New planetary formation models from Carnegie's Alan Boss indicate that there may be an undiscovered population of gas giant planets orbiting around Sun-like stars at distances similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently detected organic-rich areas on Ceres. Scientists evaluated the geology of the regions to conclude that the organics are most likely native to the dwarf planet. Data from the spacecraft suggest that the interior of Ceres is the source of these organic materials, as opposed to arriving via impacting asteroids or comets, according to a paper published in today's issue of Science.
An area on Mars that appears to have been flooded in the past offers a prime target to search for past life forms on the Red Planet.
Nearly one year ago today, the LIGO Collaboration announced the detection of gravitational waves, once again confirming Einstein's theory of General Relativity. This important discovery by the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (aLIGO) has spurred great interest in improving these advanced optical detectors. The mission of gravitational wave scientists worldwide is to make gravitational wave detection a routine occurrence. Scientists from the institute that developed the lasers used in Advanced LIGO have made significant progress to support that goal.
Many scientists believe the Earth was initially dry and that water, carbon and nitrogen -- the building blocks for life -- likely came as a result of collisions with objects that began their lives in the cold outer reaches of our solar system. Today, UCLA scientists report discovery of the existence of just such an object -- one that once orbited a neighboring star.
Drainage of four interconnected lakes below Thwaites Glacier in late 2013 caused only a 10 percent increase in the glacier's speed. The glacier's recent speedup is therefore not due to changes in meltwater flow along its underside.
The CO2 level in Mars' primitive atmosphere 3.5 billion years ago was too low for sediments, such as those found by NASA's Curiosity exploration vehicle in areas like the Gale Crater on the planet's equator, to be deposited. This and other conclusions are drawn from a paper written with the participation of researchers from the Spanish National Research Council and published in the latest issue of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Northwestern University researchers studying the gut bacteria of Scott and Mark Kelly, astronauts and identical twin brothers, as part of NASA's Twins Study have found that changes to certain gut 'bugs' occur in space. The effect disappeared upon Scott Kelly's return to Earth. The Northwestern team is one of 10 groups studying the Kelly twins to learn how living in space for a long period of time affects the human body. The findings could lead to a better understanding of human health.
A recently discovered solitary ice volcano on the dwarf planet Ceres may have some hidden older siblings, say scientists who have tested a likely way such mountains of icy rock -- called cryovolcanoes -- might disappear over millions of years.
As is well-known, space flights bring with them a unique set of health hazards. That includes bone and muscle deterioration. Loss of bone density is currently one of the most serious problems for astronauts. It is similar in nature to osteoporosis, an ailment common for senior people. Understanding microgravity and its effects on living organisms can help find new clinical methods of coping with this issue.