Tag Archives | Life


Radioactive elements may make extraterrestrial life more likely on exoplanets

An abundance of radioactive elements observed in a number of distant solar systems would make the constituent planets much warmer, say scientists who contend that this planetary inner-heat could significantly expand the so-called Goldilocks zone around stars where life could evolve. The preliminary findings, by geologists and astronomers at Ohio State University, were presented this […]

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Ancient microbes found beneath ice of Antarctic lake

Scientists have discovered a viable community of bacteria that survives in a pitch-black, salty, and sub-zero environment beneath nearly 20 meters of ice in one of Antarctica’s most isolated lakes. Lake Vida, the largest of several lakes found in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, contains no oxygen and possesses the highest nitrous oxide levels of any […]

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Water not necessary for life?

The proteins that are vital to living creatures evolved in Earth’s water-rich environment and it was thought that water was vital for proteins to function, but some intriguing new findings from the University of Bristol (UK) challenge this dogma. Proteins consist of one or more polypeptides (chains of amino acids held together by peptide bonds) […]

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More evidence for asteroids creating life on Earth

All life on Earth uses “left-handed” amino acids to build proteins and NASA has now found that a greater number of asteroids were capable of creating these left-handed amino acids than previously thought. In March 2009, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center reported the discovery ofan excess of the left-handed form of the amino […]

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Brewing a primordial broth on Titan

Replicating the atmosphere of Titan and blasting it with UV light has allowed University of Arizona researchers to create organic macromolecules that they think are a model for the chemistry of pre-life Earth. Earth and Titan are the only known planetary-sized bodies that have thick, predominantly nitrogen atmospheres. “Titan is so interesting because its nitrogen-dominated […]

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CO2 detected on distant extrasolar planet

The Hubble Space Telescope has detected carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star, a possible indicator of extraterrestrial life. In this case, the Jupiter-sized planet (called HD 189733b) is too hot for life, but astronomers say that the observations are a proof-of-concept demonstration that the basic chemistry for life can […]

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