Feature Stories

  • Martian Touchdown
    NASA´s Phoenix lander has touched down safely on Mars and sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet´s northern arctic plains. Over the next three months, it will look for evidence of liquid water in Mars´s recent past.
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  • Building Life's Foundations
    New research conducted by the MARTE project team has shown that microbes can make barren areas suitable for life. This could have important implications for the search for life on Mars and other planets.
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  • Rendezvous with Mars
    Phoenix, NASA´s latest mission to Mars, is a lander that will touch down in the planet´s northern polar region on May 25, 2008. It will search for evidence that liquid water, and a habitable environment for life, have been present there in the recent past.
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  • Building Life’s Foundations
    New research conducted by the MARTE project team has shown that microbes can make barren areas suitable for life. This could have important implications for the search for life on Mars and other planets.
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  • Oceans Gasping for Breath
    During the Jurassic, global warming and severe environmental change led to the extinction of many species. One of the most intriguing effects was that the oceans became starved of oxygen.
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  • Testing Times for Robotic Explorers
    A team of scientists have been investigating how signs of life on Mars can be spotted using instruments on robotic probes.
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  • Is There Life on Mars? Ask a Magnet.
    Magnetite, a type of iron oxide, is common on both Earth and Mars, and appears in many forms. On Earth, some of those forms are produced only by bacteria and have unique magnetic signatures. Soon Sam Kim has developed a means of detecting this biologically-produced
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  • Intelligence: A Rare Cosmic Commodity
    A mathematical model taking into account the limited habitable lifespan of the Earth suggests that four evolutionary steps were required for intelligent life to evolve. If this applies to other worlds, intelligent life may be rare in the universe.
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  • A Vision for Exploration
    Bernard Foing is chief scientist of the European Space Agency´s Research and Scientific Support Department. He sees exploration of our Moon as only the first step toward understanding the potential for life in our solar system and beyond.
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  • Searching for Earth
    More than 250 planets have been found orbiting distant stars. Most of them are "hot Jupiters," giant planets orbiting close to their stars, unlikely places for life to take hold. NASA´s Kepler mission hopes to find habitable planets like Earth. Or, perhaps, to discover that
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