Another smoking gun in the search for life in Enceladus’ ocean
Published 4/13/2017 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
Today, NASA-funded scientists announced a major new step in the search for life on Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, thanks to new data collected by the NASA/ESA Cassini mission. Enceladus has attracted a lot of interest because it has an active pole that spews jets of material into outer space. During its last flyby over that pole, an instrument on board the Cassini spacecraft detected the presence of a biomarker—molecular hydrogen. This suggests that the ocean we know lies beneath the moon’s surface could indeed contain an ecosystem similar to the ones we find in deep-sea hydrothermal vents on Earth. [caption id="attachment_1938" align="aligncenter"... read more ❯

Earth and Mars: Twins or Siblings?
Published 11/14/2014 in David Barrado Author dbarrado
The intensive exploration of Mars is yielding a large amount of data about its properties and its past. However, two great enigmas are yet to be explained: what caused this planet to be different from planet Earth? Is there or has there been any biological activity on the Red Planet? Particularly revealing is the comparative study of both planets. From a distance, the Earth and Mars show some striking differences. In the first case, the prevailing colors are white and blue, corresponding to clouds and the oceans, and the brown shades of the continents. Thus, the existence of water in its... read more ❯

Director of the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute publishes a Carl Sagan Biographical Memoir
Published 2/12/2014 in Franck Marchis Blog Author Franck Marchis
David Morrison, director of the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute, has written a biographical memoir of Carl Sagan (1934-1996), founder of the modern disciplines of planetary science and exobiology. Morrison’s piece has been published in Biographical Memoirs, an online collection of the National Academy of Sciences that includes more than 1,500 biographies of deceased  academy members. In the biographical memoir, Morrison shares his thoughts on the life of Carl Sagan, “one of the world’s best-known... read more ❯