Proponents of panspermia theory say life on Earth came from elsewhere, hitching a ride on rocks sheared from other worlds or from migratory asteroids. But what if life did originate here and then it left, hitching a ride on Earth-departed rocks? Earth could seed other worlds, instead of the other way around. A new analysis says the rocks could conceivably make it as far as Jupiter.
All week we’ve heard rumblings from NASA that big Mars science news would drop today, and sure enough that news is big: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has quite possibly found liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars. Not water that flowed millennia ago, or water that once flowed but is now permanently ice. This water appears to be liquid to this day, at least part of the time. That is, during the warmest months on Mars this salty brine thaws and flows like liquid across the surface of the planet.
If there is complex life on another planet like Mars, it may look less like the big-eyed bipeds of sci-fi lore and more like a tiny, 500-micrometer long nematoda worm. A Princeton University team has discovered a new species of worm, termed Halicephalobus mephisto (after Faust's demon Mephistopheles), at depths so deep that it was thought multicellular life couldn’t survive there.
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 04.19.2011 at 10:13 am 81 Comments
In a roundabout way, yes. But first we must heat that atmosphere, since the surface of Mars is about –58°F. “We know how to warm planets; we’re doing it right now,” says Robert Zubrin, the president of the nonprofit Mars Society, a group devoted to Martian exploration.
When parachutes and airbags won’t do the trick, you’ve got to land like a hovercraft, lowering precious cargo from a flying crane.
Check out this amazing new animation of NASA’s new Mars rover, the car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, on its harrowing journey to the red planet.
When hypothesizing about life that may exist elsewhere in the universe, the tendency is to visualize something far different from life here on earth. But here in our galactic neighborhood, a team of MIT researchers argues, life it just as likely related to us. Following that line of thought, the team is developing a prototype alien DNA decoder that it hopes to send to Mars aboard a NASA-ESA mission slated for launch in 2018.
The brave little rover has been stuck in the sand for a year and a half, spinning her wheels and wiggling her robot arm futilely. As she's kicked up sand, though, she has uncovered deeper layers of Martian soil, and analysis of the difference between the surface and what lies beneath shows evidence of water.
In 2016, NASA and the European Space Agency will launch the first-ever joint U.S./Euro mission to Mars, and Tuesday they unveiled exactly what kind of toys the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter will have on board. Among the highlights: the Mars Atmospheric Trace Molecule Occultation Spectrometer (MATMOS) that can detect concentrations of gas down to parts per trillion.
In April, Kathie Thomas-Keprta told a standing-room-only audience at the Astrobiology Science Conference that she had found evidence of life on a three-billion-year-old Martian meteorite. And no one was surprised. That’s because she and eight other researchers at several universities and NASA’s Johnson Space Center had reported the same thing about the same meteorite in 1996. They were met with criticism and ridicule back then. But this time, the reaction was more favorable.