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Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 6) Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa
Topic: Extreme Life
The thought that alien fishes, sharks and squids could be chasing each other in the pitch black waters of Jupiter's moon Europa has astrobiologists like Steve Vance itching to get a good look below the ice.

Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 5): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa
Topic: Extreme Life
This series follows an oceanographic expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise and NASA's efforts to plan a future mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa. In part five, scientists use high-tech submersibles to explore the seafloor and bring intriguing samples up to the surface.

Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 4): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa
Topic: Extreme Life
When the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft visited Jupiter's moons Io and Europa, scientists were faced with the exciting possibility that these strange worlds might host exotic forms of life.

Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 3): Explorations to the Seafloors of Earth and Europa
Topic: Extreme Life
The chemosynthetic life that thrives at hydrothermal vents might give us clues to how life arose in the first place. They also might be the same sort of life that could possibly exist on Jupiter's icy moon, Europa.

Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 2): Explorations to the Sea Floors of Earth and Europa
Topic: Extreme Life
Before 1977, textbooks claimed that to sustain a living ecosystem, you needed energy from the Sun. Then the deep sea submersible Alvin discovered life teeming at hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. This led scientists to wonder if similar life could be found on Europa.

Searching for Life Where the Sun Don’t Shine (part 1): Explorations to the Sea Floors of Earth and Europa
Topic: Extreme Life
This series follows an oceanographic expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise, and NASA's efforts to plan a future mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa.

Seeking a Pot of Geological Gold
Topic: Geology
Researchers are moving a step closer to solving one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time. It happened roughly 200 million years ago, marking the boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic periods, and the crime scene was the entire planet. In their quest to solve this ancient mystery, a team of scientists has been combing the coast of Northern Ireland for evidence.

Mapping Microbialites
Topic: Moon to Mars
Microbialites, strange carbonate structures that line the bottom of Pavilion Lake in British Columbia, Canada, come in many shapes and sizes. No-one knows why. But scientists in the Pavilion Lake Research Project hope to learn more by studying nearby Kelly Lake and making some comparisons.

Up, Up and Away for Mars
Topic: Mars
Spaceward Bound and the DREAMS project recently launched a weather balloon in the Mojave Desert. The balloon´s payload contained scientific experiments designed to shed light on the search for life on Mars.

Drilling for the Future of Science
Topic: Mars
NASA´s IceBite project is in Antarctica testing a drill for possible use on a future mission to Mars. In a recent trial of the drill´s remote-operations software, the operators were a bit younger than usual: they were fifth-grade students, controlling the drill from a classroom in Pleasanton, California.

Breaking the Ice in Antarctica
Topic: Mars
Members of NASA´s IceBite team will be in Antarctica´s Dry Valleys this month testing a drill developed by Honeybee Robotics for possible use on a future mission to the arctic northern plains of Mars. The IceBreaker drill is designed to obtain samples for analysis of ice and soil from as much as a meter below the surface.

Bringing a Bit of Mars Back Home
Topic: Mars
Mars sample return – bringing rocks from Mars back to Earth – has been on NASA´s wish list for decades, and work is underway to develop the necessary technology. Recently a group of scientists field-tested a robotic system that can drill into rocks, collect small core samples and store them for later retrieval.

Probing Pavilion Lake
Topic: Extreme Life
A team of scientists and astronauts return this week to Pavilion Lake in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The scientists will be continuing their effort to understand what role biology plays in forming the strange structures that line the lakebed, while the astronauts will be learning how to do field science.

Exploring Beneath Antarctic Ice
Topic: Missions
The NASA-funded ENDURANCE project has completed its second field season robotically exploring the waters of an ice-covered lake in Antarctica. Insight gained by the expedition will help scientists prepare for a future mission to Jupiter´s moon Europa.

IceBite Blog: Learning to Respect the Weather
Topic: Extreme Life
Members of NASA´s IceBite team are studying the only spot on Earth where the terrain resembles that of the Phoenix landing site on Mars. The place: a mile above sea level in Antarctica´s McMurdo Dry Valleys. Click the Ask a Scientist button above to ask questions of the science team in the field.

Taking a Bite of Antarctic Ice
Topic: Mars
NASA´s IceBite team will spend six weeks studying a place on Earth that resembles the Phoenix landing site on Mars. The place: a mile above sea level in Antarctica´s McMurdo Dry Valleys. The ultimate goal: to test ice-penetrating drills for a future mission to the martian polar north.

