Although Earth is uniquely situated in the solar system to support creatures that call it home, different forms of life could have once existed, or might still exist, on other planets. But finding traces of past or current lifeforms on other worlds is challenging. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Analytical Chemistry have developed a fully automated microchip electrophoresis analyzer that, when incorporated into a planetary rover, could someday detect organic biosignatures in extraterrestrial soil.
SAN ANTONIO -- Sept. 16, 2020 -- A Southwest Research Institute scientist has identified stellar phosphorus as a probable marker in narrowing the search for life in the cosmos. She has developed techniques to identify stars likely to host exoplanets, based on the composition of stars known to have planets, and proposes that upcoming studies target stellar phosphorus to find systems with the greatest probability for hosting life as we know it.
While scientists are eager to study the red planet's soils for signs of life, researchers must ponder a considerable new challenge: Acidic fluids - which once flowed on the Martian surface - may have destroyed biological evidence hidden within Mars' iron-rich clays, according to researchers at Cornell University and at Spain's Centro de Astrobiología.
In a special collection of research papers published Sep. 9 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the OSIRIS-REx science team reports detailed observations that reveal Bennu is shedding material on a regular basis.
A new study published this month in JGR Planets posits that the major particle ejections off the near-Earth asteroid Bennu may be the consequence of impacts by small, sand-sized particles called meteoroids onto its surface as the object nears the Sun. The study's primary author is Southwest Research Institute scientist Dr. William Bottke, who used data from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission.
NASA's InSight mission provides data from the surface of Mars. Its seismometer, equipped with electronics built at ETH Zurich, not only records marsquakes, but unexpectedly reacts to solar eclipses as well. When the Martian moon, Phobos moves directly in front of the sun, the instrument tips slightly to one side. This miniscule effect could aid researchers in determining the planet's interior.
Cosmologists have zoomed in on the smallest clumps of dark matter in a virtual universe - which could help us to find the real thing in space.
Researchers have detected a signal from what may be the most massive black hole merger yet observed in gravitational waves. The product of the merger is the first clear detection of an 'intermediate-mass' black hole, with a mass between 100 and 1,000 times that of the sun.
A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder is pioneering a new solution to the problem of spring cleaning on the moon: Why not zap away the grime using a beam of electrons?
Electrifying research by Clemson University scientists could lead to the creation of lighter, faster-charging batteries suitable for powering a spacesuit, or even a Mars rover.