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Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded

Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiology

An Abundance of Exoplanets Changes our Universe

An Abundance of Exoplanets Changes our Universe

Earth-sized planets near and far (NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech) Planets in habitable zones, planets orbiting twin suns, miniature solar systems, rogue planets, planets, planets, planets.

January 20, 2012 — Caleb A. Scharf
Encounter at Dawn: Stephen Hawking, me, and an ATM

Encounter at Dawn: Stephen Hawking, me, and an ATM

A black hole lenses the light of the Milky Way in the background (Credit: Ute Kraus amd Axel Mellinger) This weekend Stephen Hawking turns 70, an extraordinary physical accomplishment to add to an extraordinary list of physics accomplishments.

January 6, 2012 — Caleb A. Scharf
The Austere Beauty of Other Worlds

The Austere Beauty of Other Worlds

In the northern winter months we are surrounded by the stark beauty of chilled landscapes. From the darkness of the far north, broken perhaps only by starlight and the glow of aurora, to the brisk grey streets of Manhattan and its now skeletal trees with their claw-like limbs and knobbly stubs pressed to the skies, [...]

December 30, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
Solstice, Periapsis, and the Hades Orbit

Solstice, Periapsis, and the Hades Orbit

The Sun rising above the Arctic plain (H. D. Nygren, NOAA Corps.) As our spinning globe of rock and metal tracks its steady path around the Sun, we find ourselves crossing once again through the winter solstice, the point at which Earth's northern pole is pointed as far from our fierce stellar parent as it can be (this year at a coordinated universal time of 5.30 am on December the 22nd, almost the same as 5.30 am Greenwich Mean Time).

December 21, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
A Planet on Fire

A Planet on Fire

A strange chemical reaction Imagine, if you will, a planet with atmosphere, oceans, rocks and life. On this planet, most chemical reactions are either slow and geophysical, or quick and biological but very localized.

December 14, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
You Can't Always Tell an Exoplanet by its Size

You Can't Always Tell an Exoplanet by its Size

Warning: Exoplanets may appear less massive than they really are (images used: Eysteinn Guðni Guðnason and NASA/Kepler) Exoplanets can be confusing things.

December 8, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
Kepler 22-b: Another step closer to finding Earth-like worlds

Kepler 22-b: Another step closer to finding Earth-like worlds

Comparison of "habitable zone" of Kepler 22 system and our solar system (NASA/Kepler) Today sees the announcement that one of the "candidate" planets listed from NASA's Kepler mission back in February is now confirmed, and it's a key one.

December 5, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
Exoplanets: I'll Stop the World and Melt With You

Exoplanets: I'll Stop the World and Melt With You

What lies beneath such turbulent skies? (NASA/JPL) Gas giant planets are among the most beautiful and awe-inspiring worlds. In our own solar system we've long gazed at Jupiter's extraordinary swirling atmosphere, where stormy circulations like the Great Red Spot persist for centuries.

December 2, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
Curiosity Across the Stars

Curiosity Across the Stars

This is not a comet, it's Curiosity on its way to Mars This, I guarantee, is a view of NASA's Curiosity rover embarking on its 250 day trip to Mars that you may not have seen before.

November 28, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf
The Long Hard Road to Mars

The Long Hard Road to Mars

Mars Pathfinder launches in 1996 Starting this Saturday, a 24 day window of opportunity opens for the launch of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, now also known as the Curiosity rover.

November 25, 2011 — Caleb A. Scharf

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Life, UnboundedDiscussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiology

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