Skip to main content

"astrobiology"49 articles archived since 1845

NASA Goes Big and Bold for Exoplanet Science

                  A United States federal agency is not necessarily the first place you think of when it comes to answering some of the deepest existential questions for our species.

April 24, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf

Is AI Dangerous? That Depends…

Somewhere in the long list of topics that are relevant to astrobiology is the question of ‘intelligence’. Is human-like, technological intelligence likely to be common across the universe?

February 13, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
Lost And Found On Mars

Lost And Found On Mars

Lost, presumed crashed, the Beagle-2 lander is finally located on Mars. Back in December 2003 a bold and decidedly British robotic device was released from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express orbiter.

January 16, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
Weird Biology Fact of the Day: Mirror-image Amino Acids

Weird Biology Fact of the Day: Mirror-image Amino Acids

In her fascinating and wide-ranging talk on multi-dimensional spaces and human consciousness, Tauba Auerbach briefly mentioned the fact that after an organism dies its molecules will gradually change "handedness" — from an entropy defying left-handed favoritism back to 50-50 over many thousands of years.

September 29, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Rock-Eating Martian Microbes?

Rock-Eating Martian Microbes?

A recently published study of a 30-pound martian meteorite found in Antarctica suggests the presence of indigenous carbon-rich material, ancient water erosion, and a number of tiny structures that resemble the sort of features that we see rock-eating microbes leaving in basaltic glasses here on Earth.

February 28, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Mars, Ancient Water, Deep Hydrogen, and Life

Mars, Ancient Water, Deep Hydrogen, and Life

Two billion year-old water pockets and a revised deep hydrogen content are good news for Earth’s vast subsurface biosphere, and could offer clues to life on Mars and much further beyond.

December 18, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Europa Gives Up Some Of Its Secrets

Jupiter’s enigmatic moon Europa has long been thought to contain a huge ocean beneath its icy crust, but what is in that ocean and does it ever come to the surface?

March 6, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf

Where Would you Leave a Message From the Stars?

A recent article by Samuel Arbesman in the science magazine Nautilus discusses the extraordinary sounding possibility that – just perhaps – a search for extraterrestrial intelligence could be made by looking at our DNA.

April 14, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
Will We Find Extraterrestrial Life In 2015?

Will We Find Extraterrestrial Life In 2015?

Probably not, but just possibly yes. One of the reasons that the search for life elsewhere in the universe is so exciting is that it would take only one chance discovery, one lucky break, for all the walls to come tumbling down.

December 29, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Earlier Origin of Life Raises Major Planetary Puzzles

A recent claim for evidence of life on Earth as early as 4.1 billion years ago runs headlong into prevailing theories about a period of heavy asteroid impacts and the reshuffling of the young solar system's orbital architecture

October 22, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf

Tricksy Mars may be Obscuring Signs of Organic Matter

Picture a hot volcanic spring. Mineral-laden acidic water flows through sulfur-rich rocks. A foul odor hangs in the air. For us it’s a nasty environment, best enjoyed through the lens of a tourist’s camera.

February 24, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
The Cusp of Knowing and the Evolution of Science

The Cusp of Knowing and the Evolution of Science

In a nice piece on his Scientific American blog ‘Cross-Check‘, John Horgan recently gave me some much appreciated praise, whilst provoking discussion on a contentious subject – whether or not big science as we’ve known it ‘may be coming to an end’ (John’s words).

November 25, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Deep Space, Branching Molecules, and Life’s Origins?

If biologically important organic molecules like amino acids could form in interstellar space, the implications would be enormous. On the Earth we find plenty of amino acid species inside certain types of meteorites, so at a minimum these compounds can form during the assembly of a proto-stellar, proto-planetary system (at least this one) and end [...]

September 30, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Are Scientists on the Cusp of Knowing How Weird We Are?

I’m writing this post for two reasons. One is to recommend a new book by Columbia astrobiologist Caleb Scharf (who also writes a terrific Scientific American blog, “Life, Unbounded“), and the other is to defend an old book of mine.

November 21, 2014 — John Horgan