Sunday, October 29, 2017

Most Habitable Earth-Like Planets May Be Waterworlds

Most Habitable Earth-Like Planets May Be Waterworlds:

A new study published in The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that most habitable planets are wet. Like, extremely wet. Using computer models, astronomer Fergus Simpson from the Institute of Cosmos Science at the University of Barcelona found that habitable exoplanets, at least simulated ones, tend to be overrun by water, in most cases accounting for 90 percent or more of the total surface area.

Also interesting:

“Larger planets are thought to be more prone to flooding for two reasons,” Simpson told Gizmodo. “One is that if they have the same composition (percentage of water by mass) then their oceans are deeper. The second is that their higher surface gravity makes it harder to have such large surface perturbations [dynamic topological features].”

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Move over DNA: Six new molecules can carry genes | New Scientist

The ability to copy information from one molecule to another is fundamental to all life. Organisms pass their genes to their descendants, often with small changes, and as a result life can evolve over the generations. Barring a few exceptions, all known organisms use DNA as the information carrier. 
A host of alternative nucleic acids have been made in labs over the years, but no one has made them work like DNA.
This problem has now been cracked. “This unique ability of DNA and RNA to encode information can be implemented in other backbones,” says Philipp Holliger of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Jupiter Has a Great 'Cold' Spot, Too

Jupiter Has a Great 'Cold' Spot, Too

Maybe some kind of adventure while refueling can be created from this story.

Friday, October 20, 2017

New Theory Suggests Life Can Emerge On Planets Without Water

All quotes from this story, and lots more information here:
New Theory Suggests Life Can Emerge On Planets Without Water

A new theory upends this assumption by suggesting that alien life could thrive on "supercritical carbon dioxide" instead.

Carbon dioxide becomes supercritical when its temperature exceeds 305 degrees Kelvin (about 88 F) and its pressure goes beyond 72.9 the standard atmosphere (atm) at sea level (the kind of pressure you'd find a half-mile beneath the ocean surface).

Fascinatingly, the atmospheric pressure of Venus is about 90 times greater than that of the Earth, with an average temperature of 467 degrees C. About 97% of its atmosphere is carbon dioxide. It's possible, therefore, that the atmosphere of Venus is a SCF. And indeed, the researchers speculate that organic remnants of life could still be preserved in such a fluid.

Also an article in Space:

And the original research:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Massive Lava Waves Detected on Jupiter’s Moon Io

Thanks to a rare orbital alignment between Europa and Io, an international team of researchers has identified and tracked a pair of lava waves as they coursed around Loki Patera, which is larger than Lake Ontario, and with a surface area of 8,300 square miles (21,500 square km). The most likely explanation for this apparently periodic wave action is an overturning circulation pattern, in which cool surface crust slowly thickens and sinks, pulling nearby crust along with it in a wave that spreads across the surface. 

More Info:
Massive Lava Waves Detected on Jupiter’s Moon Io

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hottest-Ever Alien Planet Discovered

Hottest-Ever Alien Planet Discovered:

Astronomers have found the hottest known exoplanet, a world where temperatures exceed those on the surface of most stars.

The Jupiter-like planet, known as KELT-9b, zips around its hot host star once every 1.5 Earth days. Its orbit is so tight that the gas giant is tidally locked, always showing the same face to the star, just as the moon shows only one face to Earth.

Temperatures on KELT-9b's "day side" reach a blazing 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (4,300 Celsius), the planet's discoverers said. That's hotter than the surface of the dwarf stars that dominate the Milky Way galaxy, and just 2,200 degrees F (1,200 degrees C) cooler than the surface of the sun. (However, temperatures in the sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, can reach about 3 million degrees F, or 1.67 million degrees C.)

Why did Russia seize oil off a Venezuelan cargo ship in the Caribbean? -

Why did Russia seize oil off a Venezuelan cargo ship in the Caribbean? -

Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, sent a tanker in October to the Caribbean with the expectation that its cargo of crude would fetch about $20 million – money the crisis-stricken nation desperately needs.

Instead, the owner of the tanker, the Russian state-owned shipping conglomerate Sovcomflot, held the oil in hopes of collecting partial payment on $30 million that it says PDVSA owes for unpaid shipping fees.

Despite a longstanding alliance between Venezuela and Russia, Sovcomflot sued PDVSA in St. Maarten, a Dutch island on the northeast end of the Caribbean.

"The ship owners ... imposed garnishment on the aforementioned oil cargo," reads a March decision by the St. Maarten court.

Five months after crossing the Caribbean, the NS Columbus discharged its cargo of crude at a storage terminal on St. Eustatius, an island just south of St. Maarten, under a temporary decision by the court. Another tribunal in England will decide if Sovcomflot will ultimately take the oil.