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Current Astrobiology News and Events

Current Astrobiology News and Events, Astrobiology News Articles.
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New technique for finding life on Mars
Miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques successfully identified and characterized microorganisms living in Arctic permafrost -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. (2018-01-18)
Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space
Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. (2018-01-18)
A virus-bacteria coevolutionary 'arms race' solves diversity by 'killing the winner'
Researchers at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have shed new light on a fundamental question in ecology, by improving a popular proposed scenario for diversity known as 'Kill the Winner.' Chi Xue and Nigel Goldenfeld, supported by the NASA Astrobiology Institute for Universal Biology, which Goldenfeld directs, approached the diversity paradox from the perspective of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. (2018-01-02)
Oldest fossils ever found show life on Earth began before 3.5 billion years ago
Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth. (2017-12-18)
Cold suns, warm exoplanets and methane blankets
Three million years ago, the sun shone weaker, but Earth stayed surprisingly warm. (2017-12-11)
Space program should focus on Mars, says editor of New Space
The US space exploration program should continue to focus on robotic sample recovery and human missions to Mars, says Scott Hubbard, Editor-in-Chief of New Space. (2017-12-07)
Scientists identify key factors that help microbes thrive in harsh environments
Three new studies by University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists have identified key factors that help microbes survive in harsh environments. (2017-11-27)
Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests
Life on Earth might have originated from tiny organisms brought to our planet in streams of fast-moving space dust, according to a new study. (2017-11-20)
A popular tool to trace Earth's oxygen history can give false positives
If someone cries 'Eureka!' because it looks like oxygen appeared in Earth's ancient atmosphere long before the body of evidence indicated, be careful. (2017-11-17)
Aliens may be more like us than we think
In a new study published in the International Journal of Astrobiology scientists from the University of Oxford show for the first time how evolutionary theory can be used to support alien predictions and better understand their behavior. (2017-10-31)
A better understanding of space -- via helicopter
An algorithm that helps engineers design better helicopters may help astronomers more precisely envision the formation of planets and galaxies. (2017-10-12)
Debate over Mars exploration strategy heats up in astrobiology journal
Current robotic missions to Mars that have not been appropriately cleaned and sterilized must steer clear of designated Special Regions to avoid introducing Earth-borne biological and organic contaminants. (2017-10-10)
Microscopic technique for detecting microbial life in enceladus water plumes
A new study has demonstrated the potential to use digital holographic microscopy (DHM) to detect microorganisms and evidence of life in water collected from the plume rising from the surface of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. (2017-09-18)
Tidally locked exoplanets may be more common than previously thought
Many exoplanets to be found by coming high-powered telescopes will probably be tidally locked -- with one side permanently facing their host star -- according to new research by astronomer Rory Barnes of the University of Washington. (2017-08-14)
ALMA confirms complex chemistry in Titan's atmosphere
Saturn's frigid moon Titan has a curious atmosphere. In addition to a hazy mixture of nitrogen and hydrocarbons, like methane and ethane, Titan's atmosphere also contains an array of more complex organic molecules, including vinyl cyanide, which astronomers recently uncovered in archival ALMA data. (2017-07-28)
NASA finds moon of Saturn has chemical that could form 'membranes'
NASA scientists have definitively detected the chemical acrylonitrile, also known as vinyl cyanide, in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, a place that has long intrigued scientists investigating the chemical precursors of life. (2017-07-28)
Holographic imaging could be used to detect signs of life in space
Caltech engineer Jay Nadeau says a method called digital holographic microscopy could be used to detect living microbes in space. (2017-07-20)
Ancient plankton-like microfossils span 2 continents
Large, robust, lens-shaped microfossils from the approximately 3.4 billion-year-old Kromberg Formation of the Kaapvaal Craton in eastern South Africa are not only among the oldest elaborate microorganisms known, but are also related to other intricate microfossils of the same age found in the Pilbara Craton of Australia, according to an international team of scientists. (2017-07-13)
Elon Musk's vision of a self-sustaining city on Mars published in New Space
The Commentary entitled 'Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species' presents the vision of Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, for future manned trips to other planets and specifically what will be needed to create a self-sustaining city on Mars. (2017-06-14)
