• Deliquescence in the Atacama
    After years of searching for evidence of microbial life in the driest region of Chile´s Atacama Desert, chemist Jacek Wierzchos finally found it. Living inside rocks made of salt. But how it manages to eke out a living there is still a bit of a
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  • The Last Time It Rained
    Astrobiology Magazine´s managing editor, Henry Bortman, is hanging out with a group of astrobiologists in the driest place on Earth, Chile´s Atacama Desert. Yungay, an abandoned mining settlement in the Atacama, was until recently thought to be completely devoid of life. But new evidence hints
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  • Journey to Yungay
    The Yungay region in Chile´s Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. It rains perhaps once every 10 years. It is so dry that not even microbial life can survive there. Almost as dry as Mars. That makes it an interesting place for astrobiologists
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  • Arctic, Antarctic, Mars
    When scientists examined a meteorite from Mars under a microscope, they discovered tiny mineral spheres that, some argued, were produced by living organisms. Now, researchers working in the high Arctic have found similar mineral features, produced not by microbes, but by a volcano.
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  • Martian Clay
    Although NASA´s Mars missions grab most of the headlines in the US media, the European Space Agency (ESA) recently announced that its Mars Express orbiter has uncovered an important clue to the history of water – and possibly life – on Mars.

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  • Going Deep
    Very little is known about the microbes that inhabit deep-sea hydrothermal vents, because it is so technically challenging to study them. Chris Scholin of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute plans to take on that challenge, in a project that may some day help scientists
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  • Fire in the Ice
    Scientists have analyzed some of the particles captured by NASA's Stardust mission and returned to Earth earlier this year. And they've found a big surprise. Although the particles come from a comet that formed in the deep-frozen outer reaches of the solar system, they contain
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  • Martian Gardens
    One day, humans will step foot on Mars. And they'll be hungry. Growing food on a frozen desert planet with a suffocatingly thin atmosphere, however, will be a challenge. Could microbe genes be the answer?
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  • SETI Sets its Sights on M Dwarfs
    More than half the stars in our galaxy are small, dim M dwarfs. Until recently, scientists believed these stars put out too little light to support life on any planets that orbited them. But at a recent workshop held at the SETI Institute targets
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  • Desert RATS Test Robotic Rover
    Earlier this month, a group of scientists and engineers converged in the Arizona desert near Meteor Crater to "practice" for future human missions to the moon and Mars. This year's experiments focused on interaction between space-suited "astronauts" and a very sophisticated rover named SCOUT.
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