If there's life on Mars right now, it's either really good at hiding from our robots, or it's too small to be able to wave at us. In either case, an effective way of finding it might be through gene sequencing, which is why scientists want to send a DNA sequencer on Mars. It's called "the search for extraterrestrial genomes," which I have abbreviated to "SEx GNomes."
The search for extraterrestrial life continues. For three Penn State researchers, the search should not focus on radio waves, as it long has, but on Dyson Spheres....
It's been 30 years since the movie E.T. had everyone lining up at the box office, so what better time to swoop in with a special edition package tempt your wallet. After all, people who loved the movie as kids in 1982 are just now entering their peak earning years, with cash to spend on a little childhood nostalgia.
New analysis of an experiment performed by the Viking landers suggests that evidence of microbial life in the Martian soil may have been detected 36 years ago. As one of the authors of this new paper puts it: "on the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there." Whoa.
It's going to be a very, very long time before we have a telescope big enough to spot little green men waving at us from the surface of another world. What we might be able to spot in the near future, though, are their farms and gardens, with a spectral technique that looks for the signatures of alien plants in polarized light.
Russian news is reporting that a group of scientists in Antarctica have, after two decades, finally managed to drill into an ancient Antarctic lake that may have been sealed off from the rest of the planet for millions of years. They're looking for weird forms of life, and for clues about life elsewhere in our solar system.
The surface of Venus is not a pleasant place to live. It's really freakin' hot (900 degrees), the pressure is stifling (92 times Earth normal), and the clouds are made of sulfur dioxide. We're pretty sure that nothing could survive down there, especially not some imaginary scorpions that a Russian scientist thinks he sees in old pictures of Venus' surface.
Being from Louisiana, the term "jumbo shrimp" usually indicates a positive (and tasty) thing. Those suckers are usually three inches long at most. That's gargantuan, even. Now, a foot-long shrimp species that look like they came from another planet has invaded the Gulf, bringing with it an insatiable hunger and a load of disease.
Earth has a nasty habit of recycling its surface such that old stuff (like dinosaur bones and meteor craters and ancient alien cities) get swallowed up by oceans and volcanoes or eroded into dust. The moon, however, hasn't been geologically active for a very long time, and if aliens ever stopped by our solar system, the moon might be the place to check for artifacts.
The Kepler planet hunting space telescope has done pretty well finding planets that exist in the "habitable zone" around alien stars, but so far, all of these planets have been significantly larger than Earth. Today, NASA announced that Kepler has discovered the first Earth-sized planets orbiting another star.