Two James Webb instruments are best suited for exoplanet atmospheres
The best way to study the atmospheres of distant worlds with the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in late 2018, will combine two of its infrared instruments, according to a team of astronomers. (2017-05-09)
Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks
Fossil evidence of early life has been discovered by UNSW Sydney scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara of Western Australia -- pushing back by 3 billion years the earliest known existence of inhabited terrestrial hot springs on Earth. (2017-05-09)
NASA study hints at possible change in water 'fingerprint' of comet
A trip past the sun may have selectively altered the production of one form of water in a comet -- an effect not seen by astronomers before, a new NASA study suggests. (2017-02-28)
Triboelectric nanogenerators boost mass spectrometry performance
Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) convert mechanical energy harvested from the environment to electricity for powering small devices such as sensors or for recharging consumer electronics. (2017-02-27)
SwRI scientist studies geology of Ceres to understand origin of organics
NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently detected organic-rich areas on Ceres. Scientists evaluated the geology of the regions to conclude that the organics are most likely native to the dwarf planet. (2017-02-16)
NASA team looks to ancient earth first to study hazy exoplanets
For astronomers trying to understand which distant planets might have habitable conditions, the role of atmospheric haze has been hazy. (2017-02-09)
'Curiosity' exposes low CO2 level in Mars' primitive atmosphere
The CO2 level in Mars' primitive atmosphere 3.5 billion years ago was too low for sediments, such as those found by NASA's Curiosity exploration vehicle in areas like the Gale Crater on the planet's equator, to be deposited. (2017-02-06)
Embryonic cluster galaxy immersed in giant cloud of cold gas
Unlike the situation in the current Universe, a giant galaxy in a cluster of protogalaxies is growing by feeding on surprisingly-dense surrounding gas, rather than by cannibalizing neighbors. (2016-12-01)
Was the secret spice in primal gene soup a thickener?
A little goo will do to get RNA and DNA to progress toward self-replication in a solution. (2016-10-10)
Methane muted: How did early Earth stay warm?
For at least a billion years of the distant past, planet Earth should have been frozen over but wasn't. (2016-10-06)
Public and media invited to Goddard to celebrate launch of asteroid mission
Members of the public and the media are invited to celebrate the launch of NASA's OSIRIS-REx sample return mission to an asteroid, on Thursday, Sept. (2016-08-29)
A new Goldilocks for habitable planets
The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second 'Goldilocks,' according to a Yale University researcher. (2016-08-19)
MASE Astrobiologists study Mars-like environments on Earth
Recently, a team of astrobiologists from the EU funded MASE (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration) project descended 1.1 kilometers below Earth's surface to the Mars-like environment of the Boulby Mine in the UK looking for answers about life on other planets. (2016-08-03)
Before animals, evolution waited eons to inhale
Time to smash the beaker when thinking about oxygen concentrations in water, at the time when animal life first evolved. (2016-07-25)
NASA selects Global Aerospace Corporation and Northrop Grumman for Titan Atmospheric Rover
Global Aerospace Corporation announced today that, in collaboration with Northrop Grumman, it will be developing a new exploration vehicle for Saturn's moon, Titan. (2016-07-06)
Cornell University astronomer recognized for outstanding science achievement
Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy and director of Cornell's Carl Sagan Institute, has been name the inaugural recipient of the Barrie Jones Award by The Open University (OU), United Kingdom, and the Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB). (2016-06-29)
Remarkably diverse flora in Utah, USA, trains scientists for future missions on Mars
Future manned missions to the Mars will rely heavily on training at sites here on Earth that serve as analogues to the red planet, such Utah's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), run by the Mars Society. (2016-06-09)
A planet 1,200 light-years away is a good prospect for a habitable world
A distant 'super-Earth' size planet known as Kepler-62f could be habitable, a team of astronomers reports. (2016-05-26)
Ancient tsunami evidence on Mars reveals life potential
The geologic shape of what were once shorelines through Mars' northern plains convinces scientists that two large meteorites -- hitting the planet millions of years apart -- triggered a pair of mega-tsunamis. (2016-05-19)
MIT scientists compile list of potential gases to guide search for life on exoplanets
A new approach intended to maximize the chances of identifying planets orbiting nearby stars that support life focuses on creating a comprehensive list of the molecules that might be present in the atmospheres of these exoplanets. (2016-05-05)
NASA taps Penn State geoscientist to join ancient Mars habitability project
When NASA began seeking new scientists to join its Curiosity Mars rover team, Penn State geoscientist Christopher House knew his experience could be a valuable asset to the project. (2016-05-05)
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