NAI

  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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  1. Molecular Biologists Uproot Perspective of Ancient Ancestry


    A study funded in part by NASA has uprooted the “Tree of Life” metaphor that describes how all organisms are related.

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  1. News From the Bioastronomy 2004 Meeting


    The most recent international astrobiology meeting was held in Iceland July 12-16, 2004.

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  1. Searching for Scarce Life


    NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers continue to inch their way across the desert-like terrain of Mars. Meanwhile, back on Earth, group of scientists is preparing to send Zoë, a prototype of a newer rover, on a trek across the Chilean desert. Spirit and Opportunity are searching for signs of water; Zoë will search for signs of life.

    Chile’s Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. In regions closer to the Pacific coast, a sprinkling of bacteria and lichen manages to scratch out an existence, surviving on moisture from salt fogs that occasionally move in from the ocean ...

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  1. Scientists Discover First of a New Class of Extrasolar Planets


    The following story reporting the discovery of 2 new Uranus/Neptune sized exoplanets adds to the mystery of planetary systems with hot giant planets.

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  1. Life on Mars: A Definite Possibility


    Was Mars once a living world? Does life continue, even today, in a holding pattern, waiting until the next global warming event comes along? Many people would like to believe so. Scientists are no exception. But so far no evidence has been found that convinces even a sizable minority of the scientific community that the red planet was ever home to life. What the evidence does indicate, though, is that Mars was once a habitable world. Life, as we know it, could have taken hold there.

    The discoveries made by NASA’s Opportunity rover at Eagle Crater earlier this year ...

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  1. The Measure of Deep Time


    Most people think of time as a straightforward concept, running smoothly and divided into years, days, minutes, etc. For the geologist, paleontologist, or astrobiologist studying the Earth’s history, it is not so simple, however.

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  1. MISSIONS – Prebiotic Laboratory


    Titan is the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere, and it is the organic chemistry that has been detected in that atmosphere that has sparked the imagination of planetary scientists like Lunine. In January 2005, the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Huygens Probe will descend through Titan’s atmosphere, sending back a detailed picture of the chemical interactions taking place there and, hopefully, giving scientists a glimpse into the chemistry that took place on Earth before life took hold. Huygens is part of the Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its rings and moons. Lunine is ...

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  1. MISSIONS – Saturn’s Moon Titan: Planet Wannabe


    In January 2005, the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Huygens Probe will descend through Titan’s atmosphere, sending back a detailed picture of the chemical interactions taking place there and, hopefully, giving scientists a glimpse into the chemistry that took place on early, prebiotic Earth. The Huygens Probe is part of the Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its rings and moons. Titan is the only moon in our solar system with an atmosphere. Organic chemistry detected in that atmosphere has sparked the imagination of planetary scientists like Lunine. Lunine is the only U.S. scientist selected by the ...

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  1. Rocks Tell Stories in Reports of Spirit’s First 90 Martian Days


    Scientific findings from the NASA rover Spirit’s first three months on Mars will be published Friday, marking the start of a flood of peer-reviewed discoveries in scientific journals from the continuing two-rover adventure.

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  1. MISSIONS – Titan’s Strange Surface


    New images and spectroscopic data of the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, have puzzled NASA scientists.

    Cassini spacecraft instruments have peered through the orange smog of Titan and glimpsed the surface below. Images sent back to Earth reveal dark areas and lighter, fuzzy areas. Data from the Visual Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) indicate that the dark areas are pure water ice. The bright fuzzy regions have several different types of non-ice materials, and may include organic materials such as hydrocarbons.

    Dark and light surface regions had been seen by other telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, but the ...

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