Latest News

Breadcrumb

Could more of Earth’s surface host life?

"Of all known planets, Earth is as friendly to life as any planet could possibly be — or is it? If Jupiter’s orbit changes, a new study shows Earth could be more hospitable than it is today. When a planet has a perfectly circular orbit around its star, the distance between the star and the...
By Jules Bernstein | | Exoplanets and Planetary Science
deep sea medusa found in Alaska. Credit: Hidden Ocean 2005

Sleeping giant could end deep ocean life

"A previously overlooked factor — the position of continents — helps fill Earth’s oceans with life-supporting oxygen. Continental movement could ultimately have the opposite effect, killing most deep ocean creatures. 'Continental drift seems so slow, like nothing drastic could come from it, but when the ocean is primed, even a seemingly tiny event could trigger...
By Jules Bernstein | | Global Climate & Environmental Change

Why Jupiter doesn’t have rings like Saturn

"Because it’s bigger, Jupiter ought to have larger, more spectacular rings than Saturn has. But new UC Riverside research shows Jupiter’s massive moons prevent that vision from lighting up the night sky. “It’s long bothered me why Jupiter doesn’t have even more amazing rings that would put Saturn’s to shame,” said UCR astrophysicist Stephen Kane...
By Jules Bernstein | | Exoplanets and Planetary Science

Ancient microbes may help us find extraterrestrial life forms

"Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes, scientists have reconstructed what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms. These efforts could help us recognize signs of life on other planets, whose atmospheres may more closely resemble our pre-oxygen planet. The earliest living things, including bacteria and single-celled organisms called archaea, inhabited a primarily oceanic...
| Astrobiology

Remembering ‘isotope queen’ Marilyn Fogel, pioneering scientist, beloved mentor

"Marilyn Fogel, endowed geoecology professor at UC Riverside, died on May 11 at her home in Mariposa, Calif. She was 69. She pioneered the use of different forms of the same chemical element, called isotopes, to understand the life history of organisms, both modern and ancient. In so doing, she helped develop biogeochemistry as a...

Lesser known ozone layer’s outsized role in planet warming

"New research has identified a lesser-known form of ozone playing a big role in heating the Southern Ocean — one of Earth’s main cooling systems. Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms. Many studies have described ozone in the stratosphere, and its role in shielding people from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Closer...

Why Venus rotates, slowly, despite sun’s powerful grip

"If not for the soupy, fast-moving atmosphere on Venus, Earth’s sister planet would likely not rotate. Instead, Venus would be locked in place, always facing the sun the way the same side of the moon always faces Earth. The gravity of a large object in space can keep a smaller object from spinning, a phenomenon...

Can the Salton Sea geothermal field prevent the coming lithium shortage?

University of California, Riverside scientists will join a first-of-its-kind effort to map out California’s so-called “Lithium Valley,” and learn whether it can meet America’s urgent demand for lithium in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way. Lithium is required for making electric vehicle batteries and other devices that store and use electricity. As the world transitions away...
By JULES BERNSTEIN | | Petrology, Geochemistry, Geothermics

Paleontology Professor Mary Droser wins National Academy of Sciences medal

For transforming our understanding of the earliest animals on Earth, UC Riverside Professor Mary Droser has won the National Academy of Sciences’ prestigious Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal. The medal, part of the academy’s Award in Early Earth and Life Sciences, is an honor bestowed on only one scientist in the world every eight years. It...
By JULES BERNSTEIN | | Paleontology, Paleobiology, Paleoecology

Unusual team finds gigantic planet hidden in plain sight

A UC Riverside astronomer and a group of eagle-eyed citizen scientists have discovered a giant gas planet hidden from view by typical stargazing tools.
By JULES BERNSTEIN | | Exoplanets and Planetary Science

How the Webb telescope could ultimately help protect Earth

The James Webb Space Telescope, the most complex and expensive space laboratory ever created, is less than two weeks away from its ultimate destination a million miles from Earth. Once it arrives, it will send information about parts of space and time never seen before. It will also send previously unattainable information about parts of...
By JULES BERNSTEIN | | Exoplanets and Planetary Science

Deadliest period in Earth’s history was also the stinkiest

Tiny microbes belching toxic gas helped cause — and prolong — the biggest mass extinction in Earth’s history, a new study suggests.
By JULES BERNSTEIN | | Environmental Dynamics and GeoEcology

Extraterrestrial objects likely delayed complex life on Earth

"Bombardment of Earth’s surface by asteroids six or more miles long likely delayed the accumulation of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere."

Geology professor joins elite class of American Geophysical Union fellows

"Geology Professor Andy Ridgwell has been named a 2021 fellow of the American Geophysical Union, or AGU, one of the most significant honors a scientist in earth sciences can receive. AGU is a large international society dedicated to promoting Earth and space science. It elects fewer than 0.1% of its 60,000 members each year to...

Meet UCR’s paleontology power pair

"Paleontologist Nigel Hughes has earned one of the highest honors in his field, an achievement made even more remarkable because last year’s winner was another UCR paleontologist — Mary Droser, his wife. Any paleontologist in the world is eligible for the Society for Sedimentary Geology’s Raymond C. Moore Paleontology Medal. It was unintentional that the...

Investigating the potential for life around the galaxy’s smallest stars

"When the world’s most powerful telescope launches into space this year, scientists will learn whether Earth-sized planets in our ‘solar neighborhood’ have a key prerequisite for life — an atmosphere. These planets orbit an M-dwarf, the smallest and most common type of star in the galaxy. Scientists do not currently know how common it is...
| Astrobiology
earthvenus

UCR joins forces with NASA on missions to Venus

"By joining NASA on its newly announced missions, UC Riverside is hoping to learn how Venus went from pleasant, Earth-like planet to blistering wasteland."
By Jules Bernstein | | Astrobiology, Exoplanets and Planetary Science

Project illuminates where giant exoplanets reside

"Astronomers have long wondered whether the configuration of planets in our solar system is common elsewhere in the universe. New results from the longest-running survey of exoplanets helps answer this question."
By Jules Bernstein | | Astrobiology, Exoplanets and Planetary Science

Study reveals the workings of nature’s own earthquake blocker

"A new study finds a naturally occurring “earthquake gate” that decides which earthquakes are allowed to grow into magnitude 8 or greater. "
By JULES BERNSTEIN | | Earthquakes & Geophysics

Rise of oxygen on Earth: Initial estimates off by 100 million years

"New research shows the permanent rise of oxygen in our atmosphere, which set the stage for life as we know it, happened 100 million years later than previously thought. A significant rise in oxygen occurred about 2.43 billion years ago, marking the start of the Great Oxidation Episode — a pivotal moment in Earth’s history."
Let us help you with your search