sep 242013
 
No Methane on Mars Does Not Mean Life Never Arose There

  Data from NASA’s Curiosity rover has revealed the Martian environment lacks methane. This is a surprise to researchers because previous data reported by U.S. and international scientists indicated positive detections. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover examines a rock on Mars in this 2011 artist’s rendering. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech The roving laboratory performed extensive [continue reading]

sep 112013
 
Detecting Biomarkers on Exoplanets

  On Earth, life leaves tell-tale signals in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for the high oxygen levels and the thick ozone layer. Microbes emit methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, and seaweeds emit chloromethane gas. These chemicals, when present in sufficient quantities, are indicators of life and are known as atmospheric biomarkers. [continue reading]

sep 102013
 
Microscopic Signs of Life Shown to Survive on Mars

  An instrument similar to those used on Earth by art detectives and to sense explosives at airports will be taken into space for the first time by ExoMars, the European Space Agency’s mission to Mars in 2018. This Raman spectrometer will help space scientists to hunt for traces of Martian life. The European Space [continue reading]

sep 102013
 
A Phone-Cam to Search for Signs of Life

  A novel, hybrid part-human, part-machine visual system that uses a simple mobile phone camera has been developed to search for evidence of past or present life in planetary analogue sites on Earth. Patrick McGuire from the Freie Universität, Berlin, has presented results from this Cyborg Astrobiologist at the European Planetary Science Congress in London [continue reading]