nov 182012
 
The Hunt for Extraterrestrial Amino Acids

  The hunt for the organic molecules that create proteins and enzymes critical for life here on Earth has largely happened in sophisticated terrestrial laboratories equipped with high-tech gadgetry needed to tease out their presence in space rocks and other extraterrestrial samples. This is an example of chirality of amino acids, using hands to illustrate [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 062012
 
Life's Molecules Could Lie Within Reach of Curiosity

  Stick a shovel in the ground and scoop. That’s about how deep scientists need to go in order to find evidence for ancient life on Mars, if there is any to be found, a new study suggests. That’s within reach of Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory rover expected to land on the Red Planet [continue reading]