Want to measure habitability? You can't.
Want to measure habitability? You can't.

People. We need to have another chat.

We have all these exoplanets. Some of them are deliciously Earth-sized. And you want to know which are the most habitable. But here’s the thing…

You can’t.

[READ MORE]

Japan’s Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission Reveals a Remarkable New World
Japan’s Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission Reveals a Remarkable New World

On March 5 the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) released the extraordinary video shown above. The sequence of 233 images shows a spacecraft descending to collect material from the surface of an asteroid, before rising amidst fragments of ejected debris. It is an event that has never been captured on camera before.

[READ MORE]

The Gale Winds of Venus Suggest How Locked Exoplanets Could Escape a Fate of Extreme Heat and Brutal Cold
The Gale Winds of Venus Suggest How Locked Exoplanets Could Escape a Fate of Extreme Heat and Brutal Cold

More than two decades before the first exoplanet was discovered, an experiment was performed using a moving flame and liquid mercury that could hold the key to habitability on tidally locked worlds.

[READ MORE]

Akatsuki seeks the source of Venus's extreme weather
Akatsuki seeks the source of Venus's extreme weather

Akatsuki may have discovered why Venus’s atmosphere rotates so fast. The reason may play a vital role in the habitability of Earth-sized exoplanets.

As a planet nearly the same size and mass as the Earth, Venus is an essential study for understanding the range of possible conditions on rocky planets. A defining feature of our neighbouring world is a thick atmosphere whose reflective properties enticed ancient astronomers to name the planet after the mythological goddess of beauty, but whose ability to trap heat renders the surface temperature capable of melting lead.

[READ MORE]

Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?
Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?

In 2016, the La Silla Observatory in Chile spotted evidence of possibly the most eagerly anticipated exoplanet in the Galaxy. It was a world orbiting the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, making this our closest possible exoplanet neighbour. Moreover, the planet might even be rocky and temperate.

[READ MORE]

What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?
What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?

What would happen if you switched the orbits of Mars and Venus? Would our solar system have more habitable worlds?

[READ MORE]

Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury
Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury

This Friday (October 19) at 10:45pm local time in French Guinea, a spacecraft is set to launch for Mercury. This is the BepiColombo mission which will begin its seven year journey to our solar system’s innermost planet. Surprisingly, the science goals for investigating this boiling hot world are intimately linked to habitability.

[READ MORE]

At Asteroid Ryugu, Japan's Hayabusa 2 Spacecraft Preps for Exploration
At Asteroid Ryugu, Japan's Hayabusa 2 Spacecraft Preps for Exploration

On the morning of Tuesday June 19, members of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) viewed images beamed from deep space that triggered a flurry of responses.

“I see a Death Star.”

“We will strike it with the SCI!”

[READ MORE]

Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System
Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System

June 30th has been designated “Asteroid Day” to promote awareness of these small members of our solar system. But while asteroids are often discussed in the context of the risk they might pose to the Earth, their chewed up remains around other stars may also reveal the fate of our solar system.

[READ MORE]

Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes
Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes

Last month, the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission released the most accurate catalogue to date of positions and motions for a staggering 1.3 billion stars.

Let’s do a few comparisons so we can be suitably amazed. The total number of stars you can see without a telescope is less than 10,000. This includes visible stars in both the northern and southern hemispheres, so looking up on a very dark night will allow you to count only about half this number.

[READ MORE]

NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood
NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood

On January 5, 2010, NASA issued landmark press release : the Kepler Space Telescope had discovered its first five new extra-solar planets.

The previous twenty years had seen the discovery of just over 400 planets beyond the solar system. The majority of these new worlds were Jupiter-mass gas giants, many bunched up against their star on orbits far shorter than that of Mercury. We had learnt that our planetary system was not alone in the Galaxy, but small rocky worlds on temperate orbits might still have been rare.

[READ MORE]

The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres
The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the ARIEL space mission—the world’s first dedicated exoplanet atmosphere sniffer— to fly in 2028.

ARIEL stands for the “Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-Survey mission.” It is a space telescope that can detect which atoms and molecules are present in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.

