Work in the Chilean desert by Arizona State University scientists has reopened debate regarding the biological origins of Martian silica fragments found in 2007 — and strengthened the case for life on Mars billions of years ago.
NASA’s Spirit rover churned up the opaline silica deposits as it explored the Columbia Hills area of Mars’s Gusev Crater.
NASA’s recent news that the Hubble Space Telescope had spotted liquid water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa has raised interest in a planned mission that will study the icy world to confirm the ocean’s presence and search for signs of life.
An instrument being built by Arizona State University will show experts where to start looking.
Scientists studying dwarf planet Ceres have found that a 13,000-foot volcano there arose not from silicic magma, but from muddy, salty ice that rose to the ~160 K surface and quick-froze like Smucker’s® Magic Shell.
Finding such a dramatic cryovolcanic process this close to the sun – in the inner asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – is unusual, and bolsters the idea that Ceres might have originated in the outer solar system. It also lends credence to the notion that asteroids and comets might be more closely related than once thought.
The latest NASA space probes to make the news have zoomed to the farthest reaches of the solar system, and their names – Pluto’s New Horizons, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s Rosetta and Philae – reflect the ambition and spirit of discovery behind them.
But who gets to pick those evocative names, and is there any pattern that ties them together? Read on …