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Habitability

Deep Underground Tunnels Could Hold the Key to Habitability on Mars

Researchers at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with the Boulby Underground Laboratory, have initiated the Bio-SPHERE project in deep tunnels in North Yorkshire, to study potential living and operational conditions on the Moon and Mars. This innovative project explores how scientific, medical procedures, and bioengineering operations would be executed in challenging, remote, and isolated environments similar to those on other planets.Deep beneath the surface of North Yorkshire, subterranean tunnels are…

“Super-Earth” May Reveal Secrets About the Edge of Habitability

Artist impression showing the exoplanet LP 890-9c’s potential evolution from a hot Earth to a desiccated Venus. Credit: Carl Sagan Institute/R. PayneHow close can a rocky planet be to a star, and still sustain water and life? A recently discovered <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>exoplanet</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>An exoplanet (or extrasolar planet) is a planet that is located outside our Solar System,…

JUICE spacecraft launched to investigate the habitability of Jupiter’s icy moons

The European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched its JUICE spacecraft to study Jupiter’s icy moons on Friday, April 14th. The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission will visit three of Jupiter’s largest moons — Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto — to investigate whether they could be potentially habitable, a question that has been igniting debate among astronomers since the first evidence of subsurface oceans on these moons was seen by the Galileo mission in the 1990s. JUICE launched at 8:14AM ET from Europe’s Spaceport in…

Spacecraft will explore habitability of Jupiter’s ocean moons | Science

Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, is practically a planet. Larger than Mercury, it is the only moon with its own magnetic field, produced by churning molten iron in its core. Its icy crust, more than 100 kilometers thick, is cut by ridges and grooves, evidence of past tectonic activity. Smooth plains suggest ice-spewing cryovolcanoes may have paved over parts of the moon. And beneath the crust, many researchers believe, is a salty ocean, kept warm by the moon’s…

Repeating Signal Traced to Rocky, Earth-Sized World Could Reveal Key to Habitability : ScienceAlert

Astronomers have traced a repeating radio signal back to a rocky, Earth-sized exoplanet that appears to have one of the crucial factors that make a world habitable: a magnetic field.The planet is known as YZ Ceti b, and it's orbiting a small red dwarf star located around 12 light-years from Earth."The search for potentially habitable or life-bearing worlds in other solar systems depends in part on being able to determine if rocky, Earth-like exoplanets actually have magnetic fields," said Joe Pesce, the program director…

“Terminator habitability” not in the realm of sci-fi, says research

Unlike Earth, there are millions of planets that have permanent day sides bathed in the light of their star, and permanent night sides cloaked in darkness. The area between these two sides is called the "terminator zone" and is a logical place to search for other life in the galaxy, says a new study.Much like the Moon is to Earth, many planets are tidally locked to their suns, meaning that the planet takes the same amount of time to spin on its axis as it does to orbit the sun. This results in the planet always showing…

New Innovative System Evaluates the Habitability of Distant Planets

The authors’ findings will make it possible for scientists to evaluate the atmospheres of many other planets efficiently without having to send a space crew to physically visit them.A computerized system categorizes planet atmospheres and determines which are viable for future settlement by humans.The climate crisis poses a significant challenge to all humans on Earth. Many scientists have been inspired by it to search for exoplanets—planets outside of our solar system where humans could one day settle. As part of this…

Study Attempts to Unravel The Best Ratio of Land to Ocean For Exoplanet Habitability : ScienceAlert

Earth is about 29 percent land and 71 percent oceans. How significant is that mix for habitability? What does it tell us about exoplanet habitability?There are very few places on Earth where life doesn't have a foothold. Multiple factors contribute to our planet's overall habitability: abundant liquid water, plate tectonics, bulk composition, proximity to the Sun, the magnetosphere, etc.What role does the ratio of oceans to land play?Our understanding of habitability is pretty crude at this point, though it is based on…