[READ MORE]

To Understand Habitability, We Need to Return to Venus
To Understand Habitability, We Need to Return to Venus

“You can feel what it’s like on Venus here on Earth,” said Kevin McGouldrick from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “Heat a hot plate until it glows red, place your palm on its surface and then run over that hand with a truck.”

[READ MORE]

Artificial Intelligence Has Just Found Two Exoplanets: What Does This Mean For Planet Hunting?
Artificial Intelligence Has Just Found Two Exoplanets: What Does This Mean For Planet Hunting?

The media was abuzz last week with the latest NASA news conference. A neural network — a form of artificial intelligence or machine learning — developed at Google had found two planets in data previously collected by NASA’s prolific Kepler Space Telescope. It’s a technique that could ultimately track-down our most Earth-like planets.

[READ MORE]

Let's Lose the Term "Habitable Zone" for Exoplanets
Let's Lose the Term "Habitable Zone" for Exoplanets

Since the first exoplanets were discovered in the 1990s we have found more than 3,500 worlds beyond our sun. Roughly a third of these are less than twice the size of Earth. It is no surprise we are beginning to wonder if some these worlds could be not just Earth-size (more or less), but also Earth-like. Unfortunately, the data we currently have cannot tell us.

[READ MORE]

Can You Overwater a Planet?
Can You Overwater a Planet?

Wherever we find water on Earth, we find life. It is a connection that extends to the most inhospitable locations, such as the acidic pools of Yellowstone, the black smokers on the ocean floor or the cracks in frozen glaciers. This intimate relationship led to the NASA maxim, “Follow the Water”, when searching for life on other planets.

[READ MORE]

Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?
Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) spacecraft will arrive at Mars in August 2025 and spend the next three years exploring the two moons and the environment around Mars. During this time, the spacecraft will drop to the surface of one of the moons and collect a sample to bring back to Earth. Probe and sample are scheduled to return to Earth in the summer of 2029.

[READ MORE]

Want to measure habitability? You can't.
Japan’s Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission Reveals a Remarkable New World
The Gale Winds of Venus Suggest How Locked Exoplanets Could Escape a Fate of Extreme Heat and Brutal Cold
Akatsuki seeks the source of Venus's extreme weather
Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?
What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?
Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury
At Asteroid Ryugu, Japan's Hayabusa 2 Spacecraft Preps for Exploration
Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System
Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes
NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood
The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres
To Understand Habitability, We Need to Return to Venus
Artificial Intelligence Has Just Found Two Exoplanets: What Does This Mean For Planet Hunting?
Let's Lose the Term "Habitable Zone" for Exoplanets
Can You Overwater a Planet?
Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?
Want to measure habitability? You can't.

People. We need to have another chat.

We have all these exoplanets. Some of them are deliciously Earth-sized. And you want to know which are the most habitable. But here’s the thing…

You can’t.

[READ MORE]

Japan’s Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission Reveals a Remarkable New World

On March 5 the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) released the extraordinary video shown above. The sequence of 233 images shows a spacecraft descending to collect material from the surface of an asteroid, before rising amidst fragments of ejected debris. It is an event that has never been captured on camera before.

[READ MORE]

The Gale Winds of Venus Suggest How Locked Exoplanets Could Escape a Fate of Extreme Heat and Brutal Cold

More than two decades before the first exoplanet was discovered, an experiment was performed using a moving flame and liquid mercury that could hold the key to habitability on tidally locked worlds.

[READ MORE]

Akatsuki seeks the source of Venus's extreme weather

Akatsuki may have discovered why Venus’s atmosphere rotates so fast. The reason may play a vital role in the habitability of Earth-sized exoplanets.

As a planet nearly the same size and mass as the Earth, Venus is an essential study for understanding the range of possible conditions on rocky planets. A defining feature of our neighbouring world is a thick atmosphere whose reflective properties enticed ancient astronomers to name the planet after the mythological goddess of beauty, but whose ability to trap heat renders the surface temperature capable of melting lead.

[READ MORE]

Does Proxima Centauri Create an Environment Too Horrifying for Life?

In 2016, the La Silla Observatory in Chile spotted evidence of possibly the most eagerly anticipated exoplanet in the Galaxy. It was a world orbiting the nearest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, making this our closest possible exoplanet neighbour. Moreover, the planet might even be rocky and temperate.

