astrobiology

Atacama desert

How ancient microbes survived in a world without oxygen has been a mystery. Scientists discovered a living microbial mat that uses arsenic instead of oxygen for photosynthesis and respiration.

Phosphene molecules and Venus

Considering what we know about the key ingredients for life's formation on Earth, here are three explanations for how this process may have occurred on our sister planet.

Planet Venus

The discovery of phosphine in the acidic clouds of Venus can't be explained by any known chemical or geological processes.

Luke Steller teaching students how to find fossils

As Perseverance prepares to launch for Mars, two UNSW PhD students look back on a field trip that gave Indigenous high school students a behind-the-scenes look at the rover’s upcoming mission.

Dr Anna Wang and Mr Luke Steller in Tikitere

Hot springs may have been the ‘spark’ that helped organic matter turn into life – these UNSW Sydney scientists have put this hypothesis to the test in New Zealand. 

Mars

Scientists have used the same methods that will soon be used to search for evidence of life on Mars to look for evidence of the earliest forms of life on Earth at a location in South Australia.

Pyrite

Western Australia’s famous 3.5-billion-year-old stromatolites contain microbial remains of some of the earliest life on Earth, UNSW scientists have found.

mars_-_devon_island.jpg

Jonathan Clarke has just returned from another mission to simulate life on Mars, this time from Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic.

16_spacerace_nasa.jpg

If there ever was life on Mars it may still be there, writes Malcolm Walter. And if we can demonstrate an independent origin of life, the consequences will be profound.

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