Space sciences


Answering a century-old question on the origins of life
27 Sep 2021
The missing link isn’t a not-yet-discovered fossil, after all. It’s a tiny, self-replicating globule called a coacervate droplet, developed by two researchers in Japan to represent the evolution of chemistry into biology.
10 Aug 2021
Researchers have developed a novel technique to investigate the dynamics of the early Solar System by analyzing magnetites in meteorites utilizing the wave nature of electrons.
06 Jul 2021
Tohoku University researchers have pinpointed the Sun’s early magnetic field as the reason behind variations in the rock and metal components in the four rocky planets’ cores: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
Newly developed radio receiving system
06 Jul 2021
Researchers have used the latest wireless technology to develop a new radio receiver for astronomy. The receiver is capable of capturing radio waves at frequencies over a range several times wider than conventional ones, and can detect radio waves emitted by many types of molecules in space at once. This is expected to enable significant progresses in the study of the evolution of the Universe and the mechanisms of star and planet formation.
08 Jun 2021
A research group has revealed more about the lifespan of supermassive black holes. They accidentally caught a bright phase AGN signal from the Arp 187 galaxy with no signal from the nucleus.
14 May 2021
Images from the Akatsuki spacecraft unveil why Venus’s atmosphere rotates much faster than its surface.
Assistant Professor Tony Z. Jia
11 May 2021
Tony Z. Jia is a specially-appointed assistant professor and lab manager at Japan’s Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is an astrobiologist and shared highlights from his dual research/management role.
28 Apr 2021
Scientists have recreated the reaction by which carbon isotopes made their way into different organic compounds, challenging the notion that organic compounds, such as amino acids, were formed by isotopically enriched substrates. Their discovery suggests that the building blocks of life in meteorites were derived from widely available substrates in the early solar system.
GRBAlpha nanosatellite
23 Mar 2021
A nanosatellite that Hiroshima University researchers helped develop was launched to orbit to monitor gamma-ray bursts in space.
25 Feb 2021
An international team of scientists led by the Galician Institute of High Energy Physics and the University of Aveiro, including an undergraduate from the Department of Physics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has proposed the collision of two exotic compact objects known as boson stars as an alternative explanation for the origin of the gravitational wave signal GW190521.
16 Feb 2021
Our universe is dominated by a mysterious matter known as dark matter. Its name comes from the fact that dark matter does not absorb, reflect or emit electromagnetic radiation, making it difficult to detect.
08 Feb 2021
Betelgeuse is normally one of the brightest, most recognizable stars of the winter sky, marking the left shoulder of the constellation Orion. But lately, it has been behaving strangely: an unprecedentedly large drop in its brightness has been observed in early 2020 (Figure 1), which has prompted speculation that Betelgeuse may be about to explode.
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14 Jan 2021
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25 Dec 2020
In their paper, the team described a novel scenario for PBH formation and showed that the black holes from the “multiverse” scenario can be found using the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) of the 8.2m Subaru Telescope, a gigantic digital camera—the management of which Kavli IPMU has played a crucial role—near the 4,200 meter summit of Mt. Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa2 | Spacecraft(ISAS)
15 Dec 2020
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed that the gas collected from the sample container inside the re-entry capsule of the asteroid explorer, Hayabusa2, is a gas sample originating from asteroid Ryugu.
A fragment of the Murchison meteorite
07 Dec 2020
Scientists from Japan and the USA have confirmed the presence in meteorites of a key organic molecule which may have been used to build other organic molecules, including some used by life. The discovery validates theories of the formation of organic compounds in extraterrestrial environments.
13 Oct 2020
An astronomical physicist at IIUM is investigating how to improve the surface coatings on observatory mirrors to make them more sensitive to detecting ripples in the Universe.
12 Oct 2020
When an optical fiber is immersed in liquid, a high temperature, high speed jet is discharged. Researchers expect this to be applied to medical treatment in the future. Now, a research team from Russia and Japan has explored this phenomenon further and revealed the reasons behind the jet formation.
27 Sep 2020
