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)
According to the explanation of the phrase “like a moth to the flame” at The Phrase Finder, “the word moth was used the the 17th century to mean someone who was apt to be tempted by something that would lead to their downfall.” But why do moths have this fatal attraction anyway? National Geographic explains […]
Avogadro’s Number is 6.022140857 × 1023. That’s how many atoms are in 12 grams of carbon-12. One mole of anything has one Avogadro’s Number of elementary particles in it. In this video, the Action Lab Man repeats the words “Avogadro’s Number,” quadrupling the audio track each time until he reaches 6.022140857 × 1023. Each time […]
Stephen Hawking’s final paper that he and his colleagues completed just days before his death has now been published. It’s titled “Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair,” co-authored with Sasha Haco, Malcolm J. Perry, and Andrew Strominger, about the black hole information paradox. Here is the abstract: A set of infinitesimal VirasoroL⊗VirasoroR diffeomorphisms are presented […]
Speed reading isn’t just an innate skill possessed by a lucky few. Anyone can learn to speed read, and the benefits are endless. The brain can process more information than most people have time to soak up, but you can make that time now with the 2018 Award-Winning Speed Reading Bundle. The first half of […]
Sure, you could use the same old PowerPoint templates for your next business presentation. It’s not like you have bosses or investors to impress. Oh wait, you do? Time to augment that slideshow with Slideshop – the presentation tool that can individualize your pitch while saving you time. Compatible with PowerPoint, Keynote and Google Slides, […]
Multinational companies have used the no-nonsense methodologies of Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma to oil a smooth-running operation for years. What is it? Six Sigma (and its offshoot, Lean Six Sigma) apply the principles of science to business, teaching managers to methodically target waste, maximize output and streamline the flow from producer to consumer. […]