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Astrobiology

Analysis and Comment (11)

Funny looking alien. Funny looking alien. University of Sheffield

Proof of alien life? You need a lot more evidence than that

Could life really exist on other planets? The most positive scientific answer we can offer is: well, maybe, but we do not yet have enough evidence for or against. Yet Milton Wainwright and colleagues from…
The red planet’s McLaughlin Crater may have contained water sourced from within the ground. The red planet’s McLaughlin Crater may have contained water sourced from within the ground. NASA

Hope springs: signs of life could be waiting for us on Mars

A recent article in Nature Geoscience suggests that at least one large, deep crater on Mars may once have supported an alkaline lake that was fed by water from kilometres below the planet’s surface. This…
Sponges and hydra, which are made of colonies of cells with a small number of cell types, have some similarities with cancer. Sponges and hydra, which are made of colonies of cells with a small number of cell types, have some similarities with cancer. Biodiversity Heritage Library

An astrobiological view of cancer’s evolutionary origin

Life originated on Earth about four billion years ago. Death, sex and multicellularity came along about a billion years later. According to our new atavistic model, cancer came with multicellularity. About…
The “Rocknest” site has been Curiosity’s laboratory for the past few months. The “Rocknest” site has been Curiosity’s laboratory for the past few months. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

NASA’s Curiosity shows there’s more to life than life

The Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, driven around, started its scientific mission and, as of 4am today (AEDT), started reporting integrated science results. In a news conference at the American Geophysical…
It’s long been suspected that Mercury’s poles are home to water ice. That speculation has now been confirmed. It’s long been suspected that Mercury’s poles are home to water ice. That speculation has now been confirmed. NASA

Water ice found on Mercury – has the ‘heavy metal’ planet lost its edge?

Whenever I’m telling students or people at conferences about Mercury, I always describe it as the “heavy metal” planet. Many things on this closest planet to the sun are extreme, from its 88-Earth-day…
Three years ago we discovered water on the moon, and now we’ve worked out where it’s from. Three years ago we discovered water on the moon, and now we’ve worked out where it’s from. Jason Bache

Blowin' in the (solar) wind: how the moon got its water

A study published in the journal Nature Geoscience last week suggests water on the moon may have come, at least in part, from the sun. Until a few years ago the orthodox view was that the moon was bone-dry…
When Curiosity lands on Mars next Monday, expect the social media buzz to be out of this world. When Curiosity lands on Mars next Monday, expect the social media buzz to be out of this world. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Houston, we have check-in: Space 2.0 and the Curiosity landing

Social media is the new frontier for space exploration, shaping an age of innovative public participation in space missions. While online communities are a-Twitter about NBC’s poor Olympic coverage, there’s…
Drilling could provide insights on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Drilling could provide insights on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Shandchem

Life in Lake Vostok? The link between Antarctica and extra-terrestrials

Late last week the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) announced they had successfully drilled into the elusive sub-glacial Lake Vostok, a body of water lying under nearly 4km of Antarctic…
Microbial fossils in Western Australia hold secrets about life’s earliest evolution. Microbial fossils in Western Australia hold secrets about life’s earliest evolution. Mundoo

If I had a blank cheque I’d … verify the earliest forms of life

Welcome to If I had a blank cheque I’d … a new series in which leading researchers reveal what they could do in their discipline if money were no object. Today we hear from Malcolm Walter, professor of…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (2)

Moon younger than previously thought

Analysis of a piece of lunar rock brought back to Earth by the 1972 Apollo 16 mission has shown that the moon may be much…