Results tagged “exobiology”

The goal of finding and characterizing nearby Earth-like planets is driving many NASA high-contrast flagship mission concepts, the latest of which is known as the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST).

How life arose from the toxic and inhospitable environment of our planet billions of years ago remains a deep mystery.

Lichen on Mars

Humans cannot hope to survive life on Mars without plenty of protection from the surface radiation, freezing night temperatures and dust storms on the red planet.

Material from the surface of a planet can be ejected into space by a large impact, and could carry primitive life forms with it.

Carbon Worlds May be Waterless

Planets rich in carbon, including so-called diamond planets, may lack oceans, according to NASA-funded theoretical research.

Any textbook will tell you that oxygen is essential for advanced life to evolve. But why did life not explode when oxygen levels rose dramatically 2.1 billion years ago? This is the big question after a Danish/Swedish/French research team, led by University of Southern Denmark, has shown that the oxygen content 2.1 billion years ago was probably the same as when life exploded 500 million years ago.

The mystery of why life on Earth evolved when it did has deepened with the publication of a new study in the latest edition of the journal Science. Scientists at the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine, The University of Manchester and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris have ruled out a theory as to why the planet was warm enough to sustain the planet's earliest life forms when the Sun's energy was roughly three-quarters the strength it is today.

The quest for evidence of life on Mars could be more difficult than scientists previously thought. A scientific paper published today details the investigation of a chemical in the Martian soil that interferes with the techniques used by the Curiosity rover to test for traces of life. The chemical causes the evidence to burn away during the tests.

A new study has shown how low temperature chemical reactions between iron-containing minerals and water could produce hydrogen 'food' for microorganisms that inhabit pores and cracks in rocks below the ocean floor and parts of the continents.

Writing in the journal Nature Geoscience, astrobiologists Alberto Fairen of Cornell University and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University say the NASA Office of Planetary Protection's "detailed and expensive" efforts to keep Earth microorganisms off Mars are making missions to search for life on the red planet "unviable."

In an effort to determine if conditions were ever right on Mars to sustain life, a team of scientists, including a Michigan State University professor, has examined a meteorite that formed on the red planet more than a billion years ago. And although this team's work is not specifically solving the mystery, it is laying the groundwork for future researchers to answer this age-old question.

A research team of biogeochemists at the University of California, Riverside has provided a new view on the relationship between the earliest accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere, arguably the most important biological event in Earth history, and its relationship to the sulfur cycle.


Life on Earth may have originated not in warm tropical seas, but with weird tubes of ice -- sometimes called "sea stalactites" -- that grow downward into cold seawater near the Earth's poles, scientists are reporting. Their article on these "brinicles" appears in ACS' journal Langmuir.

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