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extraterrestrial life

Photo of 12 petri dishes holding brightly colored fungi.
Abstractions blog

‘Zombie’ Microbes Redefine Life’s Energy Limits

August 12, 2020

A new model shows that the denizens of a vast, ancient biome beneath the seafloor use barely enough energy to stay alive — and broadens understanding of what life can look like.

Photo of green leafy plants in close-up.
Abstractions blog

Why Are Plants Green? To Reduce the Noise in Photosynthesis.

July 30, 2020

Plants ignore the most energy-rich part of sunlight because stability matters more than efficiency, according to a new model of photosynthesis.

John Priscu holds an ice core sample in a sterile laboratory.
Q&A

He Found ‘Islands of Fertility’ Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

July 20, 2020

John Priscu’s search for life that thrives under ice took him to subglacial lakes at the South Pole. Now he has his eye on Mars and Europa.

Close-up of water swirling among rocks at the sea’s edge.
microbiology

Inside Deep Undersea Rocks, Life Thrives Without the Sun

May 13, 2020

Newly discovered worlds of microbes far beneath the ocean floor, inside old basaltic rocks, could point to a greater likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe.

Art for "Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox "
Abstractions blog

Galaxy Simulations Offer a New Solution to the Fermi Paradox

March 7, 2019

Astronomers claim in a new paper that star motions should make it easy for civilizations to spread across the galaxy, but still we might find ourselves alone.

Victoria Meadows in her garden with her cockatoo.
Thinking Places

Victoria Meadows’ Earthly Visions of Alien Life

June 5, 2018

A living, breathing garden in Seattle serves as the perfect backdrop to an astrobiologist’s search for life on faraway planets.

astrobiology

Scientists Debate Signatures of Alien Life

February 2, 2016

Searching for signs of life on faraway planets, astrobiologists must decide which telltale biosignature gases to target.