Searching for Alien Life, on Earth
Topic: Extreme Life
Mono Lake, just east of Yosemite National Park, is a place of bizarre natural beauty. It also boasts one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic on Earth. The latter fact, says geomicrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, makes it a good spot to look for alien life.

AMASE 2009 Expedition Takes Off
Topic: Missions
The Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) 2009 is now underway in Svalbard, Norway. AMASE has established Svalbard as a test bed for life-detection technology that will be used on future NASA and ESA 'Search for Life' mission to Mars.

Topic: Extreme Life
A team of researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute conducted the first field test earlier this year of a new configuration of Deep-ESP. The device is designed to perform long-term studies of how deep-sea ecosystems respond to environmental changes.

Probing Antarctica´s Lake Bonney
Topic: Missions
In a project designed to help NASA plan for a future mission to explore Jupiter´s moon Europa, researchers have begun testing an autonomous underwater vehicle, known as ENDURANCE, in the ice-covered waters of Antarctica´s Lake Bonney. The biggest problem they´ve run into so far? Bubbles.

Exploring Europa on Earth
Topic: Europa
An ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Jupiter´s giant moon Europa. At the bottom of that ocean, there could be hydrothermal vents that provide all of the ingredients needed to support life.

Nicaraguan Volcano Provides Insight into Early Mars
Topic: Mars
Although volcanoes on Mars today are dormant or extinct, in the distant past the Red Planet was literally a hotbed of volcanic activity. Cerro Negro, an active volcano in Nicaragua, offers clues to what the martian era of fire and brimstone may have been like – and what types of organisms could have lived in that superheated world.

Looking for Life on Mars – in a Canadian Lake
Topic: Mars
At first glance, Pavilion Lake, in British Columbia, looks like just another idyllic vacation spot. But beneath its surface lie some of the most unusual carbonate formations on Earth.

Dress Rehearsal for Mars
Topic: Mars
Life-searching instruments are being tested in Rio Tinto, ready to be used as part of an upcoming mission to Mars.

Underwater Sentry
Topic: Missions
A new free-swimming robot has completed a 3.1-mile-deep trek beneath the ocean. The robot opens new possibilities for exploring the deep sea and discovering unique habitats for life.

Exploring Caves From 30 Feet in the Air
Topic: Moon to Mars
Underground caves could prove ideal as places for future human explorers to live on Mars. But first, someone has to find them. Jut Wynne is trying to figure out how.

The Ancient Past, Alive
Topic: Extreme Life
Cuatro Cienegas, a butterfly-shaped valley in Mexico´s Chihuahua desert, is a living laboratory for astrobiologists. By studying this unique and endangered ecosystem, they hope to learn more about the earliest life on Earth.

Mars Science Laboratory Shakedown in the High Arctic
Topic: Extreme Life
With funding from a NASA ASTEP grant, a team of scientists and engineers last month traveled to the Svalbard archipelago, in the Norwegian high Arctic, to test a suite of instruments that will be part of the payload of NASA´s next Mars rover, Mars Science Laboratory

Deliquescence in the Atacama
Topic: Extreme Life
After years of searching for evidence of microbial life in the driest region of Chile´s Atacama Desert, chemist Jacek Wierzchos finally found it. Living inside rocks made of salt. But how it manages to eke out a living there is still a bit of a mystery.

Journey to Yungay
Topic: Extreme Life
The Yungay region in Chile´s Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. It rains perhaps once every 10 years. It is so dry that not even microbial life can survive there. Almost as dry as Mars. That makes it an interesting place for astrobiologists to study. Later this month, Astrobiology Magazine will begin a series of field reports from Yungay.

The Mothman Adventures
Topic: Extreme Life
Astrobiologists often have compelling adventures in far-flung locations. Charles Cockell, professor and chair of microbiology at the Open University in the UK, recounts an unusual expedition collecting moths in Indonesia.

Lost City Expedition
Topic: Extreme Life
During their 32 day expedition, 24 scientists onboard a research vessel, the Atlantis, will dive deep into the North Atlantic and explore active limestone chimneys that rise eighteen stories above the seafloor. The team will sample and grow microorganisms reminiscent of early life on Earth, and use a free swimming robot to create a high resolution map of how life may flourish just living off the 'rocky' heat of a chemical reaction.

Ghost Hunters
Topic: Extreme Life
A recent expedition to Australia followed the trail of the extinct Tasmanian tiger. Astrobiology Magazine had the opportunity to interview one of the expedition participants, New York-based artist, Alexis Rockman, as he reflected on global biodiversity.
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