NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has dug up organic molecules, the raw building blocks of life. The robot drilled out the organic carbon samples from 3-billion-year-old sediments in Mars’s Gale Crater that was once filled with water. From the New York Times:
That does not prove that life has ever existed on Mars. The same carbon molecules, broadly classified as organic matter, also exist within meteorites that fall from space. They can also be produced in chemical reactions that do not involve biology.
But the discovery, published on Thursday by the journal Science, is a piece of the Mars puzzle that scientists have long been seeking. In 1976, NASA’s two Viking landers conducted the first experiments searching for organic matter on Mars and appeared to come up empty.
“Now things are starting to make more sense,” said Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, a biogeochemist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and lead author of the Science paper. “We still don’t know the source of them, but they’re there. They’re not missing any more.”
"Life on Mars? Rover’s Latest Discovery Puts It ‘On the Table’" by Kenneth Chang (NYT)
Leon Hong writes, "I made this science-y animation for my wife Elaine Hsiao's research — with the hopes that people will learn something new about how all the microbes that live in and on us affect our brains and behavior."
NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe has officially left our solar system and entered interstellar space. Now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth, the spacecraft has crossed the boundary of the bubble-like heliosphere around the planets and is no longer touched by the plasma wind from our sun. Voyager 2’s twin Voyager […]
Hawaiian monk seals are endangered and closely monitored by NOAA scientists who are alarmed that the seals keep getting eels stuck really deep in their nostrils.
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Take a scroll through any app marketplace and you’ll see that the doors are wide open for any game these days – and any game developer. Like any creation, virtual or analog, it all starts with an idea. And if you’ve got one of those, the Complete Unity Game Developer Bundle can walk you the […]
At the rate the world is shrinking, you don’t need to be a globetrotter for a second language to be a useful skill. And if you’re looking to learn that second language (or a third, or fourth), uTalk Language Education is the learning program that makes progression not only easy but fun. If you can’t […]