NAI

  1. MISSIONS – Rendezvous With Titan


    For nearly a decade, scientists around the world have been waiting patiently for the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe to arrive at its destination: Saturn’s giant moon Titan. Now, as the Huygens science team gathers at ESA’s control center in Darmstadt, Germany, that wait is almost over. In less than 24 hours, Huygens will descend down through Titan’s thick shroud of fog, taking a host of measurements along the way. The data the probe sends back will reveal Titan in far more detail than any previous mission has offered. Results from Hugyens may also provide a ...

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  1. Titan or Bust!


    On January 14th, four weeks after separation with the Cassini spacecraft, the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe will enter Titan’s atmosphere. Along its several-hour-long journey to the surface, it will collect, along with other data, the sounds of the atmosphere.

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  1. Activities of Subseafloor Life More Diverse Than Expected


    NAI-funded research on cores recovered through the Joint Oceanographic’s Ocean Drilling Program show that the activity of microbial life beneath the seafloor is far more diverse than expected.

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  1. NASA Selects Investigations for the Mars Science Laboratory


    NASA has selected eight proposals to provide instrumentation and associated science investigations for the mobile Mars Science Laboratory rover, scheduled for launch in 2009.

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  1. The Martian Methane Surprise


    Is the methane on Mars coming from deep underground? Astrobiologist Mike Mumma discusses some possibilities while explaining how to measure methane on another world.

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  1. MISSIONSRADAR Surprises From Titan


    When the Cassini spacecraft flew by Titan on October 26, the RADAR instrument peered through the moon’s smoggy chemical haze. In an interview with Astrobiology Magazine editor Leslie Mullen, Ralph Lorenz from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab discussed the surprises revealed by Cassini’s RADAR results.

    Astrobiology Magazine (AM): Could you describe what the recent RADAR measurements uncovered on Titan?

    Ralph Lorenz (RL): Titan is a unique moon in the solar system because it has a thick, mostly nitrogen atmosphere. That atmosphere also carries a little bit of methane and photochemical smog. That smog is ...

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  1. Reports Detail Rover Discoveries of Wet Martian History


    The most dramatic findings so far from NASA’s twin Mars rovers — telltale evidence for a wet and possibly habitable environment in the arid planet’s past — passed rigorous scientific scrutiny for publication in a major research journal.

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  1. More Evidence for Methane on Mars


    Methane on Earth is generated primarily by living microbes, and this gas is often proposed as a biomarker. Papers presented on November 11 at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Science (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society strengthened the evidence that this gas has been detected in the atmosphere of Mars.

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  1. Astrobiology Education Web Adds Dynamic Atmosphere Module


    As NASA prepares to investigate the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon, Titan, NASA education experts are helping students investigate the importance of an atmosphere to human life.

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  1. MISSIONS – Titan: Where’s the Wet Stuff?


    With only limited data, and a lot of imagination, scientists have constructed a provocative model of Saturn’s moon Titan. The giant moon, they say, is a prebiotic laboratory of sorts, with an atmosphere rich in methane and other organic compounds. Down on the moon’s frozen surface, they suspect, are pools, lakes, perhaps even oceans of liquid hydrocarbons. One of the primary scientific goals of the Cassini-Huygens mission is to search for these bodies of liquid. Cassini’s initial results, however, are inconclusive.

    Cassini flew within 1200 kilometers (746 miles of Titan on Tuesday and collected a variety of ...

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  1. Study Suggests Component of Volcanic Gas May Have Played a Significant Role in the Origins of Life on Earth


    Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies are reporting a possible answer to a longstanding question in research on the origins of life on Earth—how did the first amino acids form the first peptides?

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  1. Drilling on Autopilot


    Carol Stoker is the principal investigator for the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). MARTE has just begun its second field season drilling into the subsurface near the headwaters of the Río Tinto in Spain, searching for novel forms of microbial life. In a four-part interview with Astrobiology Magazine Managing Editor Henry Bortman, conducted just before Stoker left for Spain, she explained what MARTE hopes to accomplish. In this fourth and final part, Stoker talks about MARTE’s technology objective: developing a fully automated drilling and life-detection system.

    Astrobiology Magazine (AM): In your first field season last year, and ...

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  1. Life on Earth: Signpost to Life on Mars


    Carol Stoker is the principal investigator for the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE. MARTE has just begun its second field season drilling into the subsurface near the headwaters of the Río Tinto in Spain, searching for novel forms of microbial life. In a four-part interview with Astrobiology Magazine Managing Editor Henry Bortman, conducted just before Stoker left for Spain, she explained what MARTE hopes to accomplish. In this second part, Stoker talks about some of the problems that occurred during the first field season and explains the relevance of the MARTE project to the search for life on ...

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  1. Drilling for Weird Life


    Carol Stoker is the principal investigator for the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). MARTE has just begun its second field season drilling into the subsurface near the headwaters of the Río Tinto in Spain, searching for novel forms of microbial life. In a four-part interview with Astrobiology Magazine Managing Editor Henry Bortman, conducted just before Stoker left for Spain, she explained what MARTE hopes to accomplish. In this first part, Stoker describes the field site and discusses some of the research team’s early results.

    Astrobiology Magazine (AM): You’re heading up a project that is going to ...

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  1. Milestone Reached for Detecting Life on Mars


    “To detect life on Mars, we have to devise instruments to recognize it and design them in such a way to get them to the Red Planet most efficiently,” said Dr. Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory, a member of an international team designing devices and techniques to find life on Mars.

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