Driven by the recent and profound discovery of ubiquitous Earth-like exoplanets, our central quest is to understand the origin and prevalence of life in exoplanetary systems using our knowledge of the universe. Learn More.
Talk: Dr Natalie Starkey ‘Catching Stardust’
We seek to understand how atmospheric chemistry, geochemical processes, and environmental conditions affect the habitability of planets in our solar system and those that lie beyond it. With the study of microbial communities from extreme environments we seek to determine the limits for life as we know it, where else life might be found, and which biosignatures we should look for in our solar system and beyond. Learn about conferences, fellowship and grant opportunities, and the courses we offer.
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More Comet Samples Needed to Understand Solar System's History, Scientists Say | Space
Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series. The microbe-sized extraterrestrial particle, which originated from a nova explosion more than 4.
Alongside planetary scientists at the University of Arizona UA , the grain was studied last year at the atomic-level by University of Toronto Engineering professor Jane Howe while she was a senior scientist at Hitachi High Technologies. It originated before the formation of the sun.
It's just amazing to analyze such an anomaly," says Howe. Using advanced ion and electron microscopes, Howe and the researchers observed the arrangement of carbon atoms and its variants, known as carbon isotope anomalies, and discovered the presolar graphite grain contained oxygen-rich silicates -- something they did not expect to see. The researchers' observation gives new insights into the conditions of a dying star.
Exploring the Early Bombardment of the Inner Solar System
It also contradicts the scientific hypothesis that the two types of stardust material, oxygen- and carbon-rich -- which are presolar building blocks in the formation of a solar system -- could not form in the same nova outburst, under the same conditions. The international collaboration, which includes Howe, planetary scientists, astronomers and material scientists at UA, Washington University in St.
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- Planetary Science.
One of the greatest curiosities is how the universe was formed and how life started," says Howe.