“NASA’s ENIGMA (Evolution of Nanomachines In Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors) research team,” biophysicist Paul Falkowski told The Daily Galaxy, “is focused on answering a single, compelling question in astrobiology: How did proteins evolve to become the predominant catalysts of life on Earth?”
“There was quite some detective work involved, and the right people were there at the right time,” said Diana Dragomir,” an exoplanetologist at the University of New Mexico about exoplanets discovered in 2019 that could sustain life using its advanced Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). “But we were lucky,’ she noted, “and we caught the signals, and they were really clear.” The planetary system called L 98-59 is located around 35 light-years away from Earth and hosts five new worlds that have characteristics that are also found on planets orbiting the sun.
Enigmatic viruses –not living, yet not dead–help create, protect and transform the universe, observed Carl Zimmer in his classic A Planet of Viruses. Viruses, he notes, have had a huge impact on the history of all life on Earth–their population of Earth’s Oceans would stretch out into space 42 million light years.
“Perhaps the most likely scenario for ‘life’ near a neutron star or black hole involves colonization … by robotic missions from a civilization around another nearby star,” astronomer James Cordes at Cornell University, told The Daily Galaxy. Cordes’ research focus includes neutron stars, pulsars, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. “Such a mission,” he notes, “would be very costly and might not be warranted given the power of remote sensing. However, an ancient but advanced civilization might afford such a luxury.”
The Milky Way’s bulge is the ancient and crowded central hub of our Galaxy. It contains about one quarter of the total stellar mass of the Milky Way and has a very different stellar environment than our solar neighborhood. The stellar densities are on average over 10 times higher and include both very young but mostly very old stellar populations.
Before life appeared on land some 400 million years ago, all life on Earth including the mind evolved in the sea. Astronomers have recently conjectured that blue exoplanets with endless oceans may be orbiting many of the Milky Way’s one trillion stars. In 2016, for example, Kepler astronomers discovered planets that are unlike anything in our solar system –a “water world” planetary system orbiting the star Kepler-62. This five-planet system has two worlds in the habitable zone — their surfaces completely covered by an endless global ocean with no land or mountains in sight.