Sampling in the Atacama Desert during the 2015 field campaign.

A Temporary Habitat in the Driest Place on Earth

Martian microbes may rely on the same survival strategies as desert dwellers on our own planet.

Artist's conception of a Titan-exploring submarine.

A Submarine for Titan’s Seas

Researchers simulate alien lakes to learn how difficult they’d be to explore.

Underground ice exposed on a steep Martian slope appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view from NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera in Mars orbit.

Martian Ice Cliffs Make a Tempting Destination

Robotic missions and human expeditions should rank these newly discovered features high on their list of possible landing sites.

The MinION, a hand-held DNA sequencer.

We Just Got Closer to Having a Real-Life Tricorder

In the high Arctic, Canadian researchers try out a promising new approach to life detection.

Martian methane as detected during the planet's northern summer. Yellow-red areas show higher concentrations in the atmosphere, blue-purple lower concentrations.

Martian Methane Varies with the Seasons

And microbial activity could be the reason.

Animal life in the Ediacaran era, from 635 to 541 million years ago, was strictly “low energy.”

Did the First Animals Live in a World Without Oxygen?

A new study suggests the answer may be yes.

The Eridania Basin on Mars is about 3.7 billion years old. Seafloor deposits, which likely contain evidence of hydrothermal activity, are shown in color.

Follow the Energy

How living things draw energy from the environment may be a clue to their history.

Might other areas of Antarctica not covered by snow and ice also have bacteria that take their energy from the oxidation of trace gases?

These Bacteria Survive by Drawing Trace Gases From the Air

A novel way of making a living under extreme conditions.

Artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid Oumuamua.

It Came From Beyond

ʻOumuamua, the first known interstellar asteroid, may lead us to rethink the idea that life came here from other stars.

An abundance of life: Plant-covered land is red in this combined visible light/infrared view of Earth from the Messenger spacecraft.

Cosmic Zoo vs. Rare Earth

A new book argues that complex life is common in the universe.

Growth potential: there’s a reason that phosphorus is included in fertilizers.

Phosphorus: You Can’t Have Life Without It, at Least on Earth

When searching for “carbon-based” life, we need to pay attention to other elements too.

The Critical Importance of Biosignatures

To identify life on other worlds, scientists will have to know what to look for, and what to ignore.

A hydrothermal pond in Yellowstone National Park: an analog site for where life originated?

Back to Darwin’s Warm Little Pond

Reviving an old hypothesis about the origin of life on Earth.

Europa, a PET I moon with an ice-capped ocean thought to lie above a rocky mantle.

A New Classification System for Water-Based Life

But how different can life on other planets really be?

The Moon during an eclipse, with an orange cast.

Did the Moon Once Have a Substantial Atmosphere?

Maybe it wasn’t always as dry and dead as it is today.

Artist's concept of Planet 9.

Planet 9 Might Be an Immigrant

The question is: From where?

Many of the so-called "Super Earths" are probably more like gassy Neptune than like our own rocky planet, which doesn't bode well for habitability.

Most Super-Earths Are Likely Not Habitable

That’s the disappointing conclusion from a recent meeting about planetary habitability.

The dark streaks known as recurring slope lineae are thought to be evidence of briny water on the Martian surface.

It’s Time to Loosen Planetary Protection Rules for Mars

Our cautiousness is stifling space exploration.

The field surrounding the apparent source of the repeating burst FRB 121102, first discovered in November of 2012.

Fast Radio Bursts and SETI’s High Bar for Evidence

Natural or artificial: How would we know if a radio signal is intelligent in origin?

Artist's concept of Mars samples on their way to Earth.

A Faster, Leaner Mars Sample Return Isn’t the Good Idea It Appears to Be

In this case, savings don’t equal better science.

Page 7 of 14