Paul Scott Anderson
Rocky and sandy terrain with mountains in background.

Could salt-loving microbes explain Mars’ methane?

New laboratory studies – simulating conditions on the planet Mars and using salt-loving microbes – suggest that similar organisms could be producing Mars’ mysterious methane.

Goldilocks stars best for alien life?

A new research study suggests that K-type dwarf stars (smaller and cooler than our sun) are the best place to search for alien life. These stars are not too hot, not too cool, and not too violent for life to evolve.

Round colored ripples with highlighted gray nodule and stars in background.

Ancient stardust in meteorite is older than Earth

Grains of stardust – particles left behind by star explosions – in an Australian meteorite are now the oldest known material on Earth. A new study suggests this stardust came to be long before our sun ever existed.

Limb of Earth in space with sun and stars in background.

A new way to detect oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres

In recent years, astronomers have pondered the search for biosignatures, or signs of life, in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. Will the James Webb Space Telescope – due to launch in 2021 – be able to detect them? A new technique says yes.

Lake with pillars and clouds in sky above.

Did phosphorus-rich lakes help kickstart life on Earth?

The building blocks of life as we know it require chemical reactions involving phosphorus. But phosphorus is scarce on Earth. Where did enough of it come from to fuel life’s start? Carbonate-rich lakes, like Mono Lake in California, might hold a clue.

Tyrannosaurus rex: the teen years

Growing up Tyrannosaurus rex: A new study from Oklahoma State University provides details about what life was like for the famous dinosaurs during their juvenile teenage years.

Three planets near star.

‘Super-puff’ exoplanets are like cosmic cotton candy

New observations of “super-puff” exoplanets by the Hubble Space Telescope have provided scientists with more clues about these enigmatic and strange worlds.

Colored surface regions with brightest spot in center.

Wow! More evidence for active volcanoes on Venus

We’ve known for some time that Venus has vast lava plains, fields of small lava domes, and large shield volcanoes. But does it still have active volcanoes? A new study involving lava flows on Venus suggests that, yes, it does.

Spacecraft with large star and planets in background.

Europe’s CHEOPS mission will shed light on strange new worlds

The European Space Agency has successfully launched its CHEOPS space telescope, the 1st of 3 planned missions to study distant exoplanets in greater detail than ever before.

Animation of a complex magnetic field surrounding a pulsar.

Scientists map a pulsar for the 1st time

Using a revolutionary X-ray telescope aboard the International Space Station, scientists have finally created the 1st pulsar surface “map.” It shows odd hot spots and suggests that pulsar magnetic fields are more complicated than anyone had assumed.