky, was studied using the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) telescope in Chile. Upon examination, researchers found that the disc contained at least 1,200 times the quantity of water found in all of Earth’s oceans. This discovery could potentially aid researchers in identifying planets or moons that are most likely to harbor extraterrestrial life.

Jan 29, 2024

Enhancing the Search for Alien Life: Next-Gen Telescopes and Exoplanet Atmospheres

Posted by in categories: alien life, computing

“Not every planet is suitable for direct imaging, but that’s why simulations give us a rough idea of what the ELTs [Extremely Large Telescopes] would have delivered and the promises they’re meant to hold when they are built,” said Huihao Zhang.

What aspects of an exoplanet should astronomers focus on to find signs of extraterrestrial life? Should they focus on the parent star, the exoplanet’s surface, or something else? This is what a recent study published in The Astronomical Journal hopes to address as a team of researchers from The Ohio State University (OSU) discuss how astronomers could use the next generation of telescopes, specifically the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and other Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs), to conduct more in-depth analyses of an exoplanet’s atmosphere, specifically searching for signs of oxygen and methane, as these are present in the Earth’s atmosphere. This study holds the potential to not only establish criteria for searching for signs of extraterrestrial life, but how astronomers can search for this criterion, as well.

For the study, the researchers used computers models to simulate how an exoplanet’s atmosphere on 10 nearby rocky exoplanets could be analyzed for oxygen, water, methane, and carbon dioxide using what’s known as the direct imaging method with ELTs. The direct imaging method is where astronomers blot out the intense glare from the parent star, making exoplanets orbiting it “appear”, making them easier to identify and study. In the end, the researchers found that GJ 887 b (11 light-years away) was the most promising candidate for detecting biosignatures in its atmosphere while Proxima Centauri b (4.4 light-years away) was found to only be detectable for carbon dioxide.

Continue reading “Enhancing the Search for Alien Life: Next-Gen Telescopes and Exoplanet Atmospheres” »

Jan 29, 2024

Unveiling Mars’ Methane Mystery: Insights from Atmospheric Pressure Fluctuations

Posted by in category: alien life

Is there life on Mars or has life ever existed in its ancient past? What conditions would be the right combination for life to exist there? These questions are what NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers are trying to answer as they continue to explore the barren and dry landscape of the Red Planet in hopes of unlocking its secrets above or buried deep beneath the surface. One such component that could contribute to life is methane, which has been identified by the Curiosity rover to exist on Mars in bursts. Now, a recent study published in Journal of Geophysical Research Letters: Planets (JGR: Planets) hopes to explain why, how, and when these methane gases reach the surface in bursts. This study holds the potential to help scientists better understand the internal mechanisms of Mars and whether this could lead to life existing on the Red Planet.

2019 news report discussing Curiosity finding methane on Mars.

“Understanding Mars’ methane variations has been highlighted by NASA’s Curiosity team as the next key step towards figuring out where it comes from,” said John Ortiz, who is a PhD Student Researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author of the study. “There are several challenges associated with meeting that goal, and a big one is knowing what time of a given sol (Martian day) is best for Curiosity to perform an atmospheric sampling experiment.”

Jan 28, 2024

Hubble Spots Water Vapor in Small Exoplanet’s Atmosphere

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry

Steamy World Could Be a Sample of Water-Rich Planets Throughout Our Galaxy The search for life in space goes hand-in-hand with the search for water on planets around other stars. Water is one of the most common molecules in the universe, and all life on Earth requires it. Water functions as a solvent by dissolving substances and enabling key chemical reactions in animal, plant, and microbial cells. It is much better at this than other liquids.

Jan 28, 2024

Is Messaging Aliens a Bad Idea?

Posted by in category: alien life

We listen, but we don’t send. Why do we expect aliens to transmit if we don’t? Many have voiced concerns about any programs designed to broadcast our presence — afterall, they may not be friendly. Although it may be a popular idea in science fiction, what do scientists say about this scenario? Today we explore the arguments for and against messaging, and what it might imply about the type of civilization that chooses to engage in messaging…

Written and presented by Prof David Kipping. Special thanks to Erik Wernquist for giving us permission to use a clip from his beautiful \.

Jan 28, 2024

New Discovery ‘Keeps Hope Alive’ to Find Signs of Life on Mars, Scientists Say

Posted by in category: alien life

NASA scans of Mars’ Jezero Crater confirm lake sediment layers that could contain evidence of ancient microbial life on the red planet.

Jan 24, 2024

Methane pulses on Mars possibly driven by atmospheric pressure changes

Posted by in category: alien life

New research shows that atmospheric pressure fluctuations that pull gases up from underground could be responsible for releasing subsurface methane into Mars’s atmosphere; knowing when and where to look for methane can help the Curiosity rover search for signs of life.

“Understanding Mars’s variations has been highlighted by NASA’s Curiosity team as the next key step towards figuring out where it comes from,” said John Ortiz, a graduate student at Los Alamos National Laboratory who led the research team. “There are several challenges associated with meeting that goal, and a big one is knowing what time of a given sol (Martian day) is best for Curiosity to perform an atmospheric sampling experiment.”

The paper was published Jan. 22 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Jan 24, 2024

The Best Neighborhoods for Starting a Life in the Galaxy

Posted by in category: alien life

Planets may fare better in open areas, like the suburbs, instead of densely populated “urban” areas, said Jessie Christiansen, an exoplanet scientist at Caltech.

Some neighborhoods in the Milky Way may be better suited for making habitable planets than others.

Jan 22, 2024

The Invisible Dance Of Particles

Posted by in categories: alien life, mathematics, particle physics

In 1,827, botanist Robert Brown studied pollen particles’ motion as they were suspended in water. These little grains seemed to jitter around randomly. Brown performed as variety of tests on them and realized that all small particles, not just pollen, exhibited the same motion when suspended in water. Something other than the presence of life was causing these little particles to move around. Mathematicians took note and quickly developed a theory describing this process and named it Brownian Motion in his honor.

This theory has expanded well beyond its original context and become a beautiful subfield of mathematics called Stochastic Processes. Nowhere was this influence illustrated better than in 1905 when Albert Einstein used the theory of Brownian Motion to verify the existence of atoms. The makeup of our universe’s tiniest particles was highly debated at the time, and Einstein’s work helped solidify atomic theory.

Wow, that’s quite the leap! In order to understand how we got from pollen grains to confirming atomic theory, we’re going to have to learn some background about Brownian Motion. In this article, I’ll spend some time talking about the basics. This includes some cool videos that demonstrate the patterns of Brownian Motion and the statistics going on behind the scenes. We’ll then dive into Einstein’s version which came as one of his extremely influential series of papers in 1905. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

Jan 21, 2024

New Findings From the James Webb Telescope Suggests That Life Could Have Existed Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

Posted by in category: alien life

New findings from the James Webb Space Telescope reveal a surprising abundance of oxygen in the early Universe. Researchers discovered that oxygen levels in galaxies surged within 500–700 million years following the Universe’s birth, reaching levels comparable to those in contemporary galaxies. This suggests that the essential elements for life were present much earlier than previously believed.

In the early Universe, shortly after the Big Bang, only light elements such as hydrogen, helium, and lithium existed. Heavier elements like oxygen were subsequently formed through nuclear fusion reactions within stars and dispersed into galaxies, primarily through events like supernova explosions. This ongoing process of element synthesis, unfolding over the vast expanse of cosmic history, created the diverse elements that constitute the world and living organisms around us.

Page 5 of 130First23456789Last