Search For Life

Catalog of Earth Microbes Could Help Find Alien Life
Different Microorganisms Reflect Sunlight
March 30th, 2015
If an alien planet in a distant solar system were home to microscopic life-forms, how might scientists see them and even decipher their identity? A new catalog of Earth-based life forms may provide a first step.
Read More »
Search for Potentially Habitable Worlds Targets Red Dwarf Stars
Kepler-186f Exoplanet Ilustration
March 19th, 2015
For years, many astronomers thought planets around red dwarfs were probably uninhabitable. But recently, the thinking has begun to change.
Read More »
Search for Alien Life Should Consider All Possibilities, Experts Say
Kepler-186f Exoplanet Ilustration
March 6th, 2015
Researchers scanning the atmospheres of exoplanets for gases produced by living creatures should hunt for more than just oxygen, methane and other "biosignatures" that swirl about in Earth's air, MIT's Sara Seager says.
Read More »
More Ingredients for Life Identified on Mars
Mars Rover Curiosity Self-Portrait at John Klein Site
March 23rd, 2015
Nitrogen was available on ancient Mars in a form that microbes could have used to build key biomolecules, and atmospheric carbon monoxide has been a feasible energy source for life throughout the Red Planet's history, two new studies suggest.
Read More »
'Sideways' Alien Earths May Still Be Able to Support Life
Artist's conception of GJ1214b
March 13th, 2015
An Earth-size alien waterworld tilted on its side may still be able to support life, if the oceans aren't too shallow, a new study suggests. Oceans are the key to keeping the climate stable enough on highly oblique worlds.
Read More »
The Father of SETI: Q&A with Astronomer Frank Drake
Arecibo Radio Observatory
February 26th, 2015
An interview with Frank Drake, who conducted the first search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) experiment in 1960 and came up with a famous equation that estimates the possible number of alien civilizations.
Read More »
NASA Europa Mission May Search for Signs of Alien Life
This view of Europa is based on information from NASA's Galileo mission of the 1990s. This new, remastered version, released in 2014, features more realistic colors, showing how the Jupiter moon would look like to the human eye.
February 20th, 2015
NASA officials have asked scientists to consider ways that a Europa mission could search for evidence of alien life in the plumes of water vapor that apparently blast into space from Europa's south polar region.
Read More »
Extrasolar Planets Are, Almost, Everywhere (Op-Ed)
Exoplanet discovered by Kepler satellite
March 21st, 2015
The semi-taboo Titus-Bode relation could provide useful hints about the periods of as-yet-undetected planets around other stars.
Read More »
Happy Birthday, Kepler! NASA Planet Hunter Marks 6 Years in Space
Artist's illustration of NASA's Kepler spacecraft observing alien planets. Kepler has discovered more than 1,000 alien planets since its launch in March 2009.
March 9th, 2015
The $600 million Kepler mission launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 6, 2009. After a two-month commissioning phase, Kepler began searching for exoplanets — and began etching its name into the history books.
Read More »
'Rotisserie' Planets Could Host Alien Life — If Wet Enough
Scientists now think that planets spinning on their sides might be more habitable than previously expected if they harbor oceans.
February 25th, 2015
Planets spinning on their sides were long thought to have climates too extreme for life as it is known on Earth, but now scientists find that these "rotisserie" worlds might be more hospitable.
Read More »