Researchers have shaken up a once accepted timeline for cataclysmic events in the early solar system. Geological and geochemical records indicate that the Earth-Moon system experienced a period of frequent and cataclysmic impacts from asteroids and other bodies. It was thought that this period had a relatively sudden onset, but the researchers have found evidence that this bombardment period may have started much earlier, and decreased in intensity over time.
03 Sep 2020
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration (Virgo) announce the detection of gravitational waves from the spectacular collision of two black holes with “forbidden” masses. This marks the first time an intermediate-mass black hole has been observed. Two papers about the event, known as GW190521 have been accepted for publication today in the journal Physical Review Letters and The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Professor Tjonnie Li and Professor Juan Calderon Bustillo of the Department of Physics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), lead the only group in Hong Kong involved with the work of LIGO, and have been deeply involved in the analysis of this signal.
31 Aug 2020
The quantum chromodynamics (QCD) phase transition in core-collapse supernovae has been examined for the first time, using state-of-the-art multi-dimensional supernova simulations and unique imprints of such a phase transition on the emitted gravitational-wave and neutrino signals have been detected. The findings have been reported in a paper jointly authored by Professor Ming-chung Chu and Dr. Lap-Ming Lin from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Dr. Shuai Zha (CUHK PhD 2019) and Professor Evan O’Connor from Stockholm University, and Professor Sean M. Couch from Michigan State University. It was recently published and selected as Editors’ Suggestion in the Physical Review Letters, a top physics journal.
06 Jul 2020
Hokkaido University, Tohoku University, and Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University (MAEU) have started their first satellite development program from September 1st, 2019.
09 Jun 2020
A new study reveals that asteroid impact sites in the ocean may possess a crucial link in explaining the formation of the essential molecules for life. The study discovered the emergence of amino acids that serve as the building blocks for proteins - demonstrating the role of meteorites in bringing life's molecules to Earth, and potentially Mars.
23 Apr 2020
An international research team has revealed that this ‘super-rotation’ is maintained near the equator by atmospheric tidal waves formed from solar heating on the planet’s dayside and cooling on its nightside.
21 Apr 2020
Researchers who have shown great courage and integrity in standing up for science and scientific reasoning can be nominated until 11 May 2020
Football-fish (with Neon-sign) eats electrons
30 Mar 2020
Neon inside a certain star core can eat so many electrons, it causes the star to collapse into a neutron star and produce a supernova.
Reconstructed images of what MG J0414+0534 would look like if gravitational lensing effects were turned off.
27 Mar 2020
Astronomers obtained the first resolved image of disturbed gaseous clouds in a galaxy 11 billion light-years away by using ALMA.
Montage of the CO molecule radio emission-line intensities in the three regions observed by the Star Formation Project and the Nobeyama 45 m Radio Telescope.
24 Mar 2020
Astronomers have captured new, detailed maps of three nearby interstellar gas clouds containing regions of ongoing high-mass star formation.
10 Mar 2020
A key component of the Prime Focus Spectrograph, the metrology camera, can now make accurate measurements while set up at the bottom of the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.
An artist’s impression of a satellite forming around a giant gas planet.
09 Mar 2020
Researchers found that dust encircling a young gas giant can create a “safety zone,” which keeps a large moon from falling into the planet as the system evolves.


09 Sep 2021 to 10 Sep 2021
Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) will launch a new Master-PhD course on origin-of-life science and astrobiology at Tokyo Institute of Technology. The five-year ELSI course is open for domestic and international students who wish to tackle fundamental questions in natural science such as the origin and evolution of living planets. ELSI will provide financial support (as salary of a research assistant) for all the students, except for ones who are going to be supported by JSPS DC fellowships (Japan) or equivalent fellowships.


Picture of Brian Katona
Mr. Brian Katona is an engineer supporting the technical aspects of the Office of Service-Learning’s initiatives in Humanitarian Technology, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation. He is interested in sharing his expertise with people to help build meaningful and impactful technological and social solutions.
Tony Z. Jia is a researcher at Japan’s Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), based at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. His research focuses on astrobiology, prebiotic chemistry, and origins of life.
Takeshi Horinouchi is a professor at the Faculty of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Japan.
Department of Earth Science, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Japan.