Astrobiology: June 2008 Archives

NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander Returns Treasure Trove for Science

"This soil appears to be a close analog to surface soils found in the upper dry valleys in Antarctica," Kounaves said. "The alkalinity of the soil at this location is definitely striking. At this specific location, one inch into the surface layer, the soil is very basic, with a pH of between eight and nine. We also found a variety of components of salts that we haven't had time to analyze and identify yet, but that include magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride." "This is more evidence for water because salts are there. We also found a reasonable number of nutrients, or chemicals needed by life as we know it," Kounaves said. "Over time, I've come to the conclusion that the amazing thing about Mars is not that it's an alien world, but that in many aspects, like mineralogy, it's very much like Earth."

NASA Astrobiology Research: Astronaut, Scientists Explore Lake to Learn More About Life (Video and links added)

Editor's note: NASA Ames Public Affairs has dropped the ball again. They did not bother to mention the word "astrobiology", Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP), or the NASA Astrobiology Insitute. Yet this entire activity is all about Astrobiology. Nor did they bother to link to the Pavilion Lake Research Project's website or to the SETI Institute or the Deep Worker's provider, Nuytco Research.

Why they'd omit any mention of this signature activity at Ames is simply baffling.

A survivor in Greenland: A novel bacterial species is found trapped in 120,000-year-old ice, Penn State

"A team of Penn State scientists has discovered a new ultra-small species of bacteria that has survived for more than 120,000 years within the ice of a Greenland glacier at a depth of nearly two miles. The microorganism's ability to persist in this low-temperature, high-pressure, reduced-oxygen, and nutrient-poor habitat makes it particularly useful for studying how life, in general, can survive in a variety of extreme environments on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the solar system."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Astrobiology category from June 2008.

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