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Life, Unbounded

Life, Unbounded

Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiology

Subatomic to Superhorizon - Abandon All Hope!

The greatest minds have tried to contemplate the vastness of nature            Grasping for an understanding of the true scale of the cosmos is a vital part of how we try to conceptualize reality and our place among it all.But it's tremendously difficult, whether we're seeking that 'oh wow' moment, or trying to gain intuition that'll help us solve the next scientific problem...

March 18, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

A Jupiter Carousel: Hotspots Ride The Wave

Jupiter seen by Cassini (NASA) New analysis of data taken by the Cassini mission during its encounter with Jupiter in 2000 reveal that exceptionally clear atmospheric 'hotspots' effectively ride up and down in the Jovian skies as they are formed by what's known as a Rossby wave - a phenomenon familiar to us here on Earth.The authors of the study have produced such an excellent video explaining all of this that it's all you need to look at (really, it's that good)...

March 15, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

First Reconnaissance Of An Exoplanetary System

The planets of HR 8799 (labeled). The starlight has been suppressed and mostly removed (Credit: Project 1640, Oppenheimer et al.) Using cutting edge techniques, a team of astronomers has directly imaged a distant system of four planets, and made history by obtaining simultaneous spectra of these worlds.This first comparative look reveals that the objects each have distinct atmospheric compositions, none of which directly match any previously known class of astrophysical body.  Only a tiny handful of exoplanetary systems exist where we have been able to spot planets directly...

March 11, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

Signs Of Life From Lake Vostok

Deep in the Antarctic (Credit: NSF) Recent efforts to extract a water sample from the ancient sub-surface Antarctic Lake Vostok seem to be yielding some promising results.

March 7, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf
Europa Gives Up Some Of Its Secrets

Europa Gives Up Some Of Its Secrets

Jupiter’s enigmatic moon Europa has long been thought to contain a huge ocean beneath its icy crust, but what is in that ocean and does it ever come to the surface?

March 6, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

The Fastest Spacecraft Ever?

Who's the fastest of them all? (Credit: NASA) Of all the spacecraft humans have launched, there have been some impressively fast movers. But which holds the record?It's not an entirely idle question...

February 25, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

Meteor fireballs across central Russia

Still image of fireball video (RT/Youtube/Potapow) [ Updated :] About 7,000 metric tons of meteor streaked across central Russia on Friday 15th February 2013, its fireball leaving great contrails in the sky and generating explosive shockwaves that smashed windows and damaged buildings...

February 15, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

Help Name Two Of Pluto's Moons

Pluto's currently known moons (Credit: NASA/HST) Far from the Sun planetary bodies can hold onto many more moons. The latest count for Pluto is five satellites, and the most recent two need names.Back in 2011 and 2012 it was announced that Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Pluto system had spied first one and then another new candidate moon...

February 11, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

Will This Be The Comet Of The Century?

It may not look like much now, but ISON has the potential to become a Great Comet (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD (Tony Farnham)) NASA's Deep Impact probe has captured images of Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), as it moves past the orbital distance of Jupiter on what may be its first trip inwards to the Sun, and possibly a spectacular show.Comets are notoriously fickle beasts...

February 6, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

Andromeda mon amour

Andromeda (GALEX/NASA/JPL) There is something beautiful yet ominous about our nearest large galactic neighbor.The Andromeda galaxy is a trillion star behemoth that spans some six times the diameter of the full Moon when seen through a telescope...

January 29, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

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