January 2016

The McMurdo Dry Valleys, located in the Antarctic Victoria Land, are considered to be the most similar earthly equivalent to Mars.

Why did the emergence of our species require a timescale similar to the entire habitable period of our planet?

The ubiquity of M dwarfs, combined with the relative ease of detecting terrestrial-mass planets around them, has made them prime targets for finding and characterising planets in the "Habitable Zone" (HZ).

At the bottom of an icy Antarctic lake, a thin, slimy layer of bright green microbes is generating a tiny oasis of oxygen that might give a picture of what early Earth looked like before oxygen became common in the atmosphere.

Life on other planets would likely be brief and become extinct very quickly, say astrobiologists from The Australian National University (ANU).

It took Jackie Goordial over 1000 Petri dishes before she was ready to accept what she was seeing.

How do plants know which way is up? This might seem like an obvious question, but how exactly does a plant know which way to grow its roots and which way to grow towards the Sun?

Around 720-640 million years ago, much of the Earth's surface was covered in ice during a glaciation that lasted millions of years.

"A globular cluster might be the first place in which intelligent life is identified in our galaxy," says lead author Rosanne Di Stefano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).