Sampling impact glass from the ancient craters that litter the surface for Mars might prove key to settling a long debate: did Mars ever harbor life? Researchers at NASA believe this is a great lead after the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) currently hovering above the red planet found deposits of glass. These were formed by impacts with large asteroids, whose blast trapped and preserved any matter it came across: dust, soil or any plants or bacteria (if there ever were such things). Cracking open these glass time capsules and peering inside could, thus, be one of the best places to look for.
In the beginning, the Earth’s surface was a lifeless, hot, but chemically rich place. In these harsh conditions, the first amino acids synthesized from inorganic compounds, and from them, proteins formed. They built the first single cells, which went on to form plants and animals. Recent research helped us understand the process that created amino acids, and there is a widespread consensus in the scientific community as to the path cells took to evolve to complex life as we know it today.
An expedition that drilled 2,400m beneath the seabed off Japan – the deepest marine drilling ever – found life in cores brought back to the surface. The tiny, single celled organisms survived there without any oxygen or light, relying only on a harsh diet of hydrocarbons to make means. Because of the limited resources available to them, the organisms have an
One of the most fundamental question evolutionary biologists are trying to answer is how did multicellular life evolve from single celled organisms. Researchers from New Zealand, Germany and the USA believe they have found a counter-intuitive hint after studying organisms evolve in real time: cheating, non-cooperative cells may have pressured evolution to work on a program that would integrate two cell states.
One of the most famous chemistry experiments of the last century was the ‘primordial soup’ project initiated by Stanley Miller. The chemist wanted to see what would happen if you mixed methane, ammonia and hydrogen – all substances readily available on Earth before life began – and zapped them with electricity, to create a phenomenon analogous to lightning which would have been
While happiness and meaningfulness often overlap, the two are distinct states of being. A Stanford project looked into the lives of various people inline between the two and found some key differences based on how people choose spend their time and what experiences they cultivate. The findings may surprise some of you, while others will choose to dismiss them. After all,
One of the greatest mysteries scientists have been trying to reveal is how inanimate chemicals joined to produce life. It’s definitely one of the biggest questions scientists are trying to answer, and the challenges are numerous since it’s very difficult to appreciate what the exact conditions necessary for this to happen were billions of years ago. We might never find
Child birth is a momentous occasion in all human cultures across the globe, and if you’ve ever witnessed one it’s easy to understand why. A new life enters the world, but the journey stars well before labor. Here‘s an incredible photo gallery showcasing a typical fetal development from ovary implantation to its final chapter.
Two days ago, the whole world was teeming with excitement, after some NASA researchers reported finding traces of alien life in meteorites; now, even their employer distances itself from them, and the whole scientific world seems to frown upon this work. However, in what is a very unusual move, NASA has denied any involvement with the paper, and even the
Wherever it’s possible, life finds a way; the old saying seems to be more and more actual these days, with NASA and other space agencies reporting interesting discoveries that point towards life existing in many more other places other than our own planet. After rewriting the biology books with the arsenic eating microbe, NASA researchers claim to have found evidence
At nearly 200 meters below the ice, there is no light, the temperature is way below 0 degrees, and scientists were expecting to find nothing more than a handful of microbes – and for good reason. So it’s easy to understand why they were so surprised to find not a single (evolved) life form, but actually two such creatures. The
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) published some quite awesome pictures showing that Antarctica isn’t the lifeless frozen wasteland most people believe it to be; ice fish, octopus, sea pigs, giant sea spiders, rare rays and gorgeous basket stars all thrive in the extreme temperatures in Antarctica’s waters. Well, thrive is perhaps a too strong word, but they’re doing just fine
In 1980, Luis Alvarez and his team shocked the whole world when they announced their theory that an asteroid impact that took place 65 millions years ago was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs and much of that time’s living organisms. Despite the fact that they delivered substantial evidence, there are still some minor gaps in the theory, and
A new bacteria that has been named Herminiimonas glaciei, found in the heart of Greenland, trapped under more than 3 km beneath the ice, probably holds significant clues regarding what life forms may exist on other planets, according to Dr Jennifer Loveland-Curtze and a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University. They published this finding in International Journal of Systematic
As a proud student in geophysics, I can tell you that opal is hydrated silicon dioxide mineral with many astounding properties, but it’s also water hydrated. Since water hydrated minerals have been found on Mars we are led to the logic conclusion that when these minerals was formed, there was water on Mars. Opals have been long prized for their
Jeffrey Bada is a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He and his colleagues reanalyzed the classic experiment concerning the origins of life conducted by Stanley Miller who along with Harold Urey realized what we know today as the Miller-Urey experiment. This experiment showed that organic compounds can be created with no relative difficulty from inorganic substances. Bada was a
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but according to a study led by Andrei Sommer, Dan Zhu, and Hans-Joerg Fecht, diamonds are life’s best friend too. According to them, billions of years ago the surface of these precious gems made it possible for life to rise, by providing just the right chemical conditions. It is currently believed that life’s earliest
Scientists have believed for years that the moon doesn’t have water, only to find that its interior proved them wrong, challenging our current understanding on how the satellite was formed The current most accepted theory is that it formed in a violent collision between Earth and another planet-sized object.But if this had been the case, there wouldn’t have been any