Tag Archives: life

A Funnel on Mars Could Be a Place to Look for Life

AUSTIN, Texas — A strangely shaped depression on Mars could be a new place to look for signs of life on the Red Planet, according to a University of Texas at Austin-led study. The depression was probably formed by a volcano beneath a glacier and could have been a warm, chemical-rich environment well suited for microbial life. (more…)

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The life of a cadet: early mornings, extra classes

Up before the crack of dawn three times a week for off-campus physical training and faced with an extra class and midterm project, ROTC cadets put in considerable extra work as students at Brown and students of the Army.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — It depends on the day, but a day in the life of an ROTC cadet can start quite early. (more…)

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Doubt cast on global firestorm generated by dino-killing asteroid

Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth.

A team of researchers from the University of Exeter, University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London recreated the immense energy released from an extra-terrestrial collision with Earth that occurred around the time that dinosaurs became extinct. They found that the intense but short-lived heat near the impact site could not have ignited live plants, challenging the idea that the impact led to global firestorms. (more…)

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It could also work for Mars

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists exploring large fields of impact glass in Argentina suggest that what happened on Earth might well have happened on Mars millions of years ago. Martian impact glass could hold traces of organic compounds. (more…)

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Durchbruch an den Max F. Perutz Laboratories: Neue Analysemethode für Platynereis als Genetics-Highlight im Mai

ForscherInnen an den Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) der Universität Wien und der Medizinischen Universität Wien ist ein Durchbruch für das Platynereis-Modellsystem gelungen: Zum ersten Mal beschreiben sie eine Methode, mit der spezifische und vererbbare Mutationen in dieser Spezies erzeugt werden können. Damit rückt dieser marine Wurm in eine exzellente Position, um die Forschung in den Bereichen Neurobiologie, Chronobiologie, evolutionäre Entwicklungsbiologie und Meeresbiologie voranzutreiben. Die Studie sowie ein Überblicksartikel zu den genetischen Methoden, die für Platynereis dumerilii zur Verfügung stehen, sind nicht nur Mai-Highlights des renommierten Fachjournals Genetics, ihnen wurde auch das Titelbild der aktuellen Ausgabe gewidmet.

Auf molekularer Ebene wissen wir von vielen faszinierenden biologischen Phänomenen noch viel zu wenig. Der unscheinbare marine Borstenwurm Platynereis dumerilii stellt für die Erforschung dieser Phänomene einen interessanten Modellorganismus dar: Evolutionär gesehen entwickelte er sich sehr langsam und ist so bestens geeignet, um Vorläufergene und Zelltypen zu analysieren. Er besitzt ein Hormonsystem, das mit jenem der Wirbeltiere vergleichbar ist und er kann große Teile seines Körpers regenerieren. Zudem wird seine Fortpflanzungszeit durch mehrere Uhren gesteuert – ein Merkmal, das wahrscheinlich auch viele andere Organismen aufweisen. Diese Charakteristika machen den Borstenwurm ideal für die Evolutionsforschung, die Chronobiologie und für viele weitere Forschungsgebiete. Da es jedoch bislang keine geeigneten molekularbiologischen Werkzeuge gab, war es sehr schwierig, die Funktionen der Platynereis-Gene in vivo zu analysieren. (more…)

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Study Tests Theory that Life Originated at Deep Sea Vents

One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began (roughly 3.8 billion years ago), but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility has grown in popularity in the last two decades – that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living to a living world.

Recent research by geochemists Eoghan Reeves, Jeff Seewald, and Jill McDermott at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the first to test a fundamental assumption of this ‘metabolism first’ hypothesis, and finds that it may not have been as easy as previously assumed. Instead, their findings could provide a focus for the search for life on other planets. The work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (more…)

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New Study Outlines ‘Water World’ Theory of Life’s Origins

Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet’s living kingdoms. How did it all begin?

A new study from researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the Icy Worlds team at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life. While the scientists had already proposed this hypothesis — called “submarine alkaline hydrothermal emergence of life” — the new report assembles decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture. (more…)

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