[READ MORE]

What Would Happen If Mars And Venus Swapped Places?

What would happen if you switched the orbits of Mars and Venus? Would our solar system have more habitable worlds?

[READ MORE]

Prepare For Lift-off! BepiColombo Launches For Mercury

This Friday (October 19) at 10:45pm local time in French Guinea, a spacecraft is set to launch for Mercury. This is the BepiColombo mission which will begin its seven year journey to our solar system’s innermost planet. Surprisingly, the science goals for investigating this boiling hot world are intimately linked to habitability.

[READ MORE]

At Asteroid Ryugu, Japan's Hayabusa 2 Spacecraft Preps for Exploration

On the morning of Tuesday June 19, members of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) viewed images beamed from deep space that triggered a flurry of responses.

“I see a Death Star.”

“We will strike it with the SCI!”

[READ MORE]

Asteroid Remains Around Dead Stars Reveal the Likely Fate of Our Solar System

June 30th has been designated “Asteroid Day” to promote awareness of these small members of our solar system. But while asteroids are often discussed in the context of the risk they might pose to the Earth, their chewed up remains around other stars may also reveal the fate of our solar system.

[READ MORE]

Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet: How Gaia is Helping Nail Down Planet Sizes

Last month, the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission released the most accurate catalogue to date of positions and motions for a staggering 1.3 billion stars.

Let’s do a few comparisons so we can be suitably amazed. The total number of stars you can see without a telescope is less than 10,000. This includes visible stars in both the northern and southern hemispheres, so looking up on a very dark night will allow you to count only about half this number.

[READ MORE]

NASA’s Planet-Hunter TESS Has Just Been Launched to Check Out the Near Exoplanet Neighborhood

On January 5, 2010, NASA issued landmark press release : the Kepler Space Telescope had discovered its first five new extra-solar planets.

The previous twenty years had seen the discovery of just over 400 planets beyond the solar system. The majority of these new worlds were Jupiter-mass gas giants, many bunched up against their star on orbits far shorter than that of Mercury. We had learnt that our planetary system was not alone in the Galaxy, but small rocky worlds on temperate orbits might still have been rare.

[READ MORE]

The Just-Approved European ARIEL Mission Will Be First Dedicated to Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the ARIEL space mission—the world’s first dedicated exoplanet atmosphere sniffer— to fly in 2028.

ARIEL stands for the “Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-Survey mission.” It is a space telescope that can detect which atoms and molecules are present in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.

[READ MORE]

To Understand Habitability, We Need to Return to Venus

“You can feel what it’s like on Venus here on Earth,” said Kevin McGouldrick from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “Heat a hot plate until it glows red, place your palm on its surface and then run over that hand with a truck.”

[READ MORE]

Artificial Intelligence Has Just Found Two Exoplanets: What Does This Mean For Planet Hunting?

The media was abuzz last week with the latest NASA news conference. A neural network — a form of artificial intelligence or machine learning — developed at Google had found two planets in data previously collected by NASA’s prolific Kepler Space Telescope. It’s a technique that could ultimately track-down our most Earth-like planets.

[READ MORE]

Let's Lose the Term "Habitable Zone" for Exoplanets

Since the first exoplanets were discovered in the 1990s we have found more than 3,500 worlds beyond our sun. Roughly a third of these are less than twice the size of Earth. It is no surprise we are beginning to wonder if some these worlds could be not just Earth-size (more or less), but also Earth-like. Unfortunately, the data we currently have cannot tell us.

[READ MORE]

Can You Overwater a Planet?

Wherever we find water on Earth, we find life. It is a connection that extends to the most inhospitable locations, such as the acidic pools of Yellowstone, the black smokers on the ocean floor or the cracks in frozen glaciers. This intimate relationship led to the NASA maxim, “Follow the Water”, when searching for life on other planets.

[READ MORE]

Phobos and Deimos: Captured Asteroids or Cut From Ancient Mars?

The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) spacecraft will arrive at Mars in August 2025 and spend the next three years exploring the two moons and the environment around Mars. During this time, the spacecraft will drop to the surface of one of the moons and collect a sample to bring back to Earth. Probe and sample are scheduled to return to Earth in the summer of 2029.

[READ MORE]

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