How Life On Mars Could Still Exist
At a conference titled "The Present-Day Habitability of Mars" scientists discussed the possible seasonal existence of liquid water as well as the survival tactics of Antarctic microbes, among other topics.
What's the Latest Development?
Scientists attending a UCLA conference titled "The Present-Day Habitability of Mars" presented several theories that support the possible existence of microbial Martian life right now. One theory, based on mounting evidence, suggests the presence of liquid water during certain seasons at specific Martian sites. Another theory is based on experiments done with microbes living in Antarctic valleys and other cold, dry locations. Antarctic microbes are also exposed to higher doses of ultraviolet radiation. "[The] organisms dwell within rocks, just deep enough to be shielded from the worst of the UV but close enough to the surface to receive the benefits of photosynthesis. Something similar might be happening on Mars today, if life ever evolved there."
What's the Big Idea?
One common belief among scientists and others is that if Mars ever had life, it probably existed in the distant past, when the surface would have been warmer and possibly able to support liquid water on a regular basis. The mission of the Curiosity rover involves searching for evidence of this possible past life. However, the theories presented at the conference, held earlier this month, could help Curiosity locate "real live" life, so to speak.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.
"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."
- The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
- Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
- Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.
While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.