Earth-sized planets can support life at least ten times farther away from stars than previously thought, according to researchers at the University of Aberdeen and the University of St Andrews. Many planets previously considered uninhabitable may actually be able to support life beneath the surface. The team challenges the traditional “habitable zone” or “Goldilocks zone” — the area of space around a star that can support life — by taking into consideration life living deep below the ground.
A team of European astrophysicists has discovered the most extensive planetary system to date that orbit star KOI-351 – with seven planets, more than in other known planetary systems arranged in a similar fashion to the eight planets in the Solar System, with small rocky planets close to the parent star and gas giant planets at greater distances.
The first scoop of soil analyzed by the analytical suite in the belly of NASA's Curiosity roverreveals that fine materials on the surface of the planet contain several percent water by weight. The sample also released significant carbon dioxide, oxygen and sulfur compounds when heated.