Destination Venus –“Was It the First Habitable Planet in the Solar System?”

Venus Planet


“Venus is like the control case for Earth,” said planetary scientist Sue Smrekar with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory echoing recent research that suggests that Venus might have looked like Earth for three billion years, with vast oceans that could have been friendly to life. “We believe they started out with the same composition, the same water and carbon dioxide. And they’ve gone down two completely different paths. So why? What are the key forces responsible for the differences?”


“Magic Islands” –Titan’s Very Weird Lakes


Lakes of Saturn's Titan


“The more we learn about Titan, the more we learn that we can’t ignore the lakes,” said Kendra Farnsworth, a planetary scientist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and lead author of the new study that explains how bubbles erupt in frigid hydrocarbon lakes on Saturn’s largest moon Titan made up of methane and ethane, potentially creating fizz violent enough to form unusual geologic features.


The Galaxy Report –“Astronaut’s Map for Saturn’s Titan to New Search for Extraterrestrials”


ESO Observatories Chile


Today’s “Galaxy Report” connects you to headline news on the science, technology, discoveries, people and events changing our knowledge of the Milky Way and Universe beyond.


“Unrecognizable Life?” –Antarctic Proving Grounds for Extraterrestrial Exploration of Ocean Moons

BRUIE NASA Submersible


Arthur C. Clarke harshly warned his fellow Homo sapiens not to attempt a landing on Jupiter’s ocean moon, Europa. Ignoring his warning, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers are developing BRUIE, or the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration for underwater exploration in lunar oceans, such as those on Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It will spend the next month testing its endurance at Australia’s Casey research station in Antarctica, in preparation for a mission that could one day search for life in ocean worlds beyond Earth.


Milky Way’s Quadrillions of Interstellar Planets –“Could Be Life Bearing”


Milky Way Galaxy


Back in 2012, a team of leading astrophysicists reported on Arxiv that 100,000 rogue, free-floating planets might exists for for every star in the Milky Way, which could put the number of nomad planets in the quadrillions. They suggested that it could be that nomad planets play a dynamic role in spreading life throughout universe: if life can exist without the warmth of a nearby sun, it raises the possibility that, along with sustaining life, nomad planets could be transporting life as well.


Jupiter’s Great Red Spot –“Could It Be a Way Station on the Road to Life?”

Jupiter's Great Red Spot


Many scientists believe that it is, suggests Paul Davies, theoretical physicist at Arizona State University and director of the Beyond Center, in The Demon in the Machine, observing that the Great Red Spot is an example of a “dissipative structure” first recognized in the 1970’s by the chemist Ilya Prigogine, who defined life as operating far from equilibrium with its environment and supporting a continued throughput of matter and energy.