What Does it Mean to Be Alive? Maybe the underlying principle of life is neither cells nor metabolism, but the sharing of information.

by Rodrigo Abans Blue Marble Space Young Scientist Program You are on one of those trips where the travel is so tedious that even your cell phone looks boring. Not being able to sleep, you look out the window to READ MORE

Water found outside of the solar system A planet around a distant star shows us it has water on it by the light it gives off.

51 Pegasi b is a roughly jupiter-sized planet around a star pretty similar to our sun. This planet has been part of astronomy conversations before, as it is a huge planet with a really small orbit; this planet orbits around READ MORE

The Age and Fate of the Orion Nebular Cloud The initial mass function may have given us the age of Orion, but it still doesn't tell the whole story...

Stars and planets are most often categorized by their mass. In astronomy, the “initial mass function” is used for this categorization. The initial mass function catalogues the number of planets and stars of a certain mass, and creates a diagram READ MORE

New Method for Detecting Signs of Life In the Universe A classic “biosignature,” or sign of life, is the presence of three gasses in a planet’s atmosphere -- oxygen, ozone, and methane.

by Marc Claire Research Scientist Detecting life on a planet beyond Earth would be one of the coolest things ever! In our paper, we talk about detecting signs of life on other planets that breathe out oxygen. While this strategy READ MORE

Dust, Not Aliens, Causing Unusual Star Light on Tabby’s Star Scientists ran several computer simulations to determine the most likely explanation.

Tabby’s Star, located 1,276 light years from Earth and named for its discoverer Tabetha S. Boyajian, created quite a buzz among astronomers when it was found in 2009 by the Kepler Space Observatory. It glowed a yellowish white and had READ MORE

A Space-Age Rat Cage Helps NASA Study Health in Low Gravity This new development allows rodents to survive long enough to visit the International Space Station.

When the NASA Space Shuttle was flying, it carried a variety of scientific equipment for running experiments. One of these devices was an enclosure for mice and rats. This equipment was used to test the effects of extremely low gravity READ MORE

Could Life Thrive on Radiation? Scientists Say It’s Possible Instead of sunlight, living things may be able to harness the energy from cosmic rays.

All life on Earth survives because of the sun. Plants use a process called photosynthesis to transfer energy from the Sun’s rays into the sugars that build their stems and leaves. Animals either eat the plants directly, or eat other READ MORE

Kepler discovers the first planet believed to be very similar to Earth

1992 First exoplanet to orbit a main sequence star is discovered by Aleksander Wolszczan. The first confirmed exoplanet is a ‘hot Jupiter’ which takes 4.2-day to go around its sun. 51Pegasi b. 2005 New Zealand’s Grant Christie and Jenny McCormick discover the second planet found READ MORE