Centauri Dreams 20 Mar 2019, 17:02 UTC Biosignature gases are those that can alert us to the possibility of life on a planet around another star. We’re moving into the era of biosignature observation by studying the atmospheres of such planets through instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope, and the effort to catalog the combinations of atmospheric gases that point to life is intense and ongoing.
Bad Astronomy 20 Mar 2019, 13:00 UTC I've said it before, and I’ll say it again: There’s nothing like being there. This isn’t just an aphorism; when it comes to asteroids it’s the literal truth. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft is making that incredibly clear. Astronomers had some idea of the asteroid Bennu’s size and shape from ground-based observations, but once the spacecraft got there, well, it was basically one surprise after another.
The New York Times 19 Mar 2019, 22:05 UTC HOUSTON — The asteroid Bennu, with the shape of a spinning top, turns out to be extremely rugged. That is going to make it difficult for a NASA spacecraft, Osiris-Rex, to vacuum up a sample to take back to Earth. It was designed to collect sand and gravel, not boulders. In addition, Bennu is shooting back.
Universe Today 19 Mar 2019, 18:50 UTC Roughly 12,800 years ago, planet Earth went through a brief cold snap that was unrelated to any ice age. For years, there have been geologists that have argued that this period was caused by an airburst or meteor fragments (known as the Younger Dryas Impact Theory). This event is beleived to have caused widespread destruction and the demise of the Clovis culture in North American.
Centauri Dreams 19 Mar 2019, 16:30 UTC Dust rings in the Solar System are of interest because they offer clues about the formation of the planets, as well as allowing us to contrast our own circumstellar dust with what we see around other stars in varying stages of planetary development. Recent work out of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center offers a dust ring with a difference from others we’ve found in our own system. Scientists have traced a dust ring near the orbit of Venus, and it’s one with origins different than the dust that occurs in Earth’s orbit as well as dust found near Mercury.