NAI

  1. NASA’S First Scout Mission Selected for 2007 Mars Launch


    NASA has selected Phoenix, an innovative and relatively low-cost mission, to study the red planet, as the first Mars Scout mission. The Phoenix lander mission is scheduled for launch in 2007.

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  1. The Rise of Oxygen


    Understanding the history of oxygen accumulation in Earth’s atmosphere is an important topic in astrobiology. It has ramifications in the evolution of planetary habitability as well as using oxygen as a biomarker in the search for life on extrasolar planets.

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  1. Follow the Sun


    The two NASA rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which are speeding their way towards a January rendezvous with Mars, are arguably the most advanced robotic spacecraft ever sent to explore another heavenly body. But to the robotics researchers working on the Life in the Atacama project, Spirit and Opportunity are already history.

    This group of hardware and software wizards, based at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute are designing rovers that, they hope, will roam the Martian surface, not in this decade, but in the next. Their goal: autonomous robots with sufficient onboard intelligence to explore for days at a time ...

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  1. Ancient Planet


    Some 13 billion years ago in a distant cluster of stars, a planet formed. Remarkably it’s still there, according to data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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  1. Newly Launched 'Opportunity’ Follows Mars-Bound 'Spirit’


    NASA launched its second Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, late Monday night (July 7) aboard a Delta II launch vehicle whose bright glare briefly illuminated Florida Space Coast beaches.

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  1. Shining Light on Life’s Origin


    When ultraviolet radiation was more intense than today, and the early Earth had a mix of nitrogen-rich molecules, how did this primordial soup get cooked? And how did it not burn?

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  1. NASA’s 'Spirit’ Rises on Its Way to Mars


    A NASA robotic geologist named Spirit began its seven-month journey to Mars at 10:58:47 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 10 when its Delta II launch vehicle thundered aloft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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  1. The Edge of Life


    Life – as we know it – needs water to survive. It doesn’t have to be a lot of water, at least not for microscopic life. Even in most of the world’s deserts, in regions where plant and animal life cannot subsist, bacteria and lichen manage to eke out an existence, clinging to life underneath or in the cracks within rocks.

    These organisms have adapted to living in some of the harshest, most extreme conditions on the planet. But are there places on Earth that are so dry that nothing can live there?

    That is one of the questions that ...

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  1. Pictures of Earth From Mars


    NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft has captured unique images of a lovely blue alien world: Earth

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  1. NAI Europa Focus Group Visits Arctic Ice-Field


    In this special Feature, NAI Senior Scientist David Morrison recounts a recent trip to Barrow, Alaska with the Europa Focus Group.

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  1. Photosynthesis in the Abyss


    Recently, researchers have discovered a bacterium in the nearly pitch-black environment of deep-sea hydrothermal vents that carries out photosynthesis, using light as its only source of energy.

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  1. Lost City Expedition: Life From Rocky Reaction


    During their 32 day expedition, 24 scientists onboard the research vessel Atlantis will dive deep into the North Atlantic and use a free swimming robot to create a high resolution map of how life may flourish by living off the 'rocky’ heat of a chemical reaction.

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  1. Solar Influence, Part III: Climatological Effects


    This concluding feature on solar influence looks at how the Sun affects our environment on Earth. Specifically, we’ll delve into the rather contentious issue of whether near-term solar variability has an appreciable affect on climate change.

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  1. File Compression: New Tool for Life Detection?


    Some of Earth’s oldest rocks contain intriguing layered structures. Were living organisms responsible, or was it merely a random chemical process? The answer, says one researcher, may be a simple matter of compressing a computer file.

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  1. Lakeside Landing


    NASA will soon launch two missions to Mars. Known, temporarily, as Mars Exploration Rover (MER) A and B, the two rovers will land in different regions of Mars to search for evidence of water in Mars’s past.

    Scientists and engineers have whittled down an initial list of dozens of candidate landing sites to four finalists. Of these four, two are clear favorites among the scientists: Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater. A previous article discussed Meridiani Planum; this article will focus on Gusev.

    Gusev Crater is almost exactly halfway around the red planet from Meridiani Planum. While the latter site ...

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