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Tag archives for astrobiology

Ice, Ice Mercury

It’s rare that astronomers declare news with great certainty, so the announcement that water ice was confirmed in Mercury’s poles is an “exclamation point.” The amount of ice is also astounding—100 billion to a trillion metric tons, or something like layering Washington, D.C. with 2 to 2.5 miles of ice.

NASA’s O/OREOS Dunking Bacteria in Space Rays

Today NASA officials announced that a tiny satellite launched last week has started conducting astrobiology experiments in low-Earth orbit. —Image courtesy NASA No bigger than a bread box, the Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses, or O/OREOS, satellite lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska on November 19 aboard a U.S. Air Force rocket.…

Hawking Says, Don’t Phone ET; NASA Says, Too Late

By Ker Than “Thanks, but no thanks.” That was the gist of NASA’s response to advice from famed British physicist Stephen Hawking that humanity should stop trying to attract the attention of aliens, some of whom could be hostile to us Earthlings. Hawking issued his warning during an episode of the Discovery Channel series “Into…

Active Mars Belches Methane

For a planet at the center of so many discussions about life, Mars can seem like a really dead world. It’s cold, dry, and dusty with a thin atmosphere that doesn’t block out much solar radiation. There’s minerals and gullies that suggest water flowed there more than three billion years ago, but aside from a…