Oxygen Found on Saturn's Moon. And Life?

NASA scientists have discovered a thin strip of oxygen in the atmosphere of Dione, one of Saturn's 60 moons. It seems to be a rare case of oxygen existing without the support of live organisms. 

What's the Latest Development?

NASA's Cassini probe has detected a thin layer of oxygen in the atmosphere of Dione, one of Saturn's moons. Since scientist believe there to be no life on Dione, the presence of oxygen is perhaps even more interesting. Oxygen is highly reactive, enough to rust metal, for example, meaning that it bonds quickly to other elements. For this reason, scientists had thought that its sustained presence must be supported by living organisms, as on Earth, where plants continuously replenish the oxygen supplies in our atmosphere. 

What's the Big Idea?

Oxygen is one of the elements on the checklist for life on Earth, along with exposure to sunlight, access to water and manageable acidity levels. But even on Earth, there are animal species that stand radically outside this norm, such as microbes that survive on nutrients from deep ocean vents or the Bold Traveler bug, discovered in 2008, which survives without sun or oxygen in a gold mine a mile below the surface. It goes to show that further out in space, chemistry might change, allowing life to take on strange and wonderful forms. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less