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The Evolving Human Super-Brain
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/24/11
Summary: Could the evolution of the human mind, and its ability to create a potentially infinite variety of thoughts, be attributed to the formation of a 'super-brain'. One theory about this collective mind centers around and event that took place in Africa no later than 75,000 years ago.

Achieving Eternal Life
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/22/11
Summary: New research shows how sea squirts use the enzyme telomerase to protect their DNA and delay aging. The study provides insight into the molecular, genetic, and biochemical mechanisms that can effect evolution.

Eyes of Rock
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/15/11
Summary: Scientists have discovered a simple mollusk that may use eyes made of a calcium carbonate crystal to spot predators. The finding provides a new example of how evolution leads to unique traits for life.

In Memoriam: Dr. Baruch S. 'Barry' Blumberg 1925 - 2011
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/07/11
Summary: Nobel Laureate Baruch S. Blumberg died of an apparent heart attack on April 5, while attending a conference at NASA Ames Research Center. He was 85. Known to friends and colleagues as Barry, Dr. Blumberg served as the first director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (1999-2002) and an advocate for astrobiology ever since.

A Hot, Acidic Primordial Soup
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/06/11
Summary: New research has identified a group of ancient enzymes that were adapted to changes in ocean temperature and acidity. The study provides evidence that life on early Earth may have lived in a hot, acidic environment, and then evolved to survive in today's cooler, less acidic world.

Poison Could Have Set the Stage for Life
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
04/05/11
Summary: Scientists have long wondered how carbon-containing material became a part of the solar system. The answer might be related to poisonous formaldehyde.

Not Only the Fittest Survive
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
03/29/11
Summary: A new theory about evolution has called into question the idea that 'only the fittest survive.' This means that biodiversity may evolve where previously thought impossible.

Are You a Martian?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
03/26/11
Summary: Could life on Earth have descended from organisms that originated on Mars, and then were carried to our planet by meteorites? A new instrument that is currently being developed could provide the answer.

The Emergence of Life's Code
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
03/25/11
Summary: By studying intramolecular communication within an enzyme, scientists have uncovered a partial glimpse of how the genetic coding of life may have emerged. The research could help astrobiologists understand a key step in life's origins on our planet.

Hydrogen Sulfide Helped Spark Life?
Topic: Origin & Evolution of Life
03/22/11
Summary: In the 1950s, Stanley Miller demonstrated that organic compounds could form under conditions mimicking the primordial Earth. By re-examining some of Miller's unused samples with modern techniques, scientists have found that volcanoes and sulfur may have been important in life's origin on our planet.

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