Icy clouds on ancient Mars may have given rise to lakes and rivers

Scientists have long puzzled over how Mars, a cold and dry planet, was once warm enough to support liquid water.

Sasa Kadrijevic via Adobe Stock
  • In a recent study, researchers created a computer model to explore how varying levels of surface ice would have affected clouds above the Martian surface.
  • The results showed that icy, high-altitude clouds would have formed if Mars was covered in relatively small amounts of ice. These clouds would have helped warm the planet.
  • NASA's Perseverance rover may soon confirm this hypothesis by taking geological samples of the Martian surface.
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False positive: Exoplanets could have lots of oxygen but no life

Oxygen is thought to be a biomarker for extraterrestrial life, but there are at least three different ways that a lifeless planet can produce it.

Photo by Jaymantri from Pexels
  • If an exoplanet houses life, it almost certainly will have gaseous oxygen.
  • But a new study modeling the development of rocky planets identifies three scenarios in which oxygen can form abiotically.
  • The notion that oxygenated exoplanets are all candidates to host life should be treated with skepticism.
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A rogue ‘pristine’ comet reveals clues about the origins of our Solar System

New studies find the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov is the most "pristine" ever discovered.

Credit: ESO/M. Kormesser
  • Researchers released studies on the composition of the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov.
  • The 'pristine' comet holds clues to the origins and evolution of the Solar System.
  • The comet, discovered in 2019, is only the second interstellar object ever observed.
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    ‘Smoking gun’ dark matter signature possibly identified

    Researchers propose a new method that could definitively prove the existence of dark matter.

    Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.
    • Scientists identified a data signature for dark matter that can potentially be detected by experiments.
    • The effect they found is a daily "diurnal modulation" in the scattering of particles.
    • Dark matter has not yet been detected experimentally.
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    Ancient computer found in shipwreck decoded by scientists

    A new model of the Antikythera mechanism reveals a "creation of genius."

    Credit: Antikythera Mechanism Research Project

    Today, if you want to know when the next solar eclipse is going to be, you turn to Google. If you lived in ancient Greece, though, you might have used a device now known as the Antikythera mechanism.

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