Study finds space lettuce more susceptible to salmonella
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Jacinta Bowler
1M ago
In between shelf stable rehydrated meals, and white flour tortillas, sometimes an astronaut just needs a few leafy greens. But some innovative science has shown that when you mess with gravity, lettuce can become susceptible to bacterial infection. The new study which involved putting lettuces into a simulated gravity free environment, was conducted at the University of Delaware.   The research has been published in Scientific Reports and npj Microgravity. Where there are humans, there are bacteria, even in space. Researchers have been trying for years to limit the bacterial an ..read more
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Satellite to give atmospheric and ocean images in extraordinary detail
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Drew Rooke
1M ago
When I speak with Jeremy Wardell, Project Scientist for NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission, it is 54 days and 7 hours out from the scheduled launch of the spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. “PACE is a game changer,” says Wardell. “With our heritage instruments, we’ve often known exactly what kind of data we’re going to get. But the information this mission will gather will be so astoundingly superior to what’s available now that not only am I excited just to play with it, it will enable us to really grow scientifically.”  Wardell’s f ..read more
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Dawn to dusk on Mars captured by NASA’s Curiosity rover
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Evrim Yazgin
1M ago
NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured a full day on Mars from sunrise to sunset in a 12-hour video sequence. The rover captured it using its black-and-white Hazard-Avoidance Cameras, also called Hazcams. The rover’s shadow is visible on the surface in these images taken by the front Hazcam. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. A Martian day, called a ‘sol’, lasts 24 hours, 37 minutes and 22 seconds. The video did not reveal any interesting weather phenomena on that day but, taken from 5:30am to 5:30pm local time, it did capture the rover’s own shadow as it shifted across the sandy Martian surface. It was ..read more
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Oxygen might be the crucial clue for alien technology
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Ellen Phiddian
2M ago
Liquid water is often touted as the key to finding life on other planets. But what about finding alien technology? For that, claim two astronomers, the key ingredient might be oxygen. In a study published in Nature Astronomy, they suggest oxygen in the atmosphere – a mark of the ability for a civilisation to burn things – is the crucial element to developing technology on any planet. They’re calling it an “oxygen bottleneck”. “In our paper, we explore whether any atmospheric composition would be compatible with the presence of advanced technology,” says Associate Professor Amedeo Balbi from t ..read more
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Super-Earth spells doom; Venus has oxygen and don’t panic about solar flares – whacky solar system science from 2023
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Evrim Yazgin
2M ago
The last year brought us some interesting new science and perspectives on our solar system. Let’s take a look back at some of the stories covered by Cosmos in 2023 on our planet’s backyard. Venus has oxygen all over German astronomers revealed that Venus – the second planet from the Sun – has oxygen on its atmosphere on both its day and night sides. Illustration of Venus with elements furnished by NASA. Credit: buradaki / iStock / Getty Images Plus. Venus is roughly the same size as Earth. But, while our planet is a mild, hospitable one, Venus is hot and hostile. Temperatures reach 460°C on i ..read more
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Missing stars might answer supernovae riddle
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Evrim Yazgin
2M ago
Astronomers have long wondered why there are so many hydrogen-poor supernovae in the universe. Current models can’t explain it but a bold new theory involving hidden stars could provide the answer. Supernovae are the explosive deaths of large stars. They can be as bright as entire galaxies. But more low-hydrogen supernovae from massive stars exist than physicists have been able to explain. The precursor giant stars that should have made them don’t seem to be numerous enough to have produced the supernovae. It’s as if the supernovae are exploding into existence out of nothing. “Either we can’t ..read more
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If Saturn’s moon has signs of life, impact with a 15,000 km/h spacecraft won’t stop it
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Jacinta Bowler
2M ago
When searching for signs of life in far flung planets or moons, sometimes the details are important. For example, if a space craft was sent to collect samples from the icy plumes of a distance moon, would the high speed fly-through disrupt properties of the substance it is trying to collect? Or more directly, could an amino acid even survive an impact with a spacecraft? A new study from researchers from the University of California San Diego says yes. “The search for extraterrestrial life, especially within our solar system, is one of the biggest endeavours of mankind,” the researchers write ..read more
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Why didn’t gamma radiation prevent life on Earth from starting?
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Evrim Yazgin
3M ago
Biophysicists might be able to answer the question of why the chemical building blocks which formed the first life on earth were able to survive despite being bathed in gamma radiation. Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago. It’s estimated that the first life on our planet – single-celled organisms – emerged out of the “primordial soup” of chemicals in the first oceans 4 billion years ago. But it’s not clear why radiation didn’t prevent these chemicals from forming life in the first place. Today, Earth is protected from harmful cosmic radiation by our magnetic field. Scientists aren’t clea ..read more
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Venus has oxygen all over
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Evrim Yazgin
4M ago
Venus’s atmosphere is almost entirely made up of carbon dioxide – but German astronomers have detected oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere on both its day and night sides. The discovery could shed light on why the Venusian atmosphere is so different to our own. It may also help support future space missions to Venus. Earth’s nearest neighbour in the solar system, Venus is also nearly identical in size to Earth (our planet has a radius of 6,371 km, Venus 6,052 km). Earth and Venus are like twins in the solar system. But Venus could be considered an “evil twin”. Our hospitable, blue planet is sup ..read more
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‘Bonkers’ excitement for Aussie scientists getting Bennu dust
Cosmos » Astrobiology
by Drew Rooke
4M ago
For planetary scientist Phil Bland, who has spent most of his career analysing the primordial dust contained in meteorites to better understand the history of the universe, there is one word that sums up his feeling of being involved with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission: “Bonkers”. “I mean, I’m part of a once in a lifetime space mission,” the John Curtin Distinguished Professor in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University says. “It’s a giant thrill. As a scientist, I’m really fascinated about the chemistry of the material that was the starting point for all of the planets in t ..read more
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