Oxygen levels on early Earth rose and fell several times before the successful Great Oxidation Event
Earth’s oxygen levels rose and fell more than once hundreds of millions of years before the planetwide success of the Great Oxidation Event about 2.4 billion years ago, new research from the University of Washington shows.
Bacterial survival in salty antifreeze raises hope for life on Mars and icy moons
New research by a trans-Atlantic team of scientists suggests that bacteria could survive in briny chemicals that exist on Mars, Enceladus, Europa, Pluto and possibly elsewhere.
NASA Uses Earth as Laboratory to Study Distant Worlds
The study of exoplanets — planets that lie outside our solar system — could help scientists answer big questions about our place in the universe, and whether life exists beyond Earth. But, these distant worlds are extremely faint and difficult to image directly. A new study uses Earth as a stand-in for an exoplanet, and shows that even with very little light — as little as one pixel — it is still possible to measure key characteristics of distant worlds.
A bacterium in an acidic, hot volcanic lake may hold clues to life on ancient Mars
A group of microbes found in a highly acidic, hot, mineral-rich volcanic lake in Central America may give us clues about life on ancient Mars.
Iron-rich minerals on Mars could contain life’s fatty acids
A little stream in the south of England could guide the way towards finding evidence for ancient life on Mars, in the form of fatty acids preserved in an iron-rich mineral called goethite.
Habitability of the young earth could boost the chances of life elsewhere
The conditions on the early Earth have long been a mystery, but researchers from NASA and the University of Washington have now devised a way to account for the uncertain variables of the time, in turn discovering that the conditions of early Earth may have been more moderate than previously thought.
How small bodies are playing a big role in planetary science
Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has ben visited by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, and could receive another visit from a potential NASA mission called CAESAR.
Why formamide may have been early life’s alternative to water
An organic compound called formamide could have acted in place of water as a solvent (meaning it can dissolve molecules) in early life on Earth, according to new research describing how formamide could have formed when exposed to natural concentrations of radioactive elements
A cosmic gorilla effect could blind the detection of aliens
A well-known experiment with young people bouncing a ball showed that when an observer focuses on counting the passes, he does not detect if someone crosses the stage disguised as a gorilla.
How tidally-locked planets could avoid a ‘snowball Earth’ fate
Tidally-locked planets in the habitable zone of stars may be able to avoid global ice ages, according to a study that models the interplay of where ice forms and how it reflects sunlight. Meanwhile, a second study has found that planets that are strongly tilted are more likely to experience sudden ice ages.