Complex organic molecules such as formamide, from which sugars, amino acids and even nucleic acids essential for life can be made, already appear in the regions where stars similar to our Sun are born. Astrophysicists have detected this biomolecule in five protostellar clouds and propose that it forms on tiny dust grains.
After searching 100,000 galaxies for signs of highly advanced life, a team of scientists using observations from NASA's WISE satellite has found no evidence of advanced civilizations there. The idea behind the research is that, if an entire galaxy had been colonized by an advanced spacefaring civilization, the energy produced by that civilization's technologies would be detectable in mid-infrared wavelengths.
Researchers have long known that there is water in the form of ice on Mars. Now, new research from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows that it is possible that there is liquid water close to the surface of Mars. The explanation is that the substance perchlorate has been found in the soil, which lowers the freezing point so the water does not freeze into ice, but is liquid and present in very salty salt water - a brine.
A team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognized before; the findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been.
As part of the PlanetS National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR), astronomers have come to measure the temperature of the atmosphere of an exoplanet with unequalled precision, by crossing two approaches.
While no one yet knows what's needed to build a habitable planet, it's clear that the interplay between the sun and Earth is crucial for making our planet livable - a balance between a sun that provides energy and a planet that can protect itself from the harshest solar emissions.
In one of the most comprehensive multi-observatory galaxy surveys yet, astronomers find that galaxies like our Milky Way underwent a stellar 'baby boom', churning out stars at a prodigious rate, about 30 times faster than today.
The Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a set of enigmatic quasar ghosts - ethereal green objects which mark the graves of these objects that flickered to life and then faded. The eight unusual looped structures orbit their host galaxies and glow in a bright and eerie goblin-green hue. They offer new insights into the turbulent pasts of these galaxies.