jun 022012
A Hypothesis for Faint Young Sun Paradox

  More than 2 billion years ago, a much fainter sun should have left the Earth as an orbiting ice ball, unfit to develop life as we know it today. Why the Earth avoided the deep freeze is a question that has puzzled scientists, but Purdue University’s David Minton believes he might have an answer. [continue reading]

apr 302012
Surviving the conditions on Mars

  Alpine and polar lichens could also survive on Mars. Planetary researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) simulated the conditions on Mars for 34 days and exposed various microorganisms to this environment. Surviving lichen in the German experiment. Credit: German Aerospace Center (DLR) “During this period, the lichens [continue reading]

apr 192012
Cassini Finds Titan Lake is like a Namibia Mudflat

A new study analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests that the lake, known as Ontario Lacus, behaves most similarly to what we call a salt pan on Earth. A group led by Thomas Cornet of the Université de Nantes, France, a Cassini associate, found evidence for long-standing channels etched into the lake bed within [continue reading]

apr 142012
Uranus auroras glimpsed from Earth

For the first time, scientists have captured images of auroras above the giant ice planet Uranus, finding further evidence of just how peculiar a world that distant planet is. Detected by means of carefully scheduled observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, the newly witnessed Uranian light show consisted of short-lived, faint, glowing dots – a [continue reading]

apr 122012
Dreams of water on Mars evaporate

Climate models reveal the red planet was mostly cold and dry. The debate began when nineteenth-century Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli thought he saw water-filled canali, or channels, on the red planet: just how wet was Mars? “This is a pendulum that has been swinging back and forth,” says Jeff Andrews-Hanna, a planetary scientist at the [continue reading]

apr 102012
Russia agrees deal with Europe to save ExoMars

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has confirmed it is willing to help Europe explore Mars, putting the ExoMars project back on track after NASA pulled out. The orbiter that will fly in 2016 to look for methane and other trace gases. Credit: ESA   Head of Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin met Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the [continue reading]