Astrobiology (general): July 2013

Solving the "faint young Sun paradox" -- explaining how early Earth was warm and habitable for life beginning more than 3 billion years ago even though the Sun was 20 percent dimmer than today -- may not be as difficult as believed, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Lake Vostok, the 7th largest (by volume) and 4th deepest lake on Earth, is covered by more than 3,700 m of ice, making it the largest subglacial lake known. The combination of cold, heat (from possible hydrothermal activity), pressure (from the overriding glacier), limited nutrients and complete darkness presents extreme challenges to life.