Curiosity Sees a Strong Carbon Signature in a Bed of Rocks

Carbon is critical to life, as far as we know. So anytime we detect a strong carbon signature somewhere like Mars, it could indicate biological activity. Does a strong carbon signal in Martian rocks indicate biological processes of some type? Any strong carbon signal is intriguing when you’re hunting for life. It’s a common element …
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The Moon’s Crust was Formed From a Frozen Slushy Magma

Scientists’ detailed study of the Moon dates back to the Apollo missions when astronauts brought rock samples from the lunar surface back to Earth for analysis. Apollo 11 gathered samples from the lunar highland regions, the pale areas on the Moon’s surface easily seen from Earth. The highlands are made of a relatively light rock …
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Even Tiny Mimas Seems to Have an Internal Ocean of Liquid Water

Data from the Cassini mission keeps fuelling discoveries. The latest discovery is that Saturn’s tiny moon Mimas may have an internal ocean. If it does, the moon joins a growing list of natural satellites in our Solar System that may harbour liquid water under their surfaces. Worlds with interior oceans are called Interior Water Ocean …
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Ice Peeks out of a Cliffside on Mars

The HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured another beauty. This time the image shows water ice peeking out from a cliffside on Mars. A layer of sediment obscures most of the ice, but fingers of it are visible. Mars likely had ancient oceans, and the remnants of all …
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These Newly-Discovered Planets are Doomed

Astronomers have spied three more exoplanets. But the discovery might not last long. Each planet is in a separate solar system, and each orbits perilously close to its star. Even worse, all of the stars are dying. The results? Three doomed planets. TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and other planet-hunting endeavours have found thousands of …
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Remember When Life was Found in a Martian Meteorite? Turns out, it was Just Geology

The Alan Hills meteorite is a part of history to Mars aficionados. It came from Mars and meteorite hunters discovered in Antarctica in 1984. Scientists think it’s one of the oldest chunks of rock to come from Mars and make it to Earth. The meteorite made headlines in 1996 when a team of researchers said …
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A Star Passed too Close and Tore Out a Chunk of a Protoplanetary Disk

When it comes to observing protoplanetary disks, the Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) is probably the champion. ALMA was the first telescope to peer inside the almost inscrutable protoplanetary disks surrounding young stars and watch planets forming. ALMA advanced our understanding of the planet-forming process, though our knowledge of the entire process is still in …
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