sep 302012
 
Curiosity Finds Old Streambed on Mars

  NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind. NASA’s Curiosity rover [continue reading]

sep 192012
 
Organics in Very Cold Regions of the Universe; Are We Alone?

  Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., are creating concoctions of organics, or carbon-bearing molecules, on ice in the lab, then zapping them with lasers. Their goal: to better understand how life arose on Earth. An artist’s concept of a  very young solar system, with its swirling planet-forming disk. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle In [continue reading]

jul 132012
 
The Source of Earth’s Water is... Solar System Ice

  Scientists have long believed that comets and, or a type of very primitive meteorite called carbonaceous chondrites were the sources of early Earth’s volatile elements—which include hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon—and possibly organic material, too. Understanding where these volatiles came from is crucial for determining the origins of both water and life on the planet. [continue reading]

jun 302012
 
Confirmed: Titan has a Subsurface Ocean!

  Nothing like it has been seen before beyond our own planet: large tides have been found on Saturn’s moon Titan that point to a liquid ocean – most likely water – swirling around below the surface. A possible scenario for the internal structure of Titan, which includes a global subsurface ocean beneath an icy [continue reading]

mei 312012
 
Methane On Mars Does Not Indicate Life

Intense UV radiation on the red planet releases methane from organic materials which meteorites transport onto its surface. Methane concentration on Mars: The graphics shows the calculated methane concentrations in parts per billion (ppb) on Mars during the summer in the northern hemisphere. Violet and blue indicate small methane, red areas indicate large amounts. Credit: [continue reading]

apr 132012
 
Mars Viking Robots ‘Found Life’

In 1976, the National Aeronautical Space Agency (NASA) launched the Viking program, sending space probes to Mars to determine whether there was life on the red planet. Thirty-six years later the debate about life on Mars is not over, but research conducted in part at the University of Southern California (USC) offers more proof that [continue reading]