life

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Study Floats New Theory on Why We Can't Find Aliens

Quick evolution may be the key to cosmic survival

(Newser) - Two astrobiologists have a new explanation for why we haven't found alien life: It didn't evolve quickly enough to keep its planet habitable. "Most early planetary environments are unstable," Aditya Chopra says in a press release . "To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to... More »

Deepest Life on Earth Possibly Spotted

Bacteria may be able to survive 12 miles below Earth's surface

(Newser) - Life has a way of persisting in the unlikeliest of places—not just in the ocean's deepest spot, the Mariana Trench , but possibly even miles below the Earth's surface. Following up on a Yale grad student's initial fieldwork dating back to 1997, researchers from the university are... More »

Life Could Lurk Deep Beneath Earth—in Its Oldest Water

Huge amounts of hydrogen gas beneath Earth's surface could feed organisms

(Newser) - Much like on Earth's surface, water and rock reside deep within its crust, and they date to the earliest parts of the planet's history—leaving researchers fascinated by the secrets they may hold. In a new study published in Nature , they explain that not only is there more... More »

Life May Have Originated Miles Underground

New research questions 'primordial soup' theory

(Newser) - The idea of a "primordial soup," in which life theoretically began in lakes and oceans, may be way off. New studies suggest the beginnings of life on this planet could have occurred deep underground, the Independent reports. Researchers have found microbes up to 3.1 miles below the... More »

Thank Moss for Livable Planet

Plant may have prompted major shift in ancient climate

(Newser) - About 480 million years ago, the planet was a much hotter place—and we have moss to thank for the habitable Earth we enjoy today, research suggests. Back then, 16 times as much carbon dioxide existed in the atmosphere, scientists think. Some 20 million years later, carbon dioxide levels had... More »

Scientists Hunt for Life in Buried Antarctic Lake

They're hoping pristine ancient habitat could hold life

(Newser) - A team of British scientists begins a trek to Antarctica this week for an expedition that hopes to discover new life forms lurking in a lake that’s been untouched for a million years. The lake is buried under about two miles of ice, but its water is still liquid... More »

Thank Meteorites for Life on Earth?

Space rocks hold elements of DNA

(Newser) - The ingredients for DNA aren’t just here on Earth—they can develop in space, too, a study suggests. Scientists with NASA and the Carnegie Institution analyzed 12 meteorites and found that 11 of them contained nucleobases, the rings in the middle of DNA molecules. That means the space rocks... More »

Scientists Seek 'Frankenstein Spark'

Synthetic life close to becoming a reality

(Newser) - Alien life may appear in a test tube on Earth long before it's found elsewhere—and by some standards, it's already here, researchers say. Multiple teams of scientists around the world are experimenting with genetic tools in an effort to create synthetic life, the New York Times finds.... More »

Key Component of Earth Life Found in Comet

(Newser) - An amino acid necessary to the construction of proteins, and therefore life on Earth, has been found in a comet that passes through our solar system, Space.com reports. Glycine was found in samples picked up by a NASA spacecraft in 2004. The discovery suggests that life’s building blocks... More »

Phoenix Samples Martian Dirt

Robotic arm tested prior to search for life

(Newser) - The Phoenix Mars Lander grabbed a small sample of the fine soil of the planet's polar region yesterday. It was only a test "dig and dump"—using the spacecraft's 8-foot-long robotic arm—but paves the way for retrieving and analyzing samples of Martian soil later this week, reports... More »

7 Minutes of Danger in Mars Quest

Probe makes risky landing Sunday in hunt for water

(Newser) - The latest NASA mission searching for signs of life on Mars comes to a heart-pounding climax Sunday as the Phoenix Lander attempts to touch down at the red planet's pole in a hunt for water. The lander must perform complex maneuvers in which the whole mission is at risk for... More »

Asteroids Could Reseed a Devastated Earth

Rock-dwelling microorganisms would make it back from space

(Newser) - If a comet ever obliterates life on Earth, don't worry—space rocks could later fall in and reseed a few basic life forms. A new study shows that organisms can survive being hit by a meteor, ejected into space, and hurtled back to Earth on the face of a rock—... More »

Living Life While Facing Death

Professor's 'last lecture' inspires millions through viral Internet video

(Newser) - Professor Randy Pausch may be dying of pancreatic cancer, but a video of his “last lecture” continues to inspire millions around the world, the Independent reports. Pausch delivered his speech, titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” to laughter and tears at Carnegie Mellon in September. Picked up... More »

When the Sun Dies, Earth Might Not

Just-discovered planet survived; so there's hope for the old globe

(Newser) - When the Sun begins to kick out in some 5 billion years, it might not take Earth with it, reports the New York Times. Scientists are more optimistic since discovering a planet that survived a similar situation. A lack of hydrogen fuel is expected to cause the Sun to expand... More »

Frozen DNA Survives After 8 Million Years

Microorganisms from Antarctica look like Martian data

(Newser) - Scientists have nixed the notion that glaciers are lifeless blocks of ice by thawing chunks containing Antarctic organisms and watching them successfully divide on their own, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study suggests that these microorganisms, ranging from 100,000 to 8 million years old, could yield DNA and... More »

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