Curiosity rover finds methane and organics on Mars

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, "Cumberland," during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 19, 2013) and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. “This temporary increase in methane – sharply up and then back down… Read More

New study shows carbon in Martian meteorite to be ‘likely of biological origin’

The possibility of ancient life on Mars just received an added boost: new analysis of carbon inside a Martian meteorite shows that it is likely of biological origin, according to an international team of scientists from EPFL, it was announced on Dec. 2, 2014. The meteorite, called Tissint, was first found in the Moroccan desert … Read more

Hot ‘super-Earths’ provide clues to water in exoplanet atmospheres

Some of the most interesting exoplanets discovered so far are the “super-Earths,” rocky worlds which are significantly larger and more massive than Earth but still smaller than the ice giants such as Uranus or Neptune. Since they are not present in our own Solar System, their existence elsewhere can provide valuable information about planetary formation … Read more

Image Gallery: Europa redux

NASA just released this new version of probably the most well-known image of Jupiter’s moon Europa. First taken in the late 1990s by the Galileo spacecraft, this version has been enhanced by more current imaging techniques, with more accurate colours. The cracked icy surface hides a deep global ocean of water, making Europa a prime … Read more

Plate tectonics may increase chances for life on Europa

Jupiter’s moon Europa is a fascinating little world, but particularly so for one reason: water. It’s deep alien ocean underneath the surface ice is reminiscent of our own planet, and since our oceans and seas are teeming with life, even beneath the ice at the poles, could Europa’s ocean also harbor life of some kind? … Read more