Feature Stories

  • Extreme Animals
    Because of their ability to withstand hostile conditions, tardigrades and other cryptobiotic organisms are of interest to astrobiologists. Some tardigrades can survive in temperatures as low as minus 200 degrees Celsius (minus 328 F).
    more...
  • Tracking the Path of Green Slime
    Cyanobacteria gave us oxygen for the atmosphere and a protective ozone layer, and they led to the development of all the green plants in the world today. They can be found everywhere from the surface of the oceans to underneath
    more...
  • Gravity’s Telescope
    Using a technique known as "gravitational microlensing", astronomers hope to find planets in Earth-like orbits around stars halfway across the galaxy.
    more...
  • Evolution’s Sweet Tooth
    How did intelligence evolve? A scientist studying differences between humans and great apes may have found a biochemical step in that direction.
    more...
  • Voyage of The Voyagers: First Quarter-Century
    When initially launched on August 20, 1977, the Voyager missions to Jupiter and Saturn were considered mission-capable for around 5-year lives. But after 25 years, there is a good chance that another 25 years for their tour is on-course.
    more...
  • Bacteria: Survival in Siberia
    While Mars experts have gathered evidence of ice on Mars for some time, results in May from the Odyssey spacecraft showed large amounts of subsurface ice. The concept of suspended animation supports the plots of dozens of science fiction books and movies.
    more...
  • Weird Life on the Mats
    Do extinct species represent failed evolutionary experiments? At least for some more closely related to today's crabs and lobsters, University of Southern California scientist David Bottjer says that if many such early animals look strange to us, it is not because they were strange.
    more...
  • August of Wind: Storm Chasing on the Red Planet
    On August 8th, a rare Mars Orbital Camera image was released capturing a dust devil in the act of creating a streak as it climbed an embankment out of a crater.
    more...
  • Jupiter Uncloaks: Most Moons Ever Found at Once
    When Galileo's first telescope found 4 Jovian moons, could he have imagined? The most moons ever found at once--11. Discovered by Hawaii astronomers using a 7-foot lens at Mauna Kea, the moons must have been captured from solar-orbitting asteroids.
    more...
  • Prospecting for Viruses
    Under scalding, acidic conditions, how do life processes function? Because of their simplicity relative to cellular life forms, the 3500 described viruses may offer scientists the best opportunity to glean information about survival in extreme environments.
    more...
  • Eukaryotic Origins: Revolution in the Classification of Life
    The most recent classification of all life on Earth includes three domains: Archaea, Bacteria (also called Eubacteria) and Eukarya, each of which contains a number of kingdoms.
    more...
  • Antarctic Microbes Colonize under Mars-like Conditions
    More than 20 years ago, scientists first discovered that algae, fungi and bacteria could grow inside porous sandstone and surface pavement in the Antarctic Dry Valleys.
    more...
  • Carbon Conundrum
    As scientists study the complicated dynamics of a warming planet, they are trying to understand the movement of Earth's principal greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, as it meanders through the planet's atmosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.
    more...
  • Cliff-hangers: The all-terrain Mars rover
    In a first-of-its-kind test, a JPL team of robotics experts recently began off-road exploration into how an ideal Mars rover might handle the bumps and cliffs expected on Mars.
    more...
  • Defining Life
    What is life, exactly? This is a question that keeps biologists up at night. The science of biology is the study of life, yet scientists can't agree on an absolute definition. What about a computer program that learns and evolves? Can a wild fire -
    more...