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Methane-Spewing Martians?
Topic: Mars
The methane found on Mars could be a sign of life on the red planet. Researchers are devising an instrument to measure the isotopic abundances that could distinguish a biological origin from a geological one.

Turning Lunar Dust into Gold
Topic: Moon to Mars
Scientists recently conducted field tests in Hawai`i of equipment and rovers to be used on the Moon. The goal was to demonstrate how astronauts might prospect for lunar resources and make their own oxygen.

Unmasking Europa
Topic: Europa
We may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but hopefully we can judge a moon by its surface. A scientist who worked on the Galileo mission has written a new book about the scratched and splotchy surface of Europa.

Simulating Mars on Earth
Topic: Mars
By simulating conditions at and below the surface of Mars, experiments now suggest that bacterial life could exist below its sterile surface layer of soil.

Hoping for Europa
Topic: Europa
NASA and ESA are now deciding on the next major mission to the outer solar system. One proposal is to visit two of Jupiter´s large moons, Ganymede and Europa. Astrobiologists have long hoped to study Europa more closely because its global ocean could harbor alien life.

Baking the Rover is Not an Option
Topic: Mars
The next-generation Mars rover will visit the Red Planet to sniff out the smallest traces of organic material – the building blocks of life. Trouble is, the Mars Science Laboratory is made from several kilograms of organic material from Earth.

A Divining Rod for Mars
Topic: Mars
Mars may have water underground but exactly where it is located is not known. An instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory will use neutrons to help spy for the water.

Life's Boiling Point
Topic: Extreme Life
Some proteins can work above the boiling point of water, but these vital biomolecules may have a harder time evolving at high temperature. A new project is searching for the maximum temperature for protein-based life.

Titan Triple Threat
Topic: Titan
The Cassini-Huygens mission has given us our best view yet of Titan, but this moon of Saturn still remains shrouded in mystery. A proposed future mission takes a three-tiered approach – using an orbiting spacecraft, a surface probe, and a hot air balloon -- to further explore the enigmatic moon.

Cliffbot Goes Climbing
Topic: Missions
From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a story about a rover that can scale the steep sides of cliffs and craters. Developed by a group of NASA engineers, this three-rover system, modeled on tether-aided human climbing, could make such locations on Mars accessible for future exploration.
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