From Europe to Europa – in search of life

From the earliest astronomers to the space race of the late 21st century, space exploration has always had one question in mind: is there life elsewhere in the universe? Although numerous exoplanets (planets located outside of our solar systems) offer habitable zones, scientists at ESA and NASA are looking a bit closer to home. Europa, […]

Mars – a Mystery Solved?

Last Thursday (24th September), NASA posted on their website that they would be announcing a major breakthrough in its exploration of Mars at a news press conference at its headquarters in Washington later today (28th September 2015). The conference will be attended by leading figures including Jim Green, director of planetary science and Michael Meyer, […]

NASA’s Curiosity Rover finds new evidence for Liquid Water on Mars

The Curiosity Rover, which has now been situated on the red planet since 2012, has found new evidence that suggests liquid water could exist on Mars. [1] Whilst liquid water has not be identified on Mars, new calculations based on weather and soil conditions, including the presence of Perchlorate salts, suggest that liquid brine (highly […]

European Mars Satellite enters final tests

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which is expected to be launched in 2016, is entering its final tests before being transported to Russia, where the launch will happen. [1] This marks the first joint Mars mission venture between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), which aims to explore […]

A Cloudy Start to Life

A recent press release from the School of Physics and Astronomy here in St Andrews has revealed that clouds in the atmospheres of alien worlds could be seeding the precursors of new life. The research, soon to be published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, was carried out by Dr Craig Stark and colleagues who have been […]

‘Life, but not as we know it’ : Astrobiology in St Andrews and beyond, Part IV

Alternatives to carbon-based life In Robert Grossman’s famous cartoon, published in ‘The New Yorker’ in 1962, an alien crawls from his crashed spaceship across a barren desert. Instead of water, he cries out for ‘Ammonia! Ammonia!’ It postulates the existence of life forms that rely have a different biochemistry from our own, and as a […]

‘Life, but not as we know it’ : Astrobiology in St Andrews and beyond, Part II

Knowledge of the depth and vastness of space makes the study and exploration of this realm both alluring and terrifying. Even before the invention of the telescope in the 17th century, ancient cultures believed in mythological other-worlds inhabited by mythical, non-human beings.

‘Life, but not as we know it’ : Astrobiology in St Andrews and beyond, Part I

In April, the UK Centre for Astrobiology hosted the UK’s 5th astrobiology conference at the University of Edinburgh. Focusing on ‘Molecules and Life in Extremes,’ the conference attracted 140 delegates and involved over 45 posters and 35 presentations. The Scottish University Physics Alliance  (SUPA) is providing the opportunity for closer links between astrobiology research in Edinburgh and […]

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