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.
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.
Indigenous methane appears to exist in Martian rocks
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.
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?
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.
Five intriguing discoveries and recent news items
A simple proposal for a way to pursue some answers to the origins of life
Ancient structures possibly built by early hominids raise many of the same puzzles as our quest for life elsewhere does
What are some of the most intriguing and unexpected puzzles about the universe?
Can we connect the microscopic and macroscopic factors involved in starting life on a planet?
NASA's MAVEN mission returns stunning ultraviolet images of the Red Planet
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).
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.
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 [...]
This post is one in a series covering, and expanding on, topics in the book The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/FSG). The conversation usually goes like this: Do you think we’re alone in the universe?
Astronomers hope that one day soon we’ll obtain a spectrum of light that might tell us whether or not an Earth-sized exoplanet harbors life.
Robotic exploration of space is fascinating, complex and quite important to our understanding of the universe. To learn more about how scientists and engineers overcome challenges of robotic space exploration for successful data collection, join us for a live chat today (Tuesday, October 29) at noon EDT with Chris Impey, astronomer and author of Dreams of [...]
Lots of new scientific results in the past couple of weeks feed directly into the central questions of astrobiology – from the search for life, to the environment of interplanetary and interstellar space, and the grand cosmological terrain we find ourselves in.
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.