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...

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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...

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

Ancient microbes may help us find extraterrestrial life forms

Using light-capturing proteins in living microbes, UC Riverside scientists helped reconstruct what life was like for some of Earth’s earliest organisms. These efforts could help us one day recognize signs of life on other planets.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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

Marilyn Fogel, endowed geoecology professor at UC Riverside, died on May 11 in Mariposa, Calif. She was 69. She pioneered the use of isotopes to understand the life history of organisms, both modern and ancient. In so doing, she helped develop biogeochemistry as a new field of science and earned...

By Jules Bernstein | | University

Lesser known ozone layer’s outsized role in planet warming

New UC Riverside-led 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.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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...

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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. This, in turn, likely delayed the development of complex life on the planet, according to new research that included UC Riverside scientists.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

UCR joins forces with NASA on missions to Venus

By joining NASA on their newly announced missions, UC Riverside is hoping to learn how Venus went from pleasant, Earth-like planet to blistering wasteland.

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.

Study reveals the workings of nature’s own earthquake blocker

A new UC Riverside study finds a naturally occurring “earthquake gate” that decides which earthquakes are allowed to grow into magnitude 8 or greater.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

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 team including UC Riverside found that oxygen fluctuated dramatically after its early appearance before becoming a permanent constituent of the...

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

450-million-year-old sea creatures had a leg up on breathing

A new UC Riverside study has found the first evidence of sophisticated breathing organs in 450-million-year-old sea creatures. Contrary to previous thought, trilobites were leg breathers, with structures resembling gills hanging off their thighs.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

Research shows we’re surprisingly similar to Earth’s first animals

Today’s humans share genes with 555-million-year-old oceanic creatures missing heads.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology

Astronomers measure enormous planet lurking far from its star

Scientists aren’t usually able to measure the size of gigantic planets, like Jupiter or Saturn, which are far from the stars they orbit. But a UC Riverside-led team has done it.

By Jules Bernstein | | Science / Technology