Life

Life on Mars: Search deeper! Life

Life on Mars: Search deeper!

Has Mars ever had a surface that is friendly to life? Planetary scientists are struggling to find enough remnants of a former atmosphere. Even if one considers that Mars may have lost a large part of its oxygen and water to space, gaps remain - even for the past. On the other hand, there are of course the valleys, dry waters and river systems still visible today, into which water would have had to have flowed billions of years ago. And if the water on the surface was not frozen, the temperatures must have been pleasant. Even if this…
Megafloods on Ancient Mars Life

Megafloods on Ancient Mars

Surface water or even rain clouds are sought in vain on Mars today. In the early days of the planet, however, things looked different. Four billion years ago, a kind of megaflood could have swept over the Red Planet, as a joint project of scientists from Jackson State University, Cornell, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Hawaii shows. It is based on data collected by NASA's Curiosity Rover, which investigated the Gale Crater on Mars. In the paper, published in Scientific Reports, the researchers describe how a megaflood - probably triggered by the heat of a meteorite…
Where the geysers on Europa could come from Enceladus

Where the geysers on Europa could come from

There are several worlds - usually moons - in the solar system, where it appears that life-friendly conditions could exist in the oceans below their crust. Whether this is really the case, we will only know after we have drilled through the ice and checked (as is done in The Enceladus Mission). A new paper by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Arizona, the University of Texas and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is now lowering hopes somewhat. As the researchers show, some eruptions may not come from the depths of the oceans, but from water pockets embedded in…
Salt lakes under the south pole of Mars Life

Salt lakes under the south pole of Mars

Several liquid deposits of different sizes have been discovered by researchers below the south pole of Mars, according to a publication published in Nature Astronomy. The results suggest that there may be lakes below the south pole of Mars that remain liquid due to their high salt concentration. It is known that subglacial lakes exist in the terrestrial Antarctic. Previous research has shown a similar lake below the southern Martian polar region, which was discovered by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) on board the spacecraft Mars Express. The presence of a subglacial lake could…
BepiColombo photographs Venus in flight Life

BepiColombo photographs Venus in flight

The ESA-JAXA mission BepiColombo has completed the first of two flybys of Venus needed to put it on course for the innermost planet of the solar system, Mercury. The closest approach to the Earth's hot sister took place this morning (15. 10.) at 03:58 GMT at a distance of about 10 720 km from the planet's surface. Launched on 20 October 2018, the spacecraft will require nine gravity assist fly-bys - one to Earth, two to Venus and six to Mercury - before it can enter orbit around Mercury in 2025. The flybys will use the gravitational pull of…
Who’s watching us? Life

Who’s watching us?

Earthly astronomers are busy scanning distant star systems for planets. There is one limitation: With the popular transit method, we can only detect planets if they move in front of their star from our point of view and change its brightness. Of course, this limits the selection quite a bit, it is a big coincidence if the orbital plane of an exoplanet is roughly parallel to our viewing direction to the star. Now you can also ask different questions. Let's assume that aliens were looking for other planets that harbor life, just like us. Where would they have to…
Astronomers are searching for the super planet Life

Astronomers are searching for the super planet

Again and again, astronomers proudly present exoplanets that would be suitable for life as we know it - i.e. made of solid rock and illuminated by their stars in such a way that water exists on their surface in a liquid state. But is our home planet really ideal for the development of life? After all, when the sun was still young and shone with a third less power, it was still quite cold here until CO2 finally created a greenhouse effect. A study under the direction of the scientist Dirk Schulze Makuch of the Washington State University and…
Fresh frozen items delivered to Enceladus’s north pole too Enceladus

Fresh frozen items delivered to Enceladus’s north pole too

No, unfortunately nobody’s opened a new Ben and Jerry’s on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Not yet, at least. But a new paper just published in the magazine, Icarus, shows again just how valuable the images are from the joint NASA-ESA mission Cassini, even years after the probe was intentionally crashed into Saturn. Specifically, Cassini also delivered the most detailed global infrared images ever taken of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Combined with photos of Cassini’s other cameras, they provide convincing evidence that the northern hemisphere of the moon is covered with relatively fresh ice from its interior. The scientists that were part of…