NAI

  1. Shark Bay Stromatolites Revealed


    Members of NAI’s University of Colorado Team published a study of the composition and structure of the Shark Bay stromatolites in this month’s Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Their rRNA studies revealed the most abundant sequences representing novel proteobacteria, with a surprising less than 5% representing cyanobacteria.

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  1. Robot Astrobiology Rover


    NAI astrobiologists are involved in developing a prototype robotic astrobiologist to explore the driest desert on Earth, in preparation for later flights to Mars. This Astrobiology Magazine story is based on a news release from Carnegie Mellon University.

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  1. What Yellowstone Teaches Us About Ancient Mars


    NAI scientists study Yellowstone National park as an analog for thermal areas that probably existed on Mars long ago. This SPACE.com article by Leonard David also tells how visitors to the park are learning about astrobiology.

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  1. Extremophiles


    Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute discusses life living under extreme (to us) conditions, and what this tells us about the search for life beyond Earth.

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  1. The Enigma of the Martian Soil


    Amos Banin from NAI’s SETI Institute Team discusses the state of knowledge about the Martian soil in this week’s Science “Perspectives.” He looks specifically at information gained from past missions, and the role water processing may have played in soil formation.

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  1. Spitzer Finds Carbon Compounds in Young Universe


    This news story is based on a JPL/NASA press release dated July 28, 2005, which reports that the Spitzer Space Telescope has found the ingredients for life all the way back to a time when the universe was a mere youngster.

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  1. A Solar Analogue Explored


    Astronomers from NAI’s Lead Teams at UCLA and the Carnegie Institution of Washington describe in this week’s issue of Nature their observations of large quantities of warm dust debris surrounding a Sun-like star some 300 light years from Earth. The dust is orbiting close to the star, and is similar in composition to dust in the Solar System. The composition and quantity of the dust may indicate massive and/or frequent collisions of large objects, perhaps similar to the theorized impactor that struck Earth to form the Moon.

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  1. A Cause for Methane on Mars


    Members of NAI’s UCLA Lead Team published a paper in this month’s Geophysical Research Letters describing how hydrothermal fluid processes driven by a small subsurface magmatic intrusion can produce methane on Mars.

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  1. A New Class of Planet?


    Astronomers have recently discovered what appear to be rocky planets intermediate in size between Earth and Jupiter. We have nothing like this in our own solar system, where there is a sharp distinction between small terrestrial planets and giants like Jupiter and Saturn. Alan Boss of the NAI Carnegie Team discusses the significance of these strange objects.

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  1. Life Is Left Handed


    The dry, dusty, treeless expanse of Chile’s Atacama Desert is the most lifeless spot on the face of the Earth, and that’s why Alison Skelley and Richard Mathies joined a team of NASA scientists there earlier this month.

    The University of California, Berkeley, scientists knew that if the Mars Organic Analyzer (MOA) they’d built could detect life in that crusty, arid land, then it would have a good chance some day of detecting life on the planet Mars.

    In a place that hadn’t seen a blade of grass or a bug for ages, and contending with ...

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  1. Characterizing the Early Solar Nebula


    A recent Nature paper from Jim Lyons and Ed Young of NAI’s UCLA Lead Team postulates a cause for oxygen isotope anomalies in meteorites that overthrows a long accepted explanation. They propose CO photodissociation due to a far ultraviolet flux caused by a nearby O or B star as a mechanism to produce the isotope fractionation that is consistent with the anomalies observed in the meteorites. The postulated presence of a nearby second star (within one parsec) means statistically that the forming Solar System was probably embedded in a cluster of ~200 stars.

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  1. Linking the Rise in Atmospheric Oxygen With Paleoproterozoic Glaciations


    Andrey Bekker, once with NAI’s former Harvard Lead Team and now part of NAI’s Carnegie Institution of Washington Lead Team, led a study in this month’s Precambrian Research that for the first time documents chemostratigraphy and correlates Early Paleoproterozoic post-glacial carbonates of North America and South Africa.

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  1. Wading in Martian Water


    The European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft has been orbiting Mars for over a year. While the high resolution images of the planet’s many craters, volcanoes, and other features get the most notice, the spacecraft’s seven instruments have also gathered large amounts of data about the planet’s atmosphere, geology, and chemistry. Bernard Foing, ESA Chief Scientist, provides on overview of the most notable discoveries made during Europe’s first trip to the Red Planet.

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  1. Microbial Ecology of Hot Spring Communities in Yellowstone


    New studies from NAI’s University of Colorado team published in the February 15, 2005 issue of PNAS implicate the oxidation of molecular hydrogren as the source of energy for primary productivity in high temperature microbial ecosystems in Yellowstone.

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  1. End of Permian Extinction Theory Draws Technical Comments


    Charles Marshall of NAI’s former Harvard University team published in this week’s Science his commentary on what he calls NAI Principal Investigator Peter Ward’s “groundbreaking” paper from January 2005. The comments are accompanied by a response from Ward et al.

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