Aurelia, sp.1 (moon jellyfish). Photo source: Mike Dawson/UC Merced.
The animal phylum known as cnidaria includes an abundant and colorful variety of anenomes, jellyfish, corals and hydroids—all categorized as having tentacles with stinging cells for defense and capturing prey.
It turns out that across the life stages of even just one species of jellyfish, tentacles can present a great number of functional and anatomical differences. In “Structural and Developmental Disparity in the Tentacles of the Moon Jellyfish Aurelia sp.1,” researchers examined two types of tentacles of the moon jellyfish: the oral tentacles of the polyp (post-larval ...Yesterday / Written by: Miki Huynh
The 2015 Astrobiology Strategy Identifies Priority Research for the NASA Astrobiology Program in the Next Decade
Over the past two years 800 members of the astrobiology community have contributed, through in person meetings, white papers, a series of webinars and reviews, to define a new strategy for the next decade of astrobiology research. Mary Voytek, the Senior Scientist for Astrobiology, and Michael New, the Astrobiology Discipline Scientist, described the goal of the endeavor to create an “inspirational and aspirational” document. The strategy will replace the 2008 Astrobiology Roadmap.
The six major research areas in the field of astrobiology described are:
October 5, 2015 / Posted by: Shige Abe
- Identifying abiotic sources of organic compounds
- Synthesis and function of macromolecules in the origin of life ...
Dr. David Blake presents the Chemistry and Mineralogy Instrument (CheMin) currently operating on NASA’s Curiosity rover, helping scientists to study the mineral composition of Mars’ surface.
Blake is the principal investigator for the CheMin project and serves as a senior scientist in the Exobiology branch of NASA Ames Research Center. A previous interview in which he discusses his work in astrobiology, exobiology, CheMin and the Curiosity mission can be found in the Astrobiology Magazine.
The video is part of NASA’s My Martian Moment series.October 2, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
The Institute for Planets and Life presents the Planets, Life, and the Universe Lecture Series, an opportunity to hear scientists share their insights on current topics of interest in astrobiology. More information on the series schedule and links to live and archived webcasts are available at: http://www.stsci.edu/institute/smo/ipl/lecture.
Series Schedule (all lectures are 12:00PM-2:30PM EST)
Oct 2 – Steven Benner (Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution) – Searching for, or Creating Ourselves, a Second Example of Life
Nov 6 – Sarah Hörst (Johns Hopkins University, Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences) – ...September 30, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
Overhead image of smoke from the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcanic eruption and nearby lake and mountains acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The gray area inside the lake is floating pumice. Photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory
During and following the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano in southern Chile in 2011, large quantities of ash and pumice filled the air and landed into neighboring lakes. Small pieces of pumice in Lake Espejo and Lake Nahuel Huapi stayed afloat for months to years after landing, and researchers who examined these two lakes found that the ...September 29, 2015 / Written by: Miki Huynh
These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called recurring slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (Infrared-Red-Blue/Green(IRB)) false color image (ESP_030570_1440) on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the ...September 28, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
Zoe rover exploring the coastal range of Chile's Atacama desert in 2004. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University
Using the Atacama Desert in Chile as an analog site for Mars, astrobiologists have tested a laser Raman spectrometer in preparation for future robotic missions. The Mars Micro-beam Raman Spectrometer (MMRS) was placed on the Zoë rover and used to analyze drill samples from a depth of one meter below the surface. Data from the MMRS provided information about regional geology and biological activities. With further testing, MMRS could prove to be a useful instrument for inclusion on future space missions. Currently, three ...September 24, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Hubble image of the chaotic-looking mass of gas and dust of a nearby supernova remnant. Radiation from sources in our galaxy could have had a profound effect on mutation rates throughout the history of life on Earth. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/HEIC and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Studying ancient life on Earth is important for astrobiologists who are interested in how speciation and radiation occurred throughout the history of our planet. However, it’s not always easy to pinpoint these events in time. For instance, when looking back at the history of life, there is a disparity between fossil ...September 22, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
Image Credit: NASA
Searching for Life on Mars With PIXL and the Mars 2020 Rover Mission
Presenter: Abigail Allwood (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
When: September 21, 2015 1:00PM PDT
Finding conclusive evidence of primitive microbial life in multi-billion-year-old rocks is exceptionally difficult, as illustrated by doubt surrounding the interpretation of Earth’s earliest fossil record. Seeking evidence of ancient life on Mars is an even greater challenge – one that will be taken up by NASA’s ambitious new 2020 rover mission. 2020 builds on the success of the 2011 Curiosity rover and 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers, and is informed ...September 17, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
Overhead shot of mountains of Barberton, South Africa. Photo credit: Earth Observatory NASA/MODIS imagry of modern day ocean cyanobacterial growth. Photo credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD
By analyzing iron isotopes against the uranium content in the jasper rock from the ancient ocean of the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa, scientists have found a defined vertical redox gradient, called a redoxcline, showing a change in the level of oxygenation from the deeper part of the ocean leading to the shallower portion.
