Results tagged “Astrobiology”

The compositions of the 3.7-billion-year-old surface rocks on Mars -- as observed by the Spirit rover at Gusev crater -- are shown to be consistent with early mixing of oxidized surface material into the uppermost Martian mantle: such oxidation appears to have had less influence on more recent volcanic rocks, which are sampled as Martian meteorites.

The autonomous, solar-powered Zoe, which became the first robot to map microbial life during a 2005 field expedition in Chile's Atacama Desert, is heading back to the world's driest desert this month on a NASA astrobiology mission led by Carnegie Mellon University and the SETI Institute. This time, Zoe is equipped with a one-meter drill to search for subsurface life.

The widespread disappearance of stromatolites, the earliest visible manifestation of life on Earth, may have been driven by single-celled organisms called foraminifera.

Recently the Brazilian Network of Astrobiology (Rede Brasileira de Astrobiologia - RBA) was created. Linked to the Research Unit in Astrobiology (NAP-Astrobio) of the Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP). NAP-Astrobio is an international partner of important institutions in the area, such as the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) and the European Astrobiology Networks Association (EANA).

Astrochemistry aims at studying chemical processes in astronomical environments. This discipline -- located at the crossroad between astrophysics and chemistry -- is rapidly evolving and explores the issue of the formation of molecules of increasing complexity in particular physical conditions that deviate significantly from those frequently encountered in chemistry laboratories. The main goal of this paper is to provide an overview of this discipline.

The temperature in the permafrost on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian high Arctic is nearly as cold as that of the surface of Mars. So the recent discovery by a McGill University led team of scientists of a bacterium that is able to thrive at -15oC, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth, is exciting.

Mars Icebreaker Life Mission

Missions to Mars have only scratched its surface. To go deeper, scientists are proposing a spacecraft that can drill into the Red Planet to potentially find signs of life.

Are we alone in the universe? How did life begin? Will the human civilization expand out into the solar system and beyond? How can we act as curators of our home planet to achieve long-term sustainability? As astrobiologists we recognize these scientific and societal questions as some of the greatest of our time.

Scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center now have the capability to systematically investigate the molecular evolution of cosmic carbon. For the first time, these scientists are able to automatically interpret previously unknown infrared emissions from space that come from surprisingly complex organic molecules, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are abundant and important across the universe.

The Instrument Concepts for Europa Exploration (ICEE) Program supports the advanced development of spacecraft-based instruments for Europa exploration. The goal of the program is to mature and reduce the technical risk of instruments for a potential future Europa mission to the point where they may be proposed in response to a future flight announcement of opportunity (AO) without additional extensive technology development.

Please join us for the NAI Early Earth Focus Group Workshop Without Walls on "The Hadean Earth-Moon System". The workshop is aimed at providing the most up-to-date science on the first billion years' history of the Earth-Moon system, from solar system formation at 4.567 Ga to the widespread preservation of crustal rocks at 3.5 Ga to evidence for life preserved within those rocks.

A Comparative Climatology Symposium was held at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 7. The symposium focused on new approaches to climate research by highlighting the similarities and contrasts between the environments of the terrestrial planets Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn's smoggy moon Titan. The symposium also included discussions about exoplanets, the Sun, and past, present and future space missions.

In fossil remnants of iron-loving bacteria, researchers of the Cluster of Excellence Origin and Structure of the Universe at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), found a radioactive iron isotope that they trace back to a supernova in our cosmic neighborhood. This is the first proven biological signature of a starburst on our earth.

With cold temperatures, low humidity and high levels of ultraviolet radiation, conditions 10 kilometers above Earth's surface may seem inhospitable. But, next time you're flying consider this: The air outside your airplane window may be filled with microscopic life that affects everything from weather and climate to the distribution of pathogens around the planet.

The symposium will highlight the similarities and contrasts between the environments of the terrestrial planets: Venus, Earth, Mars, and Titan. Presentations will cover current Earth climate models, Earth observation, past and current Venus missions (as a laboratory for Earth climate), observational studies of the Terrestrial planets (exoplanets), and the influence of the Sun on climate. The Symposium will conclude with a panel discussion and Q/A.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has named Steven J. Dick as the second Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. The chair is a joint project between the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the Kluge Center.

Astrobiology Daily News 30 April 2013

Be a part of the future of Astrobiology! It's time to chart the future directions of astrobiology research and you can participate. During the month of May, NASA will be hosting a series of on-line hangouts and discussions focusing on broad themes in astrobiology: Planetary Conditions for Life, Prebiotic Evolution, Early Evolution of Life and the Biosphere, Evolution of Advanced Life, and Astrobiology for Solar Systems Exploration.

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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