News Briefs

  • Apocalypse Then
    A violent collision with a space rock, like the one that doomed the dinosaurs, may have also caused our planet's greatest mass extinction 250 million years ago.
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  • Squaring Off with a Robotic Serpent
    NASA engineers are developing an intelligent robot snake that can slither over or around obstacles and into cracks in a planet's surface. The "snakebot may one day search for water and fossils on other planets.
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  • Carbonated Mars
    Here on Earth the only way to make carbonate rocks is with the aid of liquid water. Finding such rocks on Mars might prove, once and for all, that the barren Red Planet was once warm and wet.
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  • A Visit to Cupid for Valentine’s Day
    On February 12, NEAR Shoemaker becomes the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid. Its findings may tell us something about our planet, our solar system, and solar systems beyond our own.
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  • Seeing Mars through a Test Tube
    By recreating the Martian surface in the laboratory, NASA scientists may have begun to answer two questions: why the Martian surface is so red, and why organic life has not yet been found there.
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  • Looking for life, Astrobiologists Dive Deep
    Coral-like mounds on the floor of a Canadian lake may make it easier someday to identify life on other planets.
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  • Jovian Moons
    Jupiter's four largest moons were discovered by Galileo in 1610. Three of them might hold oceans of liquid water beneath their icy exteriors. Liquid water is a prerequisite for life.
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  • Scientists Find Clues That Life Began in Deep Space
    Duplicating the harsh conditions of space in their laboratory, NASA scientists have created primitive cells with membrane-like structures. These chemical compounds may have played a part in the origin of life.
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  • Without Jupiter, Home Alone
    The giant planet Jupiter swallows up asteroids and comets, or flings them into space. Without Jupiter, comet and asteroid impacts might have wiped out any life on Earth.
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  • Mars Ocean Hypothesis Hits the Shore
    Photographs of the Martian surface find no sign of a sea cliff along a possible ancient shoreline.
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  • The Greening of the Red Planet
    A hardy microbe from Earth may one day transform the barren ground of Mars into arable soil.
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  • Thawing Mars
    Greenhouse gases might one day be used to warm the cold surface of Mars, and make the planet habitable for humans.
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  • Astrobiologists Find Evidence of Early Life on Land
    Scientists with NASA's Astrobiology Institute have discovered evidence that microbial life emerged on land between 2.6 billion and 2.7 billion years ago, much earlier than previously thought.
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  • The Dance of the Giant Planets
    A team of planet hunters January 9th announced a discovery that will help researchers better understand planet migration and how planets' gravitational pulls influence each other.
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  • Terrestrial Powerhouses
    A remarkable protein called bacteriorhodopsin converts light into metabolic energy. After 30 years of investigations, this protein has finally revealed some of its secrets.
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