life

The ultimate “what if” question

Koppernigk post 2222 is about…. life on Mars. No, it hasn’t been found. But – what if? If all goes well next month, Curiosity, NASA’s latest mission to Mars, will land in the Gale crater,…


No swimming allowed

Nestling among the dunes in the dry equatorial region of Saturn’s moon Titan is what appears to be a hydrocarbon lake. The observation, by the Cassini spacecraft, suggests that oases of liquid methane — which…


Primordial soup for you!

The primordial soup in our solar system might be a lot more infected with organics than previously thought, although the results come from a computer, not a test tube: Complex organic compounds, including many important…


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The ten year watch

In the early hours of 1 March 2002, the largest Earth observation satellite ever built soared into orbit from ESA’s launch base in Kourou, French Guiana. For a decade, Envisat has been keeping watch over…


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Take a deep breath

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has “sniffed” molecular oxygen ions around Saturn’s icy moon Dione for the first time, confirming the presence of a very tenuous atmosphere. The oxygen ions are quite sparse – one for every…


A drama in 3D

At the turn of the 19th century, the binary star system Eta Carinae was faint and undistinguished. In the first decades of the century, it became brighter and brighter, until, by April 1843, it was…


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Steamy windows for possible settlers

This looks like a mighty cool – hot – planet. A waterworld under an atmosphere of water vapor. There could be boiling some life over there! It’s clear (yet damp) that there’s a whole lot…