A dedicated team of scientists is spending the next four weeks in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. They are studying the scarce life that exists there and, in the process, helping NASA learn more about how primitive life forms could exist on Mars.
The NASA-funded researchers are studying the Atacama Desert, described as the most arid region on Earth, to understand the desert as a habitat that represents one of the limits of life on Earth. The project, part of NASA’s Astrobiology Science and Technology Program for Exploring Planets, involves technology experiments to test robotic capabilities for mobility, autonomy and science.
"Identifying living microorganisms and/or fossils in environments where life’s density is among the lowest on the planet should provide leads to establish detection criteria and strategies for Mars or other planetary bodies," explained Dr. Nathalie Cabrol of the SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif., and NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley. She is the project science lead and co-investigator on the "Life in the Atacama" project.
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For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
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For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
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Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
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