While the seawater at deeper level is depleted of oxygen, samples in the photic zone of ...September 17, 2015 / Written by: Miki Huynh
Illustration of the interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus showing a global liquid water ocean between its rocky core and icy crust. Image Credit: JPL
Source: [Jet Propulsion Laboratory]
A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission.
Researchers found the magnitude of the moon’s very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, meaning a global ocean must be present.
The finding implies the fine spray of water vapor ...September 16, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
Researchers created "chemical gardens"—chimney-like structures normally found at bubbling vents on the seafloor—in the laboratory. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Source: [Jet Propulsion Laboratory]
One of the key necessities for life on our planet is electricity. That’s not to say that life requires a plug and socket, but everything from shrubs to ants to people harnesses energy via the transfer of electrons — the basis of electricity. Some experts think that the very first cell-like organisms on Earth channeled electricity from the seafloor using bubbling, chimney-shaped structures, also known as chemical gardens.
In a new study, researchers report growing ...September 15, 2015 / Posted by: Miki Huynh
On the Arctic plains of northern Mars, NASA's Phoenix lander revealed a landscape of interlocking polygon shapes similar to those on Earth that form in permafrost when it freezes and thaws seasonally. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
The habitability of Mars is of interest to astrobiology, life detection, and planetary protection efforts, and permafrost is considered a Martian analogue environment. In 2013, a group of US and Russian scientists reported the isolation from a borehole in Siberian permafrost of several bacteria belonging to the genus Carnobacterium that could grow in the laboratory under a combination of Mars ...September 14, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
The active Lost City hydrothermal field, located at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, is hosted by rocks very similar to those from the Iberia continental margin analyzed in this study. Lost City will be drilled during a forthcoming expedition by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). Klein and his colleagues hope to gain more detailed insight in the subseafloor life by comparing rocks from the Iberia continental margin with those from other ODP and IODP drill cores. Credit: Photo by National Science Foundation, Univ. of Washington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team ...September 8, 2015 / Posted by: Aaron Gronstal
Crystal structure of photosystem I: a photosynthetic reaction center and core antenna system from cyanobacteria. Credit: Jawahar Swaminathan and MSD staff, European Bioinformatics Institute, Wikimedia
Studying Carbon-13 (13C) metabolism in a microbial community can be a time-consuming and tricky prospect. This is because scientists often have to separate a single species out of the mix for study. However, if particular proteins are produced by a single species within the community, they can sometimes be extracted to yield information about the 13C metabolism of those organisms. A new study describes how the protein photosystem I (PSI) might be used as a ...September 3, 2015 / Written by: Aaron Gronstal
- October 16 - Abstract Submission Deadline for 2016 Gordon Research Conference & Seminar "Origins of Life"
- October 20 - Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) Meeting
- October 23 - Abstract Submission Deadline for Paneth Kolloquium: First 10 Million Years of the Solar System
- October 28 - International Meeting: Missions to Habitable Worlds
- October 31 - Application Deadline for 2016 Vatican Observatory Summer School in Astrophyics on Water in the Solar System and Beyond
- October 31 - Application Deadline for the 2016 Exploration Postdoctoral Fellowships at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University
- November 1 - Geological Society of America (GSA) 2015 Annual Meeting
- November 1 - Application Deadline for NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Program Fellowshi[
- November 2 - K2 Science Conference (K2SciCon)
- November 5 - Application Deadline for 2016 Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowships
- November 11 - Paneth Kolloquium: First 10 Million Years of the Solar System
- November 16 - French Astrobiology Society Young Researchers Congress