The TRAPPIST-1 star system may be too old for life

We hate to further quash hopes that the TRAPPIST-1 star system can harbor life, but… it's not looking great. Researchers have determined that the dwarf star is between 5.4 billion years old and 9.8 billion years old, or considerably older than the…

Scientists take a big step toward creating custom organisms

Scientists dream of using custom organisms to fight illnesses or even build computers, but there's a problem: it's difficult to make the sweeping genetic changes that would give you exactly the lifeform you need. To that end, researchers have found…

Most habitable planets may be completely covered in water

When you imagine what a rocky, habitable planet looks like, it's easy to picture an alternate Earth where land and oceans exist in an ideal balance. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily how it will pan out in real life… in fact, you might be surp…

Scientists find a low-cost way to build genomes from scratch

To put it mildly, sequencing and building a genome from scratch isn't cheap. It's sometimes affordable for human genomes, but it's often prohibitively expensive (hundreds of thousands of dollars) whenever you're charting new territory — say, a speci…

Dwarf star’s atmosphere holds the ingredients for life

One of the biggest questions in the search for life in the universe is a simple one: how common are the ingredients needed to make life-giving planets? They might be more widespread than you think. Astronomers have discovered that a white dwarf sta…

‘Coloring Book’ is the first streaming-only album up for a Grammy

Meghan Trainor announced the nominees for this year's Grammy Awards on Monday night. Beyonce, deservedly, is leading the field with 9 nominations followed closely by Drake, Rhianna and Kanye West who all have 8 apiece. But more surprising is the cate…

New data suggests Mars had lakes that could have supported life

If you asked most star-gazers about water on Mars a month ago, you'd likely be told there is evidence for liquid H2O in the past, but it's probably long gone. How things can change. First was the big announcement that liquid water is still present (i…

Researchers draft the first comprehensive tree of life

It's very poetic to talk about a tree of life, where every species can trace its roots, but actually illustrating this tree is no mean feat when Earth has been home to at least 2.3 million known species. However, scientists have finally given it a…