Feature Stories

  • The Return of the Blob … As a Robot
    Most robots have legs, wheels, or tank-like treads. But Virgina Tech roboticist Dennis Hong is building one that uses "whole-skin locomotion" to move like an amoeba, enabling it to squeeze more easily into the some of the tight other-worldly spaces where extraterrestrial life might be
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  • Leaving No Stone Unturned
    Kimberley Warren-Rhodes has spent countless hours in some of the world´s driest deserts, turning over rocks. Tens of thousands of rocks. What is she hoping to find? The pattern of life.
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  • Life on Mars – Viking Revisited
    The Viking missions to Mars tried to find evidence for life on the planet's surface, but the results of those experiments were frustratingly ambiguous. Joop Houtkooper recently has taken another look at the data, and he suspects that Viking may have discovered Martian microbes after
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  • Swimming a Salty Sea
    If there is life on Jupiter´s moon Europa, what would it be like? The answer partly depends on the type of ocean water that is under the moon's icy outer shell.
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  • Rethinking Jupiter
    The planet Jupiter is thought to act as a "cosmic vacuum cleaner," sucking up comets and asteroids that could potentially hit the Earth and endanger all life on our planet. But new research has more closely examined Jupiter's ability to protect the inner solar
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  • Predicting Planets
    Finding new planets around distant stars has become commonplace. But now a team of astronomers has succeeded in predicting the orbit of a planet that hadn´t yet been discovered. The last time that happened was more than 150 years ago.
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  • Phoenix Takes Flight
    Phoenix, NASA´s latest mission to Mars, will land in the planet´s northern polar region. It will dig down into the permafrost, which lies just below the surface, and look for signs of past habitability.
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  • Our Earliest Animal Ancestors
    How has life changed Earth? How has Earth changed life? And why did animal life appear on Earth some time around 600 million years ago – and not at another time? A new NASA Astrobiology Institute group will tackle big questions about the origin of
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  • The Origin of Life: First Steps
    One of the biggest puzzles in astrobiology is how did life emerge on Earth, and under what conditions might it arise on other planetary bodies? From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a review of "From Suns to Life," which investigates the various pieces of
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  • Robot Dives Deep for Sinkhole Slime
    DEPTHX, an underwater robot capable of navigating without human control, has recovered microbial biofilm samples from the deepest water-filled sinkhole in the world. Microbiologist John Spear is looking forward to learning what the ‘bot brought home.
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