NASA Didn’t Find Life on Mars—But It Did Find Something Very Cool

If we ever get proof of past life on Mars, it’ll come in the form of biosignatures, fingerprints that could only have been left by living organisms. We’re a long way from finding that smoking gun evidence, but an analysis of silica minerals discovered by NASA’s Spirit rover pushes us one step closer. Because of their similarity to silica deposits shaped by microbial life on Earth, these intriguing Martian minerals are now being called a “potential biosignature.” Read More >>

The Prospects for Alien Life on Titan Keep Getting Better

Saturn’s moon Titan is a frigid hellscape by Earth standards, but it’s also one of the most hopeful spots for discovering alien life in our solar system. A new scientific paper hints that conditions on Titan’s surface might be favourable for the chemistry of life to emerge. Read More >>

A Strange New Molecule in Space Could Solve a Major Mystery About Life

Using some of the world’s most sophisticated telescopes, a pair of astronomers has discovered a first-of-its-kind organic molecule in an enormous star-forming cloud thousands of light years away. And it could shed light on one of most poorly-understood properties of life on Earth. Read More >>

These Martian Rocks Hint at Ancient Alien Life

Mars may be a frigid, dusty wasteland today, but evidence is mounting that the Red Planet was warm and wet long ago. Future missions to Mars will seek out signs of life from that livelier era, and a recent geologic analysis has revealed where we should begin our search. Read More >>

Astronomers Might Have Just Solved a Key Mystery About the Origin of Life

If a massive solar storm struck the Earth today, it could wipe out our technology and hurl us back to the dark ages. Lucky for us, events like this are quite rare. But four billion years ago, extreme space weather was probably the norm. And rather than bringing the apocalypse, it might have kickstarted life. Read More >>

Key Building Block of Life Could Have Formed in Interstellar Space

The case that we’re all just highly organised lumps of space sweets keeps getting better. For the first time, scientists have created ribose—the key sugar underlying RNA—in laboratory conditions simulating the cold, radiation-blasted vacuum of outer space. Read More >>

First Oxygen Appeared On Earth Way Earlier Than We Realised

If you hopped in the Tardis and travelled back four billion years, you’d find yourself on a hot, miserable wasteland of a planet with nary an oxygen molecule to breathe. Earth used to be an asphyxiating hellscape, but over the eons, tiny green microbes filled the air with oxygen. New research finds they’ve been at it much longer than we imagined. Read More >>

Scientists Discover Unique Ingredients of Life in Meteorite Fragments

It's rare for meteorites falling to Earth to remain intact—only five to ten make it each year—but the ones that do could contain the secrets of the universe or, even better, clues about the origins of life. And it looks like the meteorite that lit up the California sky last year did just that. Read More >>