Earth’s oxygen increased in gradual steps rather than big bursts
A carbon cycle anomaly discovered in carbonate rocks of the Neoproterozoic Hüttenberg Formation of north-eastern Namibia follows a pattern similar to that found right after the Great Oxygenation Event, hinting at new evidence for how Earth’s atmosphere became fully oxygenated.
Start of hard rock excavation for the Giant Magellan Telescope
GMTO Corporation (GMTO) announced on Aug. 14 the start of hard rock excavation for the Giant Magellan Telescope’s massive concrete pier and the foundations for the telescope’s enclosure on its site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The work will be performed by Minería y Montajes Conpax (known as Conpax), a construction services company that has previously performed site work for other observatories in Chile. Using a combination of hydraulic drilling and hammering, the excavation work is expected to take about five months to complete. Excavation is a key step towards the construction of the GMT, which is expected to see first light as early as 2024.
The value of seagrass in securing a sustainable planet
Researchers believe that improving knowledge of how seagrasses are important for biodiversity, fisheries and our global carbon cycle in turn needs to be reflected with greater protection for these sensitive habitats.
Microbes go dark to stay warm in cooler climates
Microbes are numerous at high latitudes and in some polar regions noticeably darken the terrain, so it is possible that they not only respond to climate change but also—through sheer numbers—enhance it
Pair of Colliding Stars Spill Radioactive Molecules into Space
Astronomers have made the first definitive detection of a radioactive molecule in interstellar space: a form, or isotopologue of aluminum monofluoride (26AlF). The new data – made with ALMA and the NOEMA radio telescopes – reveal that this radioactive isotopologue was ejected into space by the collision of two stars, a tremendously rare cosmic event that was witnessed on Earth as a “new star,” or nova, in the year 1670.
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.